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Hex Advice, Coven to Coven

Hex Advice, Coven To Coven
By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 3, 2003; Page C04

New Witch is a magazine for your young, hip new breed of witches. That explains the subtitle, which is "not your mother's broomstick."

Your young, hip witch has needs that her mother didn't have. For instance, she needs to know what to do with her computer when she's busy casting spells. And New Witch provides that information, in capital letters when necessary.

"TURN THE COMPUTER OFF COMPLETELY WHEN YOU ARE WORKING MAGIC," the Rev. Galina Krasskova writes in New Witch's spring issue. "I cannot emphasize this enough. I've had friends who have had their computers completely crash due to simple energy overload when they inadvertently left them on while doing spellwork."

Krasskova also suggests that a witch should name her computer and talk to it in a soothing, friendly manner. This is because vaettir, which are "nature spirits," can take up residence in your hard drive.

"Do not curse, yell, smack or otherwise vent your anger on your computer," she writes. "Most vaettir are extremely sensitive to emotions."

If you do curse at your computer -- and even the most even-tempered witch sometimes does -- you can clean away the bad energy by shaking a coffee can full of coins around the computer. Or, better yet, you can bless the machine.

"Simply put your hands on the computer," Krasskova suggests, "and bless it in the name of your patron Goddess or God."

Skeptics might scoff at Krasskova's advice but she is an eminently qualified expert. We know this from the italicized identification that runs at the bottom of her column:

Rev. Galina Krasskova is currently gythia of Urdabrunnr Kindred in New York and has been a dedicated Odinswoman, practicing seidhrkona and would be ju-ju woman for close to a decade.

Most of the writers in New Witch are equally qualified. Linda Bellaluna, whose "WitchCrafting" column reveals how to make magic candles, is "a priestess initiate in the Sisterhood of the Silver Branch." And LaSara FireFox, who writes the "Sexy Witch" column, offers workshops on flirtation and runs a Web site called one-sexy-mama.com. Her sex advice for spring is pretty straightforward:

"This is an appropriate time for flighty, flirty, innocent and playful couplings," she writes. "There's nothing like new love with a sweet stranger to really get you in mood of the flowers and the trees, the birds and the bees. Everything is rising and buzzing. Why not you?"

New Witch was launched last fall by the folks who publish the "three largest goddess/pagan/wicca magazines" in America, says Anne Newkirk Niven, who is one of those folks. The other is her husband, Alan Niven.

The Nivens, who consider themselves witches, publish SageWoman, a 17-year-old magazine devoted to "women's spirituality," as well as PanGaia, founded in 1996 as "a pagan journal for thinking people" and the Blessed Bee, a newsletter for pagan families with children.

All are quarterlies, and their readers -- who number about 25,000 for all three combined -- tend to be middle-aged women. So the Nivens decided to create a magazine that would attract the 18-to-34-year-old audience. One way to do that, Anne Niven says, is to be hipper and sexier than her other magazines. Another way is to use what she calls "the W-word" in the title.

"Hey, face it," she says. "It's a hot word."

In fact, it was too hot for one natural food store chain -- she won't say which -- that carries her other magazines but refuses to stock anything bearing the W-word. Borders bookstores carry the magazine, though. New Witch is selling nearly 10,000 copies an issue and growing steadily.

The spring issue contains advice on how to use "psychic self-defense" against a "psychic vampire." Plus reviews of pagan books and CDs that are rated on the broomstick scale: One broomstick means "awful," five are "wicked good."

There's also an essay by a scribe with a unique literary problem: She's trying to write a children's book about a young witch but finds that whatever she types comes out porn.

"Help! My muse is turning into a sex fiend," writes Nicole J. Leboeuf. "I can't seem to write anything but porn."

I hate when that happens.

The ads are just as odd. They offer everything from witch underwear to "poison rings" to "pagan virtual greeting cards." There's also an ad for a West Virginia "Witch Camp" whose mailing address is in Wheaton.

Witches in Wheaton? Who'd have thunk it?

Read the article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5718-2003Jun2.html

(Stolen from Paul.)

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