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Suburban Witchcraft Update

So, right now right-wing America is coming to terms with the fact that the great shite hope of ludicrous, incandescent Christian politics - Christine O'Donnell of the Tea Party - used to be a witch. Well, if she didn't used to be a witch, she used to make out with witches on Satanic alters. Considering that she believes having a wank is a passport to hell, heavy petting with the Devil's henchmen must be a pretty serious sin.


This is the video of her confession.

But then suburban witchcraft isn't that weird is it? A couple of Halloweens ago I took a train to suburban London to go hang out with a load of druids. The main thing I learned was that druids today are mostly semi-bald forestry workers, therapists, and lonely vets. I had to meet them all the night before Halloween to be briefed on the rites and for a little "get to know you" session before I could be included in the ceremonies.

At the pub, where we met, the leader of the group was wearing a witch’s hat. Another guy seemed to be dressed as a pirate. Either he was misled, or an idiot. The "moot" (that’s what druids call having a few shandies) consisted of me sitting through an hour while they prattled about internet connections and one woman’s efforts to baby-proof her kitchen.

The next night I arrived at the pub and was ferried in a Land Rover to the woods nearby. We walked into the darkness of an old hill fort and took position around a metal picnic table, (altar). Then the rite began. I hadn’t told anyone that I worked for a magazine, so I had to take photos secretly without flash, which is why they look so shitty.

It was not the unspoiled mystic setting I had envisioned. The table was covered with crappy graffiti, though they tried to ignore this by throwing a black satin sheet on it. On top of that they placed candles, a ceremonial dagger, a bread knife, a pretty cool loaf of bread with a pentagram on it, and a tacky mini cauldron full of lighter fluid.


They positioned lanterns at the four compass points and we formed a circle around the altar. The ring leader then sealed the circle by wandering around it while talking about forest spirits. I'd expected the voice of a pagan priest practicing witchcraft to be an lucid, carnal, Satanic boom - not the limp nasal whining of a lonely virgin. That kind of fucked up my efforts to get into the mood.

We focused the ritual on the apples we’d brought. The druids cut them in half with the bread knife and we were all told to think  the spirits of our recently deceased loved ones, or even pets, into them. We carefully put them in a basket that still had a shopping tag on it and with our spirit-imbued apples safely nestled, we did some Awen chanting. This involves chanting "Awen" very slowly for a few minutes. Once the chanting died down the ring leader said, "I don’t know about you guys, but I really felt that. It was very powerful." I didn’t think so, but as I said, I had totally failed to get in the swing of it all.

With the ritual nearly over we all moved away from the altar to a pre-dug pit in an even darker corner of the picnic site. We stood around this gravely hole and listened to another speech about reverence for the forest before the apple halves were dumped into the pit. Then it was time to fill the pit. The dude shoveling the dirt was wearing one of those puffy shirts that lace up at the chest—like the old Man U shirts from the 90s.

Anyway, that is what druids do. It’s pretty boring, like a slightly occult PTA meeting. Cool bread though…