-I’m gonna go
have my first ever encounter
with a witch. I’ve got everything to learn because I didn’t even know that being a witch was a faith until, like,
yesterday. All I know about witches is
what I’ve learned from movies and “Harry Potter,” the books, even though I’ve only seen
the movies of those. So, just movies.
So, let’s go meet our witch! Do I knock, or is there… Hello? -Hi! -I’m a Muggle. Hello.
-[ Laughs ] -Hi, Zach, come on in. -Okay.
All right, hold on. -I’m Essy. -You don’t look like a witch. -Yeah, I don’t look like
a witch on the TV. -So, how are you?
-I’m good. I’m awesome. -I’m good, too.
It’s so good to meet you. And I notice that you came in
with a guitar. Do you play music?
-Yeah. Yeah, I do.
-What type of stuff do you play? -Well, it’s a big part of my spiritual practice,
actually. I do a lot
of channeling and singing, and I kind of let songs
come through from spirit. -Just, like,
whatever moves you, you play? -Yeah.
-That’s awesome. When I try
and do that, whatever spirit is trying
to come through always sounds like the same,
like, noise. -We’re all open
in different ways. That’s awesome. -So, I’m gonna get
to the faith question. -Okay. -How would you
describe your faith? -I am a Mystic and a witch. I’m not super-big
on words and labels, but those are the ones
I’d be most comfortable with. -A Mystic witch. -A Mystic
and a witch, yeah. -Which is different
from a mystic pizza. -Definitely.
-So, what is a Mystic witch? -A lot of us
who identify as witches, I think —
First of all, we’re a huge pantheon of all different kinds
of people. And we all might disagree on what a witch
is or what a Mystic is, but when it comes down to it is
we’re very self-defining. -What does it mean to be
a witch to you? -It means
when I was really young, I felt a sort of
freakish connection with nature. I collected crystals,
and I made up songs. It was how I sort of processed
my relationship with the world. And that,
throughout my life, has evolved into a knowledge that we all carry wisdom, and some of it is really old. And I work
with ancestral magics, with old songs and old stories
that want to come through. So, I’m gonna do a little bit of calling in some sound
and channeling, and we’ll see
what happens because I never know
what’s gonna happen. [music] This city light [music] [music] It’s ice,
ice and fire [music] [music] This city light [music] [music] It’s ice,
ice and fire [music] [music] Ice and fire [music] [music] Serve us fine [music] -When you were younger,
like, what — what age are we
talking about here, when you started doing
your first songs? -Tiny.
-Tiny. The tiny age.
The very small age. -Tiny.
Like 4 and 5. -So, what were
these first tunes about? -You know, I always felt a lot
of compassion for earth creatures, and, you know, I wasn’t
afraid of bugs. I talked to bugs, you know? I was terrified of spiders
as a little kid, and so I spent hours and hours meditating with them
and spending time with them because I wanted
to understand them. -Is that at the core
of your Mystic belief — is the oneness
of nature and animals? -It is so much more
complex than that. -Sorry.
-Yes, absolutely. Yes, and. When you say, “Is that a oneness with nature? Is that the core of things?”
That’s a piece. That’s the physical world.
That’s the world that we can interact with
with great ease, right? It’s pretty easy to go for
a walk in the woods. It’s easy to put your hands
down into the earth, if you’re willing
to get a little dirty. What’s not easy is communing
with your ancestors — is reaching back
and feeling and knowing where you’ve come from. And that’s a lot of the work
we do, as well, which is not as tangible. It’s not as physical. -What are we gonna
be experiencing tonight? -We’re just gonna do
a little bit of ritual practice. I might do some singing. I’m not sure
how many people are here. It is hard to get witches
in front of a camera sometimes. Especially to say,
“We’re gonna do ritual in front of a camera.”
People are like, “But why?” -Is it because you guys are still upset
about “Hocus Pocus”? ‘Cause I was not — That doesn’t seem
like a fair representation now that I’ve met
an actual witch. -Oh, my God. You’re so funny.
-It’s very, very different. -That is so funny.
So, we are here just to gather and do a really simple ritual and have Zach hang out
with us in this new experience and do ritual with us. So, that’s really exciting. So, I’m gonna invite in some of
our elemental energies. This candle here is
for the North, for the earth. One of my favorite ways
to welcome the earth is to do a little of this.
[ Grunts ] Say, “Welcome, earth!” -Welcome, earth!
-Welcome, earth! -[ Howls ] -What would you say it was about this particular walk
in faith with magic and mysticism that spoke to you more than any other religion? -I started out really young. I naturally had faith. So, when people said,
you know, “Here’s God and here’s Christianity,”
I bought into it, but I never bought
into the mainstream, wholesale, corporate Christianity.
I hate to say that. There’s so many
amazing tools out there, and I guess I
like my pagan community. I mean, honestly,
above all else, we’re just really not
that serious, and we’re really funny. So, our next friend
that we can welcome is air. Do you want to light
this one here? Awesome. So, air is all about
our thoughts and our emotions. And one of my favorite,
favorite ways to call in the air is to make bird sounds. [ All whistling, cawing ] [ Laughs ] -Can I ask — Just because when I think of, you know, pagans, because I’m uninformed
and uneducated, I tend to think of, you know, ritual sacrifice,
doing those sorts of things. Is that ever part of it? I’ve watched a lot of movies. -Some of us hunt and eat our
food, you know, with our hands. And I think there’s a common — There’s a feeling
in pagan community about, you know, “If I can’t
look at it in its eyes and thank it for its life,
then I don’t want to eat it.” That is ritual.
That is sacrifice. Looking at an animal
and saying, “I love you, and I’m blessing your life,
and I’m grateful for the energy that you’re gonna
bring into my body to nourish me and nourish my family
and those that I love.” So, my favorite thing
to call is above because we are stardust. You know, if you think of the world
in terms of science, everything was once
something else, and all of this at one point
either was or will be stardust, including our bodies. We are many things. Honoring
those contradictions and living in a way that says that we can contradict
ourselves, we can change our minds, we can, you know, be exactly as we are
in the moment, it’s just reality to us. It’s saying, you know, “I want to know you
where you are. I don’t want to know you
where you’re pretending to be or where you were yesterday.” -What has been
the most meaningful thing to come out of one
of these rituals for you? -Honestly, for me,
it’s just a lot of watching people let go of really heavy stuff
that they’re carrying. Like, seeing somebody
who is always so quiet and reserved suddenly, like, go out and just scream
at the stars and just like, “I’m done with this!” you know? Honestly, it’s
a rare human gift. It’s really beautiful
and really special. I really always feel so grateful when I get to see people
moved through stuff like that. -Probably won’t happen
with cameras and sound guys in the way.
-No. No, it’s really different. And there’s only so much — Like, only so much
of a container we can create in this way, but I’m really excited
that we can do this just to show people, like, you know,
witches aren’t scary. Like I said before, there’s so
many different kinds of witches and so many different ways
we work in the world. But insofar as I know my witches and my communities, we’re kind of just people who are willing
to go really deep and people who really are deep
in the practice of loving each other
in community. -So, I just had
a really peaceful time with a witch and a circle of cool people that I’ve never met before. And I did not expect a witch
to be so calm and connected with the universe. There’s always something
that’s in me that struggles with, you know, like, how genuine can I be and how much of a comedian
do I have to be? And Essy has this very welcoming, genuine personality that makes you just
feel more at ease than I would have been, you know, making bird noises. And the fact
that she can just sing on a whim about whatever — She’s
the Wayne Brady of witches. So, kudos to her for being
a really good witch. I would need a ritual
to get down from these stairs. Seriously, guys.
I don’t have a joke. We’re just stuck here
at the top of these steps. See, this is
where the broomstick thing would actually be helpful
if it were true.