It’s October, which means you should be treating every day like it’s Halloween. Grab your candles and crystals, put on all your best black clothing, and make your way to the closest graveyard. It’s time to do some witchy shit.
If you’re seriously trying to get into some witchy shit this month, you need to stop dyeing all your clothes black and focus on the important things, like location, location, location. Whether you’re casting a simple spell, trying to have a conversation with a dead person, or just need a sweet spot for your next tarot session, D.C.’s graveyards are here to help. Just make sure you stick to the posted hours and don’t bother the grieving people.
The most well known cemetery in the District may seem like the obvious choice, and that’s for a good reason. Not only is it beautifully kept and well maintained, but there’s plenty of space for you to spread out, so there’s no chance of running into another coven (how embarrassing would that be). The Congressional Cemetery is also filled with lots of fun famous people, including J. Edgar Hoover, Stephen Pleasonton, and our very own Marion Barry. There are so many choices for a seance! ThecCemetery also has amazing programming, they sell honey from the bees they have on the property and during the summer they have fantastic late night movie screenings right among the graves. It’s a place that’s absolutely steeped in history.
Smaller than the Congressional Cemetery, Glenwood is perfect for someone that’s looking for a little peace and quiet when doing their witchy shit. It has a great atmosphere, mainly because it’s full of touching statues, including a small girl in a rocking chair and a man with his Irish Setter. Just what you’re looking for when trying to get some magic going. Glenwood also happens to be the resting place of more than a few notable D.C. figures, including Amos Kendall, who founded Gallaudet University, Emmanual Leutze, who painted “Washington Crossing the Delaware”, and Everett Cooper, the first black president of the Policemen’s Association in D.C. You’ll be in good company.
My own home cemetery, Rock Creek is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. Full of rolling hills and even a little lake, it’s picturesque as hell. Find a little hide-y hole (there are plenty, but I’m not going to tell you about any of mine) and spend the day doing whatever magical shit you want. This cemetery is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Fort Totten Metro station, so if you’re on the red, green, or yellow line it’s very easy to reach. If seance options is what you’re most worried about, there are plenty of famous people here as well, like Edgar Allen Poe’s sister! And (inexplicably) Upton Sinclair! For us Maryland folk, the original version of the Black Aggie statue is also here, which is sure to add a little edge to any spooky shit you’re doing.
I’ve never seen this cemetery during the day, but I can tell you that walking past it at night (which I did many a time when I lived in Glover park) is creepy as fuck. Founded in 1848, Oak Hill is filled with Victorian style graves and mausoleums. The chapel was built by James Renwick, the same man who designed the Smithsonian Castle on the mall. Famous residents include George Smith Lindsey, who played Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, Lincoln’s secretary, and a ton of Civil war soldiers. If anything is haunted in this city, it’s definitely Oak Hill.
I’d like to preface this by saying you should by no means break into the Basilica and perform any sort of magic ritual, because even though that would probably be cool as hell, it would also be deeply disrespectful. However, both the Basilica and the National Cathedral are great places to sit, meditate, and just take some time to think about witchy shit. Situated right next to the Catholic University of America, the Basilica is breathtaking. Its Romanesque-Byzantine style architecture is impressive by itself, but it’s also the largest Roman Catholic church in North America and one of the ten largest churches in the entire world. It also holds the largest collection of contemporary ecclesiastical art. It’s filled to the brim with intricate mosaics and complex stone sculptures. If you visit, definitely make sure you make your way down to the Crypt Church. It’s (at least in my opinion) even more beautiful than the main church.
Again, if I hear of people breaking into the National Cathedral to perform blood rituals I’m going to tell all of your parents and it will be just like the ending of Scream. Anyway, like the Basilica, the Cathedral is a great place to meditate and take some time to think about some spooky things. It’s, hands down, one of the most beautiful buildings in the District. The sweeping gothic design of the outside is simply breathtaking, and the inside is just as gorgeous. Spend some time looking for all the awesome gargoyles and marveling at the stained glass windows. Then stop by 2 Amys for pizza.
BYT believes in affordable and accessible witchcraft. Here we bring you the finest spells and rituals on a budget. Whether you’re looking to authenticate your witch costume this year with some legitimate spells or are simply a fan of all things spooky, we’ve got you covered. You could buy Wicca and Witchcraft for Dummies, or you could listen to us. We definitely know what we’re talking about.
It doesn’t get much more affordable than a sprinkling of salt and a sprinkling of garlic powder. Even my college dorm pantry would have could perform this spell. Simply mix a bit of coarse salt and garlic powder together (NOT garlic salt, there’s no telling what happens when you skimp on magic) and sprinkle it at all entry points into your home/dorm/cave. Vampires, evil spirits, demonic creatures, and other spooky things that are cool in movies but not in real life won’t go near you or your home with this protection spell.
Charging your Crystals
Charging those beautiful crystals of yours is an important piece of making sure that they perform at their highest capability. To charge your crystals, simply place them in direct sunlight or moonlight for anywhere from 24 hours to a week. Sunlight charging is great because it cleanses the crystals from any negative energy or gunk inside of the crystal. During charging, you can try things like meditating in the moonlight or sunlight or chanting. Happy charging!
Full Moon Ritual
Sure, many of us look up on the night of a full moon and say something about how big the moon looks. But imagine harnessing power from the full moon and using it to your own advantage. As the new moon represents the beginning of the moon cycle, a full moon indicates the end. Thus, a full moon is the perfect time to let go and unburden yourself (perhaps from the men in your life). All you need are some crystals or other healing items, a candle, an empty bowl, a pen, and a piece of paper. After you have lit the candle and surrounded yourself with positive energy, write down all of the things you wish to release yourself from on the piece of paper. Sign and date the paper and then allow it to catch fire in the candle. Throw the flaming paper in the empty bowl and feel yourself become less bound by burdens.
I should preface this by saying I’ve never been to a psychic in my life, so I totally understand if you want to discount all of my advice, but I have watched a shit ton of horror movies, so I like to think I kind of know what I’m talking about. A good psychic isn’t only accurate (at least most of the time…) they also have an atmospheric set up. There’s some ambiance involved. I’ve pulled the best (and worst) from the Yelp reviews of these psychics. Hopefully this helps.
- Best Rating: “She spoke the entire time and she does not sugarcoat. The things she said left me wanting to leave because quite frankly, it was too deep.”
- Worst Rating: “Do you think Mrs. Natalie predicted I would give her 1 star?”
- Best Rating: “I live in Ohio, but have gone to see her 3 times now in the last year and a half. She knew me better than I knew myself.”
- Worst Rating: “I paid $120 coz she asked for it to clear my path and later she called and asked for another $200. Don’t waste money on these things. Only reason I am writing this review is because I don’t want anyone become the victim and lose money like I did.”
- Best Rating: “Patricia was amazing. I didn’t speak a word for the first like 20 minutes and she told me so much about me that was so dead on I was shocked.”
- Worst Rating: There are only seven reviews (because the devil is six / And god is seven) and the worst one is four stars. Maybe this is legit.
- Best Rating: “Kinda eerie how spot-on she was.. Definitely not a ‘fake.’ If your looking for an authentic psychic experience in the DC area, I would highly recommend.”
- Worst Rating: “This place is a hoax. Every prediction they gave was wrong. What’s worse, they spent the whole time trying to sell me more expensive services – chalkra reading, aura cleansing,…………”
For those times when you need to consult the spirits, but don’t have time to go down to the graveyard and do the whole song and dance. Etsy really is a magical place.
Okay, now that we’ve picked some good ritual / ceremony locations, we can go hog wild on accessories. Candles are important for setting the mood and fire is fun as hell so this is definitely something you want to think about carefully. How big (or small!) do you want your candle to be? Do you want it to have a strong scent? Is burn time important to you? Do you want to support and indie shop? Let’s dive into our local (and not so local) options.
Show your D.C. pride by swinging by Salt & Sundry for your witch supplies (almost as fun as school supplies! Along with all of their other lovely home goods stuff, they carry candles from a variety of higher end smaller brands and I have been almost tempted into spending way too much on candles more than once. I would suggest grabbing something mysterious and complex smelling. Maybe something with some smoke notes? Or something resinous? It’s all up to you and your personal preferences. Just make sure you check the price before you wander over in a daze to the counter. Candles (that aren’t from the grocery store) are surprisingly expensive.
If Salt & Sundry isn’t doing it for you, then try Tabletop. I’m less familiar with their candle options, but I do know for a fact that they have a series of candles that are supposed to smell like booze, which is absolutely perfect for a night of Ouija (at least in my mind).
Made in Salem, Massachusetts, these are the real deal if you’re going to do something weird (because of course you want to be thinking about dead witches while doing witchcraft). Witch City Wicks come in a large variety of colors, sizes, and smells, so there should be something for everyone. Grab one of their black candles for optimal mood setting, or maybe one of the “Seance” scented options. You really can find anything on Etsy.
Another delightful Etsy option, deHighPriestess is located in Delaware and specializes in ceremonial candles that are tarot themed. If you’re feeling like a bummer and want to really get negative, I would recommend their inverted tarot options. If you’re looking to keep things on the positive side, the regular tarot candles should do just fine. I’m probably going to order a Death candle because I like new beginnings and I’m also 12-years-old.
CRYSTALS & THINGS
If you’re looking for some more intense accessories than candles, you’re going to have to leave D.C. to get them, but don’t worry, Virginia and Maryland are packed with little curiosity shops. Whether you’re looking for crystals, cauldrons, or someone to talk to about your next love spell, theses places should be able to deliver.
Located in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, Crystals, Candles, & Cauldrons strives to be the best place to find high quality crystals and stones in the area. They do have a website, and it seems as if they wanted to offer the ability to purchase things online, but none of their many product pages have any product available. What I’m saying is, if you’re looking to grab some stones, wind chimes, bumper stickers, or tarot decks, you’re going to have to trek out and get them in person.
If you’re looking for anything under the sun, including skulls, altar tiles, herbs, dream catchers, and henna paste, you’ve come to the right place. The Crystal Fox is out in Laurel Maryland, and unlike Crystals, Candles, & Cauldrons, they do have a working website. I know what you’re thinking, no the skulls are not real. But if you want a black crystal skull to stick on your witch altar for your next new moon ritual, The Crystal Fox can help you with that. They also sell scrying mirrors, which I didn’t realize was an actual thing you could buy… I guess I’m spending $76 on a black scrying mirror now.
Our one and only Metro accessible option, Sacred Circle is right on King Street in Alexandria. No simply content to offer a variety of products (including charts, divination supplies, feng shui accessories, statues, and more) they also have a variety of events and classes. Go for a psychic healing session or hit up a Dream Interpretation workshop. Personally, I bet the All Souls Day / Halloween psychic fair is going to be cool as hell.
Do shit with your friends.
Once a month Smith Public Trust hosts a witch dance party called The Coven. This month it’s going to be this Saturday! Go and dance the night away with other witches and enjoy some delicious cocktails. A portion of this month’s proceeds is going to benefit HIPS. Get there early and order some nachos. Public Trust nachos are the absolute best.
If you’re looking to get a little more serious, D.C.’s pan-pagan organization, The Firefly House hosts a variety of events throughout the year. From festivals, to book groups, to exploring the spirit world, no matter your interest they’ve got you covered.
Whenever you move to a new city it feels like people tell you go on Meetup, but if you’re looking to do some spooky shit, it’s actually quite helpful. The Baltimore Witches Group has a general monthly meetup, but they’ve also hold more specific classes like, “Earth, Air, Fire & Water: Working with the Elements” and “The Wicker Man: Pagan Themes, Concepts & Practices in Robin Hardy’s 1973 Film”. They all sound deeply fun.
THE SIGNS AS HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
This shit is just for fun. No witchy vibes required.
Aries: an 80’s workout video instructor- Aries, everyone can smell your enthusiasm and passion from a mile away. That’s why it’s only fitting for you to be something that is always so obnoxiously excited for no real reason at all.
Taurus: a flight attendant- As a Taurus, you are known for being reliable, patient and responsible. Screaming babies, people getting air sick, and unforeseen complications make being a flight attendant no walk in the park.
Gemini: a chameleon- Reptiles are awesome and so are you. But you also tend to adapt your personality to whatever crowd you’re with, and sometimes people have a hard time seeing your true colors.
Cancer: a deer- As a Cancer, you are a very gentle and well-meaning soul. Though suspicious and flighty at times, your heart is almost always in the right place, making a deer your perfect costume this year.
Leo: a cheerleader- Your confidence as a fire sign is evident, but at times your arrogance gets the best of you. You enjoy having all eyes on you, so dressing up as a cheerleader is sure to get you just that (for a night anyway).
Virgo: a party animal- As studious as you are, Virgo, Halloween is a holiday that demands to be celebrated. Hang up your book bag for the night and dress up as something totally different this year.
Libra: a tree- As a Libra, you are known for your love of nature and harmony. Your wisdom and level-headedness combine to make a big ole’ tree your perfect costume this year.
Scorpio: a cat- Let’s face it, you’re a water sign. You’re supposed to be sweet and emotional like the rest of them, but at times you let others feel your wrath. Cats are the ultimate “often pretty tolerable but sometimes kind of mean” animal.
Sagittarius: your favorite politician- You’ve got a sense of humor and persuasiveness about you that makes you irresistible to others. Exercise those bullshitting skills for a night and dress up as your favorite congressman, mayor, former president, etc.
Capricorn: a professional athlete- Dedication and self-discipline are your strong suits. Maybe your baseball or soccer career petered out after high school. Halloween is your night to relive the glory days.