"The wise woman? The WISE woman?", said the
"Yes, the wise woman.", replied Lord Edmund Blackadder.
"Two things ye must know about the wise woman. First she
is.... A WOMAN! And secondly, she is...."
"Wise?", anticipated Edmund.
"Oh, you know her then?", said the crone.
"No, just a wild stab in the dark, which is what you'll
be getting if you don't start being a little more cooperative."
- Blackadder and the crone at the cave of the wise woman
in Blackadder II
"There is no devil in the craft."
- Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic
"Why do witches float?"
"Because they are made of wood!"
"How do we prove she is made of wood?"
"Build a bridge out of her."
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones)
and man in the crowd (Eric Idle)
November 11th, 2002
I said I was going to write
this and now is the perfect time to do it.
My wife is a witch.
Do I mean that she rides a broomstick and has
eventual plans of constructing a life size live-in gingerbread
house with a gigantic oven to lure German children to eat later
on? No. Do I mean that she is green with a big nose and a wart
and wears a pointy hat? No. Do I mean that she kills crops,
sours milk and kills cattle with just her presence? No.
Do I mean that she is the bride of Satan? Possibly.
After all, she is MY wife and I'm about as evil as evil can
But in almost every other conventional sense
she is a witch.
Before I go on to tell you what witches are,
let me tell you what they are not. Witches are not what everyone
thinks they are. They are not the cackling, old crones that
turn men into frogs. They do not make poison apples to give
to young princesses who live with dwarves so they can be the
fairest in the land. They do not make spinning wheels for princesses
to prick their fingers on so they can sleep for a hundred years.
Those are fairy tales.
What witches are, are what was formerly known
as wise women. In the old days, before the Catholic Church started
to invest in real estate, there were women whom the community
revered as knowers and seers. They were the midwives for expectant
mothers. They were doctors and dealers in potions. They were
advisors in marriage and counselors in all important matters.
They were the heads in what was formerly a matriarchal society.
Witches were the people that you went to when you needed to
get something done.
Witches were the pagans and they worshipped Mother
Earth and the Great Spirit. The reason why witches get such
a bad rap nowadays is because of what the Church did to become
prominent. That's when they started to burn women of power and
money. But, don't believe me, you can look it up for yourself.
This is not really the point of this rant.
My wife is a witch.
What all of the books and all of the documentaries
fail to mention is that even though witches get a hard rap and
while it is very difficult to become such a woman, it is even
harder to live with such a person.
Well, let me take that back. I think I was perhaps
a tad too harsh on that statement. Let me just say that living
with a witch is an experience that not many men, especially
agnostics such as myself, are really used to doing.
Both my wife and I grew up catholic. She went
to Catholic high school and I went to a Jesuit college. We were
both confirmed and went to church regularly. We were married
in the Catholic church. Shortly after our marriage, we stopped
going to mass altogether. We had both come to the same conclusion.
We were adults and we both didn't wish to keep going to church.
And when you really look at religions and why people are the
religion that they are, it is because they were born into it.
Very rarely do you see a religious conversion that has nothing
to do with marriage. You are born into the religion you are
in. Being Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Christian, or Islamic
is truly an accident of birth. The Catholic church and the Jews
do one better, at 12 or 13 they ask kids the "Are you sure?"
question and get them to go through a mitzvah or confirmation.
At that point, a 12 or 13 year old has made the adult decision
that this is the religion they are going to stay for the rest
of their lives.
Let me ask you - How many adult decisions were
you capable of making at age 12 or 13? Why not just start doing
your taxes right then and invest into real estate... like the
But I'm going off again.
My wife and I had decided that the Catholic church
was not for us. We did not know what was for us, but
we both knew that Catholicism was not it. I learned of the term
agnostic and thought it fit pretty well for me. I knew that
there was something out there but it probably was not what the
Catholic church was preaching.
It took some more time with my wife to find her
niche. About a year and a half ago, she discovered Wicca. I
won't bore you in what Wicca is because I'm not really qualified
to tell you. But it seems to be close to the old woman with
all of the healing potions and stuff. Afterward, she discovered
something else: magic.
Is this real magic or is it something else? Don't
ask me. I don't know. What I do know, I can't explain. So, what
does my wife do? Well, she makes potions to make people feel
better. She can read a mean Tarot card. She can perform what
she calls "low magic", this is non ceremonial, non
demonic magic. She can cast spells of a sort. She is a sensitive.
She is not part of a coven, she is what they call "a solitary
hedge witch". She believes in the Goddess. She requires
herbs, incense, candles, and a whole host of paraphernalia.
She believes in the natural energy of the earth.
What does this mean for me? I live with it.
Picture this. I've had a long day in New York.
I've been commuting for about 2 hours and come home to incense
"Honey?", I ask not really wanting
to know the answer, "What's going on?"
"It's Samhain. I'm performing a ritual."
"Whatever. Drew Carey's on then WHO'S LINE is on tonight."
And I left it at that.
Another time I came in from a really hot day
and saw a small glass of water next to a candle and incense
on the coffee table. I was a bit parched and started to drink
the water when my wife walked in. It tasted salty.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!! THAT'S THE SPIRIT
OF THE WEST AND NORTH!!!!"
I did a spit take and blew it right out of my mouth onto the
floor. "JESUS CHRIST!!! WHAT THE F$%@K WAS THAT?!!"
I was imagining that I'd have to go the hospital
and have a toxicologist get to me quickly.
"YOU JUST DRANK THE SPIRIT OF THE WEST AND
NORTH!!! I really don't know what that's going to mean karmawise."
After she assured me that I wasn't going to die, I relaxed.
You haven't lived until sage is burned in your
house. It is not to be inhaled if you have a sore throat. Many
people will start coughing when they smell it. And it doesn't
smell good. Incense good. Sage bad. But it's supposed to be
used to clear the house of negativity. Whatever. It stinks.
She has often made me things.
There are herbs and plants she uses that smell
like what I can only describe as feet cheese. She made me drink
a tea with the stuff in it to make me feel better. Well, I'm
not sure what the healing properties of toe cheese are but they
are among the top 10 diseases I would rather just suffer
through than drink that stuff again. It smells as bad as it
"I've made this pouch for you. Keep it with
you when you need to say the right thing. It'll work.
Just believe me." I believe that she took time and effort
to see me happy. That's cool. Some guys get their lunch made
for them. Not me. I get rocks.
The trinkets she gives me and the potions I drink
are supposedly good for me. They are for health, prosperity,
and protection. She likes to protect me, the dogs, the house,
the yard,... well, you get my meaning. There was one night while
I was in bed, I awoke suddenly to her tracing something on my
"THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!!!" I never
wake up calmly.
"Protection spell", she said.
"While I sleep?!!"
"Well, I thought I'd -"
"But, it's for your -"
"But, I think you really -"
"NO! It just freaks me out when I wake up and I don't see
the ceiling! To see anything else, like you tracing things or
a pillow over my head or a guy with a knife, makes me nuts!
I never wake up calmly.
Then there's the books. THE BOOKS!!! If you told
me a year ago that there were so many books on earth magic,
I'd never believe you. But that's part of the deal. Once she
did her dedication a year and a half ago, she had to do a year
of study. And when my wife starts to study something, she really
goes in with full force. And these are not books that you normally
can get in Barnes and Noble, although there are quite a few
that you can buy there. These are books that are hidden, only
sold in witch shops, out of print, must be ordered via the Internet,
or heard from a friend of a friend.
It was not unusual to find my wife buying over
$100 - $200 in witch books at a shot. This is stuff that you
can't find or steal in a library. It is not stuff that you can
read on a plane or in a train, with a fox or in a box. It is
stuff that is read at home. The majority of the time, if my
wife can't find them in B&N or in a somewhat local witch
shop, she has to make the trip.
Every six or eight months my wife and I make
a pilgrimage to New Hope, Pa. This is to get witch stuff. Which
stuff is witch stuff you ask? Well, I'll tell you. My wife needs
herbs, incense, oils, caldrons, wands, books, mirrors, stones,
pouches, cheese cloth, and swords. Don't laugh, it's true. There
is also the miscellaneous stuff she needs to grind the stuff
for teas and potions as well. So, it can run on the high side.
Lately, however, she has started to economize.
Also, at first, we couldn't tell anyone. I mean
anyone. My wife wanted to wear a pentagram - regularly.
I told her it wasn't a good idea. It's not because I didn't
believe in what she was doing. It was because I knew that there
were a lot of other public idiots that wouldn't understand.
They would think she was worshiping the Devil or something.
There is a saying, "Lord, save me from your followers."
Some people put their faith in people. That's some people. I'm
not one of those. I prefer to live by what I know. I know the
majority of people around here won't understand and would do
something violently stupid - like something from the Salem Witch
Trials. I haven't brushed up on my chants of "Burn the
witch! Burn the witch!" Also, my wife is not made of wood.
I told a co worker of mine recently. I said,
"My wife is a witch."
"Why do you say that? I bet she's sweet." Oh well,
My mother, who gives talks on the virgin Mary
regularly - well, I don't think telling her would have been
the smartest thing in the world. She still doesn't know - unless,
of course, she reads this rant. And then, "Oh well."
My mother-in-law has been slowly broken into the truth, not
due to my wife but due to a very, very, progressive priest in
her parish that stated, "Pagans have really gotten a bad
rap." Let's hope that the Vatican doesn't get word of him.
She has been very open minded since. My wife started saying
that she was into American Indian Spiritualism and then worked
her way into Wicca. She then came out of the broom closet with
the "I'm a witch" thing. And all is well for her.
I still have to deal with my family not knowing.
I'm not sure how my father would take this. Chances are he won't
really go nuts on this. The only ones on my side of the family
who know are my brother-in-law, Michael, and possibly, my other
brother-in-law, Christopher. The best question came from my
sister. She asked Michael, "Does Chris' wife worship the
Devil or something?" No. And as Sandra Bullock said in
Practical Magic - There is no devil in the craft.
But weird stuff has been happening within our
lovely household. The day after she finished her dedication
to the Goddess a broom mysteriously appeared at the front of
our doorway. It was a small broom. I had assumed it was our
neighbor's or the landscapers. So, I left it there. No on has
claimed it and it hasn't moved for months. Okay, it's not a
I've had problems with a former co-worker that was a real thorn in my side. Well, I decided that a little
witchy help could be used. My wife asked me if I wanted a "freeze
spell" put on him. This would not cause any harm to befall
the big fat idiot but it would keep him from causing trouble
in my life. Shortly before the layoff in May, my wife put it
into effect. I haven't heard or seen anything from him in all
of that time since. His spell is still in the back of my freezer
only to be defrosted 8 months after I leave my company. My wife
has performed this spell and instructed some of her co-workers
on how to do it and it has worked for them as well. Okay, maybe
it's another coincidence.
How about this? Yesterday was interesting.
We had just finished cleaning my mother's nursery
school and we were driving home. All of a sudden, I got a sharp
pain near the heel of my foot. I had not stepped on anything
and I was relatively inactive the day before.
"Ow. That was strange." I said.
"What was strange?" she asked.
"It just felt as if someone stabbed me in the heel of the
foot with a giant stake."
"Yes. And I don't really remember stretching, pulling,
or stepping on anything."
"Chris, I've been thinking about this for a bit. You may
think I'm crazy. I think there's a possibility you've been cursed."
"Is there anyone that really has it in for
you?", she asked.
"Too many to even mention. I've pissed off
a lot of people in my life. I think the line starts with you
and goes around the block." I know this to be true. I wasn't
always the nice sweet bring home to mother gentlemen that everyone
knows and loves. "But, no one I can think of off hand."
"Well, your luck has been pretty bad for
almost as long as I've known you", she stated.
"True. I think we can start with the food poisoning on
our wedding night to the eye cysts that appeared the week after
we were married.* Then we can go with bits of bad timing since."
Then I had an idea. "Well, you are pretty good at the Tarot.
Why don't we ask the cards?"
We got home and after she did a normal reading
for me, she asked me to pick a card to see if I was cursed.
I did. The card was the Judgment card. "I think you've
been under psychic attack", she said.
"Let's be sure and pick again." This
time I accidentally drew two more cards. One was the Hierphant
and the other was the five of cups. "You are definitely
under attack", she stated.
"Well, who's been doing it?" We shuffled
the deck and I drew again. The page of cups. "A younger
person", she said. "Either a homosexual or a woman
younger than you are. Fair. Not emotionally stable."
Well, normally I got along with the homosexual
community. I don't think I've ever pissed one off either. A
woman was highly probable. The thing was I hadn't
dated anyone in over 10 years (not since November 1992). I met
my wife in October of 1993 and we were married in April of 1995.
9 years with my wife and 7 of them happily married with no cheating
whatsoever. So I had to ask again. "How long has this been
going on?" Shuffle. Draw. The Eight of Wands. "Eight
years, months, or days", she said.
"Eight years? Hmmmmmm. Do you think it could
be that long ago?", I asked. Shuffle. Draw. Six of Swords.
"It's been a long time.", she said "Draw one
more." Eight of Pentacles. "Eight years.", she
"Who is it?", I asked. I had an idea,
but wanted to be somewhat sure. She closed her eyes and concentrated.
"Do you know a woman... tall...about 5'8" or 5'9"..
fair skin.... chestnut hair.... frizzy at times", she said
slowly, "a build like my cousin's.. not thin but... big
boned... not too busty."
"Long hair or short hair?", I asked.
"Shoulder length", she said. I thought I knew who
it was but one thing would confirm it.
"What do her teeth look like?"
She smiled and brought her finger up to her two front teeth.
"She has a gap - here. Like Lauren Hutton."
She described in perfect detail my last girl friend before I
started dating my wife. The gap was the last bit. She was very
emotional at that time. She is nearly 5 years younger than I
am. She'd be about 30 or 31 now. I had not seen her in 10 years.
I last spoke to her (over the phone**) in February of 94. I
was engaged to my wife - March of 94.
Eight years ago.
Problems started shortly after our wedding.
I had gotten rid of every picture with her in
it. My wife has no idea what my last girl friend looked like
at all. I never speak about her. Other than to say that she
was the last girl I dated steadily before my wife. I have never
described her and I have certainly never told her about the
gap in her teeth.
I told my wife who it was. "Is there any
reason why she'd be that angry?", she asked.
"Who knows? It was a long time ago. I can't remember."
"We have to go to the Rag Shop so I can
get some stuff to remove this curse", she said. Now there's
a sentence I thought I would never hear.
There are many things in this universe that we
just don't understand. Some things have to be taken on faith.
Einstein and Stephen Hawking support the theories of the Earth
Spirits and energy. We are all interconnected. One thing affects
another and so on, and so on, and so on.
I've married a witch. This is not a sitcom. I
don't plan on dealing with Endora or with a Larry Tate. But
I have a wife who loves me. Marriage transcends religion. Even
the Catholics will admit that. It is a sacrament that we give
to each other witnessed by our friends and family. The bonds
we make are wholly our own. And with that bond comes strength
It doesn't matter if you worship together, but
it does matter that you be there for each other. As I write
this, my wife is researching protection spells and seeing what
she can do to lift this curse and send it back where it came
from. That's love AND religion.
The Dali Lama had once said that if you have
1,000 people then you'll have 1,000 different views of religion.
If you don't believe in one God, the father, there are many
others that you can believe in. As my wife said, the gods and
goddesses that she worships are all aspects of the Earth Spirit.
As I understand it, all she is doing is speaking specifically
to an aspect at times.
Pick a god any god. Shuffle. Draw. They are there
waiting for you.
*All true. My wife got food poisoning from the banquet hall
we had our reception in. She's a strict vegetarian and they
served her meat sauce on her food. She was puking that night.
It made for a mental picture that won't go away. The eye cysts
are equally true. I had to have eye surgery in May of 1995.
An experience I had to repeat 2 years later.
**This is years before caller ID and I stupidly picked up
the phone. She called. I said it was over I'd met someone else.