The House on 7th Street

Wanna hear a ghost story? This is the house of my childhood. It’s a corner house located in a hamlet called Woodlawn in Erie County, New York, just outside the city limits of Buffalo. It doesn’t seem very big now but at the time it seemed cavernous. The upstairs and downstairs were arranged in a way that either level could have been its own small apartment. The second floor (next to the bedroom) held the drawdown doorway to an old, wooden attic. I would describe the attic as “creepy” if it weren’t for the basement, which had a cement floor […]

The Poison Dress

Who doesn’t love an urban legend? Here’s one that’s as creepy as it is mystical. The Poison Prom The story goes that a beautiful young woman set out for prom night wearing an impossibly gorgeous dress that she got for a bargain. It fits perfectly. She cannot believe that she scored this dress, making her prom night dreams come true. As her night of revelry goes on, she starts to feel faint and rushes for the restroom. The next morning, the police find her dead in that very restroom. The cause? Poison by contact. You see, the dress truly was […]

Upcoming Flying Ointment Classes

Posting my recent review of Thomas Hatsis’ The Witches’ Ointment reminded me to post the info for a classes I’m teaching this summer on that very topic. This summer I’ll be doing my Unguentum Sabbati class in two places: at TempleFest in New Hampshire and right here in Washington, DC. Folks familiar with my Flying to the Witches Sabbath Class will feel right at home since this is a deeper dive into a subtopic within that arena: the notorious (and usually poisonous) flying ointment. Here’s the class description: “In the dark of night they meet in a forest clearing. One by […]

Book Review: The Witches’ Ointment – The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic

Title: The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic Author: Thomas Hatsis Rhizome Rating:  4 out of 5 The Witches’ Ointment is a topical book I’ve been hoping someone would write for a very long time. I was apprehensive with my wait because I was hoping that someone would write it with both a solid, scholarly approach as well as a sincere interest in the occult lore of flying ointments and their importance in folkloric witchcraft. I’m glad to report that The Witches’ Ointment  by Thomas Hatsis is a book that’s filled that criteria. This book presents just about everything one […]

A Penny for Poison: How I Coaxed the Mandrake

Those involved with plant sorcery will often talk about relationships. The plants are not mindless tools for our use. They can and do benefit our work in the world, but they do not exist solely to serve us. That is helpful to know when engaging in any type of spirit work, be it work with plants, ancestors, land devas, spirits of weather patterns, or any other number of unseen denizens. I’m glad that this has become a sort of given within the esoteric communities in recent years and it seems like this wisdom is transferring itself from the realm of […]

Welcome to the Poison Garden

I have been fascinated with both magic and poison since childhood. They are both mysterious things that have long been maligned by authority, religion, and power-holders in general. Both are alluring, tempting us to taste forbidden nectar that will leave us forever changed. Both can be quite beautiful on the surface, yet hold sinister secrets within. Magic and poison alike can sicken us and offer cures, sometimes all at once. They present this mingled paradox of holiness and profanity that cannot be divided, despite our best attempts. They offer wisdom, but with a cost. I started growing poisonous plants myself at […]