Scenes From a Pagan Household: Trad Craft Edition

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Scene: Jow and I are driving to Allentown for the last show of the season.  It’s crazy early, though the sun has now come up.  We are reading a lot of modern texts about Traditional Witchcraft, historical context for witches and how they were seen and we have just watched The Witch.  Since Jow has the misfortune to be in the car with me, now is a great time to cross examine him about Traditional Witchcraft practices as he is as always better read than me. 

Jow: Look.  Saying the Lord’s Prayer backwards is standard in Traditional Witchcraft*–

Deb: Noooooooooop.

Jow: Don’t nooop me.  It’s a thing that happens!

Deb: I’m not doing it.

Jow: No one is making you.

Deb: It seems a bit hypercritical!  Like oh hey, Mary Magdalene, I know you were only crucial to forming the early church because you saw a freaking resurrection happen in front of you and you fought the boys to make women people in early Catholicism but I’ma really super reject it and ask you for favors.  Same for you, other lady saints I work with.

Jow (sullenly): They both still work.  Like, together.

Deb: I don’t see how!


Deb: I don’t trust that.  And listen, I just got good with my Catholic familial roots, not for nothing.  And my mother will lose her shit if she even senses I’m thinking of spurring The Lord like that.  Like she’s still mad some days that I’m a witch especially if everyone else in her immediate circles have obedient children who aren’t a pain in the ass who are being particularly annoyingly obedient about getting with the program and going to church and having as many babies as her peers can ever want as grandmothers.  Just, spilling over with church going and babies.

Jow: *sighs*

Deb: ALSO, it seems really freaking counter intuitive to have caused such a commotion about rejecting dogma to only then do what someone else tells me to do to be a good dogma rejecting pony.  I did not become a witch for someone else to tell me what to do.  Pass.

Jow:  . . .that’s a valid point  Look.  You don’t have to say the Lord’s Prayer backwards if you don’t want to —

Deb: Pass.

Jow: The point of doing something like that or the Black Mass–

Deb: Hard pass.

Jow: or whatever is to step outside of your cultural religious narrative.  You can do it however you like.

Deb: Oh.  Well.  Then I did it already.  A long time ago.

Jow: Oh?

Deb: Yeah.  What’s more subversive (in an Italian-American Roman Catholic context) than a complete rejection of the patriarchy and calling God a woman and becoming a priestess for women only space?

Jow: . .  .that’s the point of the exercise, yes.

Deb: Great.  Mission accomplished.

Jow: Do you just, like, wait until ohmigod in the morning when I’m unsuspecting that these conversations are going to happen and think, now is my time?

Deb: Yes.


  • Loosely defined here for our purposes as the witchcraft that was actually happening in Elizabethian to Puritan times.
Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


One Response

  1. I feel for Jow, I really do. My partner went through her own period of magical exploration considerably earlier than I did (and I’ve been doing this for about 17 years or so, something like that, depending on how you count), and while I’ve probably *read* more than she has, she’s able to *live* it far more effectively — something to be said for the experiential/initiatory path rather than the self-trained auto-didactic method, really. And so we have conversations that go something like this:

    Me: (magical authority) says this, but this other person (magical authority) says this, and I think it’s this because (long winded explanation based on conflated authorities)…

    Her: You realize that’s all bull****, right?

    Me: Silence. Then, but what about …. (long-winded explanation)

    Her: Truthbomb.

    Me: Silence.

    It’s effective, but annoying.
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