Happy Halloween! It’s spooky season, and with spooky season comes all our favourite movies about witches (anyone else a Twitches fan?). This week’s episode is for all of you that want to know why witches aren’t just all spooky pointy hats and old ugly villains trying to steal your youth. Come listen to Jacqueline and Rachel interview their first practitioner, Meghan O’Sullivan, about her beliefs and experiences surrounding witchcraft. Meghan tells what a modern witch looks like to her, some of her favourite witchy books, movies, and tv shows, and then astrologically profiles the hosts!
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Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of Nearly Numinous hosted by Jacqueline and Rachel. Today is our first practitioner episode. This episode is a bit different than the ones we’ve done before, as it will focus less on academics and more on personal experience.
We have a special guest, Meghan O’Sullivan, who is here to talk to us about witchcraft. So Rachel, I’ll let you introduce Meghan.
Meghan is an old friend and housemate of mine who I met because she was my little froshy at Queen’s. And how long has it been now? Five, six years?
Meghan O’Sullivan 0:53
I feel like yeah, five, six years.
Yeah. And the rest is history. We decided to have Meghan on the podcast today, or we decided to ask Meghan on the podcast today, because she has experience with witchcraft and she also has a degree in religious studies, so that’s the perfect intersection for the show.
Meghan O’Sullivan 1:16
Thank you for inviting me. I’m quite honoured. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about this from a practitioner’s point of view. I haven’t done this yet. So I’m quite excited.
I’m excited, too. So for our listeners who aren’t familiar with witchcraft, could you give a bit of a description about what it is?
Meghan O’Sullivan 1:37
All right. Um, so witchcraft is a pretty loaded term. And there’s a lot of connotations to it. But for me personally, it’s my faith. It’s my way of conceptualizing how the world works. And it’s something that I’ve been very drawn to. A way that people kind of see witchcraft in the 21st century can be through a religious point of view with a lot of new spiritual movements like Neopaganism, Wicca, witchcraft. These terms are not mutually exclusive. There’s tons of different types of witchcraft, types of pagan, types of witches, types of people. So what’s really nice about it is the term kind of allows you to open up and take what you want from it. And I have to stress that a lot because not all witches are Wiccan, not all Wiccans are witches, not all new pagans are Wiccans, etc. So you can, it’s really what it means to you. And for me, personally, witchcraft is a way to give back my power. And it’s a lot of fun to kind of take back your power in a very feminine way, but also take, have a relationship with nature and the world around you.
And is “witch” the term that you identify with, not Wiccan or Neopagan?
Meghan O’Sullivan 3:10
Yes, I’m a witch. That’s so fun to say sometimes. Not, Neopagan is a bit more of like a traditional mindset, whereas my faith and my beliefs kind of having more 21st-century translation into it, because that is the time period I live in. So the way that I kind of bring witchcraft into my life is I am very attuned to the world around me. It’s a very cyclical type of religion. So taking into account the phases of the moon, the phases of the seasons, and the phases of life in general. And it’s, it’s a fun way to connect your sense of being to your environment, which I feel is kind of lost. And it kind of, like lost in the 21st century with, you know, capitalism and a lot of exploitative ways that we interact with our world. So it brings, it brings you back to the core.
So what, what first got you interested in witchcraft?
Meghan O’Sullivan 4:25
I’ve kind of, I think I’ve been a witch ever since I came out of the womb, essentially. I’ve always been drawn ever since I was a little too like, witches in movies, witches in books. I just love the aesthetic. Like my favourite movie when I was a kid was Kiki’s Delivery Service. I was like crazy Harry Potter girl. You know, I actually broke a VHS of the Philosopher’s Stone when I was three years old as I watched it. Yeah. I am like, it’s just kind of always been a part of me. I drew myself as a witch as a little girl a lot. I even, when I was six years old, I begged my parents for a black cat and we got one. His name’s Pippin. He was my buddy for 13 years. And I also kind of was born into it, as well, like what you can, I guess you could consider, I consider myself a hereditary witch in the sense that I had a witchy mentor growing up and to kind of introduce me to this aspect. I had a matriarchal figure, my aunt, and she was, she’s so cool and I always really admired her. And I still do because she just had this presence and this sort of magical allure, and I was like, Why, Why is she so powerful? Why, like, what is it about her, she always wore, like, long flowy gowns and read tarot cards and just kind of commanded the presence in the room. And that I guess, that archetype of the witch really drew me in, and I was able to kind of translate that and find my own power and my sense of self. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to kind of explore it as much in my childhood/teenage years, because I did go to a Catholic High School. And we know the relationships between Catholics and witches. So that was kind of, you know, put aside, but I was able to explore it and start my journey, I would say, in 11th grade when I did a project on witchcraft that I had to get very special permission to, from, permission to do it actually, sorry. And it just kind of exploded from there. And then once I was able to kind of go into my early 20s, and make decisions on my own in my spirituality. And through my religious studies degree, it just kind of exploded, and I was able to embrace it a lot more. So. Yeah, I mean, like, witches are cool, and I want to be cool.
You mentioned your aunt. That raises a question for me that I’ve always wondered, I think a lot of other people have wondered: is witchcraft a solitary or like a group practice? Can you do either/or? Did you practice with your aunt?
Meghan O’Sullivan 7:26
So, um, witchcraft is, it’s really, in the modern sense, it can be whatever you want it to be, and that really attracts me to this faith. In a sense, I don’t do well with rules. And so traditional religions and all of their customs and rules seem a bit suffocating. So it’s really nice with this, I’m able to make it what I want to be. There are witches who definitely practice together. And there’s a lot of power in numbers, which is nice, and women getting together and you know, taking back their power in that sense is great. And that would be like a coven situation. Me personally, I work alone. My faith and my spirituality has been a very solitary practice. So I would be considered a solitary witch. Um, I kind of, I never really practiced with my aunt, but she was the one who was able to pass down the wisdom and the knowledge and the traditions to help me formulate my own path. I would be open to it, I’d love to join a coven. But so far it’s been by myself.
Are there any particular holidays that you observe or any practices that you partake in?
Meghan O’Sullivan 8:42
Yeah, and so there, so for my conceptualization, and what I follow is a, it’s found predominantly in the Wiccan faith. We have this thing called like the Wheel of the Year. And it emphasizes the really big, like cyclical nature of this faith and the cyclical nature of the earth. So a lot of our practices are earth-based and attuned to the environment around us, like I said. So for me, I follow the Wheel of the Year, and there’s about eight different points in the year and which would be like they would be kind of the fabric, I guess. And they all kind of have their own little, I would say personality because it links to kind of the way that we conceptualize Mother Earth. The way I see the earth as she goes through her three cycles of the year, starting out in the spring when she’s the Maiden; the summer, the Mother when all the fruits of the harvest and like ready to produce and ready to have that feminine sort of creative energy; and then there’s the Crone which is the older woman, and that’s the winter. So each of the different Sabbaths of the year kind of point to a different phase of her life. And there’s a lot of different ways you can celebrate these. They all are kind of attuned to be like, the solstices and the equinoxes. So like the summer and winter solstice, the first day of spring, first day of fall. Then there’s a couple of little ones and in between, that helps sort of reflect your own personal journeys. And you can, you know, do whatever you want with them, essentially. You can have big feasts from the summer solstice, you can run around in the flowers and in the sun, you can have a yule log at Yule. It really is up to you, and how you’re feeling in the moment. I like to, I like to have food, I like to make food on these, these holidays. So stuff like fruits and vegetables, or like foods that are in season are really, really good. But they’re a lot of fun. And you know what, it’s pretty forgiving. So if you forget, or if you’re not prepared, don’t worry about it, you can probably just, you know, take time to reflect on those days, or you can go full out. And that’s what I really liked about this faith is it gives you a lot of leeway.
I really like that, it’s like it’s up to you and how you can be authentic to you and your own practice. You can kind of take what you want from it.
Meghan O’Sullivan 11:31
Yeah, it’s really nice because it’s eclectic, and embracing knowledges and truths from sort of every type of I guess witchcraft movement is good. Be very, like careful with what you choose. Because some practices, you can do your research, if you’re especially going to venture off into other sort of, I don’t want to say like race faith, but sort of other different cultures’ faith. So if you’re going to be able to do that, if you’re going to do that, do your research, some practices are closed, like sage, white sage is a closed practice. Do not buy white sage! That is, this is closed practice! So you can kind of modify it. And if you’re going to go down that route, I would say very much first do research into your, your own cultural, pre-Christian tradition. So for me, that would be Celtic and Irish traditions. And then if you want to venture off into other ones, do your research, and you can incorporate those into your faith as well. So yeah, it’s pretty cool. You can do whatever you want with it. As long as you harm none. A big, there is a Wiccan creed. And I do, this is what I was taught when I was first going into my practice, is that, do whatever you want, do whatever is good for you, as long as it harms nobody. So that’s a kind of, it’s got a nice karmic twist to it. So you can do your spells, you can do your manifestations, you can do anything in your life, as long as it doesn’t affect anybody else. So that would include curses, or hexes. That’s imposing will onto other people. And I believe that whatever you put out into the universe will come back to you either three times the magnitude or three times, like consecutively. You know, go ahead and curse that person but be warned, you know, you might be, you might be getting what you dish out. And that was really, really honed in and basically beaten into my head as a young kid.
One of the things that I’m interested in learning about more, because of my research in eco-spirituality is about how witches and witchcraft interacts with the environment and ecology. So I would love it if you could speak on that a little bit more.
Meghan O’Sullivan 14:13
Yeah, absolutely! Um, so what is, what I have found in my spiritual journey a lot is a lot of these movements that that go back to pre-Christian traditions are very in tune to the land. And for me, personally, I am a person who just gravitates towards being outdoors. I’m very active person, a lot of my jobs, a lot of my hobbies have always been outdoors in nature, and it’s where I have always felt a sense of calm, a sense of solace, and a sense of purpose is the natural world around me. I have been very, you know, concerned with ecological activism ever since I was small, I could see the impact of humans on the environment. And it’s always just kind of been a thorn in my side, seeing the way that we treat the earth. And what’s nice about witchcraft and what sort of lured me to it is the fact that we worship the ground and the space around us. Because if you think about it, the world is, our Earth is as amazing as possible. And if the fact that it can support and create life, and all of it can be in harmony and union with each other when done, right. I just don’t see how that couldn’t create a sense of awe and mysticism, and just fascination. So a lot of the witchcraft movements, like, the Wiccan witchcraft movements are, since we do worship the earth, it’s naturally, a lot of witches are naturally inclined towards eco-activism. And, you know, taking care of the earth that we, we step on, because it is our Creator, for all sorts of purposes. Literally, you are made, the atoms and particles inside your body are the stuff that are the beautiful stars in our night sky are made up of as well. So if you take that point of view, we are the earth. So we need to take care of it. But we are also one with the earth. And we are the same thing of it. So it just made sense for me to find a sense of spirituality, a sense of purpose in life, a sense of why are we on this earth, because we are a part of this earth. And I just, the earth is so pretty, we need to take care of Mama Earth, we’ve been so mean to her for so long.
Meghan O’Sullivan 17:01
Yeah, and a lot of a lot of the rituals and a lot of the mechanisms in which we express our faith have to do with the elements of the earth. Literally burying tinctures into the ground, create your manifestations into fruition is a huge thing. You know, saying thank you to the sun and the stars for allowing time for rest, and then waking you up in the morning and just taking time to breathe in fresh mountain air and really go back to where you came from, from all the distractions of 21st-century capitalist, you know, modernization and the concrete jungles that we live in. I find myself, if I get really, really overwhelmed with whatever’s going on in the world, like all the news updates, and social media, all of, you know, what day to day bustle of information, the technological age, if I get really overwhelmed by that, which happens a lot, I just retreat back into nature. And it’s hard to describe the sense of zen the sense of fulfillment, the sense of like, awe that I get being in nature. And I’ve just felt that that has been, that’s like the only true form of magic that we can find is in nature. So I’ve always just felt a very good connection and a lot of witches feel the same way as well. And so yeah, and the other big sort of form, like leading into that is that, not necessarily gender, but sort of male and female energies do exist in the universe. And I’ve seen it no matter what you present as, what you were born as, you can identify with this sort of Yin and Yang energy. And Mama Earth, she’s got the feminine energy she is, literally the woman, the female energy, the female body creates out of nothing. And if that’s not magical, I don’t know what else is. And our Earth has been doing that for as long as it’s been around, it’s been able to create so many different like diverse species, diverse plants, all out of seemingly nothing. So the earth itself has a very feminine energy, but unfortunately, with capitalism with patriarchy, with heteronormativity, we’ve been kind of destroying her and having an imbalance of the male and female energy. All the fires that have been happening, a lot of hustle and bustle of hustle culture, could arguably be very male. So what’s nice about witchcraft is it brings back the emphasis on the balance of both. And inherently, witchcraft is a very feminist movement, and I am a hardcore feminist. So I think it really, you know, really links in with that.
Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed in spiritualities, and religions across the world there is this really strong connection between the feminine energy and nature. It’s really cool to see that that is true for witchcraft as well.
Meghan O’Sullivan 20:33
Yeah, exactly. And with witchcraft, like you, really the history of the term “witch” cannot be separated from the modern movement, and I think that it’s a very pivotal time to be a witch, because we’re seeing the impacts and we’re seeing the detriments that unfortunately, the structure of our society has created.
There’s a long history of witches in which witches have been portrayed as participating in dark magic. And this has resulted in as we know, the persecution of witches, most often female, in the European witch trials, for example. Would you like to talk a bit about that history and the importance it has been on the development of witchcraft that, that you practice?
Meghan O’Sullivan 21:25
Yeah, absolutely. So if we look at the witch that’s been portrayed, sort of modern recently, and the witch that everybody knows, she’s got many faces, and it depends on you know, who and where she’s coming from. The witch is most at its core, the witch is an unapologetic woman, is a woman who is in her power and who has a sense of self that intimidates those around her. Matriarchal, so we’ve had a lot of matriarchal societies and throughout history and powerful women have been found everywhere. But unfortunately, the witch sort of became an archetype in the patriarchal systems that Catholicism and other, you know, religions came in through colonialism and when the world was kind of switching to a more capitalist, you know, male-dominated society. And this is where we find women of power, women of agency and women of wisdom, didn’t have a clear like, they don’t have a place in a society run by those structures. So the term “witch” was very much used as a weapon against a woman who threatened any of the structures, or any of the facets of these structures, a woman who doesn’t need the authority of a man, a woman who is knowledgeable in her own sense of self, a woman who is knowledgeable in the world around her, who has the secrets and the mysticism, the way of life. But if we’re living in a society that, you know, is pressing, maybe Catholic doctrine, any other form of knowledge is unacceptable. And that is when that term can be used as a weapon. And unfortunately, due to patriarchal systems, a lot of the women, a lot of the victims of the witch, the term witch, have been women, and it was, you know, it’s, it just breaks my heart because we don’t know, a definite number of how many women have died due to that accusation. But it’s huge. And it’s been seen predominantly in European witch trials and the witch trial in Salem, but there’s kind of been a form of it everywhere. So the history of the witch, the witch is a loaded term and has been a loaded term for a really long time. It’s been used as a weapon against a powerful, knowledgeable, wise woman who has a sense of agency. But I think what’s really cool is that modern witchcraft movements are reclaiming that title. And, you know, magic and spirituality aside from a feminist point of view, being called a witch means that you’re a woman who is unapologetically herself. And I love this quote, there’s I don’t know where it’s from, but the biggest threat to the patriarchy is a witch, a slut, and a feminist. And the women who like to follow, you know, modern witchcraft movements, at least the ones that I surrounded myself with really atone to that. So being a witch now is, calling yourself a witch now, would be honestly just taking back your power, and it just pains me to hear that, you know, so many women, because the term has been a very feminine term, have died because of being called a witch. And the fact that a woman with such, you know, power can cause, you know, such insecurities and such threat is, is quite cool. So, being able to take back that term from a very bloody, sad history is kind of, is my ode, my modern ode to feminism. And, you know, the, some definitions of the witch, you know, portray her as an old hag who’s something to be feared of, who has ill intent. But another little definition of her is a mysterious, alluring woman who has been a temptress, who tempts the male sex, and so she’s not all that bad, you know, some, she’s got a very attractive quality to her as well and attractive power. And it’s nice to kind of take that back, essentially, to be that sexy wish that everybody wants to have around.
Historically, compared to how we’ve tended to view witches, as evil or troublemakers, that sort of thing. It seems like these days that people have a better view of them. I mean, you see them in TV, you see them in movies, and books and all that. Do you think that there’s overall a better understanding of what witchcraft is? And do you think it’s, it’s made a positive impact on society?
Meghan O’Sullivan 27:21
I would really hope that it does. I, I still feel as though being called a witch is, so loaded term, like, first of all, sometimes it’s like, it’s not taken seriously. You know, they say, Oh, I’m a witch. And every, some people, some people tend to be very interested in it. And other people are like, “Oh, haha, she just was obsessed with Harry Potter as a kid. She thinks that she can twiddle her fingers and like sparks will come out.” But it’s, I think the positive impact it could have is just allowing those who have been marginalized by the system that we live in to kind of gain back a power in a very countercultural way. A lot of the witchcraft movements, like the modern witchcraft movements, like with Gerald Gardner, and Alexandrian witches, did kind of come into fruition in the 60s, back when, you know, civil rights movements were coming out. So they all have a very impactful social impact, which itself is very inherent in that way. But I would, I would love for maybe a bit more exposure to what a witch could be. I think it could be very impactful, especially with the ecological framework that it can bring, as well as the feminist point of view, but the fact that it has an association with a supposedly mythical creature, a creature of fantasy, it may not be taken as seriously because they’re like, “Oh, magic’s not real.” I beg to differ. Everyone’s got a little bit of magic in themselves. And just because I can’t move something from across the room doesn’t mean I don’t have the power and the will to make stuff happen in my own real life. The aspects that I wish could be brought into the general public more from witchcraft would be a sense of agency, a sense of self. The confidence did unapologetically Be yourself, but also, the ecological teachings and your relationship with the ground itself would be a great sort of facet of the religion to be brought into the mainstream, which I hope will gain popularity in the foreseeable future.
So Meghan, what does a modern witch look like? What, like what are her daily practices?
Meghan O’Sullivan 30:04
I love this question. Um, so modern witches can come in all shapes and sizes, and colours, different heights, different genders and everything. It’s really like what you feel to your core. So for myself my modern sort of daily life as a witch is just little, can count like little things and big things. For a little thing that I do every day would be putting the spices in my cup of coffee. I put nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon in my coffee every day. And they, I kind of put little intentions of what I want to bring my, bring into my day, through that little morning ritual. Cinnamon has to do with luck, nutmeg has to do with connection and harmony, and cardamom just tastes really, really good. And fun fact, though, those spices that have to do with autumn, you know, sort of the pumpkin spice spices all kind of have a spiritual, a magical meaning of warding off evil. So if anybody that says that they don’t like pumpkin spice, I think the spice isn’t working. So like that’s just like a little thing, or going for a walk in nature. I live in Montreal, and we have the Mount, like the big Mount Royal Park. And if I really want to kind of connect with the spirit and sort of go to my own “church,” I’ll just take a huge hike up in the mountain, look at the colours, look at how the seasons are changing and noticing what’s different. Also, to bring witchcraft in, like your daily life is just unapologetically being yourself. And if that means walking down the street with like, badass witchy makeup, black lipstick, awesome, like shoes, and dressing nicely, that’s also a whole lot of fun. I love to dress up witchy. You guys are catching me in a great month, because the month of October, I got a witch outfit for every day of October, so that’s a lot of fun. And as well as kind of like to, taking account the moon cycles, I really like to work with the moon in my practice. So just anything in my daily life if I want to kind of manifest some personal growth, manifest money, I’ll check in to see what the moon phases, moon phases are. And also take into account which astrological sign they’re in because some of those energies you want to work with those energies, you don’t want to work with those energies, but also just kind of being in awe with what’s around you. And it’s always in the back of my mind and everything that I do. So it’s kind of hard to pick out what I do normally. Yeah, like, crystals are fun, leaving those out and having your bra full of crystals. Oh, the amount of times that I’ve like gotten undressed at the end of the day and I have like six crystals just like fly out of my clothes, which is a lot of fun. But like even if you just need like an extra boost, an extra reminder of what you need to do with your extr-, like with your day, you can put a crystal to help manifest that energy. I burn Palo Santo in my apartment if I just want to clear the negative gunk off of my day. And just taking care of yourself. And what’s nice with this religion is like if I miss a Sabbath, if I miss a full moon, whoop-de-doo. Like, it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t really have a deity looking down at me that’s gonna shun me for that. But there are deities that will look down at you and judge you for what you’re decisions, I do have to say that.
Yeah, talk a little about deities.
Meghan O’Sullivan 34:10
Okay, cool. Yeah. So um, deities are fun because they’re kind of like energies and higher powers that you can work with. It’s like a manifest of humanoid manifestation of an energy you want to pertain to. And if you talk to different witches, different deities, sort of attuned to them, and you could work with them by calling on their name intentionally and giving offerings to them. Like directly, so my deity that kind of presented herself to me and the one that I’ve been sort of drawn to ever since I was a young child was Artemis. I got a really cool story, actually, what I think was a situation where she reached out to me. This summer, when I was tree planting out in BC, we had a day where I think I maybe was planting trees for three hours, or sorry, 30 minutes. And it was just start the start of the day. And we had to evacuate a worksite because there were three bears that came out and actually charged at my boss. So, we were all kind of like really scared, like we’re out in the middle of the woods with a mama bear and two cubs, which really is not good. We’re all just kind of sitting around waiting, kind of nervous and anxiously chatting with each other. And I look down into the grass and I see this like blue flickering light in the grass in the middle of the woods. And it was a pen. So maybe somebody dropped the pen, I don’t know. But flat, like the only word that was on this pen with Artemis. I was like, “Oh, all right.” And traditionally, Artemis is her, she is the, she’s the Huntress and she’s the forever maiden. She is the counterpart to Apollo, that’s her twin brother, and she is the Goddess of the moon and I have always been so attracted to the moon, I have her tattooed on my hand. It’s been a sense of awe for me ever since I was a young girl. And her shtick is she’s the goddess of everything wild. She is the one in the woods, on her own, completely independent. And I like to embody those characteristics and myself. Fun fact, she’s also the goddess of young women. Because in Greek tradition, a young woman who is not yet married is considered of the wild. And that is the uptake that I will embody for the rest of my life. She’s a cool lady. And I like to call upon her if I’m ever kind of in a situation where I need some guidance.
So did you grow up seeing witches on TV and in movies? And did that influence you in any way?
Meghan O’Sullivan 37:11
100% Yes. I love anything to do with witches and the witches stories, they have so much variability into them. And it’s so much fun to kind of see what form she can take. And just naturally, as a kid, I had the affinity for witch stories and witch movies and anything like that.
What are your favourites?
Meghan O’Sullivan 37:36
My favourites? Hermione Granger has been a huge sort of role model and like archetype in my life. She is a force to be reckoned with. And I think Emma Watson did a great job of portraying her. My all time favorite portrayal of a witch would be the Alice Hoffman novel, her novel, “Practical Magic,” “The Lessons of Magic,” and “The Rules of Magic.” It also was a movie. It came out as a movie in the 90s with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, and it’s just so wholesome. It’s my favourite. And it’s the one that was passed, like my aunt passed down these books to me. And there’s a lot of great little knowledge in these books about how these women deal with their daily lives. Like magic isn’t a great theme of it. It’s very, it’s translated into a very like, modern way. But it’s a great story and looking at the reality of how the relationships between women, familial relationships or friend relationships really influence each other, so that’s a good one. This is a love-hate relationship, but “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Love-hate relationship with that one. I, I binged it completely, and the aesthetic, the visual, the kind of witchy atmosphere is so great. I love everything about it. You know, the outfit, the house that Sabrina lives in, her aunts, it was just very entertaining. Dang it, they frickin miss the mark on the actual witchcraft part and that makes me really angry. They missed it to the point that it resulted in a lawsuit with Netflix.
Oh, I didn’t know that.
Meghan O’Sullivan 39:33
Yeah, so the witches and Sabrina are basically an inverse of Christianity, a lot of their faith and their ritual talking about like the black sacrament, the black baptism. I’m like, “Guys, come on. That’s not really what this is and you’re just perpetuating the like, devil relationship,” which is what they decided to choose, but there’s actually no devil in our faith. So the whole conception of like, witch as a mistress to the devil is quite false. They also use the statue of Beelzebub that was very sacred to the Church of Satan and they used it in an appropriative way and they didn’t use it properly so that’s why they got sued. But like, I don’t know, the whole, the whole vibe of the show is great. And also Harvey, he got mad himbo energy, and I need that. I need a Harvey himbo, so.
We love Harvey.
Meghan O’Sullivan 40:37
We love Harvey, we do.
One of the other recent popular TV shows including witches is “American Horror Story Coven,” which I saw years ago and I totally forget, but what did you, what did you think about that?
Meghan O’Sullivan 40:52
It’s a masterpiece.
Meghan O’Sullivan 40:54
It’s, oh, I love, I love it. That show did a very good job of kind of conceptualizing, like, what a modern witch could look like. Obviously, they had to do it within only like a season of a TV show, so they couldn’t go that in depth, but I really like how they sort of brought the European witches in conversation with the New Orleans voodoo magic, which was super cool. And it was, the aesthetics were great. The storyline was awesome. It has a lot of badass female characters in it. It was scary, it was sexy. It was everything and you can really see the power that the women have and like I was low-key scared of all the women on the show, but also low-key in love with them all at the end. I mean, they brought Stevie Nicks in so, spoiler alert, Stevie Nicks makes an appearance and that just sealed the deal for me. So if you haven’t seen it, watch it. I highly would recommend. I definitely, if I were to be one of the witches in the show, I definitely miss Misty Day.
Meghan O’Sullivan 42:17
Living in the woods by myself with all my alligators
With your alligators?
Meghan O’Sullivan 42:24
I forget that that was in the show. But I’ll take your word for it that there were alligators.
Meghan O’Sullivan 42:30
Alligators and Stevie Nicks, all you need!
Tagline of the season.
Meghan O’Sullivan 42:37
So the last bit of pop culture that I really like, and if you really want to kind of see what a modern witch could look like, as well, is the 90s movie “The Craft.” It’s really good at portraying witches, modern witchcraft, and how ritual can be done in sort of a modern sense. But it also is a good kind of storytelling about how, you know, what you put out into the universe will come back at you three times fold and like realizing if you do have the like an agency and a power using it for good is a big, big part of witchcraft. And, you know, the whole “we are the weirdos we need to worry about” myth there is one of my life philosophies as well. So yes, “The Craft”; recommend “The Craft”.
Meghan O’Sullivan 43:36
So if anybody is like interested to kind of get to see the philosophy of the witch, maybe get a little bit of insight into some practices and start a witchy journey if it at all calls to you, a really, really good book that I enjoy so much and has helped me a lot in my spiritual journey is the book by Lisa Lister. It’s called “Witch: Unleashed, Untamed and Unapologetic.” And it’s written in a very awesome tongue in cheek way by a witch out in the UK, Lisa, and she talked about her personal, her personal journey with it. She’s a really good guide to kind of start your journey with, listen to the rules. And she really writes a great introduction into how to navigate a very complicated sort of path of the witchcraft, Neo pagan, new spirituality sort of trajectory. And she just has a very eloquent way of writing about it, and it came out recently, so it does apply to a modern context, which I also really love as well. And it’s very empowering. I get very feministy after I read it, and the feminist fire is definitely ignited in that book. So if anybody is interested, you feel the call of the witch, or you think you’re a witch yourself, I would recommend picking up that book.
Previously, you mentioned astrology, which is a really interesting subject to me. And I wanted to know if you want to talk about that a bit more.
Meghan O’Sullivan 45:23
Of course I want to talk about astrology! I have like, astrology constellations tattooed all over myself, so I’m very much a subscriber to it. Um, astrology’s fun. I actually kind of started following it a bit ironically and then as these things do, you kind of take it literally. It’s like, Tiktok; you get on it, see what it’s about, and then just go down the rabbit hole, and you don’t know how to get out. Astrology is cool. It’s, like I can understand why people may laugh at it, because there is no scientific value for it. Or at least some people don’t think so. Whereas I’d like I’d like to believe that there is a bit more of a truth to it. Astrology is a lot more complicated than people traditionally think, like when they see your horoscope in the newspaper, they kind of like, some people like to laugh at that and think that there’s no validity to it. But there’s so many different facets of astrology, they have to take into account when using it properly. If you would study, I guess. A whole person is not just the one sign that people, you know, popularly know. You know, like, if you would look up your sign in a newspaper’s horoscope, you’d be looking at your sun sign, whereas you actually have 11 signs, and different planets in different signs mean, would represent sort of different ways in which your personality shows up. So if you were going to go into astrology, you would kind of need to take, first you need to get your birth chart done. You can get that done real quick. Co-Star is a great app, you can look at your friend’s birth charts as well. You need to know the date you were born, the time of day you were born, and the location to get the full picture. And that’s really, really complicated, you could probably do a whole episode on it itself, I’m not gonna get into the chart too much. But if you were gonna take like the big three important signs of the chart, you would have to look at your sun, moon, and your rising sign. Your sun sign is the sign that the sun was in when you were born. So that’s, again, that’s the one that you would know, like, based on your birth date. Your moon sign is the sign that the moon was in when you were born and that sort of reflects your innermost emotion. So if you were alone by yourself, most comfortable, no external influences whatsoever, that is the true sort of core of yourself. Your rising sign is, I don’t want to say mask, but it’s the appearance that you put out to the world and it’s what the world sees you as, whereas the sun sign is your role, your core and what you are, like your path in this life, essentially. And the only way to know though is if you get your birth chart done. So have you guys gotten your birth charts done?
I don’t think so. I think I might have done it once on an app or something, but I can’t remember.
Mine’s done, I got it from Co-Star.
Meghan O’Sullivan 48:55
Right, I actually know yours.
Yeah, you know mine better than I do.
Meghan O’Sullivan 49:01
Your sun is a Taurus, your rising is Sagittarius and moon is Taurus.
You have it memorized? That’s impressive.
Meghan O’Sullivan 49:09
Oh, maybe. I just, I just know that. Yeah. What’s your sun sign, Jacqueline?
Yeah, I’m a Virgo.
Meghan O’Sullivan 49:17
Virgo! I love Virgos! Virgos are great! Can I astrologically profile your sun sign?
Yeah, go for it.
Meghan O’Sullivan 49:26
Cool. Okay, so Virgos are in September. They’re an earth sign. And they’re very practical, organized, hardworking people. They can kind of be a bit of people pleasers a little bit, like they care for people a lot. Oh God I sound like an astrology nerd. They are, Virgos are actually the polar opposite to my sun, which makes, it makes us kind of compatible. We are, you know, opposites attract, I feel, so you’re very pragmatic, on this earth practical people. You look at logic, very studious people who take their work very seriously. My brother, my little brother is one and he’s, he’s a, it’s quite obvious. And Rachel, you’re a Taurus too, you’re an earth sign, too.
Yes, I am.
Meghan O’Sullivan 50:26
Tauruses are fun because they’re very stubborn people.
Thanks so much.
Meghan O’Sullivan 50:46
I love you, it’s fine. No, Taurus are great because they’re stubborn people, but they’re also very caring, grounded, they give the best advice. They’re, you know, they kind of have the reputation to be not consumed with material things, but they like the nice things of life. And they, the way that they describe Tauruses is like a bull, but a bull smelling flowers.
A bull smelling flowers?
Meghan O’Sullivan 51:02
Yeah. A little bit intimidating, stubborn, powerful on the outside, very still and calm on the inside. And Virgos they are they’re represented as like the virgin women, I guess. And they’re very, they’re also caretakers, they have a very maternal aspect to them. Very practical, like they’re the mom that’s like, the mom that really pushes you to get stuff done and you know, be very hard working. Two great signs. I love, I love all the signs.
What about your sign, tell us about yours.
Meghan O’Sullivan 51:38
Oh, me? I’m a Pisces, and it makes total sense as to why I’m telling you guys about your birth charts because that Pisces do. Pisces are fun. If anybody were to be intuitive mediums, witches, psychics, they would be Pisces. Pisces are the end of the Zodiacs. Like the Zodiac, if you were to kind of look at it as a whole, they kind of like put it as like the life stages of a person. So Aries being the baby of the Zodiac. Pisces are the wise old people. And they also say that Pisces are most likely souls that have been reincarnated most of the time, like they’re old souls. I got Pisces five times in my chart so I think I’ve been around here for maybe a little bit long. They’re very dreamy people. They don’t really exist in this reality, which is very true. I’m a space cadet and I’m never here ever. It’s hard to get me to focus on stuff because I’m always daydreaming. They’re also like, the most sensitive sign in the Zodiac. Yeah, so Pisces, they’re very sensitive because they’re just so in tune and connected to everything that’s going around them, like a lot of highly sensitive people sometimes are Pisces. But they are also the ones that are said to have kind of maybe a connection to the spirit realm because they are the end of the Zodiac so the end of life. So they’re actually represented as death in the life cycle, which is very interesting. Um, fuct fact, Pisces aren’t crybabies. Cancers are the crybaby Zodiac. I’m sorry, no, they’re not.
Is that a stereotype?
Meghan O’Sullivan 53:28
That Pisces are crybabies?
Meghan O’Sullivan 53:31
Yeah, because we’re just so sensitive, but it’s just because we are in tune to a lot of external energies. Like some examples of Pisces like they, if a Pisces walked into a room and before they even got there, somebody insulted another person, they’ll feel it immediately. And you know what’s really great if you want to learn about astrology, Astrology TikTok is a lot of fun.
Yeah? I’ve heard of WitchTok but not Astrology TikTok.
Meghan O’Sullivan 54:04
You can, you can find a lot of astrology on WitchTok as well.
Yeah, I’m sure they overlap.
I’m wondering are tarot cards a part of your practice?
Meghan O’Sullivan 54:13
Yes, very much so. I’d say that they’re a huge part of my practice. I have been reading tarot for about six years. That practice is actually passed down to me from my aunt. She’s been reading tarot cards for 20 plus years. And I was always very interested into it. I love using it as a tool to kind of see what the bigger picture is, kind of clarify what’s going on in my life, what energies are going in my life, and it’s really fun. Contrary to popular belief, tarot cards can sometimes be a lot to handle. Like the stereotype of tarot cards is like, oh, you’re getting your future told, “there’s a tall, dark man coming into your future.” But realistically, tarot is honestly telling you and bringing things into light that you already know. It’s your subconscious kind of poking its way and making itself known. So I like to say tarot cards are calling me out on my bs a lot. And they have done that a lot. Tarot is pretty sacred to me, I treat it in a very sacred way. I like to have a clear space. I like to cleanse, I like to meditate, and I like to take it very seriously. Because it’s a good tool to kind of see where you are in your life. And there are no bad tarot cards. Don’t be scared of the death card, because it says death. It’s a great card. For anybody else who’s listening, if you are interested in tarot, definitely do a lot of research and take the time to learn the ways it can be used in a positive way, but also take time to learn the ways that can be used in a negative way. If I were to give any advice to anybody who’s getting to start tarot or you know, potentially get their tarot cards read. I use tarot in a very intimate way to kind of talk to a person and use it as a conversation. I generally try not to go to tarot cards, like I don’t like to go to a tarot card reading and like a very, “Oh, we’ll just see what’s going on.” You know, like, this sleazy type deal. It’s like, no, these are quite, quite sacred. It’s a quite sacred practice to a lot of witches. So if you’re going to be getting it done, go in with a very open mind, mind frame, a respectful mind. Like kind of like the way you would go if a person decided to take you to their church. Treat it in the very respectful way that way. I do have a little anecdote, actually. Cute little one. My aunt was reading told me that she was reading a tarot, doing a reading for a girl a couple years ago. And this girl was not being too respectful. She didn’t like the answers my aunt was giving her. So she tried to like shuffle those cards again and ask it in a different way. And the same cards actually came up for that reading as well.
Yeah, the ways that people usually talk about tarot these days are sort of like a game or just like a fun party trick. So it’s, it’s interesting to learn that it really shouldn’t be taken that way. At least it shouldn’t be taken out of context that way. So thank you for, thank you for telling us that. And I think that’s the end of our show. So Meghan, thank you so much for coming on to Nearly Numinous with Jacqueline and I. We had a really good time, you gave us a lot of great information and I learned a lot today. So thank you so much for sharing your experiences.
Meghan O’Sullivan 58:12
Thank you so much for having me on the show and letting me talk about it from a practitioner’s point of view, it was a lot more intimidating than I thought, but I had a lot of fun with it. And if anybody is interested in this faith, or you know, had some things that resonate with them, totally I really hope that some of these actually did, some of this stuff did resonate. And, you know, “there’s a little witch in all of us” is a good quote from “Practical Magic,” if you want to watch it, and I fundamentally believe that’s true. We all have our own inner magic and witchcraft is just one way to find it.