A growing community of witches in the Quad Cities doesn’t identify with the negative imagery often associated with them.

A lot of them identify themselves as community healers and spiritual activists.

“‘She’s evil and she eats children,’ or whatever it is witches are supposed to do,” said Spellbound owner Sarah Jacoby. “But witches are very earth-centric very animal-centric … the nicest people I ever met.”

Witchcraft has been practiced for centuries as a form of natural healing and spirituality, but was long misconstrued, Jacoby says.

“Back in the day because she could read, because she practiced medicine, because she bucked the system a little bit, because she wanted to be educated and have control over her own life,” Jacoby said.

A natural target of suspicion centuries ago is now being redefined as a combative force against patriarchy.

“We try to honor the traditions but try to honor ourselves at the same time. There’s nothing you have to do,” said Jessica Klockau, who considers herself a dark witch. Witchcraft, she said is “basically using influence to try to create the life that you want.”

Natural remedies such as crystals, herbs, along with tarot cards and dream catchers, are the main ingredients in something they may practice every day.

“This is a way of life for people. It’s how they are year-round,” Jacoby said.