Episode 20: Halloween And Samhain Practices With Gemma McGowan

“The big thing is leaving that space at the table for the Ancestors, or whoever is in your space between the worlds, and share in what you’re doing…”

It’s Halloween!!! The greatest day of the year! So, what do Witches do on this glorious day? Irish Priestess and Witch Gemma McGowan joins us to talk about the ancient festival and practices of Samhain, which feed the roots of modern Halloween all over the world. Your favorite Witches also discuss their own practices for both Samhain and Halloween. Plus, hear the story of the ghost party in Kanani’s old house, Hilary’s plans for her upcoming Witchy performance, and details on Courtney’s book tour!

Our Guest Today

Gemma McGowan has been a practicing Pagan, Priestess and Witch for 17 years.  Hailing from Kells in the Royal County, Gemma has grown up immersed in the sacred landscape of Meath, drawing inspiration and experiencing deep connection with ancient sites and monuments of that land. Gemma began her spiritual education in a progressive Witchcraft Coven called Coven na Callaighe, run by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone back in 2003 in which she trained for 7 years to 3rd Degree High Priestess. After then spending some time as a solitary practitioner, Gemma undertook her Celtic Shamanic training with Slí an Chroí, School for Celtic Shamanism with John Cantwell and Karen Ward. At Imbolg 2015 Gemma set up the Keepers of the Well, magical training group and in September 2018 started the first cycle of her Cor Bolg (Crane Bag) training.  Gemma is a dedicated Priestess of Brighid since 2009 and a dedicated Priestess of Manannán Mac Lir, since 2013. She also has a strong personal working relationship with Fairy Queen Aoife, who she honors as being the body of the Crane Bag, as per the myth of the Crane Bag. Since 2003 Gemma has been involved in the Samhain Festival at Tlachtga, taking the reins of orchestration of the ceremonial and storytelling aspects of the festival from Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone in 2008. Gemma has also been involved in other large scale public ceremonies at Tara and at the Bealtaine Festival at Uisneach. Gemma runs a healing clinic called ‘Tír na mBeo’ from her home in Kells where she practices Systematic Kinesiology, uses tie cutting and extraction techniques, Soul retrieval work, energy and sound healing techniques. Gemma is also a singer, songwriter and storyteller, currently using the Crane Bag as a focus for teaching, magical practice, healing and sharing the wealth of the Irish magical, mythological and folklore tradition.

Resource List

Gemma’s Kinesiology Facebook Page
Púca Festival
Michael Fortune
Dierdre Wadding
Geoffrey Keating
The Halloween Song
The Portland Oddities Expo
Hilary’s Show on 10/30
The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might
Courtney’s November Book Tour

Email us with questions or topics to explore on the show at thatwitchlifepodcast@gmail.com.

Episode 19: Morbid Magic with Tomás Prower

Content warning: death, grief, and mortuary practices.
“A very 21st century solution to ancient problems…”
Today’s episode is about the modern relationship with dying, death, and the grief process. Special guest Tomás Prower, author of Morbid Magic: Death Spirituality And Culture From Around The World talks with us about the funeral industry and the shady things it gets away with, along with modern Western culture’s problematic avoidance of death and grief. He takes us around the world to learn about different rituals prior to, during, and after death (Ever heard of funeral strippers??? Or airing your grievances while graveside???), plus the origins of the taboo of speaking ill of the dead. Hilary, Kanani, and Courtney share their personal rituals for honoring their departed, Magick in the grief process, as well as etiquette for respectfully communicating with both the deceased and bereaved. Plus, hear about how they ditched a drag brunch to go shopping…which was FAR more important that ensuring Kanani’s car wasn’t stolen.

Our Guest Today

Tomás Prower is a graduate of the University of California: Santa Barbara with degrees in Global Socioeconomics and Latin American Studies. Born and raised in Southern California, his fluency in English, French, and Spanish gave him the opportunity work for the French Government as a cultural liaison throughout South America with extended assignments in Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, and the Amazon jungle. Since then, he has been the External Relations Director for the American Red Cross, LGBT+ Programs Director for entertainment productions in Los Angeles, and a licensed mortuary professional in California and Nevada. Currently, Tomás resides in his hometown of L.A. as a writer and author of popular fiction and non-fiction works.  

Resource List

Morbid Magic: Death Spirituality and Culture From Around The World
Our interview with Najah Lightfoot
Corpse Bride (film)
Primitive Mythology (The Masks of God) by Joseph Campbell
The Morrigan by Courtney Weber
Take a Bow (video)
Cool (video)
Santa Muerte
Queer Magic by Tomás Prower
Courtney’s Readings

Episode 18: Finding Your Witch Community. Live at Pagan Pride

“Get out of your head about what’s supposed to happen and get into your life and see what actually happens…”

Oaks Park, Portland, OR

Recorded before a live audience at a VERY rainy Pagan Pride Day at Oaks Park in Portland, OR. We answer questions from audience members and listeners. Questions include: how to find Witchcraft community, how to find a group, what to do when you don’t feel particularly Magickal, suggested resources for intermediate-advanced Witches, and the possibility that certain well-meaning Ancestors might be standing in your Witchy way. Plus, rituals with Kanani’s kids, Hilary’s record plant purchase, and the time Courtney ate soap at a Pagan Pride event.

Resource List

Pagan Pride Network
Annwyn Avalon
Ninefold Festival
Mythic Moons of Avalon
Jenna Greene
Rondo’s Luck Shop
Enchanted of Salem (Laurie Cabot’s store)
Hilary’s Show on 9/22
The Plant Spirit Familiar
Q Meb
The Raven’s Wing Magical Company
Interview with Erika Fortner
Christopher Penczak
Mat Auryn
Chiron Armand
Jason Mankey
Devin Hunter
Modern Witch Podcast
Down at the Crossroads Podcast
New World Witchery
Sons of the Goddess
Sacred Living Movement–Sacred Brotherhood Retreat
Andrea Weston

Episode 17: Good Juju with Najah Lightfoot

“There is more to the world than what we can see.”
We are delighted to be welcoming Najah Lightfoot, author of the new book Good Juju to the show! Najah discusses her journey with including movement into Magick, her love of Disney, how Spirit inspired her to write her book, and offers advice for new witches on getting started on their path. We also discuss “dollar store Magick,” the importance of following intuition, the importance of morning rituals, Magickal journaling, and tips for starting your first altar–including children’s altars–and invoking Magick from a specific natural space when you’re far from it, and how laughter defeats evil! Plus, theft issues between your co-hosts, why To Wong Foo is a great movie for Witches, how Kanani does not play well with others, and Hilary’s history with blood and glitter. Courtney demonstrates how, through crap, we find what we need.

Our Guest Today

Photo by Anthony Camera

Najah Lightfoot is an initiated member of La Source Ancienne Ounfo, a private Vodou society in New Orleans, Louisiana, a sister-priestess of the Divine Feminine, and an active member of the Denver Pagan Community. She keeps her magick strong through the practice of Kung Fu, the folk magick of Hoodoo, Pagan rituals and her belief in the Mysteries of the Universe. She finds inspiration in movies, music, and the blue skies of Colorado. Najah Lightfoot is also a regular contributing author to the Llewellyn Almanac series. Find her online at www.twitter.com/NajahLightfootwww.facebook.com/NajahLightfoot, and www.instagram.com/NajahLightfoot.

Resource List

Good Juju by Najah Lightfoot
Reenactment of trial for Brigid Bishop, Salem, MA
“My Favorite Disney Villain Is My Wife.”
Llewellyn Publications
Grand Canyon Story on NPR
Grimoire of Shadows
Columbia-Willamette Pagan Pride Day
Q Meb
We Are Baked
The Dirty Wiener
KIND (Kids In Need of Defense)
BPSA Scouting

Email us questions, topic suggestions, and more at thatwitchlifepodcast@gmail.com.

Episode 16: The Tarot Gateway with Benebell Wen

Your favorite Witches are talking with Benebell Wen! We explore Tarot as an entree to Witchcraft, drawing Magick from your culture of heritage, and Tarot journaling. Benebell shares her family’s history with Magick and how Tarot can open the door to a Magickal practice. We also discuss context in Magick and tradition and analytical versus inspired power, and the responsibility of being an oracle. Plus, Courtney’s big announcement, the return of Hilary’s screaming goat, performing memorial services with kids, why social media sucks, and how Kanani can’t tell the difference between eggplant and kale.

Our Guest Today

Benebell Wen is the author of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth (North Atlantic Books, 2015) and The Tao of Craft: Fu Talismans and Casting Sigils in the Eastern Esoteric Traditions (North Atlantic Books, 2016). She also created the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck. You can learn more about her work at www.benebellwen.com.

Resource List

Holistic Tarot
Benebell’s Youtube Page
Benebell’s Fabulous Website
The Perfect Doormat

Episode 15: Water Witchcraft with Annwyn Avalon

“Lesbian mermaids forever!!!”

Hooray! Hilary’s back! Kanani gets a second chance to fangirl all over Annwyn Avalon, who joins us to discuss Water Witchcraft. We are talking all about mermaids…including the new Ariel! We also discuss the need for inclusivity in magical art. Annwyn shares with us how to utilize Water Magick, even when you live in a dry place, including the use of the moon and the tides (whether or not you’re close to the coast), “smushing rituals,” Magickal energies of different types of rain, and a plethora of other methods of water Magick. She also discusses water spirits you might not have heard of, including a very different Lady of the Lake. Courtney talks about her recent house-cleansing spell. Kanani talks about being an equal-opportunity plant-killer and how she never reads Courtney’s books. Please keep Hilary’s dog Riley on your healing altars, who is recovering from a serious knee surgery.

Our Guest Today

Photo credit: Luna Dorada

Annwyn Avalon is an initiated Priestess and Witch who’s path focuses on Water and serving the Spirits and Gods/ess that dwell with in. Her focus is on Sacred Wells, Rivers and Lakes but she enjoys time at the Sea Shore as well. She expresses her path through witchcraft, watercolor painting and sacred movement which focuses on devotional and theatrical water themed Belly dance pieces. She is the founder and teacher of Triskele Rose Witch and the 9 month Water Magic Course and is also the author of the book “Water Witchcraft- Water Magic from Celtic Countries” (Weiser 2019)  www.WaterWitchcraft.com

Resource List

Water Witchcraft
Magickally Cleansing Your Home with Damon Stang
Love Spells with Chiron Armand
A Field Guide to Demons
Mami Wata
#notyourariel by Mathias Nordvig
Tides Near Me
Dr. Emoto “What The Bleep Do We Know?” (Water Experiments)
The Fairy Faith
Columbia-Willamette Valley Pagan Pride

Episode 14: Magickally Cleansing Your Home with Damon Stang

“It comes from a super-secret lineage, gurl!”
New York Witch Damon Stang talks to us about highly effective ways to Magickally cleanse your home. He leads us through the steps of cleansing your house thoroughly of negative energies and shares the importance of working with and warding the land as well as the role of cleansing prior to making Magick. Damon also discusses a closeted famous author, the homophobic history within Wicca, the importance of not clinging to perfection, tending altars, and how his mother cured a wart by “kissing it to the moon.” Hilary is not with us today, but Kanani gives us a tour of her personal Magickal space and how she keeps Magick going in own home. Courtney shares her misadventures with a controversial rockstar in the Tarot deck she produced, and the tough feelings that arise when respected people make bad decisions.

Our Guest Today

Damon Stang

Damon Stang is a scholar of comparative folk magic and the cultural significance of ritual in contemporary cultures. He is a practitioner of Traditional European Witchcraft in both the pre Christian and modern lineages. He resides in Brooklyn, New York and is a senior spiritual consultant and diviner at Catland Books. Damon Stang’s work has been covered in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The New York Post, Elle Magazine, and Newsweek Magazine.

Resource List

Marie Kondo
Amy Brown
Tarot of the Boroughs and Tarot for One
Catland Books
Scott Cunningham: Witchcraft Today
The House of Stang
Damon Stang Facebook
Damon Stang Twitter

Damon’s Spell For Cleansing Your Home

During the Bright Hours, the Wayfarer should prepare in both mind and spirit and go wandering in an intentional manner around the furthest boundaries of the area in which they seek access. It is advised to pay attention to such landmarks that present themselves with special characters. Examples of such would be crossroads, both three and four fold, natural bodies of water, churches, abandoned structures, local plants of potency and virtue. Border markers, cemeteries, and of course venerable trees either in solitude or grouped together. On the evening the work is to be undertaken, the Wayfayer should attend to all matters of the home in such a way that they should be found if there was no possibility of return. All things should be cleaned and returned to their proper place. All unfinished tasks should be hidden from sight. A small bag should be prepared containing such things as which that serve the purpose of celebrating and indicating such beings and potentialities which are sought by the cunning and the quick. Such things should be purer and of the land and may include honey, wine, eggs, home baked bread, treasured objects of glass, clay, or metal. The only limit is the practitioner’s imagination and skill. These limits are never failing. If possible, the wayfarer should prepare by bathing in an infusion of birchbark and spring rainwater. The infusion should be boiled for nine minutes at an astrological hour appropriate to the wayfarer’s intent. Birch is a protective tree, but also conveys the virtue of freshness of inner light and liberates the wayfarer from hindrance and opens the ghostly roads. Spiritual bathing must happen by candlelight without the intrusion of soaps or unguents. Packed, bathed, and ready to set forth, the wayfarer should sit without electric light in a room illuminated by a single flame and gaze steadily into its center. At this point, a verse of power may be recited. Damon’s preference: Number 81:81 in the Rood Book Song Index:

How many miles to Babylon?
Three score and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again.
If your heels be nimble,
And your toes be light,
You may get there and back again,
All by candlelight.

Extinguishing the candle, the wayfarer should sit in as much darkness as can be gathered. The darkness should be longed into, yearned into. From the bottoms of the feet, the crown of the head, from behind the eyes, the ears, the palms of the hands. The beating heart, the stomach, the tongue, and all other parts. The spine shall manifest as crossroads indicating both outward and inward. At this point, time shall suspend and something will extend an invitation. The wayfarer shall stand and lead into the darkness to answer the call. The feet shall lead and the hands will know where to offer and when. And so the land is open, and so the land is healed. ~Damon Stang

Episode 13: The Evolution of Witchcraft with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone

We’re recording from Sunfest! Courtney and Kanani interview special guests Janet Farrar and Gavin bone, who discuss the history of working with the words Witch versus Pagan, the evolution of modern Witchcraft through the 80s and 90s. Janet and Gavin share stories about famous Witches Doreen Valiente, Alex Sanders, and Gerald Gardner. Also discussed: the problem with “Sacred Bookism,” putting your leaders on pedestals, and reading rituals off pieces of paper. Janet and Gavin also offer their advice for new Witches and suggestions on evading Witchcraft dogma. Plus, a walk down Kanani’s memory Witch-lane, the problem with time travel, and a bunch of bad Monty Python jokes.

Our Guests Today

Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone are practicing Wiccans (modern witches) and authors who publish books on the subjects of Paganism, Magick and Witchcraft. Prior to the death of Janet’s first husband (Stewart Farrar), Janet and Stewart were recognized as experts on Witchcraft and the Occult, perhaps best known for co-authoring A Witch’s Bible. Gavin joined them in 1993, and has since worked with them on The Pagan Path, The Healing Craft, The Complete Dictionary of European God and Goddesses, and the The Inner Mysteries. Their current work is in the areas of Spiritism and Trance Prophesy, regularly conducting practical workshops in these fields for the Pagan community. Janet is also a professional Tarot Reader and counsellor who has trained in Jungian psychology, and Caballistic training. Gavin is an Empathic Healing Medium, training in spiritual healing in the 1980’s and initiated into three different traditions of Wicca, including Seax-Wica and Alexandrian.   Gavin was also part of the Traditional British Shamanism revival in the UK during the 1980’s. He also works as a Tour Guide taking groups around the ancient sites of Ireland. Janet is registered in Ireland to do legal handfastings (pagan marriages) in the Republic of Ireland by the Pagan Federation Ireland the General Registry Office. Both Janet and Gavin believe that witchcraft is a traditional of healing and self-discovery, as well as an occult practice. It is not dogmatic by nature, but evolves according to culture and circumstance. It is a spirituality, focusing around some of the most ancient of magical practices of mankind.

Resource List

An ABC of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente
The Wiccan Mysteries by Raven Grimassi
Gerald Gardner
Alexandrian Witchcraft
Gardnerian Wicca
The Charge of the Goddess
A Witches’ Bible
Raymond Buckland
Leo Martello
Lifting the Veil by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
The Tao of Pooh
Rachel Pollack

Episode 12: Psychic Powers in Witchcraft with Mat Auryn

Many Witches came to the Craft because of psychic experiences. Can anyone develop psychic ability, or is it something you must be born with? What does it all mean? What do you do when the psychic moments are too much? If you call yourself a psychic, do you have to be accurate ALL of the time? Guest Mat Auryn, author of the forthcoming Psychic Witch, helps answer some of these questions and more. Your favorite Witches also discuss their own psychic experiences. We even get a little political, discussing current leaders and society’s collective shadow and how both have influenced the rise in Witchcraft, today.

Plus, Courtney’s new book is available for pre-order! Also, a reminder to shop local, the worst thing you can say to an author (or singer), Courtney is psychically connected to Kanani’s birth control for whatever reason, and Hilary has better friends than everyone else.

Our Guest Today

Image Credit: Michael LeFleche @chillcatstudio

Mat Auryn is a witch, professional psychic, and occult teacher throughout the New
England. He has been drawn to the occult and metaphysical since an early age, reading
books on witchcraft at eight years old. He is an initiate of Black Rose Witchcraft, The
Cabot-Kent Hermetic Temple, and the Temple of Witchcraft. He is currently a High
Priest in the Sacred Fires Tradition of Witchcraft. Mat has had the honor and privilege of studying under Christopher Penczak, Laurie Cabot, Devin Hunter, Storm Faerywolf, Chas Bogan, Jason Miller, and other prominent witchcraft teachers and elders. He runs the blog For Puck’s Sake on Patheos Pagan and writes the column “Extra Sensory Witchcraft” in Witches & Pagans Magazine. He has been featured in various magazines, radio shows, podcasts, books and other periodicals such as Witch Way Magazine, DisInfo, and The Wild Hunt. To find out more about him and his work visit www.MatAuryn.com.

Resource List

Q Meb (Portland, OR)
Red Wheel Weiser
Black Rose Witchcraft
The Cabot-Kent Hermetic Temple
Temple of Witchcraft
Mat’s blog: For Puck’s Sake
Witch Way Magazine
The Wild Hunt
Silver Ravenwolf
Scott Cunningham
Templefest (NH)
Enchanted of Salem (Salem, MA)

Episode 11: Have You Talked To Your Kids About Ghosts? Plus, Other Things We’ve Been Up To…

I will end you if you touch my goat.”

Subscribe to us! We’re now on ITunes, Spotify, Pocketcasts and Google Play! Let us know what you think–rate us and leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts. Several months into the podcast, we discuss our individual Magickal practices as of late. Courtney talks about her new book (which makes her cry and gives her nightmares), loss, and Magickal messages from mundane things. Hilary discusses running her first 5K, dedicated to her departed uncle. Kanani leads a discussion on when and how to talk to your kids about Magick and ghosts. Plus, more Dairy Queen adventures and a very “special” guest.

Our Guest Today

Hilary’s screaming goat.

Resource List

Courtney’s book: The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might
Alberina Kerr
Q Meb