Interviews,  Monthly Columns

Witch Hunt

 

There are witches all around us. You can find them anywhere…

The Witch on Wheels has been documenting her findings.

 

Meet: Weyland Smith

 

 

 

I met Weyland Smith when he became one of the new contributors to PaganPagesOrg, having written previously for other publications. Talking with him prompts laughter, wisdom, and more laughter stimulated by a wicked sense of humor and his life experiences, all of which comes through in this interview. An eclectic solitaire wytch, he lives in New Jersey with his girlfriend, Sparkle, and their familiars Spirit the cat and Delinquent the dog. Weyland is a Libra, a romantic, and a believer in reincarnation (convinced he was a village idiot). I am eager to introduce him to you here.

 

 

 

1. Do you have a magical name youre willing to share?
Weyland Smith is my magickal name. One of the reasons I chose it was because it sounds like an everyday name and would raise no eyebrows should I ever have to use it to announce myself anywhere. I’ve had it so long I will answer to it automatically. I also respond to “Wey.” My Primary Deity is Wayland the Smith. I spell His name differently to acknowledge that He’s a god and I’m just a little old wytch with delusions of adequacy.

2. In what state do you reside?
New Jersey. Wanna make something of it? Hah? Hah?

3. How do you make your living?
I work my day job as a concierge at a condo building. I also have a couple of non-paying side gigs that help fill in the empty hours.

4. Are you out of the closet? / Have you felt threatened?
I’m out. I usually wear my pentacle (under my shirt and tie at work, natch) and actually got a friendly greeting (“Hey, brother!”) at an airport years ago. My friends and coworkers know. Those who aren’t pagan themselves seem to consider it as one of my legion of eccentricities. But I don’t use it as my words of greeting to anyone. It just doesn’t pop up in conversation very often. I’ve never been hassled or threatened, but I’m always – always! – alert to the possibility of trouble. Prudence pays.

5. When did you first know you were a witch? How long have you been practicing?
I met my spirit guide when I was sixteen. I read whatever books and magazines I came across – I’m a voracious reader anyway – and experimented often but didn’t consider myself a “real” witch until I discovered a local coven in the late Nineties. It was like coming home.

6. How do you define your practice? Do you follow a specific tradition?
I’m an eclectic. Right now, an eclectic solitaire. That means I’ll borrow (Okay, the word “steal” might be more accurate.) styles and spells from just about anybody. One of my recent affectations is calling myself a wytch instead of a witch, to show I’m a male practitioner. (Think Y chromosome. Clever, right?)  Maybe it’ll catch on.

7. What one object must be on your altar for it to be an altar?
Although I’ve always managed to keep a job, I’ve been flat broke more than once, and have had to rely on the kindness of my long-suffering friends. (The polite term is “technical homelessness.” I’m sure they thought of it as “that bum on our couch.”) So I haven’t always had a physical altar. That’s done wonders to sharpen up my visualization skills. Looking back, the common denominator for all my imaginary altars was hope.

8. Do you have a daily practice?
I’m an alcoholic in remission, so daily sobriety is my number one practice. Quitting smoking was for me even tougher. (I still have an infrequent cigar, but since I don’t inhale those, I don’t count them. Thanks, Bill Clinton!) I had to give up drugs and anything mind altering so as not to jeopardize my sobriety. Full disclosure time: I stopped drinking right after a desperate prayer to the Christian Trinity. I’ll never forget that. I include Them in my personal pantheon because I’d be dead by now if I were still drinking and drugging. (Besides, I’m an eclectic. I can include Whoever I want.) If that annoys anybody out there, or if anyone thinks it disqualifies me from being a wytch, I quote the immortal words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: bite me. That said, I try to remember morning and evening pagan prayers of my own designs. I pray over meals at home and in public. (If anybody stares, I refer them to the aforementioned Buffy quote.) I like doing Sun Salutations I got from an Arum Solis tome I picked up from a used bookstore. I acknowledge my PDs – Primary Deities – in my case Father Wayland and Lady Lillth, at least twice a day, along with Epona, Who would be my girlfriend Sparkle’s PD if she were Wiccan (That girl loves horses!). I always have an astral or two with me. (Remember my spirit guide; I never stopped making friends.) And I try to remember Esbats, Sabbats and new moons, although I’m often late in acknowledging them. I’m pretty sure I have undiagnosed adult ADHD. Not an alibi, just an explanation. Sparkle claims I also have CRS [Can’t Remember Shit], which I feel is both unkind and probably true. Hey, what can I say? It only adds to the challenge. I also use runes a lot. That’s my average routine.

9. How do you respond when someone asks, Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”
I look them in the eye and say, “I’m a good wytch! Bwahaha!” I think all of us consider ourselves to be good witches, even despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Oh, sure, there are exceptions. (Aleister Crowley comes to mind – he delighted in being a rogue.) But most of us are convinced we’re one of the good gals and guys. I’ll use fictional examples, it torques off fewer people. Elphaba from “Wicked.” Her world drew first blood. The entire villain’s gallery from “Dark Shadows” – there were enough of them to start a colony. All misunderstood. Endora from “Bewitched.” Darren wouldn’t have lasted half an episode without Samantha protecting him. Just watching out for her daughter. You see the pattern. We can always rationalize our behaviors. It’s especially easy for a witch, because so much of what we do is behind closed doors. Greed, lust and stupidity can trigger a lot of damage.

I think true verdicts on good and bad are most honestly determined by other people, not yourself. Like the wizard told the Tin Man, “A heart isn’t judged by how much you love, my sentimental friend, but by how much you are loved by others.”

10. Do you have a familiar?
I am blessed with two nowadays. The third, Jinx, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this past summer. He is missed. I don’t think Spirit the cat looks too good either, but since he keeps his opinion of me to himself, who am I to elaborate? Delinquent, the dog, is only three and oblivious to any concerns of mortality. I’m pretty sure that Spirit has feline dementia, but he’s still a better familiar than is Delinquent. (Smarter. Lots smarter. Even factoring in the dementia.) We all commune – I wouldn’t really say communicate – empathically. Do I believe that? Sometimes. Maybe even usually. I reserve the goddess-given right to be of two minds on the subject. To paraphrase Emerson, I’m not plagued by the hobgoblin of consistency on this matter.

If I’m allowed to plug my own work, I go into more detail on this in my PaganPagesOrg article, “That Old Familiar Feeling.”

11. What was your most magical experience?
When Sparkle found me. No doubt. I was in a very dark place and she drew me back into the light. Te amo, mi corazon. [I love you, my heart.]

12. What gifts, skills, or powers do you share?
I like the way you phrased that! Most eloquent. I love prophecy, although I’m almost always wrong about myself. My familiars have a much better success rate about me than I do – although I sometimes wonder what kind of advice I’m getting if I’m right about Spirit having feline dementia. Curiously enough, my readings for others are usually spot-on. I have no idea why it works out like that.

I’m much better at rune casting. One thousand and one uses.

13. What is your favorite:
Sabbat:
Samhain, of course! And it’s little half brother Halloween! The costumes! The music! Scary movies! Trick or Treat!
Element: Air, I guess. I’m a little vague on Elements.
God: Wayland the Smith, natch.
Goddess: Lillith. Yes, that Lillith.
Tool: My mind, such as it is.
Book: “Witchcraft: It’s Power in the World Todayby William Seabrook. Best. Book. Ever! It’s probably out of print by now, but should be required reading for everybody. Not that I’m biased or anything.
Tarot deck or card: I used to think the Magician card represented me best. Nowadays I realize it’s the Fool.
Gemstone: Cat’s eye and amethyst. I can have two faves. I like the Mets and the Yanks … although in case of a Subway Series, I gotta root for my Mets.
Animal or other totem: Several. Since they can think just like people (Yours can’t? Tsk.) I’ll avoid mentioning them by name to avoid torquing off any I forget to mention.
Ritual garb: My mom sewed up a Nile green robe for me years ago. I still have it.
Music/Performer: The Nancy Drew TV Show had some very good songs. I’m still pouting because it was canceled. Sarah Michelle Gellar is an absolutely incredible actress! If that’s a shocker, you haven’t been paying attention, Pilgrim.
Fictional witch:
The Wicked Witch of the West from the Judy Garland movie, not the play or the books. Margaret Hamilton stole every scene she was in and is probably the biggest reason I’m a wytch today.
Piece of wisdom: Everything is magic. Everything. Think about it.

 

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike

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.

thewitchonwheels.com