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Just as Long as We're Together: Amazon Rites in New Jersey


“Women go there to dance. They get all ready in the mirror with their friends. They’re like, ‘I just need to go. I just need to dance. I’m serious, tonight — no guys. Screw guys. I just need to — I’ve had a rough week, and I just need to dance it out. I just want to stand in a circle around our pocketbooks and shoes and just — I just want to dance. Dance!’” – Dane Cook

“Girls love 80s parties. I could tell them that Osama bin Laden was holding a party, and they’d refuse to attend. But if I told them Osama bin Laden was holding an 80s party, they’d be like, ‘. . .well, what time?’” – Nick Swardson

“They always come home the same way. They stumble in with their high heels in their hands. *Whoo-whoo!* *Whoo-whoo*! ‘Where were you?’ ‘I was with my girlfriends.’ ‘I know that. It’s 3:30 in the morning.’” – Jo Koy

When I was a younger amazon, we used to go to this restaurant/club in New Brunswick called Gaebel’s all the time. They would push back all the tables later at night and there would be a DJ spinning vinyl. I was all full of piss and vinegar (but mostly tequila) those nights.  I'd be wearing a mini, belly top, and stompy boots. My hair would be up in pigtails and I would be smeared in sweat and glitter, and whenever Hypnotize came on, the whole entire room would go ballistic. It was just such an awesome feeling of being young and hardcore.

Gaebel’s closed years ago now. Hypnotize came on the radio on Friday when I was coming home from a very long all day meeting in Princeton. I was wearing corporate clothes with a Mom-like silk scarf and was pretty sure I would never again dance to Hypnotize and more sure my life was over.

As a younger Amazon, I used to dress with more intent. Clothes, makeup, jewelry.  All of that helped me present the image I wanted to present for whatever I was doing. It was my warpaint, my sword, my shield, my poison cup. Somewhere, during my divorce from my first marriage, I lost that piece of myself.

I wouldn’t credit Wasband (he was my husband) with having that much power that it was losing him that did that to me.  No, it was a lethal combination of the soul crushing process of getting a divorced and I was now in my thirties which I still didn't know how to navigate very well. I knew I was transitioning.  I do believe in the maid/mother/crone three for my own life stages, as much as supersrs occultists wrinkle their noses at it. Here’s the thing – being a sexual virgin doesn’t make you a maid, having kids doesn’t make you a mother, your period stopping doesn’t make you a crone. Not in and of itself at least. Being free and in charge of yourself makes you a maid, giving birth to something (a child, a book, a home, a career) and being changed by it makes you a mother, and the wisdom you gain from all your life experiences and seeing the end of your own life and out the other side makes you a crone. 

But I knew I was coming to the end of my maidenhood. At first, it was pretty awesome. My 30th birthday, surrounded by friends in dresses and ties, all of us singing, eating caviar and pizza and drinking champagne until we all were more than just a little tipsy. Buckling down on my writing. Getting my finances under control. Creating a hearth of my own. Getting my clitoral hood pierced, posed in Sheila-Na-Gig position, uttering a primal scream and one of my amazon sisters getting me ice cream afterwards for going through the ordeal.

And then . . .I sort of faltered. All of the clothes I would wear as soon as I could wiggle out of work are now neatly stored under my bed, only to be taken out for special occasions – conventions and the rare club night. I was becoming a mother, a hearth woman in my own right but what did it mean? Who am I? It may sound trivial to some of you, but I believe in what Catherynne M. Valente said in her Fairyland story, “‘We must dress well, or the future will not take us seriously’, Goodbye had said.”

I had lost the joy and the magical purpose I had with dressing with intent. I had to figure out what my new intent was and then it was time for new clothes, new makeup, new hair. It all goes a long way. Jow was supposed to go out with myself and my two besties ("mind sisters" as he calls them) but he bailed. Long story short, we messed up the date for the event we were supposed to go to.  We were all dressed up with nowhere to go so we went to the Breakfast Club instead.

I was wearing a black and grey kilt, knee socks with little buttons (for the first time in a long time), a ruffled keyhole top. Make up on, hair did. A mess of various sigils and perfumes strewn about me.

It had been a long while since I had been at a club, I had forgotten the smell – sticky with bleach and beer. I had also forgotten that the Breakfast Club is Amazon territory with a ridiculous female to male ratio (three chicks to every bro). I quickly dove into the experience.

Step 1: Arrive a little early so that the music is not crazy loud to be able to talk smack about Baby (early twentysomething) Amazon Rites which include: The Tragedy of Wearing Really High Heels, Two Drink Lesbian Dancing to Attract Male Attention for Later, Dancing on High Surfaces to be Better Seen by Males, Drinking Too Many Literal Fishbowls of  Candy Colored Booze  to Better Make Poor Later Decisions Later, and Taking a Million Pictures to Document this for Facebook or My Experience Never Happened.

As an older Amazon partaking in Middle Aged Amazon Rites (though not yet partaking in Elder Amazon Rites), key phrases to employ include describing Baby Amazons include: OMG, I thought going to a club was supposed to be about slinking in the dark and escaping not seeking out the faux paparazzi, Why is she crying, it’s only 11:30, Those shoes are ridiculous, If I see anymore Two Drink Lesbian Dancing, I’m going to throw up in my own mouth.

Step 2: Critique the DJ. It’s your right! You’ve got ten years of club experience under your belt, Middle Aged Amazon! And if he’s particularly heinous, even better! Key comments: His mashups suck, There should never be any dead air time, He only plays half a song before moving on which is ridonkulous, and He has the rhythm of an epileptic monkey.

Step 3: Drink! You know how to not vomit in the parking lot on your new shoes, Middle Aged Amazon! You can stick to beer or shots or a signature drink. Feel free to make one questionable judgement call in the form of $2 Jaegar shots.

Step 4: Dance! You’re not here to impress anyone, you’re here to be with each other! And this DJ while often questionable, knows his audience which is you! He’s going to play all the songs you like so you don’t riot! And that fucking includes HYPNOTIZE! Get crazy! Bust out your moves! Howl along to Gloria, Material Girl, and other riot girl songs with the other Amazons so that the club is filled with your voices! Trance out to it!  Get into that Amazon egregor and when Welcome to the Jungle comes on, your whole Amazon cabal will let out a primal scream like you have never heard! It’s awesome!

Step 5: Uh-oh. You knew the Baby Amazons are going to be trouble. They won’t be able to contain themselves from offending Middle Aged/Elder Amazons by spilling their drinks on you and nearly falling on top of you from their higher perches. Suggest getting into a fist fight with the ones particularly bothersome to you! It will prove your cabal’s dominance! This is a super awesome idea! Because (a) you get to feel Badass and (b) you’re Middle Aged Amazons! That means you (and more importantly, your friends) actually have sense! Your friends will say no!  You get to sniff derisively and pretend like you would have actually done it!

Step 6: Well, Middle Aged Amazon, you’re not a Baby Amazon anymore. That means by 12:30a, you are covered in a sheen of sweat and gently swaying and mouthing the words at this point. Disadvantage: Man, getting older suxxors. Advantage: You know who (and where) you’re waking up with in the morning, unlike the Baby Amazons.

Step 7: In the car ride home, you can regale each other with your shared Legendary Baby Amazon Stories.  You were all much hotter and more bad ass than the current crop of Baby Amazons and you've already proven that you survived all the dumb things you did together!  Laugh it up! It’s your Goddess given right!

Step 8: Time for traditional feasting. Your old diner now sucks and is closed at midnight during the weekend which will bring you back to Step 7 for a quick round of The Scene is Never What it Used to Be.  But don't worry!  You can find a crappy lesser diner for feasting. And! You get the perk of bitching about how bad it is! Eat/Drink: Disco fries, a million glasses of cokes and Taylor ham  and cheese on a hard roll.

Step 9: Home by 2:30a, asleep by 3:30a. Feel smug that you still have it.

Step 10: Sunday? Be a useless slag, Middle Aged Amazon! Take some Tylenol, drink lots of water, eat some salty food and watch Lifetime movies. Because likely, that’s about all you can manage. Now you’re entitled to not cook dinner and get Chinese!


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Deborah Castellano's book, Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want (Llewellyn, 2017) is available for pre-order:

She is a frequent contributor to Occult/Pagan sources such as the Llewellyn almanacs, Witchvox, PaganSquare and Witches & Pagans magazine. She writes about Charms, Hexes, Weeknight Dinner Recipes, Glamoury and Unsolicited Opinions on Morals and Magic at Charmed, I'm Sure.

Deborah's book, The Arte of Glamour is available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid and The Crow ( specializes in goddess & god vigil candles, hand blended ritual oils, airy hand dyed scarves, handspun yarn and other goodies.

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


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