Answers from Rochester’s Resident Witch

Earlier today I encouraged folks on Facebook to submit their questions to me about witch life and witchcraft in order to facilitate education and dialogue because not many people know much about me or the craft. I am in general a very private person, and most people come to me for my listening (and tarot reading) skills. The response to my solicitation was a mixture of great questions and great references to Monty Python and Harry Potter. So without further ado, I’ll just get down to it. A disclaimer: these are my views, and don’t necessarily represent the views of other witches. 

Does the term “witch” also apply to males? 

Absolutely, yes. Each individual has the choice of the label they prefer, but “witch” is gender neutral despite pop culture usually referencing witches as women. A man who practices witchcraft may decide to call himself a witch or a warlock, it’s really up to him.

Is Witchcraft different than being Wiccan?

Yes. The main difference between witchcraft and wicca is that wicca is a religion and witchcraft is a practice. 

Witchcraft doesn’t require any specific spiritual beliefs. It isn’t centered around working with deities of any sort. It’s centered around working with universal principles to bring about a desired result. You can be a witch and be part of (almost) any religion. 

Wicca usually entails becoming part of a coven and going through an initiating process, or being a solitary practitioner who does a self-initiation, and working with gods and goddesses. 

The confusion comes from people who use Wiccan/Witch interchangeably. It may be true for certain individuals that they are a witch and a wiccan, but it is not universally so. Wicca also provides a pretty good framework for practicing witchcraft, but it isn’t a requirement. 

Are spells real or fake?

Spellwork is real. Whether or not someone is effectual at spellwork depends very much on their knowledge and how well they have honed their abilities. By “abilities” I don’t mean anything outside the realm of what we are all capable of doing. This includes the ability to focus, and it also includes being in tune with psychic abilities, among other things. 

Real life spellwork doesn’t resemble anything seen in movies. It works within the laws of nature. 

How does one become a witch? Is it from birth? Studying up on witch life? What is a witch’s love life like?

Some people are born into families that practice witchcraft. How far back their lineage goes depends on the family, as most of the very old ways have not been carried on especially as Christianity was adopted by cultures. 

If you weren’t born into a family that practices witchcraft, studying and learning all you can is a first step before ever attempting to practice. It’s a good idea to learn about many different religions, spiritual beliefs, history, science, and philosophy because this knowledge will be fundamental to your practice. 

As far as love life goes, a witch’s love life really depends on the witch. Mine’s good, if that’s what was meant by the question! 😊 If someone’s love life could be going better, aphrodisiacs and a little sugar and spice can do wonders. 

What do you believe is the effect of the moon on individuals? 

I believe we are all affected differently by the moon depending on our sensitivities, temperament and our active connection to the natural world. Some people don’t notice any correlation between the phases of the moon and their lives. Much of the time these same people also don’t draw any correlation between how they feel physically and the environment they are in. 

I personally experience insomnia like clockwork during the waning moon and need excessive amounts of sleep when the moon is waxing. This could be coincidental, but it certainly correlates. 

Some women cycle with the moon phases, and lunar rhythms can particularly affect menstruation and fertility in women. 

We are subject to lunar rhythms the same way we are subject to seasonal and circadian rhythms. I do feel a lot can be learned and applied to life by observing the lessons of the moon. The cycles of the moon can teach us about finding balance between work and rest, as well as unconditional giving and unconditional receiving. 

Do crystals work and if so, where do you get them?

Crystals and gemstones work as energetic catalysts. They can be used as a focus to bring about or banish something in your life. They each have metaphysical properties that make them conducive for working with different intentions. For example, obsidian is a protective stone and also a stone that promotes grounding. You can tap into these energies and utilize them.

Crystals and gemstones can be used in healing (though I always recommend you see a doctor if you have an ailment and that you never use crystals or gemstones instead of seeking medical care). 

There are a lot of places in Minnesota where you can get crystals and gemstones. In Rochester, there is a shop called “A Beautiful Soul” that sells them. In Minneapolis, you can’t go wrong with ZRS Fossils and Gifts. 

I want to know about your journey and how this was unveiled in your life.  

This question has a tapestry of interrelated threads from my life as an answer, but I’m going to narrow it down for the sake of brevity, though this response will be lengthy anyway and may leave you with some questions. 

I was born into a Catholic family and attended Catholic Church and classes until I was 12. I was always interested in spirituality, connecting with God, philosophy, science, and religions. These were my favorite thing to study, talk about and think about, and I began my studies officially when I was 9. I attempted to read the NKJV version of the Bible when I was 7 and quickly gave up. 

Prayer and peace were important to me from a very young age. I spent a lot of time talking to and listening for God. From this age I also began meditating and practicing grounding techniques. I spent a lot of time alone in contemplation, and also meditating through activities such as drawing. 

Wicca was the first other religion that I became interested in. I was fortunate to have a mother who supported my curiosity. She bought me all the books I wanted, including my first oracle and tarot decks. My childhood priest was also very open to talking about other religions and beliefs and encouraged my questions. I had my first experience with the faeries around this time. 

I can’t pretend that I suddenly became enveloped only in studying and practicing Wicca, though it did very much serve my need to feel connected to the magic of the world and of life. I do remember not really loving the books by Scott Cunningham. On occasion I would still serve as an altar girl on weekday morning mass in the summertime with my childhood best friend. 

My curiosity continued to bloom like an endless flower as I began studying other pagan paths, then Buddhism. I was continually enamored with mythology and the gods and goddesses of ancient cultures, especially Celtic, Greek and Hindu. Eventually I discovered Oshun and the Orishas, thus beginning my studies of Vodou and Santeria. 

Along with this I was also studying herbalism and philosophy. I loved poetry, and fiction as well, which have their own truths to share. 

In my teen years my studies dropped off almost entirely. A deep disconnect occurred within me and I threw myself only into fiction and became agnostic, then atheistic, though I was also experiencing spiritual disturbances in the form of seeing and sensing spirits. 

I began dating a guy who’s family was southern baptist. His father revered Native American culture, and we talked often about Native spirituality. I became interested again in the Bible during this time because his father mentioned that there was a dragon in the Bible (Leviathan, if anyone was wondering). So I began reading the Bible, studying it, and taking classes on it to understand it in context of when it was written and for whom it was written. I focused solely on studying and learning about the Bible and Christianity for about five years. During this time I didn’t practice any witchcraft and considered myself a Christian.

I did read the books of Christian mystics, many of which stuck with me, most notably Meister Eckhart and George MacDonald were most influential, as well as one book by John Eldridge called “walking with God” that taught me real presence and mindfulness by example. 

Eventually with much work my inner disconnect began to heal, and with it my love for witchcraft slowly returned. I turned to hermeticism at this time, and these teachings underpin my practices today.

Today, I am a practicing witch and what I would also call a “spiritual bag lady.” I don’t adhere to any religion but each religion I’ve learned about and practiced has enriched my life and path. I am not Wiccan, but in terms of my spirituality I do work with the gods or universal energy, I prize spiritual connection, and I enjoy celebrating the Wiccan holidays. I see the beauty in all paths and continue to learn and test what I learn.  I do adhere to the ethical principles of not interfering with anyone’s free will and doing no harm. I don’t have any solid beliefs about the afterlife other than the belief that consciousness continues on elsewhere. Beauty is an essential part of my practice as my matron goddess is Aphrodite in whatever form she takes (Venus, Oshun, Freya, etc). 

In terms of my witchcraft practices, meditation and herbalism are cornerstones. I love working with plants and derivatives of plants in my practice. I am what is referred to as a “kitchen witch,” doing much of my work in the kitchen and with food and preferring the practical to the ceremonial (I work with what I’ve got). I also enjoy working candle magic, and I work with animal totems and guides. I continue to work with faeries and psychic development as well. I am a High Priestess in that I am able to lead rituals/spells and I am able to perform marriages and other ministry services. 

4 thoughts on “Answers from Rochester’s Resident Witch”

  1. I’m so excited I found you. Im moving to Rochester shortly & was so afraid I would not find any like minded people there.
    My name is Denise O’Meara
    I’m a Pagan, solitary, lean towards Dianic tradition, Witch, Reiki Healer & ordained Priestess celebrating handfastings.
    Always learning…..

    1. Hi Denise! I know I’m almost a year late in responding to this, but I’d be happy to connect you with other folks in the area who walk a similar path! Are you on Facebook at all?

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