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We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin

Author: Deborah Castellano
Posted: February 10th. 2013
Times Viewed: 5,626

April, my bestie since about sixteen, thanklessly spent her autumn season this year trying to drag me out of my doldrums of apathy and overwork by making me do cool sh*t on our weekly Wednesday get together. We carved pumpkins and drank pumpkin liquor, we drove to the spookiest cemetery we know and for the grand finale, she wanted to watch The Craft together.

I love The Craft. I love everything about it- the soundtrack is amazing (it’s almost all covers, though I didn’t know it at the time – “How Soon Is Now”, “I Have the Touch”, “Dangerous Type”, “Dark Secret” and “Witches Song” would shape me in ways that I didn’t understand until later) , the wardrobe is all the best parts of the 90’s and the lines are awesome (“Everything I touch turns to s**t, ” April and I would wail to each other in secret high school notes) . Fairuza Balk who plays one of the schoolgirl covenmates is a Real Life Wiccan who went on to own a Real Life Witch Store of her own. In the 90’s, it was the first film that I saw that took any care to even attempt to get a witchcraft consultant (Pat Devin) from an actual person who does witchcraft.

Was it perfect? Of course not. It’s sort of like Practical Magic in that once we get past “The Lime in the Coconut”/Midnight Margarita scene I lose a lot of interest until the last scene. Here, once the dead sharks start showing up on the beach, I get very ehhhhhhh about it. Are there big character development issues? You betcha!

We started to put on the movie (which I haven’t seen in a couple of years) when my husband semi-jokingly suggested we use flying ointment to watch it. I thought about it. Wasn’t this a ritual? The place where Jow, April and I all spent our formative years? Didn’t we have candles, pumpkin donuts and pumpkin beer? What would I discover if we watched it ritualistically? We all rubbed on the ointment.

“This is why I became a witch, ” I said off-handedly as the credits started to roll. April, while not a witch herself, has been to circles and has been dealing with my crazy butt for almost half her life and has picked up a decent amount by attrition. Naturally, April immediately started laughing like the darling mean girl she is.

“What?” I said. “Look, I can give you some kind of fake answer about how I was called by the gods or I’m a heredity witch whose family has been doing this for eleventybillion years or that I rejected Christianity from a young age and had been a dirt worshipping heathen au naturale since I was a small child or I could tell you the truth. And the truth is, I wanted this. It took a few years to realize it, but this is where the seed got planted. I wanted sisters to be close to (but not turn on me) , I wanted to dress like a modern goth schoolgirl punk rock princess and I wanted cool stuff to happen. I wanted to do magic. I wanted to feel powerful and feel that level of joy and see it plain in the universe like they did.”

And it’s true. It’s what I wanted, and I’ve spent my life since sometimes conscious and sometimes unconsciously trying to find it. I knew logically that a rain of butterflies wouldn’t invade someone’s living room from the sheer joy of what amounted to a basic Wiccan circle. I learned somewhere in my mid twenties that the whole “natural witch”/heredity witch thing was overblown and while a few certainly exist, it’s more like being a sorority pledge legacy – yeah, you’d get in most likely but that didn’t mean you’d get anywhere awesome just because of that. You’d have to forge your own identity in the sorority house once you got in.

Sure, we giggled as we watched it (“You enter a circle with perfect love and perfect trust, right Deb?” “I sure do, when I do the circle aloooooooone.” “See, look at Nancy taking all of Mannon’s power in for herself. Selfish.”) , but I was looking for clues. Why did this mean so much to me? Why does it still have so much resonance to it for me?

Part of it comes from the fact that I was just learning how powerful sisterhood could be. The triumverte as my ex-husband dubbed April, myself and our bestie, D. has been together since senior year in college. Watching the scenes of the girls in the movie where they lie around their bedrooms with all the time in the world for each other and tossing popcorn in each other’s mouths made me miss those days with the triumverte. Luckily, we have a playdate scheduled next week and we drink better booze now.

Some of it comes from missing being able to dress in full goth attire with no one batting an eye. I used to feel super confident about dressing however I felt like dressing without the boring relatively new grown-up Deb meme of O What Will the Neighbors Think? I miss the swagger of my maidenhood, the completely misplaced confidence that I knew what I was doing (always!) and that I would enter a room and everyone’s head would turn.

In my Motherhood phase, I’m getting some of that back but in different ways. It’s quieter, still powerful and in a lot of ways fiercer. I know now what I’m risking now by not making “safe” choices and trying to make my living as an artist. I know what it’s like to lose almost everything now because someone doesn’t love you anymore. It makes me tricksier, more cunning, more strategic, less trusting in others but more trusting in myself and more ruthless when needed. Still. I miss strutting into my local goth club, confident all eyes were on me.

Some of it was subtler. Like, I didn’t realize how much of the movie was about glamour. The glamour spells they did, definitely. The coven's invocations in the movie were basic Wiccan invocations that I’ve done at this point about a bazillion times. The difference? The glamour. The glamour of the sets, the outfits, the tools, the small circle where everyone was in sync (until the dead sharks, but whatever) .

It makes sense that I would spend a year devoted to glamour and the Muse through my craft work, my blog work and the book I just finished writing. I’ve been spending a lot of time this year thinking about what makes a ritual glamorous and what makes every day life glamorous.

Most subtle of all, I noticed towards the end of the movie that something was scrawled in red on the wall that I couldn’t quite make out until I was reading trivia just now: Sarah returns to her house near the end and the house is full of all sorts of creepy crawlies. As she retreats to the upstairs bathroom, we see her pass a whiteboard with the name Gustav Klimt. Gustav Klimt was an artist whose works were denounced for their eroticism. He was also known to have a common theme of the “Femme Fatale” or women who were empowered and strong.

She’s a lot like you, the dangerous type.


Deborah Castellano

Location: , New Jersey


Author's Profile: To learn more about Deborah Castellano - Click HERE

Bio: Deborah Castellano has just published her first book, The Arte of Glamour available on Amazon and Kindle. She blogs regularly about Witchcraft, Deportment and Faux French Living at Charmed, I'm Sure.

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