Articles/Essays From Pagans
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Magic in Sentences
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Article ID: 15816
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 749
Times Read: 4,039
RSS Views: 18,544
Author: Deborah Castellano
Posted: January 1st. 2015
Times Viewed: 4,039
I’ve never been a Witch in the woods. The thing is, to be a proper Witch in the woods, villagers have to know where you live (no) or you need to do a lot of festivals that involves camping (no) .
I started my business in ye olde 2010 because I was going through a painful and messy divorce. Well, I started spinning yarn because I was going through a painful and messy divorce but I didn’t know how to knit or crochet and had zero desire to learn how to do either. I was strapped for cash and feeling really at a loss in my life as to what my future entailed. I started doing local events, but I quickly realized I needed to have goods (besides yarn) that appeal to a larger audience, so I started making more things. As I started making more and more obviously Witchy goods, I started getting more questions.
But they weren’t the questions I was expecting. I expected more of the "Do you think you can actually perform magic? Where’s your broom? Are you psychic? What am I thinking right now?" variety. Initially, when people outside the obvious Pagan demographic (wearing an occult shirt, having an occult tat, wearing occult jewelry, told me that they practice, etc.) asked if my fixed candles brought luck or magic, I gave a very hasty, “No! NO! They’re just candles!” answer. Because I didn’t want my car keyed. In other words, I was afraid.
After one or two times with that scenario, I realized I wasn’t giving the right answer. They didn’t want to bother me with stupid questions; they wanted magic. Love, luck, money, career, protection. What everyone wants. If a candle could help with whichever issue they wanted help with and look pretty while helping, well why not? If they liked the way one of my oils smelled and it could do something helpful too, then perfect.
It’s still hard for me when I’m asked directly if I’m a Witch. I want to dissemble. Anyone who’s done any kind of magic since we figured out that magic is possible (probably directly after we figured out the fire thing) has been taught to dissemble. I will be at Pagan Pride events where the whole purpose is to show the local community that we’re just like everyone else and if I’m asked directly if I’m a Witch or about what ritual is going on, my immediate response is to want to water it down to the most vague possible answer. I have to work very consciously not to do that.
Being so out at public events has been a really vulnerable feeling but also really empowering. (Suburban) villages still want cunning women and wise men. They want someone they can go to and say, “What do I do about this problem I have that’s making me feel afraid? Show me there’s more that I can do than just mundane work. Show me that I’m still capable of magic, no matter what I believe in. Tell me the words to say and how to fold my paper and I will fold it just as you said. Give me a chance to still spark enchantment in my life. If you will be vulnerable enough to be a Witch publicly, I will be vulnerable enough to tell you what I need and let you press small items in my hand to bring magic into my life.”
At the last event I did, I hesitantly brought my new vigil candles, which are unmistakably Pagan. I had not done this event for a few years so I wasn’t sure what the crowd would be like and it wasn't a specifically Pagan event. At first, a lot of people looked at the candles and looked at my oils. Then they looked at me and quickly looked away and kept moving.
I was hopeful when I saw some young women with visible Hermetic tats, but they stood in front of my oils for a solid ten minutes whispering to each other, picking up the oil testers but not opening any of the oils and walked away. Maybe I had misjudged my audience? I was becoming nervous and uncertain, wondering if I should have stuck to my “safer” wares – scented beeswax candles, silk chiffon scarves and handspun yarn.
Then a woman looked at the vigil candles and looked at me and smiled. “I need prosperity, which candle should I get?”
I said, “Oh Lakshmi, for sure. She’s been great with my business.” I then explained how to write a petition when she asked what she should do.
“Oh! You’re a Witch!” She said. She appeared visibly pleased and excited.
Even still, I hesitated. I took a deep breath. “Yes. Yes, I am.”
“I’m so glad I came today! I wasn’t going to! This is excellent!”
I realized that on some level, even living in liberal New Jersey, even with Witches in our military, even with my mom having come to accept me as a Witch, I still expect strangers to throw rocks at me. Even though I only do events that have a loud and proud alterna-community, I still expect people to not buy things from me because I’m a Witch.
Over the last two years, I’ve learned that people are buying things from me because I am a Witch. While many of the people who buy from me do consider themselves a Witch/Pagan/Occultist, many don’t. And while I will always get band-geek excited to talk “shop” with my fellow Witches, I get really excited about all the people who aren’t Witches themselves but still want to find a place for magic in their lives.
I hear so many people’s problems and triumphs. In VFW halls. In Girl Scout camps. In unheated machinist buildings. In public parks. In small shops. People of all ages, genders and experiences lower their voices and tell me their innermost secrets and look to me for a small bit of help. There’s something very sacred about that exchange, being trusted to help them with their problems because I am Other.
Because they can feel magic in me, they trust me to help them find the magic in themselves. Building that connection, that bit of my star that connects to their star in a tiny constellation in a local event is really special to me. Getting to hug, to hold a hand, to wipe tears, to laugh together is a really sacred part of my personal practice. The money is nice -- I need to pay bills just like everyone else -- but it’s the connection to others that really lights me up inside and I’m ever more and more grateful to have these opportunities to recognize the sacred in each other.
As we are emerging from the darkest part of the year, thank you for letting me be a small part of your life. It’s what brings light to mine.
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