There are witches all around us. You can find them anywhere…
The Witch on Wheels has been documenting her findings.
Meet: Isaac Vars
Isaac Vars is a Cancer, an herbalist, and a healer who began his magickal practice as a teenager. He and his husband Josh Simonds are owners of Deep Earth Arts in Littleton, New Hampshire – a metaphysical store and apothecary offering a quintessential retail experience for anyone with a love of the esoteric, as well as those interested in non-conventional spiritual practices. I love exploring their space – where my turkey claws and wing fans are for sale – for magickal items not available elsewhere and wonderful advice. Isaac took time out on a recent Friday afternoon to answer these questions.
1. Do you have a magical name you’re willing to share?
2. In what state do you reside?
3. How do you make your living?
I own a metaphysical shop and apothecary in Littleton, New Hampshire, and I sell magical goodies: stones, herbs, wands, different kinds of magical jewelry, things you might want for different spiritual practices, candles, things like that.
4. Are you out of the closet? / Have you felt threatened?
Co-owning the store we do, I’m very open about my magical practice. I can’t say I feel threatened nowadays.
5. When did you first know you were a witch? How long have you been practicing?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I’ve been practicing in some sort of fashion since I was a teenager. My parents were very religious. I found that my connection to the divine, or whatever you want to call it, looked a little different than theirs. So from there I found different ways of connecting to spirituality and spirits. Once being open to that, interactive communication started, probably when I was 13, 14. I’m 37 now.
6. How do you define your practice? Do you follow a specific tradition?
My practice right now is rather homebrew. There is what some might call a shamanic nature to it. I apprenticed with a shaman for many years and I’m also an herbalist so I work with plants. I have my devotional practice. I talk to inanimate objects and use them in magic. That’s my practice, just getting outside and hanging out with trees and asking, “Hey, can you help me with this?” and getting, “Yea, I probably could. This is how you should do it.”
7. What one object must be on your altar for it to be an altar?
Just a candle – keep it very simple, because my idea of an altar is a place I have set up for worshiping or communing with the spirits I work with. On my altar at home I have things representing the different spirits I might work with in my journey work. I have ancestor stuff. I have different things representing maybe some mighty dead that I’m working with. I’m doing this really amazing Solomonic pentacle class right now. And part of that is connecting to the spirit of Solomon, so I have a little icon of Solomon on my altar right now because I’m working with Solomonic magic from [S. L. MacGregor] Mathers’ book. When it comes to my altar, if you want something very simple, just a bowl of water and a candle.
8. Do you have a daily practice?
Yes. I do. I have three deities I work with that I go through a chant for them every day. I have my altar that I visit at least once a day. I do draw tarot cards for the day. Working with my ancestral spirits, my helping spirits.
9. How do you respond when someone asks, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”
I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me that. I think I would probably answer, “I don’t know. It depends who’s asking.”
10. Do you have a familiar?
It depends on what you mean by familiar. Some people might be talking about a magickal pet. I have cat and dog friends but none of them have a bearing on my magickal practice. I do have helping spirits that show up as animals.
11. What gifts, skills or powers do you share?
I do healing work. I’m an herbalist. I will make magickal items or do magickal work for people if I feel it’s appropriate for me to do so.
12. What was your most magical experience?
My husband and I talk a lot about how our life is ridiculous – in a good way. There’s so many magical things happening all the time, it’s hard to quantify. One of the most magickal experiences I had – I went on a weeklong retreat with the shaman I was apprenticing with down in Assateague Island in Maryland. That was a really powerful experience in a lot of different ways, in making tools, in connecting with the ocean. … Every day is really magickal. Magick is happening all the time.
13. What is your favorite:
•Sabbat: Who doesn’t love Samhain … but they’re all wonderful.
•Element: I have a lot of water in my chart. I love the ocean. Let’s go for water.
•God / Goddess: I feel it’s a bad idea to utter out loud a favorite. They’re all wonderful. [Laughter] … The three that are part of my male work are Hecate, Apollo and Hermes.
•Tool: The mala [prayer beads] I use in my daily devotional practice
•Book: Oh, that’s hard! I love John Michael Geer’s “Encyclopedia of Natural Magic” and Scott Cunningham’s “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews.” “Six Ways” by Aidan Wachter. Josh, my husband, has published a book on runes. I better put that in. “The Beginner’s Guide to Runes: Divination and Magic with the Elder Futhark Runes” by Josh Simonds is the best book of them all! Buy twenty of them.
•Tarot deck or card: Tarot deck – regular Wider-Waite-Smith, I tell this to anybody coming into my shop, because if you can read the Rider-Waite-Smith, you can read any other tarot deck. “Wild Wood” has gorgeous art. I just got that for myself. Siolo Thompson’s “The Linestrider Tarot” is gorgeous.
•Ritual Garb: My magical practice I don’t dress up for.
•Fictional Witch: In the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” I resonate with Aunt Zelda … a fun hedge witch who likes to use herbs.
•Music or Performer: Heilung. Loreena McKennitt. Very different yet both amazing.
•Spell or ritual: It depends on what I’m doing, and I’m probably changing as I go.
•Piece of wisdom: It’s all about relationship, it’s all about knowing yourself. Your relationship with self and your relationship with spirits I think are really important. The big basis of the magic is your relationship with what you’re working with. If you don’t have a relationship with it, it’s not really good magic.
About the Author:
All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-and-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, candle magic, gems, and, as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. When accepting the mantle of crone, I pledged to serve and teach. This is what I do from my skoolie – a 30-year-old school bus converted into a tiny house on wheels that I am driving around the country, following 72-degree weather, emerging myself into nature, and sharing magic with those I meet. Find me at thewitchonwheels.com, Facebook and Instagram.