The fifth annual WitchsFest, "a Pagan street faire" fundraiser for the New York City Wiccan Family Temple, took over Astor Place in the East Village on Saturday. Swarmed by a diverse and peaceful group of witches, the block party boasted free workshops, blessings, and rituals to ring in the summer season, as well as several small pop-up shops offering everything from healing crystals, incense, magic veils, tarot card readings, and goddess-themed coloring books.
A darker, DIY aesthetic seemed to be the dress code for the occasion. Almost everyone came costumed in all black, stitched with lace and cased in polished metalware or fitted leather pieces. Beads and stones and pentagram charms dripped from their necks and studded belts. Corsets and fishnet stockings were a popular choice, with statement nose rings and elaborate face paint to complement.
Wicca, a modernized version of Paganism characterized by a higher belief in Earth's natural elements and one or more gods or goddesses, often draws female worshippers with its family-friendly themes and the promise of often equal roles between women and men within temple communities.