Updated: Jan 10
Let's talk about this idea of the "witchy aesthetic". I mean, yes, many of the things we do as magical practitioners can look cool. I mean, I'm a big fan of this robe and cauldron deal myself, and I love myself some magical tools. I'm a symbolism first person, which means that how something looks does matter.
Looks versus symbolism
When we choose symbols for our magic, we choose them with an entire set of symbols in mind. A symbol doesn't exist in isolation of all our other symbols. That said, each individual symbol has to have a meaning as well. Think of it like a language. One symbol is like a word. On it's own it might mean something, but without context, how does that connect to anything? A wider symbol set or aesthetic is like those things that are like a language, but hold no real meaning. In magical circles we call this a barbarous language, and it does have it's place for trance induction, but what it doesn't do is carry intention or energy. When we latch on to how something looks without knowing why things are chosen, it carries no meaning. Now, there's power in something looking right, and with proper symbols, they work much better when they all tie into one look. That's a layer that we add on top of the meanings of the individual things.
Making aesthetics actually work
This is all to say that the right look really does add to the Work, if done as a proper layer to existing spellwork. It's a way of bringing everything together, and constructing a foundation for your symbolism to rest on. The aesthetic here should be inspired by things like the traditions you're working with, and yes, things that look or feel magical to you as well. There's importance to making it feel right to you that runs to the core of magic. If it feels right, it'll be way more effective. What we can't do here is attach more importance to how it looks than to the individual symbol. The aesthetics should allow the individual symbols to come alive.
Aesthetics as a layer or tool
This isn't to say that the aesthetics isn't important in itself. The way things look, or more to the point the way they make you feel, are ways to drive your mind to the right headspace. When this kind of thing is embraced as a part of our ritual, it can be very powerful. It's not enough for something to look right, but something looking right is a way to set your mind in the right ways. In short, this is the kind of thing that I suggest not letting lead your practice. The look of things is great, but doesn't replace real symbolic meaning.