Magic Spells

Halifax witches gather for love spells

A witchcraft shop hosted its first magic-spell workshop focused on love

Six people gathered around a table with stones, star-shaped lanterns, candles and heart-shaped candies and chocolates.  Following guidance about the use of herbs and stones, candles with “love spells,” they touched, sniffed, blended the material on the table over conversation.

“Anything coming from your good intention and energy can be magic,” said Pamela McInnis, owner of the Halifax witchcraft shop  Neighbourhood Witch General Store. “For example, when you cook something for someone with love, that can produce a good energy.”

Pamela McInnis organized the Love Magick workshop at her shop, Neighbourhood Witches General Store
Pamela McInnis organized the Love Magick workshop at her shop, Neighbourhood Witches General Store   Lisa Takagi

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, McInnis had her first spell-casting workshop “Love Magick” at the store last week.  

“I wanted to start a magical series,” said McInnis. “Since it’s February and getting close to St. Valentine’s Day, I felt like love magic would be in perfect timing.”

In the middle, McInnis put blended rose petals, herbs and essential oils into a cauldron, in a ritual to create  Love Potion #9. As she added burning charcoal to the mixture and started to stir with a wooden spoon, smoke with a sweet scent filled the air.

Dozens of different types of stones and herbs were available at the Love Magick workshop.
Dozens of different types of stones and herbs were available at the Love Magick workshop.   Lisa Takagi

Tammy Dhooge, one of the people in attendance, said she was excited when she learned about the event.

“I’ve been working magic on my own for some time, but I was interested in learning what Pam had to share,” said Dhooge. “And I love meeting new people.”

Community space for witches

McInnis opened her shop last fall on Queen Street. In January, she opened another space in the same floor of the building to enable people to gather and to communicate.

Before Neighbourhood Witch, Halifax had a spiritual book shop Little Mysteries on Barrington Street, which closed in 2014.  McInnis, who used to work at the book shop, says it attracted local witches and people interested in spiritual culture.

McInnis said “witch” is a person who’s deeply connected with energy in nature, and who can use the energy to help people.  

In the 2011 National Household Survey, 1,035 people in Nova Scotia described themselves as Pagan, including 385 people calling themselves Wiccan.  Today, many of them form online communities in social media like Facebook.  

Ashes from the ritual will be blended with black salt and remade into another effective “witch protection.”
Ashes from the ritual will be blended with black salt and remade into another effective “witch protection.”   Lisa Takagi

“There’s a big umbrella covering so many types of witches,”  said McInnis. “But it’s all about healing.”

“It’s nice to be physically in the space with other people and talking, learning together, sharing energy together,” she said.

McInnis also said she still experiences stigma against witches, despite there being nothing evil about it. That’s why she thought creating a space to communicate would be a good support for the community.

Dhooge agreed about the importance of such workshops in a closed space.

“It’s a safe environment to learn and to meet others face to face,”  she said.

“There are still folks out there that believe a pentacle is the sign of the devil,” said Dhooge.  “You should never say that to a witch…by the way…witches don’t believe in Satan.”

Meetings and learnings

McInnis also have other people hosting  spiritual workshops at her store.  

Chelsea Hunter, who considers herself “more spiritual,” rather than calling herself a witch, said she appreciates variety of access to different types of knowledge.

Using their senses, people enjoyed mixing herbs and blended oils.
Using their senses, people enjoyed mixing herbs and blended oils.   Lisa Takagi

“I was excited for the workshop and really enjoyed the workshop,“ said Hunter. “I always like to learn different ways to work with the universe.”

With an open attitude, McInnis said she welcomes people into the workshops.

“It definitely gives access to information and a bit of a community feeling for people who are just getting started,” she said.

“I look forward to meeting and sharing time with new people,” said Dhooge.  “And possibly even make new friendships with like-minded people.”