This Halloween season, as jack-o-lanterns dot front porches across the country, themed treats cram our candy aisles and the familiar cackle of witches on TV conjures notions of black robes and broomsticks, members of the Pagan community at large -- and actual, authentic practitioners of witchcraft -- might be undertaking slightly different preparations for one of the biggest holidays of the calendar year.
As the Pagan calendar begins on Nov. 1, Halloween is tantamount to Pagan New Year’s Eve, explains Stacy Rapp, head witch and owner of Enchantments, New York City’s oldest occult store.
“It was the time when all the souls of the people who had died the year before roamed the earth for one last time before going to rest,” she says, noting that Halloween is a modern designation for Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival. “It is believed to be the night when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is the thinnest.”
Today, such notions might be met with a leering skepticism of sorts. And witches themselves fall prey to countless stereotypes -- that they are evil or ugly or charlatans who purport to make magic with the snap of a finger.
“This is not Harry Potter,” laughs Rapp. “A spell is a tool to help you focus your energy toward a specific goal while asking for help from the universe. It’s not about making things happen. It’s about working with what you have and magnifying the positive things in your life.”
And because magic, at its core, is about setting an intention, anybody can perform a spell, notes Brian Oaster, co-owner of Catland, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based metaphysical boutique. While candles, rocks, oils, incense and other magical paraphernalia aren’t necessary, Oaster says, they tend to serve as psychological aids and ground intentionality into something tangible.
Of course, the path to building the business of your dreams doesn’t lie solely in carved candles, herbal concoctions or ritualistic baths. Even the most fortuitous founders know that entrepreneurship requires sheer guts, painstaking planning and a hell of a lot of hard work.
Nevertheless, if you’re feeling particularly spirited this Halloween season -- as a chill charges the air and the so-called supernatural veil gradually dissipates -- we’ve tracked down a handful of basic spells to help you unblock the negative forces in your life and attract positive change.
Just remember, none of these spells have been scientifically proven -- unlike the irrefutable magic of good old-fashioned hard work.