Ologies with Alie Ward - Witchology (WITCHES & WITCHCRAFT) Part 2 with Fio Gede Parma

Episode Date: October 11, 2023

More witches! History! Lore! Wardrobes! Movie trivia! And some advice from your elders? Part 2 is here with the wonderful, informed, and charming writer, speaker, spirit-worker, witch, and witchologis...t, Fio Gede Parma, who has most recently authored the book “The Witch Belongs to the World.” We chat cats, commercialization, witch trials, environmentalism, fashion, hallucinogenic tinctures, broomstick legends, sex positive witchery, celebrity witches, science history, cosmological ghost theories, and what to do if you think you might be a witch. Also: don’t call people wizards. Content warning: we do touch on some of the historical brutality suffered by those outside of dominant religions and the stigmas faced by people worshiping or observing religions that are considered fringe. Opinions and spiritual or religious beliefs are those of the guest and may conflict with yours, but we are learning about their first hand customs, culture, and lived experience. 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, Vampirology (VAMPIRES), Demonology (EVIL SPIRITS), Genealogy (FAMILY TREES), Geology (ROCKS), Epidemiology (DISEASES), Neuroendocrinology (SEX & GENDER), Cucurbitology (PUMPKINS), Indigenous Cuisinology (NATIVE COOKING)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 ProductionsTranscripts 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 still your ex-boyfriends' bandmate who did not recognize you at the DMV, L-Eward. And I'm here with the conclusion to the most controversial episode in Allegy's history, its witches. So y'all had begged for an episode on witches for many consecutive spooktobors. And it's such a tough topic for me to cover because unlike demonology and vampirology and monsters, there are real witches in the world, practicing very alive witches with spiritual beliefs, and this expert
Starting point is 00:00:32 was born into this culture. Has written numerous books on the subject, is a peer with high-ranking figures, and can also speak about intersectional witchcraft, the perfect guest. Now, unlike featuring a removed academic on the lore of a fictitious topic, these two episodes are a little different than we usually do because we're learning firsthand about the faith and beliefs of people
Starting point is 00:00:54 who have been made into tropes and caricatures and suffered unspeakable acts because of their religion. Okay, so this part too addresses all of your burning questions and we cover so much pop culture, history, flim flam, and more. But first thank you to all the patrons who submitted questions for this episode. And you can join for as little as a buck a month via patreon.com slash allergies.
Starting point is 00:01:16 We have some new Spuktober merch, exciting at oligiesmerge.com. And then for zero dollars, you can just leave us a review because I read them all, including this light slap on the wrist from Orca Lever 2468 who wrote, which craft really love the podcast, but can we please stick to true science or Oliver 2468 again? As I disclaimed at the top of part one and part two, this pair of episodes approach a topic a little differently and contain faith-based views of a real witch with lived experience. So I love you all, I love you all, but please do chill.
Starting point is 00:01:52 Okay, on to Part 2, with a guest who has authored most recently the book The Witch Belongs to the World, and as promised, we cover everything from witch trials to cats to commercialization, gender environmentalism, myths, witch fashion, which is in media, hallucinogenic tinctures, broomstick legends, sex-positive witchery, celebrity witches, if you're a witch, or what to do if you think you might want to beat one. And 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 worshipping or observing religions that are considered fringe. Opinions and spiritual or religious beliefs are those of the guest and may conflict with yours, but the rich history and the conflicts are discussed.
Starting point is 00:02:36 So cradle a cup of tea, stare into the mist, bask in the moonlight, and enjoy this conclusion with the wonderful informed and charming author, speaker, expert, witch and witchologist, Fio Garretaparma. Okay, let's see what questions you have, a bubbling and brewing. Addie McBattie, Abby Mantris, Earl of Grammolkin, Connie Coney-Bobani, and Lissa Mercier, all want to know essentially what's the line between appreciation and appropriation and Earl of Grammol can want us to know what do you recommend people do to explore witchcraft during this spooky season while avoiding capitalist traps. Hmm. Oh my god, this is a whole otherology but and because I'm a bionny's person, I I am often like a lot of witches or white, but there are several brown and black witches and indigenous witches and we're often talking about cultural appropriation.
Starting point is 00:03:49 So for instance, let me break that down. So a lot of people go, can I study yoga? And I'm like, well, number one, Western forms of yoga are deeply, deeply depleted and watered down. Anyway, Western yoga is very different to what we call yoga in Hindu societies. But you know, the idea of stretching and stuff, that's like, oh my god, that's a tip of an iceberg of yoga philosophy.
Starting point is 00:04:08 But if you are drawn to yoga philosophy and understand that it's about ritual and mantra and mudra and understand what a chakra actually is and don't just kind of band either word around and understand that there are myriad systems of chakras, energy centers in the landscape of the human body. If you are drawn respectfully to Hindu and Buddhist philosophies and you find a teacher who has authority
Starting point is 00:04:32 within the context of those traditions, then you can mindfully always tracking your impact, always trying not to send to yourself, study, you know, in the same way that you can study anything if the door is open to you by someone who has the authority and the context and the relationship to open that door, but then you still have to question yourself, well, what is my responsibility as a guest?
Starting point is 00:04:56 I think Western capitalist society, imperialist society, really, embroils us with entitlement. And so we think we can have whatever, but we can't. And relationships need to be built, because colonization still happens, and it's deeply fucked up a lot of the kind of ways of respectfully relating. Like a lot of us in witchcraft communities,
Starting point is 00:05:16 we talk a lot about what does it mean to practice, you know, European or other forms of magic on stolen land? I live in so-called Australia, I live on stolen occupied land. That's a fact. And so there are initiates of mine who are First Nations Aboriginal people. So it's up to me to figure that shit out. It's also up to me to listen to elders, to the elders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations here. And when I'm in Turtle Island or so-called North America to listen there, a lot of witches is are getting better at that and maybe more broadly a lot of pagans are getting better at that.
Starting point is 00:05:49 Maybe a lot of humans are getting better at that, but it's still too late, too little, I would say. I would also say try not to come in, especially if you're a white body person, try not to come in with a, I can offer, I can fix, I can save. Like no, no, actually don't. The best thing you can do is come in and just listen. That's it. And then maybe there's redistribution of resources
Starting point is 00:06:10 or maybe there's mutual aid, but first actually there's listening. First there's listening and always there's listening. Yeah. And so I would say that's true also for the spooky season. Like listen to the land. Like, you know, one of the first things I say to someone who wants to begin a witchcraft practice is like,
Starting point is 00:06:27 if you can, if you're able-bodied enough, go outside, lay down, listen to the land. Grass. Catch it. Or if you need to, go to your nearest window, listen to the wind, build an ancestor shrine, and that can be as simple as having one candle and one bowl of water,
Starting point is 00:06:44 and then begin to connect to your ancestors of blood, your ancestors of breath, the human and more than human. And I know that ancestor work can be deeply problematic for some people, but the fact is we are composed of them. And you actually don't have to deal with the bigots. You don't have to. There's all these kinds of rituals we do to not avoid them. We do have to contend with them,
Starting point is 00:07:05 but to focus on the ancestors who are helpful and inspiring, and we all have them in our line. We really do. Maybe it takes a few generations to get them, but we do have them. And then there's the ancestors of inspiration. If your genetic bio-ancestries really not good for you, there are all these other ancestors of wonder and joy. You know, there's Bell Hooks, unfortunately, who is who died. You know, she's an an a powerful ancestor of inspiration. Or you know, like all these people. Okay, so here's the quickest crash course. In case you're not familiar with Bell Hooks, she was an author and a professor and an activist who just passed away a year or two ago.
Starting point is 00:07:42 And she wrote a lot about race, capitalism, intersectional feminism, and her most known works are all about love and ain't I a woman. And the title from the latter was plucked from a famous speech by the formerly enslaved abolitionist activist and feminist, sojourner truth. Now, Audra Lorde, in the early 1990s, served as the New York State poet laureate up until her death in 1992 from breast cancer And Lord described herself as a black lesbian mother warrior poet and the YouTube account Audra Lord and Berlin features the poets 1984 reading of her work a woman speaks and here's an excerpt from it I have been woman for a long time. The wear, my smile.
Starting point is 00:08:28 I am treacherous with old magic and the news, new fury, with all your wide futures promised. I am woman and not white. Also, in case you enjoy it in game games, so Sojourner Truth was actually born Isabella Bomfrey and not white. Also, in case you enjoy it in game games, so Sojourner Truth was actually born Isabella Bomfrey, and as a child was called Belle, and Belle Hux used the name Belle to honor her grandmother of the same name.
Starting point is 00:08:55 Now, Belle Hux, the author, was actually born Gloria Jean Watkins, and Gloria Joseph was the partner of Audra Lorde, who was born Audrey Geraldine. And I thought all of those were connected and they absolutely weren't. And I thought maybe Lord, the singer, who's real first name is Ella, named herself after Audra Lord. But no, turns out that the pop star just has had a lifelong fascination with the aristocracy. My point is, you can choose your own name and which legacies you honor. So you can also contact ancestors name and which legacies you honor. So you can also contact ancestors who want your biological ancestors.
Starting point is 00:09:30 So that I would start with the land and with the ancestors and practices of grounding and practices of beginning to sense the life force moving through the trees, your breath, color, light, darkness, and being still and paying attention. I would say the witches prime, M.O. is to pay attention, to observe patterns and to work with patterns. Speaking of seeing patterns, Ted Hamilton asked, how much of what we associate with magic and witches is connected to some kind of hallucinogenic medicine?
Starting point is 00:10:00 And Mrs. Fischer's first time question asker wanted to know what was really going on with the Salem witches, but was it Urgot poisoning? So how much is maybe medicine of the earth or compounds that occur in nature? Is that used in rituals or to connect with ancestors or is that kind of like, no, you got to do it stone cold?
Starting point is 00:10:22 Yeah, some witches do work with Silasibon, absolutely. But there are actually entire traditions of witches who will only do things, you know, so-called clean and sober, right? And certainly, most training of a witch is it's not done with the help of chemical compounds external to you. You really need to learn the magical technology without that. And then once you've got that in you, you can add that because it's a whole other skill. It's a whole other skill to add these into your practice and to be able to ride them, rather than them taking over.
Starting point is 00:10:57 That's a whole other practice. And certainly it is amongst some which traditions and coven to do that. That's why we teach a lot of breath work because once you've got a few techniques of rhythmic dynamic breath work, you can actually take yourself into an altered state pretty quickly. Oh, I did that recently. I did that a couple of weeks ago.
Starting point is 00:11:14 And it felt bonkers. Yes. It's really, really wild. I'd never done it. And my therapist was like, would you ever do breath work? And I was like, no, which means I should do it. Okay, just to say no, I thought breath work was learning to take deep breaths when you're
Starting point is 00:11:28 stressed out, but what I encountered involved lying down on a yoga mat and intentionally hyperventilating, which was more scary than I anticipated. But I felt pretty stony, and for some reason I started crying, but I also think I just had kind of a bit of a crying backlog in general. So what is up with breath work? Okay. So the history is this guy, Stanislaw Grough, a psychiatrist pioneered it in the late 1960s after his LSD studies started getting kind of dicey with the law. And he also at one point hypothesized that near death experiences involved tunnels of light because of natal trips out of a cuder.
Starting point is 00:12:09 Other scientists were like, hold the phone, Stanislaw. That's not possible. Anyway, they fought about it. But he popularized breathwork, which has been involved in many ancient traditions around the globe. So after my recent surprise, trippy, huffing slash puffing. I dove into the archives and I found a 2005 paper in the journal Clinical Psychology Review titled, Voluntary Hyperventilation in the Treatment of Panic Disorder. Functions of hyperventilation, their implications for breathing training,
Starting point is 00:12:37 and recommendation for standardization. Which introduces the topic by explaining that, voluntary hyperventilation is a way to expose patients with panic disorder to sensations associated with panic and to activate catastrophic cognitions that need restructuring. Kind of like, hey man, you can get into a physiological panic state and not die. Check it out. It's all good. So how does this all work? So voluntary hyperventilation decreases carbon dioxide in the blood and induces a state called hypocapnea. And this can elevate the body's pH to more than its usual 7.45. And that's called respiratory alkalosis.
Starting point is 00:13:19 And symptoms of altering your body's CO2 and pH can include breathlessness, dizziness, your hands can cramp up like claws, nausea, twitching, muscle spasms, dizziness, fainting, confusion and parathycia, which is kind of a fancy term for pins and needles. But you can, you know, what also get pins and needles just from wearing tight shoes or spanks or from sitting on the toilet too long. But what is the hyperventilation doing up top to the dome? So I found this 2014 Journal of Bioimpacts paper called pH of the Soul.
Starting point is 00:13:53 How does acid-base balance affect our cognition? And that said that respiratory alkalosis can constrict blood vessels in the brain, and it lowers the amount of serum ionized calcium. And that can affect your thinking and your quote, sense of self. It also explained that any emotional arousal states can affect the body's pH from fear
Starting point is 00:14:15 to getting stoked about something, to stress, to love, even anger, so like traffic or a Tom Cruise movie can affect your pH balance and your brain. But in terms of hyperventilation, it continues that hyperventilation-induced respiratory alkalosis can cause confusion and perplexity. Self-induced hypocapnea through hyperventilation can provoke giddiness and euphoria, feelings of depersonalization, and visual hallucinations.
Starting point is 00:14:46 And I once shot this TV segment at an Air Force Base, and alongside all these aspiring fighter pilots who are training for airborne combat, they locked me into a chamber to induce hypoxia. People I was tripping balls in a flight suit, and I thought a piece of wood next to me was a lemon, I couldn't stop giggling. Everyone else was laughing at me. I was out of my damn mind because my brain didn't have its usual levels of oxygen, but I was also in a pretty good mood, something that can also occur in hyper-valation.
Starting point is 00:15:19 Now on that note, there was a 2017 study titled, Measure of Significance of Holotropic Breathwork in the development of self-awareness. And it found that perhaps due to those cognitive experiences in self-induced hyperventilation, both novices and experienced subjects in the study, experienced positive temperament and self-awareness changes and reduced hostility, neediness, interpersonal problems, and insecurity. There was another 2007 study
Starting point is 00:15:46 holotropic breathwork, the potential role of a prolonged voluntary hyperventilation procedure as an adjunct to psychotherapy. And it found that when used alongside ongoing therapy, voluntary hyperventilation may facilitate generalized extinction of avoidance behaviors, resulting in therapeutic progress, especially in overly accommodating chicken shits, who tell their therapist they're totally fine when they're not, which can happen to the best of us. However, self-induced hyperventilation and just the general fucking around with your blood oxygen levels can be dangerous. Now, a trend of this called the blackout challenge swept TikTok a few years back, and it resulted in 20 kids dying.
Starting point is 00:16:29 So there's the house on breathwork, and really, woof, talk to a doctor, take it with a big grain of CO2. People try all kinds of stuff to journey into their subconscious, such as drinking four beers every day after work. I'm not here to judge, but please talk to your doctors, understand the science of what you're getting into and be safe. Now, when it comes to other ways of working your breath, plenty of studies have found that just slowing your breathing in times of stress is helpful because it reduces hyperventilation
Starting point is 00:17:02 that comes from these quick quick shallow breaths of anxiety. And breathing deeply and slowly can reduce your heart rate. It can lower your blood pressure and that tells your brain, don't worry. No bears here to outrun. We are calm as fuck. And you can tell from my breathing in a chill manner. And that feedback then helps calm the brain even more. So there you go. Deep breathing can help you chill out.
Starting point is 00:17:31 And if you're really determined, you can put the high in hyperventilation, but you're lowering your CO2, you're alkalinizing your body, cutting off oxygen and blood to your brain, and you are risking a stroke or a blackout. So maybe don't. I am not a doctor or a witch. I'm just here to spend several hours researching this one aside. Okay, onward. And we will talk
Starting point is 00:17:53 about we rust in a bit. I thought Kelly Brockington had a great question. Ones know, is there a witch uniform? It just seems like a lot of work with a black nail polish and goth makeup and long flowing black skirts and such. Am I too lazy to be a witch if that's required? I love that question. I mean, that sounds like a really fun outfit, but I will tell you that vast percentages of witches don't wear black, so. Like, you know, I just walked down the street
Starting point is 00:18:21 to get a coffee in really short shorts and like a Carly T-shirt. And my Birkenstocks. Maybe a lot of witches have Birkenstocks, maybe that's true. I think that's probably true. But not all Goths are witches and not all witches are Goths. Oh, that is so, yes. Right? That is so. I'm sure the Venn diagrams broad, but that's one of them.
Starting point is 00:18:43 Yes. Okay, so black, flimflam, but what about the mossy glow of witch's skin? So, Cecilie Taylor, Sonia Bird and Average Pie, needed to know, green witches, what the fuck? Why green skin in pop culture? Yeah, I've heard different things, I don't know if that's true.
Starting point is 00:19:03 So green is a color that has long been in the European and in Celtic countries, especially associated with the fairy people. And that's a whole other thing too. Now, a lot of people assume when I say that word, they might see like small winged creatures like tinkerbell. If you believe wherever you are, clap your hands and she'll hear you.
Starting point is 00:19:25 That's so not what I'm talking about. Um, most traditional societies are terrified of the fairy people, and historically, the fairy people or the good people we like to call them to not piss them off. Um, they and the witches have been linked. So in certain countries, if it wasn't a witch, she was blasting the harvest and souring the milk,
Starting point is 00:19:43 it was a fairy. That's the traditional idea of fairy, and witches and fairies have long work together, and fairies can look like as tall or a taller or maybe a little shorter than an average human. So that's the other reality there. But, um, oh my god, I worry about the question, why did I bring up fairies? Can you remind me? Oh, green green green because the color green because the color green is connected to the fairy people. The other reason I have I've heard and I can't attest to this, but this is a pretty horrifying answer. There was a lot of torture of suspected witches and most of these people weren't even witches. They were like, good Christian people or maybe there were
Starting point is 00:20:21 shitty Christian people, but they were not witches. And some people were so tortured that when they were brought out to be hanged or burned, they would look pretty green because they had been, they had an eaten, they were starved, they, or their hair was shaved off their body because hair was believed to be a source of power, especially long feminine hair. So you'd be looking pretty honestly gross and nearly dead. Gosh. So that is said to be one of the other sources of it. Oh, it should also be noted that the Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch
Starting point is 00:20:53 had a lot to do with popularizing this trope. So the actress playing her Margaret Hamilton were chemically toxic makeup because this was 1939. And at that time, half the houses in the United States didn't even have toilets. So people did all kinds of wacky stuff like paying people with poison. And the Wizard of Oz makeup artist was Jackie Young and he once explained that, quote, green makeup is toxic because it's made with copper.
Starting point is 00:21:18 Every night when I was taking off the witches makeup, I would make sure that her face was thoroughly clean, spotlessly clean because you don't take chances with green," he said. And on set, I read that Margaret Hamilton had to adhere to a strict liquid diet, enjoyed through a straw, so she didn't ingest any particles of the paint. And also, she suffered second and third degree burns to her face and hands when an explosive misfire and a trap door under her failed to open. And then her stunt double was burned in the crotch and the thighs during the surrendered Dorothy's sky writing scene.
Starting point is 00:21:56 You're like, gosh, isn't that enough trouble for one set? No, it's not because the guy who played the Tin Man inhaled the aluminum powder he was painted with was in critical condition and hospitalized, and never fully recovered his lung function. That's enough. No, it's not. The snow in the poppy field scenes was pure asbestos, and the horses were a rainbow of colors
Starting point is 00:22:18 thanks to gelatin-based paint, which is like being coated with the boiled bones of your friends. Why did they do this? Because from the green skin to the fiery bombs and the silver men, they were aiming for a technicolor cinematic mind trip. Oh, and the young Judy Garland was forced on a diet of just black coffee, chicken soup, cigarettes, and amphetamines.
Starting point is 00:22:43 Your great-grandparents generation was just running and gunning. Ooh, goblins, who were like, that's entertainment, baby. And as long as we're on the topic of pop culture, a bunch of people, Kenny Holman, D&D Petro, Andrew McAdams, Kristen, Risenen, Akura, Kenny Murray, Sarri Louise, Lee Lawler, Casey Chattwin, the Holy Ghost, Ednug, and Malarist brand.
Starting point is 00:23:08 All wanted to know about TV and film depictions of witches and essentially if you have any representations of witch and cultural media that you're like, hey, that was pretty good or that fucking sucks so bad. Like American Horror Story, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, any of those. Most witches love watching all that stuff. There are moments, there are moments in practical magic, like that gorgeous movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bull. There are moments in that that are like,
Starting point is 00:23:37 oh yeah, that's what we do. There's moments in the craft that are drawn right from witchcraft practice. Again, these people had witchcraft technical advisors, even in the movie The Witch, the one that you mentioned right from witchcraft practice. Again, these people had witchcraft technical advisors, even in the movie The Witch, like the one that you mentioned on that kind of like horror film. I mean, most of that is drawn directly from folklore. Most of that is truly folkloric. And it is true that many witches know how to curse, and if pressed and needing to defend themselves from, you know, attack or assault or that is a technology we have. So, which craft is not all like, mmm, yummy and healing and light, you feel good, which craft is a very serious intense practice.
Starting point is 00:24:16 So, some of those representations actually hint at a broader historical and folkloric reality. So, Sabrina the Teenage,. I mean that new chilling tale, that new kind of more like spooky one. What's the called the chilling tales of Sabrina? In the town of Greendale, where it always feels like Halloween. Ah! They're left to grow who is half witch.
Starting point is 00:24:38 Oh, man. Half mortal who, on her 16th birthday, would have to choose between two worlds. I know some of the writers are actually witches, and they did pack a lot of really cool folk magic and witchcraft into that. There's a lot of really cool, you know, true, authentic folklorant folk magic in the first season. But yeah, 99.9% of witches are not telekinetic, we cannot throw things around the room. But we do, you know, we do see spirits, all work with spirits, and we do spells, and we do rituals, and we read cards, and we dream, and we, you know, and we know things. That's true. Well, on the topic of spells, we have a ton of people.
Starting point is 00:25:19 Patrons, Shelby Reardon, and Percy, Brenna Wing, Abraham Livingston, Sarada Jesus, Figmment, and Marie Everhart, Andromic Adams, Brana, Sajovia, Lissomersier, and Raina's words, Hexas and Love Spells. Can they be done ethically? Well, that's a big question. Look, I always believe that, again, I mentioned something about the magic of the oppressed and the marginalized.
Starting point is 00:25:41 The interestingly, the spells from almost every culture that I'm currently thinking of that continue and the marginalized. The interestingly, the spells from almost every culture that I'm currently thinking of, that continue through the generations. They're love spells, protection spells, and curses. And that's because these are common necessities in human life. I would never, you can do love spells ethically, but a lot of people do, my advice to you all,
Starting point is 00:26:05 never do a love spell on a specific person. Do you know? Because that's coercive. Not cool man, not cool. You can, like if you're experiencing in your partnership, like a lull in harmony, you can do harmony, magic to kind of try to restore, but then you'd also have to go to couples counseling
Starting point is 00:26:21 and actually talk to each other. You know, like that's the other reality. You can do, I've done several love spells in my life where I've written pages full of qualities. You know, there's billions of humans on this planet, someone's gonna fulfill them. So I've been very specific to that point where I have three, a four-size pages full of qualities,
Starting point is 00:26:39 but you never name a person, but you're asking for a person to fulfill, you know, they're kind, they're a clear communicator, they can drive a car, they're employed, they're, I kid you not. And whenever I do love spells for clients, I'm always like, I want you to be so specific and I want you to write down all of the qualities you actually feel you need. But some people come back with 10 qualities, some people come back with pages as I said, and then you can do those spells to attract a partner who fulfills those qualities.
Starting point is 00:27:08 Love spells actually end up working really well for most people, maybe too well, because to get a spell to work, you have to put a lot of desire and intensity into it, and a lot of people want love. But a lot of people do spells and they're not trained and how to raise power, they're not trained and how to approach the spirits.
Starting point is 00:27:24 And so the spells backfire, and often they're doing love spells on specific people, which is a bad idea, because your engineering love, and it's not love. So yes, be creepy, just not too creepy. Because at some point you'd have to admit, hey, heads up, you're in love with me because I chanted some stuff under a full moon with a hair that I picked off your hoodie at work, which might be called a tag lock. Some which is called items that align intentions toward a certain person tag lock, like if they were doing a spell of protection for someone that they dug.
Starting point is 00:27:58 But again, specific love spells, bad idea. What about... Hexes on Hexes? What if you suspect someone has Hexed you? Is there anything that you could do to make amends out there into the universe? Yeah, there are many Hex breaking rituals and there are many, many witches and spirit workers and who do practitioners and shamans who you can go to. If you live in a town or a city with humans, there are witches and spirit workers. Again, you can Google us, like I break hexes, but the thing is, hexes are rare.
Starting point is 00:28:29 Like the evil eye is common. This is a common phenomenon. This is when people are kind of unconsciously, semi-consciously wishing you harm because they're envious of you. Like in different societies, people are terrified of the evil eye. It's usually not someone walking around
Starting point is 00:28:43 consciously ill-wishing you. It's usually like deflected kind of the person has unresolved angst or envy about something good in your life and they've kind of poured that towards you kind of semi or unconsciously. So a lot of cultures have ways of breaking the evil eye. I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me, but I can help it that I'm popular. But true, full on curses on people are rarer than you'd think. And if they are there, most of them are easy to get rid of. It's very rare for me to come across a curse that I'm like, oh shit, that's going to take a lot of work. Although recently I did come across one of those, and it's been years and years since I've come across a curse like that.
Starting point is 00:29:26 Yeah. Oh yeah, how's the person doing? Not well. Oh no. But they've got a lot of good people on their side and we're working it out. That's good to hear. I wish them well. I wish everyone well in that situation. Let's talk concoctions. Brews were on the brains of patrons Ted Hamilton, Kelsey Lore, Antonio Clark, Otto, Willow Beller, and first time question askers, is Bell Newman and Johanna Burr? What about potions? Why do we associate magic in witches and the small tinctures, little bottles of beautiful tinctures? Well, you said something about earlier, and a lot of people
Starting point is 00:30:04 connect witches to herbs, it's not all we do. And some of us are really shitted at and some of us are really great at it, you know, not all witches are good at every witch thing. So the word that we translate as witch in ancient Greek is pharmacus, like, and what does that word now exist as pharmacist? No way! Yeah, and it means what we think of today as a witch. And so this was applied to Kyrgyz or Cersei or Medea. So these were sorceresses or witches who knew how to work with the secret intelligence of plants and herbs. So certainly a lot of the early witches would have been pioneering chemists. I mean a lot of science actually originates in occult ideas. And certainly before the church was persecuting scientists as it did, which is or
Starting point is 00:30:45 acute, which is most of those scientists would have considered themselves deeply mystical. But then I think that the persecution by the church created that division. I was like, well, that might be a matter of opinion. So I looked it up and within 15 seconds stumbled upon a 2011 article in the journal Increase titled Copernicus, Galileo and the church, science in a religious world. And this paper read that during most of the 16th and 17th centuries, fear of spreading teachings and opinions that contradicted the Bible dominated the Catholic Church. And they persecuted scientists who formed theories, the church deemed heretical, and they forbade people from
Starting point is 00:31:22 reading any books on those subjects. So Copernicus and Galileo landed on that list because they were like, hey, crazy theory, but we think the earth might revolve around the sun, and that our planet is not, in fact, the center of the entire universe. And the church was like, okay, not only are you crackbots, but also sinners. And you're ugly. I made that last part up. But Galileo was on house arrest until his death for a decade. And for more stories on this,
Starting point is 00:31:49 you can see like any book about the history of science. And there's this professor of religion and the chair of science and technology studies at Williams College, his name's Dr. Jason Ananda Josephson Storm. And he authored a 2021 book, Meta Modernism, The Future of Theory,
Starting point is 00:32:05 and he's written on the myth of disenchantment that scientific knowledge didn't displace faith, but that the two were actually really intertwined in history. And 16th century cosmological theorist Giordano Bruno thought that the cosmos was shock-a-block, with magical forces, demons, and spirits, Josephson's storm rights. So geophysicist and the so-called father of modern science, Francis Bacon, apparently thought the natural world was all kinds of magical, and that science was like conducting the orchestra of spirits.
Starting point is 00:32:40 You may know Sir Isaac Newton as a physicist, an astronomer, and mathematician, but also he was like, heck yeah, I believe in the occult, and thought without the supernatural there would be no gravity, and without occult forces, gravity would just cause everything to collapse on itself. So it goes on and on. I like this guy who was a pioneer of wireless communications, Sir Oliver Lodge. He wrote this best seller of a book after learning through a medium that his beloved He wrote this best seller of a book after learning through a medium that his beloved youngest son Raymond who died fighting in World War One was enjoying the spirit world. Raymond reported to the medium that the afterlife was full of flowers and trees but no illnesses and that World War One casualties were greeted with special treatment of cigars and whiskey. So Sir Oliver Lodge went on to invent a machine to chat with Raymond, but unfortunately, trials of that phone yielded nothing. But maybe Raymond was just out
Starting point is 00:33:30 having a bourbon and a smoke and missed his dad's call to the great beyond. We don't know. Either way, Sir Oliver Lodge knows what's up now, wherever he may be, because he's very certainly dead. So what does modern academia think of all this balladash? We had a dark matter expert. I asked him if dark matter was ghosts. And he said dark matter so out numbers, the barionic matter that if anything, we're ghosts. Yes. It's the dark matter universe. And I was like, God, damn, we don't know anything. We are ghosts in the dark matter universe. Like there's so much that we think is mystical that we just don't know and anything else. And that makes me wonder if working with tinctures and herbs and being a chemist like if you cooked crystal meth,
Starting point is 00:34:12 if that would make you like a modern day, which if later they'll be like, yeah, they made these potions, but actually speaking of crystals. We had some great questions about that like this one from Lissomersia And the run you know asked how much of the power of which graphs comes from crystals to Jim McKenna, Sarah Louise, crystals crystals everywhere, Sarah. Let's know, do you have little chairs for each of your crystals to sit on? I'm not sure if that's an inside which joke or just a question. It's good questions.
Starting point is 00:34:41 Those are the best questions ever. No, I do not. So lots of which is actually low the crystal world. Good. Just so people know. However, I do want to say that there is a person called Nicholas Pearson who's an amazing, amazing,
Starting point is 00:34:56 German crystal person who lives in the States. And his books about gems and crystals are ethical, marvelous, and solid. The thing is, stones having power is not a new age idea. It is an ancient and indigenous idea in, it's truly old. My father, you know, Balinese man, they ascribe or experience that stones have virtues,
Starting point is 00:35:18 just like plants have virtues. When you're an animist, you understand or experience everything is having virtue, everything is having inherent magical power. For more on animism, you understand or experience everything is having virtue, everything is having inherent magical power. For more on animism, you can see part one. Why are you here without part one? What are you doing here? And so, yes, some of us do work with stones and gems and crystals in order to do certain things. And yes, we would say that yes, they have power.
Starting point is 00:35:39 But so do I, so does the tree, so does the sun in the sky. So we are all working together. It's not that you need crystals, but also please treat, like I would say, treat crystals respectfully and also consider the fact that most of them are being ripped out of the earth and in really highly fucked up scenarios by, you know, basically enslaved labor. So you kind of have to consider that.
Starting point is 00:36:01 So I address this in the gemology episode, and again, in the wonderful geology two-parter, but I'm going to repeat myself again. So the psychology of crystal beliefs is interesting scientifically. Okay, so straight up your brain is just this jiggly mess of nerves and wires and memories and there's a lot that our brains don't fully understand about our brains and one of those things is the placebo effect. So according to my doctor, www.webmd.com, one of the most common theories is that the placebo effect is due to
Starting point is 00:36:33 a person's expectations. So if a person expects a pill to do something, then it's possible that the body's own chemistry can cause effects similar to what a medication may have caused. So crystals can kind of be a sugar pill for the soul. Now for more on this, you can see the paper top down and bottom up mechanisms in mind body medicine, development of an integrative framework for psychophysiological research. Now that explains that neural top down control of physiology is the direct regulation by the brain of physiological functions, affecting stuff like the immune system and metabolism and stress and even kidney function. And it continues that mind body therapies like progressive muscle relaxation and meditation and yoga have been
Starting point is 00:37:19 clinically effective for reducing depression and insomnia and anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and even chronic pain. So, why is this? They think our perception is controlled by cognition, and some of your experience is filtered through feelings that rely in part on our thoughts and our expectations. And even the prominent Neopagun feminist author, Starhawk writes that it's not the green candle that you burn that holds power, but it's the intentions that you're focusing through it. So does your crystal have powers? Or do you feel healthier and happier or more empowered to make different choices because of the reminders to make behavioral changes, or maybe even the placebo effect?
Starting point is 00:38:02 Science says a letter. Does it matter? To some people? To others? Not so much. But if you pick up a rock, any rock, and say, this rock will get me to stop procrastinating. And you let yourself believe it, then that rock may fix your life.
Starting point is 00:38:13 Or you will fix your life because of what you think that rock can do for you. Either way, it's good to have rock friends, superficially, because all rocks are pretty. Now, off of the soap boxes boxes and onto the broomsticks, so many people had this sweeping curiosity including Lori Fishman, James Nance, Deanna D. Pietro, Olivia Callis, Lizard Queen, Holly Giorgio, Heather Livingston, Melissa Cross, Aja Matthew, Sonia Bird, Average Pie, Eric K, Mix, Artemisia,
Starting point is 00:38:38 and first-time quest-raskers, Isabelle Newman, and the Joyful Spitfire. broomsticks. Everyone wants to know what's the deal with magic broomsticks. Yeah, there are things. So, broomsticks have... They're a domestic tool, right? Those domestic tools. If you look again at the old images of witches, you'll see pitchforks and things that you'd use in agriculture.
Starting point is 00:38:55 You'll see ladles and pots. So, again, these are women's things, right? But magic can be done with everything. There is another story, and it may be true, like, broomsticks have long been used in different forms of magic. There's another story of witches jumping around on broomsticks in a field to show the crops how high to grow. Oh. You know, this is a common witch kind of legend, and so potentially someone came across
Starting point is 00:39:16 this and were like, oh my god, witches are flying on brooms because if you start to really go for it and someone's like looking at a hill across a bunch of crops, they're like, what are those people doing hovering on brooms over there? So there is that idea. I don't know how much of a racity that has, but it is a common which legend that we tell each other. And then there is the idea that this is more interesting. Then there's the idea that which is slather poles and staffs and pitchforks and broomsticks with the flying ointment, which there are various lists of ingredients for. The flying ointment is like an age old kind of idea that which is would cover themselves with while naked or cover something else with.
Starting point is 00:39:55 And then they would press it against a mucus membrane and enter a trans state to fly. Oh, okay. So when you're seeing these naked witches in these images, straddling poles, like how go have a look at that, you can find many woodcuts of this, many interesting images. Basically, the idea is that there are these witches
Starting point is 00:40:16 fucking broomsticks and poles that are covered in ointment that send them into an ecstatic trance, and which is flight, which is a witch's form of flight. Wow. I never knew that. This makes sense because Scott Sheldon asked, I heard the reasons why witches are associated with flying
Starting point is 00:40:33 on brums is that they would put on a psychedelic self on a broomstick that got them high. That's correct. And then use the broomstick as a way to get said self up to their other regions. There you go. Boom. Scott Sheldon, why even ask the question when you know the answer?
Starting point is 00:40:46 You know where to go. You know Scott. Let's loop back to Ergott, the fungal infection of rye and other grains. OK, so Ergott poisoning can cause all kinds of bummers, such as muscle spasms, convulsions, states of mania, hallucinations, similar to LSD dosings, bleeding, miscarriage, and a feeling that the limbs are engulfed in flames.
Starting point is 00:41:07 So the witch trials of Salem Massachusetts happened in the 1690s, and 200 people were accused of using the devil's magic. 20 were executed. And then nearly 300 years later, a theory arose that those suffering the effects of the suspected witches were actually possessed by this grain fungus. Witchcraft were really bad food poisoning. Anyone who's ever door dashed a modium and pedeolite would have trouble figuring it out too. So then this holy shit, it was grain rot, y'all, spread as the golden explanation. But then other scholars, years later, say, hey, hold those horses. And in an article published in the Journal of
Starting point is 00:41:46 Clinical Toxicology in 2000, titled, Whichcraft or Micotoxin, the Salem Witch Trials, Academics, Pored over a bunch of research, and using tree-ring data brought into doubt the weather conditions that would have supported a rye outbreak of Ergott, and the age of the girls afflicted were older than typical Ergott victims victims and their symptoms changed depending on their audience. They also had no lingering symptoms. I enjoyed that this paper also included a delightfully casual bullet point. A few cows died, so what? Then concluded that
Starting point is 00:42:19 when the evidence is weighed carefully, both pro and con, it seems unlikely that ergotism explains much of what went on in colonial Salem. So it's been chalked up to impressionable teens following trends, which is its own danger. Now, with the Shrimi Brums and Atlantic article titled, Why Do Which Is Ride Brumes? NSFW explains that these tinctures may have included deadly nightshade, chimpson weed, and two plants. I could have sworn were birds, henbane, and mandrake. And yes, taking these by mouth might cause barfing. So other orifices it is.
Starting point is 00:42:56 Okay, a bunch of people asked about cats in the bubonic plague, Megan Duffy and Elise and Sedone S and Brenna Wing wanted to know cats and witches. And also, is that how the bubonic plague and witches were related because they killed out the cats and then the rats went nuts? You know, I've heard that because I don't know enough about the bubonic plague, I actually cannot answer that question. And apparently, neither can astrophysicist Neil de Grasthyson, who recently went on comedian Theo-Von's podcast and spread this unfortunate bushel of lymphlam. I looked into it, and apparently historians and archaeologists haven't found enough evidence to convince them it was even rat fleas, and there's more data to conclude that it was just
Starting point is 00:43:38 plain old people fleas. And you can enjoy the 2018 study, human ectoparasites, and the spread of plague in Europe during the second pandemic, if you're hungry for more on human lice and people flees. And also, the witchcraft hysteria really picked up in the 1400s, and the black plague was in the 1300s. So the cat is out of the bag, but cats are still in the game, which is good news for all the patrons who asked about kitties and witches, including Kelly Brockington, Otto, Mushroom Morgan, Megan Duffy,
Starting point is 00:44:08 Sidoni Asperna Wing, Melissa Croce, Maron Lush, Megan Conroe, and first-time question askers, Elise and Kathleen Lenz. It is true that cats and witches are connected, and several goddesses, like a lot of witches are very goddess-oriented. Several goddesses from pre-Christian European pagan societies have feline associations, and the one I'm thinking of right now is Freya. And Freya is a Norse goddess of beauty, sexuality, fertility, and witchcraft.
Starting point is 00:44:35 And she was depicted often or thought of as being drawn through the sky by cats. Also, maybe that's it, but definitely cats and dogs, both of them, in most cultures, people have this idea that dogs and cats can see spirits. That's an established and cross-cultural idea. And so, which is also, I said, to keep familiar spirits, and sometimes the familiar spirits,
Starting point is 00:44:57 especially in English, trial records, and folklore, are depicted as or thought of as to be like a physical animal that houses like an imporist spirit. And so sometimes it's a toad or a dog or a cat, like it's actually more than a cat, but for some reason the cat got linked in and one could argue that there's the whole trope of the crazy odd cat lady. Oh, toxoplasmosis maybe.
Starting point is 00:45:20 Yeah. But the idea of like an old woman off on a rune with a cat, you know, that's suspicious, right? Yeah. And so potentially, you know, potentially that is also contributing to it. I'm a fan always of the multiple reason answer because I never think it's just a monolithic answer. Right.
Starting point is 00:45:37 It kind of coalesced into one gelatinous blob of a reason. Exactly. That makes sense. It also makes sense to take a quick break. And before we do each episode, we donate to a cause of the guest choosing and a double donation for these episodes went to Moodengaal Women's Group, a leader in family violence prevention, which is completely staffed and managed by Aboriginal women. And they provide early intervention and vital services for vulnerable
Starting point is 00:46:01 women in this Sydney community. And we will link to their site in the show notes and that donation was possible by sponsors of allergies. Okay, back to your questions, including a stoot query from Adam Foot, as well as. I loved this question from Alex, Van Gelato's first time question asker wants to know where the idea came from that witches melt upon contact with water. Well, it doesn't come from the Wizard of Oz.
Starting point is 00:46:27 I know, I wonder where they got that. Well, I'll tell you that some people who are accused of witchcraft were dumped, which is horrible. So they would be tied to like this kind of wooden lowering device. And the idea was that if they were a witch, they would be actually rejected by the water because the water would be considered holy from God.
Starting point is 00:46:46 So therefore, a person who was innocent of witchcraft would just drown. What the fuck? What kind of acquittal is that? I know, it's really stupid or for logic. In general, with trying to figure out if someone was a heretic, there were some really brutal or for like ways of figuring it out that when you think about it, even then, like, people would question it. Many people questioned the witch trials
Starting point is 00:47:08 at the time. People were like, what are you doing? This is ridiculous. So, yeah, witch dunking, like dunking witches is a thing, and it's pretty horrible. Ooh, I never understood how they could think a mole was the mark of the devil, because like, who doesn't have a mole somewhere? You know, I've found one of my butt crack recently, how to get a doctor, check it out. Turns out it's fine. Keep this to yourself. I will say I think that's a bit blown out too though.
Starting point is 00:47:32 I think the Witches mark is definitely an idea, but Witch Hunters, especially in England, got really ridiculous. Like they ended up becoming very ridiculous, and it was for some of them a money-making scheme, actually. They would charge a lot from different village to different village to do it and they would whip up a frenzy and a fear of witches to do it. Also, making money to search women's nude bodies. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. It's pretty horrific. A lot of people had questions about
Starting point is 00:47:59 nominaclature. Hi, first time question ask our Edward Mills, YngVie Scarlett P and RJ Deutsche. Sion Verbridge wants to know what's the difference between witches and wizards, and Sierra Louise one to know what's the difference between a witch and a sorceress, and from what I understand, a wizard is kind of like, don't call anyone a wizard. And what's a warlock versus a wizard versus a sorceress versus a witch? Which ones should we not use? Most modern witches will prefer which of any gender. It's the term we consider holy and we consider beautiful and we consider powerful and has meaning in our traditions.
Starting point is 00:48:37 The word wizard, yeah, don't call anyone that probably, especially don't assume that because someone might be a male witch or look male to you and be a witch that they're a wizard or a warlock. Although there are some modern male witches who've reclaimed warlock and there's some interesting etymologies of warlock. I'm ready. Apparently it's Scottish for oath-breaker and this was considered to be that they broke their covenant with God, right? And sorcerers I would just argue, I mean in French they call a witch, like they're translation of which or any magical practitioner sorcerer.
Starting point is 00:49:05 So yes, they're a witch. A sorceress is a witch. A witch is a sorcerer, a sorcerer. Sometimes people think they're a little bit different, but I would argue that they're actually just really the same. And people would argue with me on that. And Wizard, I know of at least one traditional witchcraft that is quite old here in Australia where they might assign the term wizard as a respectful term for a male elder in their covenants, but that is the only tradition I know of where
Starting point is 00:49:29 that is the case. Because wizard literally just means why it comes from wise. So that's why we say, oh, you're such a whiz, you're a wizard, because it means, oh, you're very expert at that, you're technically skilled at that, you're wise. That's also in our vernacular, right? And then, of course, the word which, because of the heart, people use that differently. I'm just realizing the wizard of odds was like,
Starting point is 00:49:52 oh, this guy's a wizard. This is amazing. But the witch was like, kill it. Yeah. Well, except the good witch. Right, there was a good witch, I forgot. Who's a pretty implying. Yeah, exactly.
Starting point is 00:50:03 Naisy loaded or anything. No. A lot of people want to know Marissa, Ednog, and maybe a premium blonde. Yeah, exactly. Who isn't loaded or anything. A lot of people want to know, Marissa, Ednaug, and maybe a bunch of you who didn't realize that you wanted to know this. As a professional witchologist, what's your opinion on Stevie Nicks? She a witch or what?
Starting point is 00:50:14 Well, she, well, she, she denies her. She denies her. She does. She denies it. But you know what? I, I deny it too if I was Stevie Nicks. Right.
Starting point is 00:50:24 Right, let her keep, let her keep it to the vest, to if I was Stephen X. Right. Right. Let her keep it to the vest, to the flowy Bohemian vest. She is witchy AF. Yeah. She is witchy AF. And she sings witchy AF songs. But she denies it. And who doesn't lover?
Starting point is 00:50:36 Who doesn't lover? Yeah. Who doesn't love Stephen? Literally, I'd like to talk to that person in a corner. Yes. I've got a word to say. My friend, who's very sex positive, Scalaborealis, person in a corner. Yes. I've got a word to say. My friend, who's very sex positive, Scalaborealis, wrote in to ask,
Starting point is 00:50:49 where which is slutty, or are they slutty? And she means that as a compliment, trust me, I know her. Of course, and most witches would agree that's a compliment. Any sex rituals that you feel like deserve to shine a little light on in a good way, or yeah, are witch's slutty. You know, I wanna say this, but I think you can be an asexual slut.
Starting point is 00:51:10 I think slut is a broad term. I have several friends who are witches and asexual, but yes, witches are slutty. I love it. And you know, and we know that you cannot have sex and be slutty, we know that you can have multiple consenting partners and be slutty. We know that you can be monogamous and be sluddy. We know that's true, right?
Starting point is 00:51:27 I hope people know that's true. But yes, witches are deeply, I used, I kept using the word sensual before, but a lot of witches would say that our craft is deeply erotic, but that is often, you know, eco-eros, eco-sexuality. Like the eros one feels between oneself and a tree, and no, like, don't run off with that. But like, you know, just the erotic one feels between oneself and a tree. And no, like don't run off with that. But like, you know, just the erotic charge that you can feel in the rest of nature, in the ocean with the moon, like that's truly erotic stuff. And that's the source of a lot of the power we raise,
Starting point is 00:51:57 which is talk about collecting and raising power to do our magic. And we draw it from, like the eros and the desire that swells up in us. Yes, there are sex rituals in witchcraft, but if anyone ever tells you, and this is unfortunately an issue because a lot of people can masquerade as witches, and there can also be asshole witches, right? So there has been abuse, you know, so this is true in any group. So if anyone tells you that you need to, that they need to have sex with you in order to initiate you.
Starting point is 00:52:25 It is a lie and run very far away. And for that reason, I'm out. So that is not true. But there are sex rituals between consenting initiates of the craft if they want to do it. And that's up to them, you know. But if someone is telling you that you need to have sex with them to be initiated, just go run away from them and, you know, report them.
Starting point is 00:52:45 Because that's just not true. Although there are some sex rituals in modern witchcraft, like Wicca's Great Right. But that's typically performed by a high priestess and a priest, if at all. Usually it seems to be done symbolically by plunging a knife into a chalice. Did you know that vagina means sheath?
Starting point is 00:53:03 Such a visual. I don't like it. Anyway, sex magic goes way, way back. And in some occultist movements in the early 20th century, it was kind of like a proto-sex positivism. Like, hey, you can wink your noodle, or ditto down there all you want. It's sacred.
Starting point is 00:53:20 It's not sinful. It was kind of the vibe. But yes, sexual mysticism, sexual sorcery is definitely a part of witchcraft. The same thing as if someone wants to check you for moles, I bet. Yes, there are which find a run. Right. You're like, unless you're my dermatologist, and this is my once a year check, you get out of my butt crack. Exactly. Oh, man. And on that note about the Earth, last Patreon question, Marissa, great question, wants to know
Starting point is 00:53:48 if you can briefly cover the wheel of seasons, which explains the connection with witches and Halloween. Yes. So many witches, we have 48 festivals. So some of us are in the kind of work with the Celtic holidays that we call Sauron, the Altana, Imole, Conlonissa, which are Irish words, and in Ireland they still honor these. Like an Irish, the word for November is Sauron. And Sauron is the origin of Halloween.
Starting point is 00:54:15 So the Irish Festival of Sauron, which has cognates in other Celtic cultures, it happens on November 1st or the end of October, beginning of November in the modern calendar. In your hemisphere, obviously in my hemisphere, it's the opposite for us. It happens at the end of April, beginning of May, because we're experiencing opposite ends of the seasonal cycle. But basically, Halloween is from that Celtic holiday. But the word Halloween comes from all Hallows Eve, which is, I believe, a Catholic liturgical feast that was based on this. So basically, for us, for witches, it's the time that we understand that the tide of winter has initiated. By the way, we recorded right as the air was theoretically turning crisp, but I live in
Starting point is 00:54:54 LA, and it was 96 degrees last week. But yeah, this conversation took place on September 19, 2023. Well, actually, in two days for you is the automatic aquanox, right? So that's equal day and equal night, and that's when for you, the darkness will wax over the light hours. And so that sends your side of the world, your hemisphere of the world into the winter tide. And then Darwin or Halloween marks like the beginning of what we consider winter in that sense of the term. It doesn't mean it's cold yet, or in some places, but it means that the darkness is definitely stronger and it's about to get colder. And in some places, it's quite cold already.
Starting point is 00:55:31 Obviously in Ireland, that's true. And that's when we honor the dead, which is probably always honoring the dead, but we have a big feast of the ancestors and the mighty dead and the beloved dead at that time. And depending on your tradition, other things will be going on, like other deity venerations or customs. But yeah, the apples, the pumpkins, obviously pumpkin is, you know, from the Americas, but through colonization, it was passed around. But the pumpkin, the jackaland, in Ireland, it was actually not pumpkins, it was turnips.
Starting point is 00:55:58 They would carve turnips. I've seen a picture of it in its horror. Yeah, yeah, it's truly horrifying. If you look at old, like black and white pictures Yeah, yeah, it's truly horrifying. If you look at old like black and white pictures of Irish Halloween, it's really hard. It's really, it's really hard-worn, like in a marvelous way. It's scarier than anything you could buy at a craft store.
Starting point is 00:56:15 Yes. Okay, side note, we did mention these in the legendary QCurbitology episode about pumpkins, which I will link in the show notes, but yes, the short of it is a carved turn-up head looks like a dehydrated Martian fetus that you do not want as an enemy. And Halloween costumes back in the day were just a lot of dead-eyed plaster masks looking like haunted mannequins or these ragged burlap sacks with eye holes chewed out by rats. The children in these grainy photos
Starting point is 00:56:43 could be the victims of ghouls or the perpetrator. No idea, which is just as hollowing should be. It's like truly haunting. But questions that I always ask here at the end, I always ask the hardest part about what you do, but maybe if you could tell me the piece of flimflam that boils your blood the most about witches. Do you have something that you just hate the most that people think about witchery? I don't know. Weirdly, I don't know if I do. Well, I think the thing that I would hate the most is the idea that we're new agey, like we're not. Like, witches are not that. You know, we're practicing pretty established things.
Starting point is 00:57:25 And most of us are very, we don't really like the new age. We're not really into it, you know? So that kind of correlation really pisses me off because it shows a lack of understanding of what witchcraft actually is. OK, but what is defined as new agey? I don't even know. Is it sound baths or smoothies?
Starting point is 00:57:41 Is it that book, the secret? Or just subscribing to the Goop newsletter? Well, the new age comes from the new thought movement, which was, I believe, that came from the early 1900s, and I believe the new thought movement began in the States, actually. But basically, the new age is kind of comes down from that. But most new age can be typified by cultural appropriation, to be honest, and an ascendancy model, the idea that you must kind of like self individuate and descend into your masterhood and leave planet earth into the whatever, whatever, whatever. Whereas which craft is all about the down and the dirty and the embodied and
Starting point is 00:58:15 the like somatic and the ancestral, you know, they're so far apart. So yeah, so, you know, like the the idea of like, oh, I'm'm gonna like sing to my crystals with my Tibetan singing bowl. And again, crystals in their context and Tibetan singing bowls in their context, absolutely fine. But suddenly you put a white lady from Topanga in like, you know, like, you know what I mean. I do. I literally just went to a rock shop in Topanga last week
Starting point is 00:58:43 to look around. We all know what we're talking about. This me, hi, I'm the problem with this me. I'm here to learn. What about the best thing about being a witch? I know it's gonna be hard to pick one. I actually think the best thing about being a witch is constantly being an or. Like, I can't tell you the things I've seen in that.
Starting point is 00:59:02 Like, I am a 35 year old. That's, that I'm young. Like, I have, I've already seen things I've seen in dark. Like I am a 35 year old, that's, I'm young. Like I have already seen, I've seen some shit. I have seen what other people would call miracles and that has kept me an awe. I am an awe, and I love that witchcraft, the more I practice it, the more I don't know. You know?
Starting point is 00:59:20 Like yes, I can say this that or the other, but the more I practice the craft, as we call it, like the more I surrender into the mystery. And really, most things are the mystery. Like, death will ever remain mystery. No one knows. No one knows. We can have these experiences. Something that I read for, I read Tariff for clients and I speak to some of their dead people. This is the thing, right? I have complete strangers come into me like either on Zoom or the stores that I read at. I couldn't know them from a bar of soap. I always have a practice of don't tell me anything. I don't want you to tell me anything. I'm going to read for you without you telling me anything.
Starting point is 00:59:54 And then how the fuck do I know the name of their father who just died, the date they died, and the song he loved, and also exactly the nickname they called this person. Like, how do I know that? I don't know. Like, I can't answer that. But what I do know is that that has happened so consistently in my life. Like that's one of the things my father's family is known for talking to the dead. That has happened so consistently in my life, like to the point where I'm unnerved, that I am in constant awe at the power of magic.
Starting point is 01:00:24 I was once interviewed for a documentary about what happens after death, right? where I'm unnerved, that I am in constant awe at the power of magic. I was once interviewed for a documentary about what happens after death, right? And I said, and the person was so refreshed because she interviewed all these religious and spiritual people, whatever. And then she came to me, the wit, and she thought I'd have all of these metaphysical ideas.
Starting point is 01:00:37 And I said, you know what, I don't know. I don't know. But I can tell you what I experience because I talk to the dead, but I can't tell you what that means. I can't tell you how it happens. I just know from 22 years of doing this that it's a thing.
Starting point is 01:00:55 One of my favorite things is to read for people who are convinced skeptics because always they leave a bit shaken. That was weird, right? These people, they'll give you nothing as well. They're like, I'm not saying anything. And I'm like, great, please don't. Like, I try to stop people from saying things.
Starting point is 01:01:10 Because, you know, weirdly, a lot of people who sit down for readings, they want to tell you their life because they consider you like a proxy counselor. And it's like, please, no, I'm not a trained counselor. Like a marida. Very different. But yeah, I guess it comes back to the or, which craft keeps me in like this dynamic or, like truly, like it really, really does. And I can go walk down to the ocean like I did
Starting point is 01:01:30 yesterday with a which friend of mine and we can cast the circle, we can invoke the spirit so we can watch dolphins pop their heads up and be like, oh my god, how marvelous is the web of life? Like how, how marvelous is this? I think it's great that witches are also kind of ecologists, you know. You kind of have to be. They notice things like scientists do. Yeah, you kind of have to be. Yeah. I mean, witchcraft has a lot to offer to the world, actually. I mean, witchcraft will always be on the edge. That's just the nature of it. Like, it actually can't be. People try to make it mainstream, but it actually can't be. It's always going to be the edge walkers. It's always going to be the
Starting point is 01:02:04 magical pioneers. It's always going to be the fierce provocateurs. Witchcraft is always going to be uncomfortable, but it's powerful. And if you want to know more about Fio, their thoughts on witchcraft, history, modern perspectives, poetry, and more, they have written several books, including elements of magic, magic of the Iron Pentacle, ecstatic witch Witchcraft and their newest release, which is titled The Witch Belongs to the World. And we're going to link those in the show notes for you as well. Any other books that you recommend people pick up? Oh, wow. A friend of mine, Lee Morgan, is a brilliant, brilliant occultist and witch scholar,
Starting point is 01:02:39 and he's written several books. A really good book of his is a deed without a name through moon books. I would recommend People Read Starhawk. Starhawk is an amazing eco-feminist, which historian, a permaculturalist. Her book came out in 1979. Her first book called The Spiral Dance, and it really, really changed the face of Monwitch Kraft in the West. So her book The Spiral Dance Reader, it's poetry, it's gorgeous, it's beautiful. There's a 10th and 20th kind of edition, 20th anniversary edition and they have notes in the back which they're really priceless, like especially the 20th anniversary notes, the 1999 book, it's brilliant. Also, oh god, now I'm blanking this so many books, I'm looking at my shelf.
Starting point is 01:03:20 There's literally, there's literally so many books, like I can't, I can't. Like Courtney Weber is an amazing author. Ian Chambers is an amazing British author. Mara's styling is an amazing her book, Wellch Witchcraft. And also follow Mara's, I'm not on TikTok, but I've watched her TikTok through Instagram. Mara's styling has quite a big TikTok following and she's just so like fun and rembunctious and theatrical.
Starting point is 01:03:45 And I just love her. And she's a Welsh witch who speaks Welsh and she's so proud of being Welsh and her witchery. And I love her. She's great. Which talk, right? Yes, apparently that's a thing. Oh my God, this has been such a joy.
Starting point is 01:03:59 I just can't tell you how thankful I am that you popped on and talked to me. I know that's early where you're at and you haven't even gotten breakfast yet. So thank you for starting the day with me launching a thousand questions. Thank you. It's been so much fun.
Starting point is 01:04:13 So ask willing people well-meaning, witchy questions, because that's how we learn about each other. 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 their social media and website are linked in the show notes, as well as the charity of Choice this week. We are at allergies on Instagram and Twitter. Smaller, shorter, kid-friendly versions of classic episodes and those are linked in the
Starting point is 01:04:38 show notes as well. Thank you Zika Rodriguez-Thomas and Mercedes-Mateland for editing those. Thank you Aaron Talbert for admonining theologist podcast Facebook group. Thank you to Emily White of the Wordery who makes our professional transcripts. Now, well, still worth, is our scheduling producer, Susan Hale, is our managing director, Kelly R. Dwyer makes the website and our lead editor with a magic touch is Mercedes-Mateland
Starting point is 01:04:57 of Mateland Audio. Nick Thorburn did the theme music, and if you stick around until the very, very end, I tell you a secret. And this week, it's that I have certain things that if I die, I really don't want anyone to find. And I think about them maybe a couple times a week, old journals, just embarrassing writing.
Starting point is 01:05:15 And I feel like I need to put them all in a box. It's just like, if I die burn. And I know that I also still need to get my will in place. And this is not an invitation to come and kill me. But I do think, hey, what does it take to do a little Swedish death cleaning and get those things in order? That's just like, if you find this,
Starting point is 01:05:33 and I am a pile of dust and bones, just throw this in the ocean, will ya? I really don't want anyone's last memory of me to be what I thought of the school play in seventh grade. Okay, bye bye. Hackadermy College, Ammiology, CryptoZoology, Litology, Danosing Technology, Meteorology,
Starting point is 01:05:52 Global Effectology, Nephology, Serialogy, Cellulogy. You witch! Thank you. You witch! Thank you.

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