The Capital office is its own coven. But outside of the blood rituals over morning tea, we’re a pretty typical workplace. We love a good cackle though, and we like a wish list even more. We’ve gathered some wicked essentials for anyone looking to tap into their pagan personality.
The world is an increasingly bizarre, mysterious, and confusing place. We could all use a companion to keep us on the right path, and a familiar is quite literally the best friend a witch could ask for.
Familiars are said to be spiritual guardians that take the form of small animals, to accompany witches and provide them guidance and protection. Cats have typically been the most popular type of familiar for witches as represented in popular media, and hares hold a special place in pagan folklore.
Whatever your pet preference, your local SPCA offers companions of all shapes and spirits. Make sure you can provide a stable home for a familiar before you adopt. They may be great guides through the world of mysticism, but they cannot pitch in for their Purina. Or your rent.
Covens have historically congregated in the dark corners of the local woods, but it’s still a bit nippy to be venturing into the forest at night, and I have a bad ankle. Gather with your fellow wiccans and listen to a slate of wonderful writers at Verb Readers & Writers Festival, 3 – 7 November. “This year it’s dedicated to the witches,” organiser Claire Mabey says. “We chose the theme of ‘coven’ this year to explore ideas of community, magic in literature, and circles of knowledge both ancient and new.”
Verb’s beloved LitCrawl, on Saturday 6 November, will take place in all manner of unlikely hiding spots. Fitting, as the events will be covering the business of witch-craft, tarot-reading, and the renaissance in witchy writing. Outside LitCrawl, ride your broomstick (or e-scooter) around Wellington to hear our brightest writers (Melody Thomas, Ronia Ibrahim, and Hinemoa Elder to name a few) speak on topics in literature from the anchorite to the outsider.
Witches are legendary foragers and herbalists. All you need to figure in the ancient tapestry is a decent pair of foraging scissors (like this pair from your local garden guardians Palmers of Miramar), and an eye for good herbs.
Here’s a quick guide to some ancient herbs you can find in your local wilderness:
Rosemary: One of the most enduring herbs around the world, rosemary has long been praised for improving gut health and hair growth and reducing inflammation. Make tea with it to soothe your stomach or put it on a good foccacia for a general sense of wellbeing.
Chamomile: Elder witches (aka mums) have been using chamomile for millennia. Steeping the head of the common flower to make a herbal tea has a relaxant effect on your digestive and central nervous systems.
Fennel: Is a super versatile ingredient in both herbal remedies and your next salad. Its high vitamin C content is great for your skin, and its distinctive aniseed flavor helps it cut through a dish.
The cauldron, a cooking pot or witches’ pot, has gone by many names since its first known use in the first millennium BCE. The middle-English “cauldron” is the term that has persisted throughout western culture.
A common misconception is that all cooking cauldrons were used to boil up a single-function broth with bones bubbling around. In fact, some medieval versions had various compartments to cook several types of dishes simultaneously. This model is harder to come by these days, but modern technology emulates the pot on the embers best is with the tried and true slow cooker.
A good slow-cooked stew will disarm and enchant whoever consumes its contents. If you’re looking to get your very own witches’ brew on, maybe swap the eye of newt and toe of frog for some eggplant and fennel. Moore Wilson’s has a few cookers available for whatever slow and steady delight you might be simmering over.
Potions and elixirs
If there’s one store in Wellington you could argue is actually run on magic, it’s Wellington Apothecary. When you don’t have time to forage for your herbs, or the alchemy skills to brew your own potions, they have the perfect salve for any weary witch.
Walking into the store is a sensory spell in its own right. Their team of herbalists, naturopaths, and nutritionists maintain a stock of tonics, elixirs, bath salts, and balms to soothe the soul, mend your muscles, or remedy your energy. And if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, they will create a custom potion tailored to your needs.
We love a good spell book, but in the modern age information is the real magic. If you want to get acquainted with the bad witches of history, check out Witches: What Women Do Together by Sam George-Allen. Under the enduring curse of the patriarchy, women have had to find creative ways to gather throughout history. From beauty groups to union organisers, women have come together in communities of vocation, of necessity, of support. Find the volume at Unity Books, and hear Sam speaking at Verb Festival as well.