If you’re like me, you love all things feminine, witchy, psychological, and pop culture. At their intersection is Anna Biller’s 2017 masterpiece of contestable genre (Horror? Drama? Thriller?) The Love Witch. Don’t let the delectable 1960s technicolor fool you, this movie is newer than the infamous Ghostbusters! remake.
Director, producer, writer, costume designer, set designer, and general mastermind Anna Biller crafted The Love Witch as an unconventional tale of magick and murder with the feminine experience decidely at the center. The Love Witch artfully mingles fanciful visions of love and lust into obsession and psychosis, and comments thoughtfully on the concept of abuse in intimate dynamics, the paradoxical nature of wielding female sexuality in empowerment, and the diffusion of the patriarchy into every corner of the feminine experience.
I could write a full dissertation on this movie and still have commentary leftover, but instead I will adamantly insist all vvitchy readers watch this movie and move onto our pop culture spotlight: Elaine Parks. The title character in The Love Witch, Elaine is an alluring and highly morally ambiguous practitioner who will attain love by any means. She uses her spells and charms to gain sexual and romantic influence over men in hopes of procuring the fairytale love she yearns for. Unfortunately, Elaine’s magick often proves too potent, leading quickly to her lovers’ demise.
Despite her abundant, er, misgivings, Elaine is one of my favorite film witches to date. She is feminine, charming, whimsical, and ambitious. She devotes herself tirelessly to her passions and desires and is persistent on using her magick and willpower wherever possible.
In pop culture, witches are often split into a dichotomy of good witches—fairy godmothers, enchantresses, kindly grandma witches, ambiguously magical love interests or herbalists—and bad witches—-malevolent old crones seeking to eat children to steal youth and beauty from their victims, or demoness dark sorceresses luring men to their dooms for power or sustenance.
Although she is young, beautiful, and driven by desires for a generally wholesome fairytale romance, Elaine is by no means a “good witch”. She is ruthless, manipulative, and often acts unethically, even yielding to misogynistic behaviors to woo her beaus. Yet, there is evidence that the Love Witch is a larger than life persona Elaine has created to attain her dream relationship after the heartbreak of her first marriage (a la the ever-trending, “And then I was reborn…as a witch!”).
After a breakup, job change, or general slump, maybe you want a little rebirth of your own. If you wanted to embody romance and seduction, increase magnetism and confidence, or just take a few notes from Elaine’s binder, here’s three (sane, legal) ways to channel your inner Love Witch:
Develop a signature style.
Elaine’s signature style is part of what makes her effect so powerful—she appears completely herself. Elaine adapts to her moods and occasions with ease, yet continually channels a palpable expression of mystique and femininity. She flits between psychedelic patterns, frilly Victorian-esque numbers, bold reds, and quintessential witchy black. Oversized pendants and intricate hairstyles are staple accessories in her wardrobe. She is also apt to give her items a personal touch by lining all of her own clothing, and true to the era of inspiration she is rarely pictured without a cigarette.
If you’re looking to play with a new style or hone in on your signature, try using an online platform like Pinterest or Depop to create a feed of items that interest you and their effects as a cohesive style overall. Pull style inspiration from archetypes, decades, characters, or aspects of nature. Cross reference your inspo with your current closet and which pieces you feel the best in. Carefully selected details like scents or perfumes, accessories, and even confident posture or open body language can amplify an outfit. If you want to really cast a spell, layer in glamor magick using planetary rulers, color magick, and charmed jewelry or oils to fully lean into a desired effect.
Use your will.
Elaine’s magnitude is amplified by her attitude and willpower. She concentrates fully on her desire and is flexible in means of attaining it. In a world where many are discreet about their dreams, afraid to be ridiculed or seen as calculating for having a means to an end, Elaine is unashamed to want an idealistic love or animalistic physical connection. In fact, Elaine’s forthrightness is what ensnares many of those around her.
Your will is powerful. Witches and metaphysical practitioners are fully aware of the way that concentrated energy can be used as a means of bringing the immaterial into the material. But beyond spell work, keeping your will at the forefront of your persona can help you to link the idea of yourself to your desire and assume it into being. Remember that you are capable, that your will is a creative force, that you can become or grow into anything that you choose on a matter of your will alone.
You don’t have to weave it into every conversation, but allow talking about what you desire to become normal. Let the dream job, the relationship, the ideal state of mind take up space in your life. Give prematurely deciding that what you want is impossible a break; instead, use your will to cement a space for the things you want to bring into reality. Stop hiding from versions of yourself that would require you to take up space. You are worth space.
Flirt with life.
Outside of relationships, Elaine pursues projects such as painting, baking, making magickal tools to sell to her local apothecary, attending ceremonies, and visiting tea rooms with friends. Elaine’s life as revealed to viewers depicts a woman with vast interests in fashion, homemaking, and metaphysics. Elaine’s interest in others can also be a rewarding attribute, earning her friends, associates, and partners. Her variety of interests and connections only further cushion her belief that life can be a fairytale, that everyday living can be beautiful and worthwhile if not preoccupied by obsessions.
For aspiring Love Witches, try allocating time for more of what makes you feel powerful, romantic, or intrigued. This could be a hobby, a spiritual practice, a line of work that ignites your passion. It could also be a pattern of thought or action—looking for joy, discovering secrets, making a point to have one meaningful interaction a day. Flirt with life, become interested in people and the world. You can only be magnetic as often as you allow yourself the chance to be; as often as you put yourself in spaces to draw out the exciting, unexpected, and often beautiful connections that lie beneath.
Like The Love Witch, you could be your ultimate fantasy. Just try to veer away from prophetic paintings cradling a man’s heart in your bare hands.