Salt lake city has become known for its thriving community of witches recently. Perhaps you’ve seen one of the viral TikToks joking about it by local Utah band @nosuchanimal, where members of the band look out over the city, saying, “What a nice state. Certainly, there are no witches here.” Of course, here be witches.
Local witch and owner of The Pleiadian Altar, Julia Gates, defines a witch as “anyone who’s using their own self-power to make their lives better.” Gates’ shop opened its doors in July of last year as a hub for Salt Lake witches of all cultures and creeds. Gates made an effort to make her shop “baby witch” friendly, with easy DIY bundles for beginners.
And you don’t need to be religious in order to be a witch. “We’re not like a pagan or Wiccan store or anything like that. So anyone of any religion could come in. You could come in and be super LDS and find something that you like,” says Gates. Gates grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and became interested in the metaphysical at the age of 12. She got her first pendulum at 16 and from there began to fall in love with the effects of crystals.
Once Gates discovered her passion for witchcraft, she quickly discovered a growing community of like-minded Utahns.
“There are a lot of very similar things between LDS or Christianity and witchcraft—like belief in an afterlife. So a lot of people might turn to witchcraft as something they might resonate with. We aren’t bound by any rules, per se, but still believe in something…There are a lot of people who are into witchcraft, the metaphysical and healing, you just wouldn’t know it.”
Events at The Pleiadian Altar
Every week the shop hosts Witchy Wednesdays from 6 p.m.–9 p.m., where anyone can participate in witchy crafts such as making spell jars from an open “herb-bar” or painting glass jars for moonwater. With instructions from Gates and her staff, everyone of all levels and interests can join in on the fun.
Check their instagram:
@the.pleiadian.altar for their monthly event schedule. 917 Vine St., Unit B, Murray (Located behind Garden Espresso.) utahcrystals.com
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