Ologies with Alie Ward - Witchology (WITCHES & WITCHCRAFT) Part 1 with Fio Gede Parma

Episode Date: October 4, 2023

IT’S HERE. Witches. Not just a witch expert, but also a witch. Author Fio Gede Parma is a practicing witch and highly respected writer, speaker and teacher. They cover witch history, different types... of witches, intersectional witchcraft, forest covens, teen movies, witch trials, witch fashion, midnight myths, lunar pratfalls, spells, cheerful nudists, awkward Uber rides and more. Also: how does one…become a witch? And just a warning: we touch on some stigmas and physical and emotional harm suffered by those observing religions considered fringe. Your own spiritual or religious beliefs are yours to keep, but the nature of some conflicts are discussed. (Science note: this specific episode of Ologies is a little different; not the norm. Unlike vampires or monsters, there are *real* witches among us and I wanted to include their voices in this deep dive of their beliefs. So you may not agree with everything they say and a lot of it can’t be qualified, but this episode is about culture, history and the ideology of a certain spiritual group. So listen with that in mind and  you'll learn about religious beliefs —that you may not agree with and that science has not fully figured out or upheld — but you'll get to know the real people and lifestyles behind the tropes we’ve seen in fiction. Then the rest of Spooktober we’re back to genetics and statistics and Google scholar research papers and such. Relax, and enjoy.)Visit Fio Gede Parma’s website and follow them on Instagram, Patreon and YouTubeBrowse books by Fio including The Witch Belongs to the World: A Spell of Becoming, Elements of Magic: Reclaiming Earth, Air, Fire, Water & Spirit, and Ecstatic Witchcraft: Magick, Philosophy & Trance in the Shamanic CraftA donation went to Mudgin-GalMore episode sources and linksSmologies (short, classroom-safe) episodesOther episodes you may enjoy: SPOOKTOBER episodes, Selenology (THE MOON), Vampirology (VAMPIRES), Foraging Ecology (EATING WILD PLANTS) with @BlackForager, Oneirology (DREAMS), Eudemonology (HAPPINESS), Philematology (KISSING), Bryology (MOSS), Mycology (MUSHROOMS), Cucurbitology (PUMPKINS)Sponsors of OlogiesTranscripts and bleeped episodesBecome a patron of Ologies for as little as a buck a monthOlogiesMerch.com has hats, shirts, stickers, totes!Follow @Ologies on Twitter and InstagramFollow @AlieWard on Twitter and InstagramEditing by Mercedes Maitland of Maitland Audio Productions and Jarrett Sleeper of MindJam MediaTranscripts by Emily White of The WordaryWebsite by Kelly R. DwyerTheme song by Nick Thorburn

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Oh, hey, it's your ex-boyfriends bandmate who didn't recognize you at the DMV, thankfully, Ali Ward here. Brand new shiny episode. Welcome to Spooktober. Every year we've aimed to make allergies kind of creepier. This year is going to be no exception. We've got some really great ones this month. Who?
Starting point is 00:00:17 Creepy. But let's just bust out of the cemetery gates strong with witches. We're finally doing witches! Witchcraft. Witch history. Different strong with witches. We're finally doing witches! Witchcraft, witch history, different types of witches. What it means to be a witch, witches among us, suspected celebrity witches. We got forest covens, teen movies, and so much more. We have the perfect, the perfect guest for this.
Starting point is 00:00:39 I got an email from Lila Higgins, who I've mentioned so many times. Lila was the guest for the Anthemology episode, and I talked all about her in the field trip, Natural History Museum episode, and recently I went on Hidden Brain's Unsung Heroes show and talked all about her. So when I got an email from Lila suggesting I interview this guest, I delved into their bio and I begged them to dial in from the Southern Hemisphere and be my friend. So first off, just a science note up top. So this specific episode ofology is a little different.
Starting point is 00:01:11 It's not the norm. Because unlike vampires or monsters, there are real witches among us. And I wanted to include their voices. I had to include their voices in this first-hand account of their beliefs. It was so important to me to have an actual self-described which as the guest. So I chose this author and teacher on the subject to identify as one and has written and spoken extensively on many different sex of witchcraft and who could also lend some really important perspective on intersectionality. And this is presented as a really rare episode with the understanding that it's an account of a guest's faith-based beliefs
Starting point is 00:01:47 and their experiences and opinions rather than a removed scholastic overview. Even though there is a ton of really, really great history and information and facts in this, it's amazing. But you may not agree with everything they say that is faith-based. And that's fine. You can listen with curiosity
Starting point is 00:02:04 and you can get to know the real people behind the tropes that we see in fiction. So this is a great pair of episodes. It's a fascinating topic, and I love this guest. Now, the rest of Spooktober, we're back to the typical oligee's episodes with graphs and data and spreadsheets. But for this one, it's more Lucy Goosey. So chill out, a little bit, and just relax and enjoy it.
Starting point is 00:02:24 Okay, Dan. Okay, we will discuss the term witchology, but do not come at me and tell me that I made this up because it is an established word for this study. It's in the literature. I don't make the rules. So this witchologist has a long, long, long history with witchcraft has been initiated as a witch and a priestess, co-founded the Cloud Catcher, reclaiming witch camp, taught at witch camps and festivals and events
Starting point is 00:02:51 and seminaries all over the world, authored several books, including Elements of Magic, Magic of the Iron Pentacle, Extatic Witchcraft, and then a new release, The Witch Belongs to the World. It has even created apprenticeships among all this cool stuff. So their knowledge of the history and the context and perspectives is so thorough. You will love them. We had such a great long conversation
Starting point is 00:03:15 that I had to break this one into two parts, just to do it justice, and so that I could sleep. And we cover everything from which trials to the commercialization of which craft and gender and environmentalism in which fashion. But first, thank you to everyone supporting at patreon.com slash allergies. You can join for a buck or more a month and submit questions. Thanks to everyone leaving reviews, which helps the show so much. And I read them all and as proof, thank you, your Laugh-Rose, who happened to write,
Starting point is 00:03:45 Ali Ward may legitimately be the closest we've gotten to a witch. There has yet to be a single bad episode in her catalog. My cat and I listen to this pod while I crochet. I got to say, okay, thank you, your loftress, because that is some stunning synchronicity with the timing there. And I got to tell you, with this episode and this guest, you really can't get any closer to getting a witch than them. So I am but a girl standing in front of a witch, asking them not smart questions.
Starting point is 00:04:14 But thank you all for your reviews. And on that topic, we're gonna discuss some religious history too. Just a warning, we do touch on some of the historical brutality suffered by those outside of dominant religions, and the stigmas faced by those worshiping or observing religions that are considered French. So opinions and your spiritual or religious beliefs
Starting point is 00:04:36 are yours to keep, but the history of the conflicts are discussed. And next week, we're gonna delve into your questions that deal, again, with witches and media and hallucinogenic plants and broomstick legends and sex positive witchery. And if you're a witch or want to do if you think you might be one, but for now get comfy, let it candle, stare at a tree, and get ready for historical lore, dewey forests, midnight myths, lunar pratfalls, spells, Spells, Cheerful Nudists, Awkward Uber Rides, Hexes, documentary suggestions, and so much more.
Starting point is 00:05:08 With author, speaker, spirit worker, witch, and, whichologist, Fio Gare Parma and my pronouns are they and she. Do you prefer one over the other just to know or can I just kind of switch back and forth? They is like predominant and she is like very intimate, I would say. Okay, great. Yeah, they're both out there. Okay, cool. Well, awesome.
Starting point is 00:05:50 I'm so excited to talk to you. Okay, so first off, is whichologist the right term? How do we do it on that? What's the verdict? Well, I've never... Would we say? Have you ever used that term? No, I haven't.
Starting point is 00:06:02 But for the purposes of... Now, yes. No. I was on. But for the purposes of now, yes. No. I was on a deep dive last night. Some people have used WICOLOGY, W-I-K-K, OligY. Other people have used MAGEOLEGY for this study of magic in general. Sure.
Starting point is 00:06:17 I wonder among the community if there's a preferred term, because paganology is too broad. Yeah, it's a very broad umbrella, and not all witches would even consider ourselves to be under it, although we intersect with it. I would just say which. There are people who academically study the history of witchcraft and the modern practice of it.
Starting point is 00:06:36 And I'm a practitioner who definitely is a total nerd. And I'm definitely am devoted to the historical and folkloric study of the craft that is true. So I guess which all of us would actually be a time. I know there are people that are going to say that we made it up, but I looked and that term has been used all over the internet and in books. That's great. People are using it. I'm so happy about that. And from what I understand, your interest and your experience in this goes way back.
Starting point is 00:07:08 Fio knew there were a witch before I even had a favorite cheese, so respect. I guess so, although I would argue that a lot of like young 11 and 12-year-olds, I think a lot of passionate, nerdy, intrinsic kind of compulsive, like at um, you know, obsessions do start when we're quite young. But for sure, I was, I knew I was at which one I was 11, which is a very interesting experience to kind of realize you're something and then to try to figure that out with the resources at hand. Luckily for me, I was part of a family where magic and spirit work and mediumship and divination was already embedded in our lives, but from a different kind of perspective, from a non-western perspective, from a ballinning's perspective.
Starting point is 00:07:54 So Fio was born in Bali to an Australian mom of Irish, Scottish, and English descent, and their father is from Bali. And I understand your father was also involved in healing and things like that. He still is. Yeah. So he lives in Bali and he is absolutely involved in traditional healing and he is a spirit worker. So that's a term I would use just broadly to cover anyone who works with the mysterious
Starting point is 00:08:20 ones or the spirits in order to do well, anything. But usually if they're a community healer, they're involved in healing and repair work and these people perform and enact really essential traditional roles and traditional societies. And that is part of the role of the witch and has been for a long time, but the witch is also a provocateur in society and a transgressor of like social limits that are imposed by the dominant culture, whether that's the church or imperialism
Starting point is 00:08:50 or anything of that kind of like control top down order. So which is historically speaking, they fuck shit up in the name of speaking truth to power. But let's get back to their past. And what happened at 11, where that kind of light went on for you? A whole series of things happened, I guess. At that time, there was a lot in popular culture
Starting point is 00:09:15 that was kind of revving up in the late 90s, where there was, I guess, buffy the vampire slayer, there was Harry Potter, there was, um, Chand. Here now the words of the witches, the secrets we hid in the night. The oldest of gods are in vote here. The great work of magic is sought. You know, all of this stuff. And I was looking at all of this fantastical, whatever.
Starting point is 00:09:39 And I was like, oh, what is that? And then there are often hints of actual magical practice inside, because even in the craft, they had a technical advisor who was a witch. It is better that you should rush upon this blade than enter this circle with fear in your heart. How do you wonder? With perfect love and perfect trust, that's a girl.
Starting point is 00:10:02 I'm perfect, trust. That's a girl. As above, so below. Like that famous cold movie The Craft. And so you can sometimes see, oh, they've definitely gone to someone in a retrospect I realized they had, like an act of which. But there were certain things they would do or say, and I was like, that reminds me of something. And even though I hadn't done that in this life,
Starting point is 00:10:30 it's some, it like, things that they were doing, saying their rituals, it's sung to something kind of primordial in me. It was just like a kind of a whole self-knowing. And this is quite common for witches, like, to kind of feel that kind of click into place, although it can happen at any age. And then I just fully dove in. I fully dove in. And there were a series of like, as well as this, it did come with some interesting, you know, spirit phenomena, which really woke me up to it. Okay. Did you have dreams where people visited you? Did you have any visions? Did you hear anything?
Starting point is 00:11:08 Were things misplaced in different areas? I mean, the misplaced stuff is incidental, but yeah, definitely all of the above. I would see spirits in the house and then my mother would be like, oh, yes, I've seen that spirit too and described the exact same being. So any that you like sharing or do you like keeping most of them personal? Well, some of them are very personal, but you know, I grew up in a very haunted house. They were just my mother, my sister, my father, and I when he would visit from Bali, we would all perceive and see the spirits.
Starting point is 00:11:38 And so it was all of us very different personality traits would be seeing and experiencing these things. So it was very corroborative on that sense. And now, from 11, you weren't just like, cool, I'm a witch. Sia, you went on to, in your young teen years, organized, Coven's like, you were in the mix, right? I was a little freak, yes. Overachieving witch. Yeah, I really did do it to you like that.
Starting point is 00:12:08 That's true. Yeah. What made you kind of get inspired to take more of a leadership role? Did you just feel like it was in you and you had a lot to give? It definitely felt like it was in me. You know, I remember being a 15-year-old,
Starting point is 00:12:22 and there was definitely, I'd been going to this Pagans in the park thing It's called which those events kind of exist in different cities and towns But I met all these witches who were you know decades older than me and they were very I don't know some of them were We're interesting to me But a lot of them didn't seem to be practicing the magic that I wanted to practice and so I just started running my own rituals And inviting them and then they were like, okay, well, you're running the rituals now. You're in charge So so they would just come started running my own rituals and inviting them. And then they were like, okay, well, you're running the rituals now. You're in charge.
Starting point is 00:12:45 So they would just come. People decades older than me would come to my rituals. And I don't know that felt very bolstering and they all gave me great feedback. And obviously, I was working it out as I was going and then I did end up getting traditional training. But yeah, I did a lot of trial and error and I made a lot of mistakes and I blew
Starting point is 00:13:05 some things up. But it's okay, that's also a very common kind of teen witch story that is trying with many rituals and spells and blowing things up. You actually lived the life of a teen witch. Yeah, absolutely. And I hope you've seen that movie. Tell me you've seen Teen Witch. I have. I have actually. Oh my God. The rap scene in that? Is there anything like it on her?
Starting point is 00:13:32 I don't know. That movie is frozen in a time capsule for sure. You're one of us. A witch? There's a rap scene that I just... Like, I hope they played it my funeral because it's something that deserves to be heard. It's so powerful in the, oh my god, what is going on right now?
Starting point is 00:13:52 Got it away. Yes. It's beautiful. I feel like that whole movie is like that. So that actress, many in bar, is now Jennifer Aniston's yoga instructor. And the reason I know that is because I did a bunch of her yoga videos, Yoga Lossophy. And I was like, this teacher's pretty funny and pretty down to earth. Looks so familiar.
Starting point is 00:14:18 Did I work with her? Did I serve her in a restaurant? Did I date her brother? And then I googled her and my brain fell right out of my butt because hello, Teen Witch. Anyway, I'm sure that you get this a lot, but can you describe, let's say you were to cocktail party
Starting point is 00:14:32 and some of this, oh, you're a witch? What does that mean? What is a witch? Yeah. Heavy sigh, heavy sigh. Yeah, because it's complicated, but a witch is, I do have an answer, but there's a lot to unpack in there. So a witch is, I do have an answer, but it's like there's a lot to unpack in there.
Starting point is 00:14:45 So a witch is an ecstatic magical spirit worker who is, I believe, not every witch would agree with me. I believe is inherently anti-oppression and anti-imperialist and that our magic, like witch magic, because there's other kinds of magic. So witch's magic comes up from the ground and it comes from the poor and the marginalized, and it's magic that requires intimacy with the elements of life. It requires getting dirty, it requires sensuality. So like, which is a transgressive, ecstatic spirit worker, you know, and then you'd have to break all of those concepts down for people. So there are many folks who would self-identify as witches with a huge big variety of sex and sources.
Starting point is 00:15:31 And then there are others who would be labeled witches, who do not consider themselves witches. And in some cultures, a witch or a sorcerer is someone who uses magic or psychic abilities just to do harm. Whereas a shaman or a witch doctor is thought to use the same powers but to heal others. But then some religions get a bee in their bonnet with that because they're like,
Starting point is 00:15:52 if there is a power not derived from our single God, then it must be drawing from the power of Satan. So they label anyone who practices witchcraft as Satanist and witches are like, get it right, my brother, that is not it. Now on the subreddit which is versus patriarchy I found a lively discussion of what is a witch and it included popular comments such as if you are trying to affect the universe you are witching. And as a grandson of the Caribbean diaspora I think of the abuelos and antis that made the voyage to places like New York and still held on to traditions.
Starting point is 00:16:26 And another person said, I'm a secular witch, and I don't really believe in any sort of supernatural power or cosmic energy or anything, but I do try to send good out into the universe if only because it makes me feel better. Another person chimed in with this historical look at what makes a witch saying, at one time if you were an educated or independent woman, you were a witch, whether you asked for it or not. If you were of child-bearing age, but chose not to get married to a male, you were a witch, whether you asked for it or not.
Starting point is 00:16:55 But an overall take was, you feel like a witch? You are a witch. No actual magic required. Now, in the US and the UK and around the world, folks who are wicking or neopagon will use the term which, but unlike perceptions of which is doing harm, their core tenant is Dunohar, and they tend to approach things sociologically as progressive and in harmony with ecology, which if you ask me has a lot of parallels with many environmental researchers and scientists I
Starting point is 00:17:24 know. Either way, let us traipse to the Garden of Vocab and smell the words transgressive, ecstatic, spirit worker in case those are not words that your iPhone predictive text would expect you to use frequently. So transgressive means that you have kind of an outsider perspective to cultural norms, maybe you challenge, even violate them on principle. So you're like a rebel with a cause, maybe a rebel with a cousin. Now, a static isn't just being so happy, like a static.
Starting point is 00:17:52 I'm a static to a found a parking spot at Trader Joe's on a Sunday, but a static like in a state of ecstasy, like maybe a shift in your consciousness or maybe rhythmic sounds have put you in kind of a trance. Or you're just in the zone. You're feeling connected, you're in flow. Now, a spirit worker, it's more straight forward, it's someone who's like, yeah, I fuck with spirits. I check in with them about my magic business and we are cool.
Starting point is 00:18:15 Now, you can also see Fio's own book, A Static Witchcraft, Magic, Philosophy, and Trance and the Shamanic Craft. And I'll link that in the show notes, but it's out of print right now, so you can find it in used bookstores. You can also pre-order the re-release, which will be out next August of 2024.
Starting point is 00:18:30 But this book offers a less casual, a more in-depth view of this, because I'm just mostly a Macurious ape with a search engine. That's why we're here. Do you ever try to approach it differently depending on who you're talking to and how familiar they are with some of those concepts?
Starting point is 00:18:48 I have, but then I'm like, well, I feel like I'm half telling the truth, right? Certainly, I never tell anyone I'm a witch in public because you never know who you're going to come across, right? If I'm sitting in an Uber and someone asks what I do, I never tell them what I do. I might say, oh, I teach meditation, which is not true, but it's like, I don't want them to fully know because there's a lot of prejudice and there's a lot of misconceptions. And I never know if I'm sitting in a car with like a fundamentalist religious Christian or something. So I sometimes, if I'm being like a bit like spicy, I'll go, oh yeah, which is, we car spells. Because people
Starting point is 00:19:24 ask that question. I'm like, yeah, we is, we cast spells. Because people ask that question. No, yeah, we absolutely do that. Yeah. Not all of us venerate deities, but we venerate mysterious forces. That's for sure. Like the darkness between the stars, the earth herself, the water, the rain, the storm. And we work with those elemental primordial forces
Starting point is 00:19:41 to achieve change in this world. All right, listen, okay, some history. So there are a lot of types of religions. And if there was a bar trivia category about them, I would fail at it. I would be of no use to the team. I'm not a scholar on this, nor have we even covered theology. But from what I understand, E Old Bible has some great ideas and some ethos on how to treat other people. Those parts seem great. I myself was raised Catholic, TBH wasn't for me, did not like it.
Starting point is 00:20:14 And also, some flavors of religion have been co-opted by people who may not have had the best intentions toward folks that they did not agree with or could not convert. But Deuteronomy, Old Testament, says that anyone who casts spells, who is a medium or a spiritist, or who consults the dead,
Starting point is 00:20:34 anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. The Lord is pest, and so some pagan gatherings and witchy festivals are often the target of Bible and bullhorn bearing protesters. Now, there are also some Torah verses that are not fans of witchery, like one verse stating, you shall not allow a sorceress to live. That seems pretty straightforward. And in some Islamic and Muslim communities, magic is used, but in others, it's thought
Starting point is 00:21:05 to be evil. Now, fundamentalist Christian, I'm so sorry, I had to look up with this meant. But that is a movement that stresses biblical literalism, Bible is fact. But fundamentalist groups tend not to be the biggest fans of witches, either. So in order to like promote day-to-day harmony, sometimes people who are part of an invisible minority just keep things close to the velvet and the lace vest. And as the holiday season approaches, many of us do this with relatives who don't believe in science, so you get it.
Starting point is 00:21:36 And do you ever feel like there is culturally, at least Western, do you feel like there's a big gulf between science and spirituality and where do you feel like being a witch or practicing that craft sort of fits in between that? I do think that colonized Western society is deeply reductive and there's nuance and complexity everywhere. But overall, I would say the paradigm in the West is dualistic and reductive, by which I mean that there's this idea of a body spirit split that doesn't exist in most traditional primary or indigenous cultures. And so the witch really in West and kind of capitalist society is actually really provoking a memory of that not being true. You know, the body
Starting point is 00:22:22 is all there is, but the body is deeper, wilder and richer than we're taught. It's not an automaton, it's not a mode that just moves through a chaotic machine. Like that's just not what body is. If you're like, this seems like a real problem. It is, and it's called the mind body problem. And back in the day, we're talking like 1600s, a scientist and a philosopher named
Starting point is 00:22:45 René Decart, who had an amazing French girl, long bob or lob, great bangs, was all about something called dualism, which was like, listen, you've got the body, which is here sitting on a tough-did shades, maybe farting, and then you've got the mind, which is not the brain, but it's just thinking, feeling thing made of this whole other substance, like a soul, if you will. So that was what Descartes was all about. So connecting with your body is important for everyone, because then you can take big, deep breaths. When you're stressed, you can eat, when you're hungry, you can stop scrolling on a tiny
Starting point is 00:23:22 computer device, and maybe you just go lay in the soft dirt and say, wow, I'm a whole hog animal. I'm not just a thinky contraption in a fleshy mech suit. What a world. And so witchcraft is also deeply somatic and body-based, but we understand body in a very animistic sensual way. So the split between spirituality and science, I think, is kind of manufactured. And something I often tell people is that, I think, is kind of manufactured. And something I often tell people is that, you know, most humans on this planet experience spirits, like most humans. And that's normal and common.
Starting point is 00:23:56 And most humans to this day believe magic has a efficacy. That's just true. That's true in most countries in the world. It's actually rarer to have a country where that is kind of not the case. What kind of witchy things do you think happened to us that some of us, especially in colonized Western culture, don't even pick up on? You know, you raise a really good point. A lot of people see spirits and would never know, because they think spirits will appear in like a massive lights and they'll be like some weird tune or song that suddenly goes on right? Like you are probably walking past spirits that you are seeing out of the corner of your eye or full on every day of your life
Starting point is 00:24:36 on the street on the bus on the subway and you would never know you would never know and to kind of bring it really down to the point, the trees of spirits, the mountains of spirits, the rivers of spirits, the birds of spirits, the insects of spirits, fungi, us, constellations of consciousness, they are all spirits to us. So some folks describe this as animism,
Starting point is 00:24:59 which comes from the Latin for life or soul. So animated people are really lively. And animation or anime is static pictures brought to life. And spiritually though, animism means that everything is imbued with a spirit. And if you're like, whatever, then why in French is a chair feminine, but an armed chair is masculine?
Starting point is 00:25:22 We may never know. But the term animism, it has kind of a dark past, and there are forms of animism that are dead, so to speak, old animism refers to scholars in the 1800s describing the spiritual beliefs of so-called primitive societies, because unlike a lot of Western monotheist religions, many indigenous cultures recognized the spirits in what then scientists would argue is just a rock. That thing's not alive, but then a new animism emerged as kind of a reclaiming.
Starting point is 00:25:55 And trust me, there was a whole deep dive on this, we could do an entire episode, but the basics are the split between I and me, a person, and it is the rest of the non-persons in the world, versus an I, though, kind of relationship, meaning I and me, and I am a part of the rest of the systems of Earth, both with human persons and other things, and objects.
Starting point is 00:26:18 Now, Theo continues. And so a spirit is not like some discontent entity, right? Like it's like a living buzzing center of agency. And so the reality is all of this is happening all of the time, and which is we pay attention and we lean in and we cultivate conscious co-partnership with these beings to do all kinds of things. You know, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence
Starting point is 00:26:40 for the impact of the moon, like so much. You know, the moon is very big and witchcraft. I know my mother's a nurse and I know many nurses and they all say the same thing about the full moon. It's like anecdotal folk wisdom, you know. ERs get packed. Yeah. And that weirder things happen.
Starting point is 00:26:56 Like my mother has always said, people take more risks on the full moon. Like risky accidents happen on the full moon. You're like, I will change the light bulb in the high ceiling to living room. Yeah. It on the full moon. You're like, I will change the light bulb in the high ceiling living room. Yeah, it's a full moon. Exactly. I will make a cucumber salad with the sharpest knife.
Starting point is 00:27:14 Like those are my... Exactly, just little things like that. Also, synchronicity, you know, what Carl Jung called synchronicity. That does happen to most people. And I think increasingly, people do pay attention to synchronicities. And synchronicities that does happen to most people. And I think increasingly people do pay attention to synchronicities. And synchronicities in youngian psychology are, in young's words, meaningful coincidences of two or more events, or something other than the probability of chance is involved. So kind of a like goose bumpy
Starting point is 00:27:41 kind of moment, or some just cool and spooky. And you can say, weird and just chalk it up to chance or maybe you say, weird, what are the chances? What are the chances? Now, if you're an ER health care worker, hello, and thank you for doing what you do, but you might attest to things get a little wacky when the moon is in full effect. But statisticians might disagree with you. I found this list of maybe a hundred studies trying to connect full moons with accidents and births and death rates and conception rates and only a few of these studies, out of like a hundred, found any connection, such as the 2016 study, secular pattern of aneurysmal rupture with the lunar cycle and season
Starting point is 00:28:27 that found a significantly greater risk of an aneurysm rupture during a new moon and a full moon compared to other lunar phases. And there was this 2021 study, effects of weather and moon phases on emergency medical use after fall injury, a population-based nationwide study, and it noted that more fall injuries, you know, bailing off a ladder, whatever, happened during full moons in rural areas, but there was no difference in rates in the city. So no matter how tempting it is, to paint a barn by moonlight, just take it easy. It's not worth the hospital bills. It's better to have a peeling barn
Starting point is 00:29:07 than a go fund me. All your relatives have to contribute to. But if you're a motorcyclist, check your calendar, take the bus on the full moons because over a 40-year period, researchers found that yes, more motorcycle deaths happened on full moons. and this 2017 study hopes that the data might encourage motorcyclists to ride with extra care during a full moon, and more generally to appreciate the power of seemingly minor distractions at all times. So big bright moon, motorists are out there trying to take pictures of it on their iPhones, and then looking at the screen wondering why their picture sucks, and then boom, you're reuniting with your grandma on an astral plane. Also for more on the moon and why those pictures never turn out, you can see this cell analogy
Starting point is 00:29:52 episode all about the moon. It's a good one. But yes, synchronous cities. Which really just are meaningful coincidence, but the thing is, it's so meaningful to the point where it becomes uncanny and a little bit scary. Like, not just two things, but 10 things layering, for instance. Well, I wonder too, how much do you think that psychology borrows from kind of animism
Starting point is 00:30:17 or a necherism like shadow selves and things like that? Yes. Well, I was just saying last night to a friend of mine, like almost all psychology that I know about at least in psychotherapy, the people who founded those schools of thought and practices were deeply immersed in a cult study astrology, alchemy, like they were deeply immersed. So that does impact the way a lot of psychological streams have evolved for sure. A few notables are quantum physicist, friend of Einstein and Nobel laureate Wolfgang Polly
Starting point is 00:30:48 and psychology bigwig Karl Jung, who were both into alchemy and numerology and some real mystical shit. And in 2016 there was a paper, Are You Afraid of the Dark? Notes on the psychology of belief in histories of science and the occult. And that notes that many founding fathers of psychology were into psychic stuff and parapsychology. They were like, hey, thoughts are in the brain. What else can the brain do? Who knows? Literally not me, which is why I find people who know more than me. And I ask them questions that we all have,
Starting point is 00:31:18 such as what about breaking it down kind of categorically? If you are new to this or if you're just kind of taken a peek behind the curtain. Can you explain some of the different types of witchery that is out there? I can. It's very also very complex but I know. So the modern witchcraft revival in the West does trace back to a British civil servant named Gerald Gardner and you can look him up, there's documentaries about him. He came out as a witch. I think he's the first person to self-declare as a witch in the modern era.
Starting point is 00:31:55 I believe it was in 1951 that he did that or 1952. So after the witchcraft law was repealed in 1951, it was definitely after that. So it probably was 1952. Because while it looks like an ancient folk religion, Wicker was actually developed in the 1940s by a middle-aged nudist, the New Forest, called Gerald Gardner. And then he published a book called Witchcraft Today in 1954, which was a watershed moment because it did actually reveal. He said that he had been initiated into a witchcraft coven in the New Forest in 1939.
Starting point is 00:32:29 For all intents and purposes, it does look like that did happen. It does look like there was a group of people in the New Forest. So the New Forest is this big-ass beautiful forest in the south of England, but the New Forest Coven was one that our friend Gerald Gardner, the so-called father of Wicca, was involved in. But yes, the new forest, Kevin, 20th century realons. Who were a mix of hereditary cunning folk, which is an English term for village, which kind of like a helping village, which a white witch they would say, although that's a term to unpack.
Starting point is 00:33:01 And then a group of Victorian Victorian Edwardian, older women who had been involved in the Golden Dawn and ceremonial forms of magic and mysticism. And so he published a book and so the witches that come from him. So we call them traditions and lineages. They're called gardenarian witches. So back in the 50s and 60s, there's a lot of like black and white photographs of gardenarian and Alexandrian witches. And they're all naked because that's a part of their tradition. So they practice their right skyclad or clad only by the sky or naked, right? And this was deeply, you know, you can you imagine in the 50s in Britain and even the 60s, it was deeply scandalizing and witches were often in the tabloids.
Starting point is 00:33:42 Oh, I'm sure people were scandalized by it. I mean, you couldn't leave the house without a bra in those days without like getting arrested. Yes. Okay, I meant that as hyperbole, but I found myself on the Wikipedia article titled Brawlessness and found that even in 2019, a woman in Iran was arrested for public brawlessness
Starting point is 00:34:01 and had to sign a pledge that she'd never do it again. But yeah, even during the 1940s, a lady could straight up get arrested for wearing pants. And the US Senate didn't let female representatives wear trousers until Bill Clinton was in office. So any lads out there wanting to wear dresses or skirts, please go for it. Just do it. The world will catch up maybe even sooner if you do. And a lot of the younger, especially in the 60s with a whole other movement of which is called Alexandria, in which is which come down from Alex and Maxine Sand, as Alex died in 1988,
Starting point is 00:34:34 but Maxine is still alive and lives in London. But there were a lot of pretty young witches and people were just so into it because they were naked. And it was, you know, very intense. But so though, that's a stream of witchcraft that people call Wicker, which is like a term for British, like a particular form of British witch, which I am not a part of that lineage. And then there's other witches like Ferry, which is, which I am a part of that lineage and that developed in the United States
Starting point is 00:35:01 of the 30s and 40s. You know, that's a different kind of witchcraft. We don't necessarily work naked. We don't work with a polarity of kind of masculine and feminine in the same way that the gardenarian and Alexandrian's might. And then there's all kinds of other witches, eclectic witches who pick from here there and everywhere. And there's reclaiming witches.
Starting point is 00:35:19 I'm also part of that tradition. It's a very eco-feminist political tradition that started in the California Bay Area. Starhawk is one of the main kind of theologians and kind of mothers of that tradition, and she's a very famous witch who has ended up becoming very active. She was always an activist, but she has become very much a permacultureist and goes and teaches in Palestine to this day about permaculture and earth-based spirituality. And then there are dyadic witches who they are women only. And some of them are very like, I would deeply transphobic, to be honest.
Starting point is 00:35:54 And then there are the dyadic witches who embrace all women. Like in witchcraft to like any subculture or strand of whatever, like there's a lot of human complexity. That's one way to put it. And there's a lot of different kinds of witches, and then if you look out of the anglophone areas, if you look out of English-speaking areas, you're going to find all these other kind of traditional Brazilian witches and Mexican witches, although they would say Bruja, Bruja, you know, there's a whole renaissance of Mexican and Chicana people embracing their witch traditions and black folks in the states embracing their African-based diasporic hudu traditions.
Starting point is 00:36:30 So witchcraft is a huge, huge thing and it's not. I think that some people maybe even in witchcraft think of it very as very European. Obviously witch is just so European, but to be honest, the word suits any, as I said, any transgressive, ecstatic spirit worker who's working with primordial forces. And we, which has always existed in every culture. So next week, we'll be back with so many good questions. But this was such a chunk of an episode we had to break it up into two. So make sure that you're subscribed or follow the show on your podcast app. So you get part 2 as soon as it comes out next week. Meanwhile, we'll learn more from Fio in a second, but first we'll go to a quick break from sponsors of the show who make it possible to donate twice to a cause of Fio's choosing, which is Mood
Starting point is 00:37:14 Gengal Women's Group, which is a leader in family violence prevention, and they are an Aboriginal service that's completely staffed and managed by Aboriginal women, and they provide early intervention and vital services for vulnerable women in the Sydney community. So we'll link to their site in the show notes and again that donation was possible by sponsors of allergies. Alright, so next week we're going to delve into your questions about witches and media and hallucinogenic broomsticks, sex positive, witchery, and if you're a witch. Or what to do if you think you might want to be one, but first back to the basics and the history. How long do you think
Starting point is 00:37:53 the notion of a spiritual kind of spooky healer that people want to repress has been around? Has been around ever since one person in a small gathering of humans knew that a certain herb could help a rash. Like, is it? Yeah. Has it just been around since one person seemed to have powers that another didn't? I think so. And I love what you just said. I'm like, oh, maybe that's maybe that's the new definition of which a spiritual spooky healer. I love it. Because to be fair, that's true. I'm thinking of one of my friends right now who was a long time which would love that definition.
Starting point is 00:38:28 But I do believe that, yes, yes, the answer is yes. You articulated it very well. Perfect. And you brought up something too about some, maybe groups being more transphobic. And can you speak a little bit about gender inclusion in witchcraft and what historically the perspective on that has been?
Starting point is 00:38:53 Yes, well, okay, let's talk about the witch trials, right? We have to because that's a really big piece of this. So the witch trials happened for about 350 years. There were some in the late 15th century, but in the 15th, 16th, 16th, into the 1700s, we probably know of 100,000 that were executed, but many more were accused and died in prison and stuff, right?
Starting point is 00:39:16 Now, 80% of these people were assigned female in birth, were women in their societies. So we know then that witchcraft has been historically connected to feminine magic and to women's power. But the thing is, there are all these kind of like revisionist ideas about this. And yes, misogyny is totally a part of the witch trials. And it's a big part, but it's not the only part. Christian societies were absolutely terrified of magic. Fio emphatically hit the table with their finger, just passionately making the point.
Starting point is 00:39:46 Absolutely. And previous to Christianity existing, Rome, the Vikings, all these other pagan pre-Christian societies were terrified of which is two. And one of the reasons they were terrified was because, yes, it was women's power. And it was grassroots and artistic power. It wasn't always linked to the temples or to the top-down
Starting point is 00:40:06 religious hierarchies or social hierarchies. It was out of the box. It was beyond the hedge in the forest, in the wildwood. And at the same time, we have evidence of terms from pre-Christian Viking or North societies like Ergi, E.R. G.I. in English letters, it refers to the feminine behavior of men. Like if you practice sorcery or witchcraft, or Urgi, or you're basically your queer, your queer. And so in the gender history of witchcraft, the body of the witch has always been deeply famed and deeply queer.
Starting point is 00:40:38 And then if you look at woodcuts, like the folkloric representation of witches, like sub-uts or secret conclaves or rebels, you'll always see naked, sometimes close, sometimes naked, like the lupjuice, haggard, beautiful forms, all mixing together with like ant-led gods and old women holding snakes and cold drinks, and like they're some of the most beautiful pieces of art
Starting point is 00:41:03 from Europe, I think, like the fascination with the witch's sub-art has formed so much good art. You can see in the, what a lot of Europeans would have been horrified by, you can see the queer or geastic beauty of it all, and there's a lot of un-gendering in it. I would argue that the witch's sub-art as a kind of motif is actually about the dissolution of the boundaries between so-called humans and so-called animals, between masculine and feminine, between up and down, left and right. So just on an artistic, like, historical level, to look at that period of time and to see what was being represented as witchcraft, it's actually deeply about the provocation of binary
Starting point is 00:41:45 gender, and it's about men, more cis men's fear of feminine power that's coming up from the underworld. That's the other thing. You said spooky, so I will say like most witchcraft is like totally coming up from the underworld. Like a lot of other religion always gestures upwards to the, you know, like as if God or whatever is living upstairs somehow. But a lot of our power, we call up from the underworld and historically and in many cultures to this day, the underworld is not a place of like, you know, people would, some, I think
Starting point is 00:42:15 maybe link that with like the idea of a Christian hell. But for most cultures, the underworld is a place of wisdom and mystery and power. It's also where the seeds germinate. It's where the fungi, you know, so for us, it's power. I was going to say, yeah, where would we, we couldn't think where was zucchini without earth's crust? Yeah, exactly. And we return to it when we die. Exactly. I mean, unless we get, you know, shot into space or something, which is very expensive. shot into space or something. Which is very expensive. Wow.
Starting point is 00:42:46 You need to get a good group on for that. Yeah. But, you know, I'm wondering too in terms of pop culturally. I always think of, you know, the movie, The Vavitch, or, um, Yeah. You know, Game of Thrones or something where the worst thing,
Starting point is 00:43:02 uh, Femm can be, Yes. Is really hot, and then boom just kidding there an ugly hag Yeah, and that is that is more scary to people then like plain crashes and zombies and getting your throat slit with a Medieval sword. It's like the worst thing that could happen is someone who you thought was hot is an old lady Oh my god, that is so funny. Like that is the absolute horror of the male gaze. But where did this idea of which is his hags come from of these like bedragold or whatever
Starting point is 00:43:37 need a root touch up kind of women? I'm asking that because I need a root touch up, if I'm honest. Well, I think there are many answers. One is actually a very fucked up answer. So there is some evidence to suggest that one of the roots of the popular kind of iconography of an old haggard witch with a broken crooked nose, like with da da da da da da with a particular kind of heart
Starting point is 00:44:00 is actually deeply anti-Semitic. Yeah, truly. In that time period, there were many programs and many, many Jewish people being slaughtered in the streets. And we know that Christians, which formed the majority of Europe, they were deeply, deeply suspicious of Jewish people and they called them sorcerers. They called them Satanists.
Starting point is 00:44:18 And interestingly, a lot of the early ways of referring to witches' gatherings was they called them synagogues. Ah! You know, they also called them sabaths, which is literally also anti-Semitic. Not a history that I was familiar with, and I don't like it. And if you're like, what even is or was
Starting point is 00:44:35 Sabbath in relation to witchery? Well, many people think it's a yearly midnight gathering just to hang with the devil. And there was this book from 1608 that described these conferences in the woods with attendance, writing, flying goats, trampling the cross, and being re-baptized in the name of the devil while giving their clothes to him, kissing his behind, and dancing back to back. So people thought they were like big naked witch keggers doing dosido while kissing Beazelbub's bottom.
Starting point is 00:45:07 It sounds like quite a party out there. Very fertile imaginations. But now the sobbit is observed by the Wiccan tradition as celebrating solar cycles, like the equinoxes or the solstice or just the harvest. Kind of not unlike your family's spring and winter gatherings, but probably better fashion choices, I don't know. Or maybe more naked people, I don't know what your family does.
Starting point is 00:45:25 So a lot of the law, the European law of witches, is deeply anti-Semitic. Like it put on which practitioners by Europe, or put on those accused of witchcraft by Christian Europe. Obviously again, very top down. But then the other thing is that older women are the elders of most traditional societies. And so again, when you have these healers, which again, if you go to a rural part of Greece, if you go to a rural part of France, of many European nations, anywhere in the world, like you will find the veneration of older women.
Starting point is 00:45:55 And they're like the law keepers. But when you have a hierarchy of men representing a male God, you can't have that anymore. You can't have all the women being so revered and centered for their authority and sovereignty and magic. And certainly also the grandmother, the grandmother hag is one of the most,
Starting point is 00:46:17 and I say hag as like one, where's one of the best things you could possibly do, but the grandmother hag is like a primordial force that many, which is menorate. Like one of the titles for the primordial mystery is grandmother. So we call her that. You know, so many people, I know want to know this.
Starting point is 00:46:36 So I'll ask it before we even get to Patreon questions because I would be reading their names off for like an hour. I mean, you obviously came from a background of this and you knew it a young age, but so many people want to know, how do I know if I'm a witch or if I'm just norm-core or what if I want to become a witch? Yeah, I did a radio interview the other day with someone asked a similar question because I think interest in which craft goes in cycles, right?
Starting point is 00:47:01 And certainly when the Earth, I mean, the Earth's in catastrophe, the climate crisis is so intense. And witchcraft and magic, it's almost like it's always revived when things are really intense. So there's a lot of interest right now. And I would say that, look, there's no litmus test. If you are a person who's sitting there reading about witchcraft or looking at witchcraft
Starting point is 00:47:26 or feeling into witchcraft and you're like, oh my god, I want this so bad, this is me, then you're a witch. Go for it. It's like not everyone is sitting there thinking that way. So if you're sitting there going, focusing on that, you're probably are a witch. And it does require, I will say, witchcraft is, it's also a discipline as much as it is like a phenomenon. So the magical discipline of which craft, and it looks different on different people, it does require a lot of focus, a lot of surrender, a lot of kind of near obsession. Like, you've got to really want it because there's just so much to study, there's so much to do, there's so much to take in in the world and the cosmos. And so much to study, there's so much to do, there's so much to take in
Starting point is 00:48:05 in the world and the cosmos. And so I would say, like all humans can practice magic. I will say not all humans are witches, but all humans can practice magic. So go learn. And I hit the box, see I hit the box. I'm one of the witches who does this. There are many witches out there
Starting point is 00:48:21 who have public open community classes and therefore beginners, like in the reclaiming tradition, we have public open community classes and therefore beginners. Like in the reclaiming tradition, we have a class called Elements of Magic. It's literally the Elements of Magic and the Elements of Life, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. And we teach the basic foundational, ecstatic tools of relating to the Elements of Life, of grounding and centering yourself, of being able to sense and perceive life force or magical power, being able to shape it and cast spells,
Starting point is 00:48:45 being able to run your own ritual, cast a circle, step between the worlds, enter a trans state, invoke a deity and invoke a spirit. So we teach all of that. You can come and take it. And those tools, I believe, are revolutionary and radical for anyone. Anyone can come to the witches. Please come to the witches and drink from our cauldron because I think those tools are good for anyone, to be honest, but whether or not that person will then become like a witch priestess or an initiate or like a fallen just card carrying witch, that's up to you, right? That's up to you and your desire and focus.
Starting point is 00:49:22 Yeah, that's what I would say. Are there classes like at the community center or do you have to go on like a forum somewhere? Sometimes there are classes in community centers, sometimes there are classes at universities. Yeah, so all you have to do, like specifically for the class I just mentioned, which they're taught in I think at least five continents, all you have to do is type in elements of magic class, you'll find it there around. You don't have to enter a private forum to find that information for sure. And there are just so many witches out there now offering public work. Lovely.
Starting point is 00:49:54 Yeah. Can I ask you some questions from patrons? Yes, of course. They have such good ones. So ask very smart people, not smart questions, because honestly, those are the best ones. And next week patrons will be asking yours in part two of witchology. So spread the word, make sure that on your podcast app that you hit follow or whatever, so that you make sure you get it as soon as it comes out. And thank you so much to Fio for being on twice and links to their latest book The Witch Belongs to the World, A Spell of Becoming, as well as our social media and website are all in the show notes, as well as to the charity and choices week.
Starting point is 00:50:29 We are at Alligies on Instagram and Twitter. Smallegies are shorter, kid-friendly versions of classic episodes. Those are linked in the show notes as well. They're up at alliward.com slash smallegies. Thank you Zeke Rodriguez-Thomas and Mercedes-Mateland for editing those. Thank you Aaron Talbert for admitting the Alligies Podcast Facebook group. Thank you Emily Aaron Talbert for admiting theology's podcast Facebook group. Thank you, Emily White of the Wordery, who makes our professional transcripts.
Starting point is 00:50:48 Noel Dilworth is our scheduling producer, Susan Hale, is our managing director. Kelly Arduire makes the website, and we would meet up in a dark forest anytime with lead editor Mercedes-Mateland of Mateland Audio. Nick Thorburn did the theme music, and if you stick around until the end of the episode, I tell you a secret.
Starting point is 00:51:02 And this week, it's that when I was a goth teenager teenager we went to this club in Alameda in the East Bay in Northern California. Some of you might be going, oh really? Is it? Okay it was this old movie theater that was a dance club and it was called The Twilight Zone or we just called it The Zone. And I discovered there's a Facebook group for people that used to go and I was like, oh is there a photo album?
Starting point is 00:51:25 And there was. And I just was looking through all these photos. And I was like, I remember that couch. It smells so bad. And I got sucked with a nostalgia bomb. So hard, just a flood of wow. With that arrow, what's the best? Just piling in your friends, dead grandpa's old sedan,
Starting point is 00:51:40 some idiot smoking cloves in the back seat. No phones. You just lurching around to the soundtrack for the Crow. Anyway, people in college used to ask me if I dressed like the girls from the craft. And I was like, I had all these plaid skirts, and a bad die job before that movie came out. You attractive, well-adjusted jock.
Starting point is 00:51:57 Anyway, nostalgia. Excited for part two. Happy Spooktober. Bye-bye. Happy Spooktober, bye. Top that.

There aren't comments yet for this episode. Click on any sentence in the transcript to leave a comment.