Practical Magic: Glamoury and Tealight Hearths

Charms, Hexes, Weeknight Dinner Recipes, Glamoury and Unsolicited Opinions on Morals and Magic

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Deborah Castellano

Deborah Castellano

Deborah Castellano's book, Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want (Llewellyn, 2017) is available for pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/Glamour-Magic-Witchcraft-Revolution-What/dp/0738750387

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 (www.mermaidandcrow.com) 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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The Ethics of Glamour

It's tax season which is every bit as wretched as you expect it to be.  I'm on my feet for over nine hours a day in the goddamn copy room which is both a safe haven and a prison, depending on the day.  My book doesn't come out until August which feels even farther away the closer we get to it somehow, probably because I could have had a baby and a half in the time I'm sitting on my hands waiting for it to come out.  I mean, I'm trying to get launch events together for when it comes out but I'm like Ali Sheedy in The Breakfast Club dumping her giant purse out all over the table and no one wants to sit by me.  No.  One.

I very nearly had, like, the awesomest event ever put together but we had irreconcilable differences over how the bar tab would be handled.

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Take the Second Bath
It's been a non stop swirl of work and social obligations since the holidaze as we slowly plummet into tax season.  You can imagine my excitement when I would finally have a moment to relax with MamaFran after a weekend of cemetery jaunts because that's just how we do in my family.  Instead I found myself in a panicky headspace in an overly crowded hotel down in Atlantic City.  

We were going from Sunday into Monday and usually that was a promise of light foot traffic and just enough people to make people watching interesting.  I've also been reading Gillian Flynn's books non stop which probably (definitely) wasn't helping any of this.  On an up side to that, if you want to feel fantastic about your relationship, your part in it and your partner(s)' part in it, I cannot recommend reading Gone Girl enough.  The movie is a pale shadow comparatively.  

So, I'm processing the fact that I have to go two hours (without traffic) each way, two completely separate ways to visit my dead people which is hella depressing because it's hard to be in the car that long for a cold trip to the cemetery.  I mean, I got pizza, I got incredibly expensive food from the Italian market, April and I relived our teen lives together by getting lattes and bath bombs and sitting at the food court dishes,  but it was a lot that would be topped off with a fun visit the next day to the military cemetery where my dad is buried.  We used to visit my grandparents' grave when we would visit my uncle but now he's in the ground with them and my grief in the loss of him continues to be overwhelming.  
 
So, obviously, let's drink and gamble.  Because . . .really . . .what else can do you anyway?  I got myself on the list for the club and then promptly got too overwhelmed to go.  I tried to go to my usual haunts there to start writing again, a horse that continues to trample me post-book but they were too crowded, too much for me to manage.  I went back up to our room dejectedly and did a little work and then decided to start a bath in the cave-like tub in the suite.  I did my usual thing I do at home for my glamour bath rites, I put on music and . . .I couldn't f*cking calm down.  And the more I got into an anxiety spiral about it, the crazier I felt.  Who the f*ck freaks out about taking the bath she's been dying to take?  Who!  Who!  Me, apparently.  So . . .then I dropped my phone in the bath. Sh!  Don't tell Jow.  Because his phone randomly stopped working earlier that day and I was yelling at him like a damn fishwife that he better not buy an iPhone 7 which is obviously why I needed to bring some Bewitched bullshit to the party.  I'm hissing, Nonononononono!  F*ck, f*ck, f*ck.  Please work.  Please.  Work.  I jump out of the bath and towel it off.  Obviously, I don't have dry rice because I'm in a freaking hotel.  Luckily, it's been fine since which is why this is how I'm choosing share this with Jow.  People live with secrets all the time/ You've got yours/ I've got mine!   By now I'm shaking like a tiny dog.  I drain the tub.  
I don't know what to do.  
 
Oh.  Yeah.  To celebrate writing again (a start is a start!), I had a double espresso and a french macaroon.  Which helped kick off said panic attack because I was not as good at sugar/caffeine as I thought I was.
 
I go to dinner with my mom where we were surrounded by drunk boys and a long wait.  It's only afterwards when we go for a drink at my favorite place do I actually start to relax and have a good time.  I crap out fast at the craps table (my old tricks don't work like they used to) but get it back on a Wonder Woman slot machine which cheers me.  
 
I read more Gillian Flynn and consider.  Should I take another bath?  My mom would kill me if she knew, it's really wasteful to use that much water.  I had half of bath bomb left.  I floated the idea out to April who was dismayed that I managed to reach a new low as an anxious animal. Immediately, she told me to get my ass back in the tub.  I got the water right, I left my phone on the vanity and I read a magazine and sang along to my Spotify.  I relaxed.  I felt good again.
 
So obviously, in witchcraft, it doesn't always go right.  Rituals get botched, the energy goes askew, you did the ritual and nothing happened or you got to have what we politely call "A Learning Experience" where mistakes were made and others were blamed.  What do you do then, what would a Final Girl do?  Do you give up?  Do you discourage yourself into a downward spiral of self doubt and self blame until you are curled into a ball?  I don't think that's how the Final Girl survives.  I don't think she just impotently flails and cries.  She pulls herself together when something doesn't go to plan and she re-assesses and figures out what to do.  Sometimes really fast.  Really really fast because you know, slashy bad guys are pretty quick and 2017 is starting to figure out your tricks.  2017 is starting to figure out you're the one to watch.  2017 knows that you're coming for it and it's looking for your weak spots, to catch you in that moment.  
 
Take the second bath.  
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What's a Witch?

An old friend of mine recently asked that question.  It's a deceptively tricky question, the longer one thinks about it, especially in the Copy Room of Revelations.  It gets sticky of course, because everything does.  The spiritual part gets dicey, because you could totally be a Witch and still identify as a Major Religion and go to a Major Religion Service regularly and still practice some version of Witchcraft.  Hoodoo (Southern North-American folk magic) is literally built on this.  There are no Hoodoo gods.  You talk to the gods you came with, who are probably some kind of Christian.  You might talk to saints and spirits.  But Hoodoo does not have [Goddess Name], the goddess of [Action X].   It is an add on to your American-Christian Starter Pack, though people who don't identify as American-Christian use it too as we are all more shameless versions of The Borrowers in matters of the Craft. 

Conversely, you can identify as a Witch and choose to worship only the (Wiccan) God & Goddess pair, the (Dianic WIccan) Goddess and/or a mish mosh pantheon of polytheistic goddesses from various places in the world, some of whom mostly went to sleep for a while (Greek pantheon, Roman patheon, Celtic pantheon, etc) and some of whom never went to sleep (the Hindu pantheon, some fae in Nordic/Celtic countries, the Buddhist pantheon). 

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Glamour for the Completely Exhausted

All your dreams have died.  Welcome to 2017.  The last party leftover has long been eaten, you're back to drinking too much wine and watching too much television.  You have not set foot in the gym, the sky is grey, there is no end in sight and it will never be spring again.

I can't speak for you, but so far 2017 has been one punch in the box after another.  I have a work project that's a complete clusterfuck that I'm fruitlessly trying to spin into gold and failing and in return the project is giving me: no down time whatsoever, an added ten pounds, repetitive stress injuries, flaky scalp and all the zits I want.  Not to mention endless exhaustion, frustration and feeling like I am trying to run underwater along with the knowledge that tax season is just about to start so my life is not mine for the next three months anyway.  In the background: a thing I'm trying to get together for my book that I can't talk about but goes around and around and likely will end in futility, communication issues at home which, if you haven't had the pleasure of being with someone for nearly ten years, I can tell you at this stage, one of you is always Lucy with the goddamn football (the antagonist!) and the other is always Charlie Brown (the injured party!).  I am not at my best at present.  2017 is gaining traction on me and it's hard to put on my best dress and repeatedly outrun it.  Still, I try.

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Be the Final Girl for 2017

Jow has coined a phrase to describe the women in my family on my mom's side when we are feeling feelings and can't quite articulate them so these feelings are subverted into a frenzy state that is about something else all together.  He calls it Hummel Crazy.  He calls it Hummel crazy because my mother collects Hummels, those weird little Germanic children figurines.  Note that my mother is not at all German.  At all.  So, Jow's mom came over to meet my mom when we were engaged and my mom wanted to show Jow's mom her Hummel collection . . . like the peoples do I guess.  She can't find her most prized Hummel and immediately begins to tear the house apart in front of Jow's mom like a goddamn werewolf looking for it.  She regains her composure for the rest of the visit after the house has been shredded, but continues to turn the house upside down for the next three days until said Hummel is turned up.

Hummel Crazy is a terrifying state for observers that shows our tenacity, our determination, our grit but also our obvious psychosis that is being put on display.  I have finally reached that state this Yuletide in all my matriarchal lineage's glory.  

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Is Your Witchcraft Subversive?

Jow: What will you ask for?

Me: To live deliciously, I guess?

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On Passing

Let's talk about a fun topic. Let's talk about passing. Historically, it has meant that if you looked white and could pass as white, you would take that power and hide your actual racial background.

In this political climate and in this modern age, passing can mean a lot more. It can mean not wearing jewelry that indicates you're of a minority religion. It can mean not choosing to date a same sex partner if you are pansexual/bisexual or to be closeted about it. It could mean not being as open poly or kinky. It can mean stfu'ing about feminist issues such as abortion access. (A side note, since the election I feel like all I do is yell, WITCHCRAFT AND ALSO ABORTIONS)

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