In the last several years, for the first time in modern history, it has been cool to be a “witch.” Crystal stores, saging, and astrology have all become part of popular culture in a way that is in stark contrast to the “weird and woo woo” reputation that ritual and alternative spirituality carried in previous decades.

Today, according to Pew Research Center, more Millennials than ever identify as being “spiritual” but not “religious.” Being a modern witch can be liberating in this context. (For the purpose of this article, “witch” is a generalization of a categorization of self-identity including but not limited to practicing any type of ritual such as asking guides for guidance; reading tarot cards; belief in karma; interest in lunar cycles and planetary transits; and more specific or nuanced practices such as paganism, yogic tradition, or Tantra.) The social shift toward this spiritual self-identification aligns with the rise of freedom of identity in general. As we have become more open about LGBTQ visibility, sexual liberation, and shifting ideas around modern relationships, it seems natural that our theosophical beliefs would trend toward being more accepting of deviating from the strict confines of popular traditional religions. Spirituality doesn’t cast you out for being different; it draws you in to use your differences as an inquiry to personal truth.

Personally, I come from a lineage of healers. My grandfather was a Chinese medicine practitioner and acupuncturist who lived on an ashram. My mother is a card reader and witch for a living. And today, their ancient healing practices provide the basis of my own practice as a sex and relationship coach. I also read cards, host moon circles, and do intuitive healing work. But my identity as a witch is much more personal than that. I am devout in my practice, meaning that I pray every night, meditate every day, and look to the stars for signs of guidance. I find that these rituals work well not only for me, but also for my clients. It is my personal belief that ritual itself can dramatically heal wounds because of the time you take to address a specific need through it.

Dating as a modern witch is its own particular experience, however. Though the expansiveness of spiritual practice can positively impact your life in magical and inspiring ways and is becoming more and more popular, it can still feel vague and be difficult to grasp for those unfamiliar with it. We are also shifting away from centuries of judgement and abhorrence to things that are “witchy.” I have experienced everything from polite curiosity to complete disdain from my dates.

My Tinder bio includes the sentence, “Astrology is a science.” And I won’t act like I don’t immediately think nope when I read things like “don’t ask me what my sign is.” On one hand, this is a very easy way of immediately determining when you and a potential match are not aligned. That being said, there are ways and spaces to find a voice for your spirituality with those who may be initially closed off from a space of compassion and curiosity, no spells required.

I won’t act like I don’t immediately think nope when I read things like “don’t ask me what my sign is.”

Like with anything else, the most important step is to evaluate what your non-negotiables are. You may be able to date someone who thinks astrology is bogus or that may be a definitive dealbreaker for you. You may want someone who mirrors your values overall, but be flexible about some of the spiritual ones. Knowing where you simply cannot compromise will narrow down your dating pool while also empowering you to make connections that feel real and exciting. You don’t have announce everything in your Tinder bio, but you can ask, either online or in person, “What are your thoughts on modern spiritual practice? Are you open to ____?”

If you are really into crystals, wear heart openers like amethyst or rose quartz to enhance your loving energy. If you want to be clear with your words, wear shades of blue like lapis and aquamarine. If you get nervous, grounding stones like jasper may help. You can similarly use herbal or aromatherapy hacks, like lavender for calming and peppermint for clearing. And, whenever I have a bad date, I always like to sage all the negative energy off of me as soon as I get home.

In terms of oracle or tarot cards, asking questions about your date can be tricky. As a professional reader (trained by my mama), I find that favoring a particular outcome of a reading can really cloud one’s ability to read a spread clearly. If I am super emotionally attached to the outcome of a reading, I ask my mom to do it for me. Asking things like, “Is this person the one?” weighs too heavily on the cosmos. The most effective way to utilize cards when dating is to focus on yourself. Ask questions along the lines of “how can I show up without judgement?” or “how can I remove blocks and obstacles that are keeping me from finding a soulmate?” This is much more effective than seeking a definitive outcome.

You can use your personal traditions of ritual to empower your dating practice. If you are keen on intention setting, do so before a date. I recommend something like, “I intend to show up as my highest self from a place of compassionate curiosity” as opposed to “I intend to meet my soulmate.” As witches we know that we can manifest whatever we want, but again, it usually works more powerfully if we are not conditional about the outcomes. That’s why focusing on embarking upon experiences as your best self is more effective than placing an order for a soulmate on every first date.

Judgement, skepticism, and rudeness can come from a date for any reason, but for some of us, spiritual judgement can feel particularly biting. I find that the best way to deal with being challenged about my beliefs in front of someone I find attractive is to wear my witchiness with pride. I imagine all the power I find in spirituality as a metaphorical crown. When I speak to dates (and people in general) about my beliefs, I do it from the place of a person wearing that crown. As a benevolent witch, the crown serves as a reminder of what is important to me and has had a tangible positive impact on my life. It also keeps me tempered and compassionate. It reminds me that it is not my job to convince anyone of anything. But stating what I do believe from a powerful place makes it so that even if people do not understand my practices, they are far more likely to respect them.

As spirituality continues its rise, having integrity with our own practices of ritual can only enhance its image. Own your witchiness. Relish in the space that has been created for you to celebrate however this identity contributes to your life, and use it to enhance your dating experiences, not detract from them.