G E R A L D O
Witches and Witchcraft
GERALDO RIVERA .......................................................... Host
SELENA FOX, Witch
DON FREW, Witch
LADY SABRINA, Witch
MARION WEINSTEIN, Witch
WHITLEY STRIEBER, "Cat Magic"
WITCHES AND WITCHCRAFT
GERALDO: "Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble."
Some of America's most well known witches will reveal their magic, their ritu-
als, and their positions on this special Halloween week edition of Geraldo.
Thank you. Before we meet our four real witches and being our examination
of modern day witchcraft, Selena Fox, a high priestess of Circle Sanctuary is
performing a special witch blessing on our studio. Now, as Selena makes this a
so-called "safe space," why don't the rest of us take a quick look at some of
the background on the evolution of witches and witchcraft.
GERALDO [voice over]: "When shall we three meet again? In thunder,
lightning, or in rain." Three hellish spirits, the weird sisters, so open
Shakespeare's MacBeth. And that horrific image of boiling cauldrons sur-
rounded by stooped, wart-covered hags mixing magic potions and calling on
the forces of evil to do their wicked bidding, it's still what most of us
think of when we picture witches and witchcraft.
In medieval times witch hatred and false myths about them spread
like wildfire, carrying tales of black magic, or spell-bound cats let
loose to wreak havoc on unsuspecting innocents, and of black-caped crones
astride broomsticks, flying across moonlit skies. And where there's fear,
deep fear, there's usually mass hysteria, like we had during the infamous
Inquisition, when thousands and thousands of women, young and old, were
killed because they were alleged to be witches. To save their lives and
protect their beliefs many of them went underground.
Well, these days many witches are out of the closet, practicing
their rituals and traditions right along side other believers in the
supernatural, like those who turned out for the world-wide celebration of
the Harmonic Convergence last August. Laurie Cabot is another example of
how witches have entered the mainstream. She's the official witch of
Salem. Remember, it was the town of Salem that was the center of this
country's witch hysteria. That was back in the lat 16- and 1700's.
LAURIE CABOT, Official Witch of Salem: Here we are. We're the witches.
We're still alive and well and living in Salem, you know, and all over
the world. And then they go, "Oh, my God, witches."
GERALDO [voice over]: Laurie and her coven of witches are now a familiar
sight in New England, finally winning some degree of acceptance after
years of distrust and suspicion. Like witches everywhere, they meet to
practice their ancient rituals. Their sole purpose, they say, is to be in
harmony with nature, the earth goddess, and forces of good and healing.
GERALDO [on camera]: Okay, let's meet our four real life witches now, starting
with Selena Fox, of the Circle Sanctuary, the woman who was doing that cere-
mony. She's been a witch since she was 21 years old. She is also a Wiccan
minister and she'll tell us what that means. Next to her is Don Frew, who has
been a witch since he was 12, and is a priest with the Covenant of the
Goddess, in San Francisco. Okay? Next to Don is Lady Sabrina, who has been a
witch for 10 years and runs Our Lady of Enchantment, which is, you should
know, the only public witchcraft school in the country. I don't know if it's
supported with property taxes, but you can tell us that. Marion Weinstein,
author of "Positive Magic," has been a witch for 30 years. And Whitney
Strieber, next to Marion, is a Catholic and is not a witch. He's investigated
the Wiccan traditions for his book, you can see it, it's called "Cat Magic."
And Whitney has also, as a lay person, has had some incredible experiences
that he will, I'm sure, tell us about today.
So, first, Selena, tell us about the ceremony you were -
SELENA FOX, Witch: What I was doing is a word called "smudging," that the Na-
tive Americans would call it. It's basically using incense to purify the space
to create a good environment for us to have a discussion here. I was facing
each of the directions, as well as the earth and the sky and the center.
GERALDO: But in making it a safe space, were you driving off any evil forces
Ms. FOX: Driving away influences that don't need to be here today, and allow-
ing, hopefully, good communication and connections with each other to be here.
GERALDO: Oh, I hope for the same thing, for sure. That is a kind of occultish
use of witchcraft. Are there more down to earth kinds of uses?
Ms. FOX: I don't know if I would call that occultish. Would you say that about
the Native American religion? Because they do a very similar kind of thing.
GERALDO: Okay, I'm not trying to get you mad.
Ms. FOX: No, no. It's a magical practice. And I think it's very down to earth.
In fact, I recommend that people do some kind of blessing on their home, no
matter what their particular religion is, to ward off robbers and to bring
some social harmony to one's place.
GERALDO: Halloween is coming.
Ms. FOX: That's right.
GERALDO: Does Halloween have some special meaning for you all? I mean -
Ms. FOX: It's part of the New Year.
GERALDO: It is?
Ms. FOX: Yeah.
GERALDO: It's the witches' new year?
Ms. FOX: Right. It's the last of our harvest festivals. In fact, that's where
the pumpkins and the apples and the other harvest decorations come from. It
also is a time for paying respects to those loved ones who have departed, who
have gone to the spirit world, to our ancestors. Trick or treat comes from the
old custom of people setting aside the best of the food and drink that they
have on Halloween night, a place setting for the parted love one, for those
who had passed on, in honor of them. And if that was done, the idea was that
your ancestors would bring blessings on you for the coming year. If you
neglected your ancestors you might have some problems in the coming year.
That's where trick or treat came from. It also is a time for looking into the
new year to see what kinds of things might be in store for us.
GERALDO: Was there a connection between the traditional celebration of the
harvest and Thanksgiving, and the witches' Halloween celebration? Has that
been around for a while?
Ms. FOX: For a long time. It goes back at least to Celtic times, and probably
before that. It's the last of the harvest festivals, and it's a time of pre-
paring for winter. So, in addition to it being a solemn holiday in some ways,
it also was a time of really great celebration. In fact, Mt. Horeb, where my
farm is near, is near Madison, Wisconsin, and it's a city-wide festival, thou-
sands of people go out in the street in costumes and there are bonfires and
great parties in the streets every year at Halloween.
GERALDO: They have those down in Greenwich Village here in New York also. It's
a slightly different celebration. I asked Selena, Don. Do you you use witch-
craft for any practical things?
DON FREW, Witch: Well, if you call everyday life practical.
GERALDO: Sure, well -
Mr. FREW: In a way I do magic, and, yes, we talk about doing spells and doing
these kinds of rituals -
GERALDO: And, incidentally, we're going to do some spells and some potions
later on in the program
Mr. FREW: - and that definitely is part of witchcraft. That's the craft part
of witchcraft. But for most of us practicing magic is a way of life. You
discover these laws of nature - you might say subtle laws of nature - and by
living by them you become more connected to nature, more connected to
yourself, more connected to everybody else, such that life just works better.
Coincidences start to mount up in your life. You might say synchronicity. You
find you really need money and suddenly a check comes in the mail out of
nowhere, somebody you didn't even know -
GERALDO: Did that really happen to you? I want you to be specific?
Mr. FREW: It actually happened to me just two weeks ago. Coming back from a
trip to Seattle I was really concerned about making it through the month, and
the car was having problems, and we pulled into a town and were trying to find
some relatives who weren't there, and called some other relatives to see if
they knew where they were. And they said, "No, we don't know where they are,
but, by the way, there's a check for $10,000 here for you." And I said,
"What?" And a relative that I don't know, my wife's relative, had decided to
give us money because, you know, various things - she'd come into some money
and wanted to pass it on. And it seems like - that was unusually dramatic -
but it seems like whenever I really need something in my life, whether it's
companionship or money or a place to live or something, it's there. And I
think that's part of this whole -
GERALDO: And you credit witchcraft?
Mr. FREW: I credit magic. And witchcraft is one of the many magical religions.
It's part of that living in tune with the cycles and the seasons.
GERALDO: So witchcraft is different than magic - or witchcraft is one type of
Mr. FREW: Witchcraft, for most of us, is a religion. And one of the tools
within the religion is magic. Just like - you might say that in Catholic
church, for example, within the religion there's also the tools, you could
say, of blessing, or consecrating spaces. When a priest does that for a church
he's doing a magical ritual essentially. He's just praying to a different God
than we're praying to.
GERALDO: Any practical application of this magic for you, Sabrina?
LADY SABRINA, Witch: Well, when we first moved to New England we had a small
duplex that we were running a school out of. Well, needless to say - I don't
work outside. I work, you know, strictly for the school, and it's a non-profit
organization so I don't take a salary. So, the two gentlemen that are part of
the organization - one of them was too young, the other one had no credit, and
I had no job. But we spotted the house and decided we were going to go for it,
and all we had at the time was $1,100 in the bank. And so we started doing a
ritual. We signed the papers and the realtor said, "How much are you going to
put down?" And we said, "How much do we have to put down?" And she said, "How
much do you have?" We said "$1,100." And I thought she was going to faint. But
three weeks later we got two checks. One from a student who had just signed
up. He's never met me, I'd never met him. He sent us one for $3,000, a money
order. And then another one sent us one for $5,000.
GERALDO: Have you ever thought of going down to Wall Street?
Mr. FREW: I should point out that things this dramatic are exceptions. What
keeps us doing this are lots of little coincidences day to day, happening all
SABRINA: And this took a lot of work. I mean, we had a specific ritual that we
were doing, and there were four of us doing it. And we timed it out. And we
had to fast before it. And there was no, you know, drinking or smoking or
having coffee or sex or anything before this thing was done. So all our energy
went into that. And there's no way you could possibly continually get that
kind of dynamic energy going and kept it. I mean, you'd be gone.
Ms. FOX: I think there's another kind of magic, too, which is the day to day
magic of communing with nature, whether you live in the city or out in the
country. And I find one of the greatest magical experiences is when I am in
our stone circle on our 280 acre nature preserve near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. I
will turn to a direction and then there will be a hawk there flying overhead.
I didn't try to will that hawk there or whatever, but I see it as a sign of
communing with the divine and that I'm on track wiht my spiritual beliefs.
Mr. FREW: Exactly.
GERALDO: Sounds good. Let's hear from Marion and Whitley when we come back.
More amazing stories, potions, rituals and witchcraft, today on Geraldo. We'll
be right back.
1st AUDIENCE MEMBER: Relating to the practice of witchcraft and the fact that
all these happen, when you need the money the check comes in the mail and
etc., etc. I don't practice witchcraft and I've had the same kind of luck.
But I was born on Halloween. Could there be any relation to that?
Ms. FOX: It could be. In fact, people work magic all the time whether you
realize it or not. Every time you start thinking negative thoughts you're
actually creating a worse reality for your thought. It's the power of positive
thinking. Basically that's what the magic aspect of the Wiccan religion is.
But the wiccan religion really is a religion, and the core of it is to harm no
one when you're doing magic. We have one law: An it harm none, do what you
will. There is a great deal of variety within the wiccan religion, and each of
us here comes from a different wiccan church and orientation, as well as
someone who's from a Catholic orientation.
GERALDO: Let's meet Marion, then we'll jump on to Whitley, the Catholic, the
WHITLEY STRIEBER, "Cat Magic": Don't jump on me.
GERALDO: Did you use the power of positive thinking to find a lost child once?
MARION WEINSTEIN, Witch: Well, I don't call it the power of positive thinking,
although I work in a positive way. I often find lost objects by doing a thing
called string magic, which I teach in my books.
Ms. WEINSTEIN: String magic. It's a very simple technique that I teach in my
books to bring back lost objects. But sometimes when something so precious is
lost, like a person or a living creature, you want to do something really
special to find out where that being is. You know, our magic is no different
from prayer, except that we don't supplicate. A lot of people call it praying.
It's very similar. Anyway, when there was a child lost in the country once, I
did light a candle and call on the goddess to show me where he was so that we
could find him, because he didn't know the address he was visiting and he
didn't know my name even. He knew my first name. He couldn't have told
neighbors. And I did light a candle, and I did do a thing, and I did see him.
I actually saw where he was standing. He was standing somewhere by the water,
and it was very easy to find him after that.
GERALDO: Really? And you said other creatures. Animals also?
Ms. WEINSTEIN: And it's a great comfort. Animals. My cat's always wandering
GERALDO: Oh, this is a trick that could apply in general. Now, Whitley, you
are not a witch, although -
Mr. STREIBER: No, I'm not. I was doing research for my book, "Cat Magic," when
I discovered that the craft, wicca, was not evil and satanic at all like I had
assumed it was before. In fact, what it was was a very beautiful earth-
oriented religion, an ancient nature religion, like native American religion,
and something we need more of and should certainly respect.
GERALDO: The line of people leading the applause, I should say - You come from
- what's it called?
GERALDO: Oh, the witches of the East Village, here in New York. Why don't you
stand up. We'll take a look at your outfits. Thanks, we'll talk with some of
you later. Now, why don't you convert from Catholicism to wiccan then?
Mr. STREIBER: I still think - well, I've been a Catholic all my life.
GERALDO: I mean, do you believe in the wiccan religion or just in the
existance of it as a benign religion?
Mr. STREIBER: Oh, it's not a non-religion. It is definitely a religion.
GERALDO: No, I said "benign religion."
Mr. STREIBER: Benign religion. It is another beautiful religion. And it is a
terribly important one right now because of its emphasis on the planet and the
needs of the planet. Our earth is in deep trouble and a religion like this can
really help us today.
GERALDO: Have you, although a non-witch, experienced any of these magical -
Mr. STREIBER: Yes, I certainly have. I went to Selena Fox's place, Circle
Wicca, on a vision quest.
GERALDO: What is a vision quest? I know it's a movie, but what is it?
Mr. STREIBER: Well, a vision quest is - no, this had nothing to do with the
movie. I see it as going into yourself to find your truth. That's what I
really - and to ask whatever may be willing to help you to help you. I asked
for what I needed the most, and I went out into the woods, and it was dark and
moon lit, the wind was blowing, and I was sitting on this little piece of
groundcover that I had taken with me. And I laid down finally - I was planning
to stay there all night - and pulled the blanket up over me because I was
cold. And after a couple seconds it crossed my mind that I hadn't brought a
blanket with me. So, what was on me? And it was very warm under there, it was
very nice, and I felt this thing without looking at it. It was soft and I
thought, you know, Selena is not rich, and this is like a cashmere blanket. So
I sat up and looked at it and it was gray in my hands. A big blanket. And I
thought, "now, wait a minute, this is very wierd here." And so I got out of
the thing, and I just took it off me and was a little startled by it, wrapped
it up in the ground cloth I had brought -
GERALDO: This is the next morning?
Mr. STREIBER: No, no, this is right there. I took it back to the house. And I
opened the groundcover up and I thought, "Now this is really going to be
something." And there was nothing in there. The blanket was only - it was like
a symbolic thing that kind of was part of my mind and part of reality at the
same time. But I felt so craddled and so much at peace, as if I had suddenly
become so much closer to the planet that made me.
2nd AUDIENCE MEMBER: All of you have referred to magic, implying a super-
natural power of some kind. Could you identify the source of that supernatural
Ms. FOX: I think it's a natural power that we have all within us. And I think
modern psychology as well as modern physics is starting to tap into this.
Mr. FREW: I think it's God.
Ms. FOX: Yeah, the source is the divine.
GERALDO: How do you react to that?
2nd AUDIENCE MEMBER: Well, it doesn't sound like the way I perceive God to
Ms. FOX: How do you perceive God to operate?
2nd AUDIENCE MEMBER: Well, through his word rather than through magic or
Ms. FOX: Do you see God as a man or as a woman?
2nd AUDIENCE MEMBER: As a being.
Ms. FOX: As a being? Does he have a name?
2nd AUDIENCE MEMBER: God.
SABRINA: Well, that's what's so beautiful about personal visions of deity.
They can vary from person to person and be equally powerful for everyone.
There was a time when many of us might have been, shall we say, severely
harmed for speaking out. And now, what's so beautiful about this culture and
this country, is that we can all, in a sense, create our own vision of deity,
our own religion, worship it fully and be left alone in peace.
Ms. FOX: Well, I would like to just kind of qualify that. For most people in
many places in this country. However, I myself am, and my church, Circle
Sanctuary, is in the middle of a zoning battle with local government
officials, and we've been trying to settle it peacefully for a year and a half
now. They're basically trying to use zoning laws to drive us off our land
because we're witches. And I think in this 200th year of the American
constitution, it's really important for all of us, no matter what our
religious background or orientation is, to really take a look at the religious
freedom upon which this country is founded. People are still losing their jobs
because they're witches. And I think we need to live in peace and harmony and
bring the reality that Marion's talking about everywhere in this country, and
hopefully everywhere in the world if that's right.
GERALDO: When we come back we're going to have some secret witches' love
potions. That's after this break. Love potion number nine, remember that?
GERALDO: Okay, Selena, tell us what this is about. What's going on?
Ms. FOX: Well, what I'm doing is getting a bunch of herbs out here from our
sanctuary, because we have an herb farm there as well as a nature preserve.
And what I'm going to do is what I call a happiness potion.
Mr. FREW: It smells really wonderful in here, by the way.
Ms. FOX: It's a modern stress management technique that has ancient roots. So
essentially what I'm going to be doing is working with each of these herbs.
GERALDO: Smells great, doesn't it?
Ms. FOX: Oh, thanks. And this is something, no matter if your wiccan or not,
that you can do.
GERALDO: Now, wiccan, wiccan, we've heard that word. Whitney, you describe
what wiccan is as she goes ahead - Selena goes ahead and -
Mr. STREIBER: Well, wicca is an old word, an older word for witchcraft, and
people who practice this religion feel more comfortable with it because the
word witch has a bit of bad press in the Western world recently, I mean in the
past couple hundred years. I don't know if you've noticed.
GERALDO: Yeah, at Salem they did, it's true.
Mr. STREIBER: And a lot of other places too.
Ms. FOX: Okay, so what I'm going to do, I have an enamel-ware cauldron, hot
water, bringing it up to a boil. And I'm going to put in three ingredients,
basil, lemon balm, and mint, and then energize it.
Ms. FOX: Basil, -
GERALDO: Basil. So people can do this at home then?
Ms. FOX: - for delight and pleasure. Mint, for joy and refreshment.
GERALDO: Smells great.
Ms. FOX: Lemon balm, for wellbeing and renewal.
GERALDO: All right. Double, double, toil and trouble.
Ms. FOX: No, no. The chant I'm going to use is:
Three in one
The potion's done.
GERALDO: Heh. Are you going to pour some out now?
Ms. FOX: What we're going to do is we're going to let this steep a little bit,
and I'm going to move on to part two of my demonstration here.
Ms. FOX: Which is actually -
GERALDO: So this one's cooking, sort of?
Ms. FOX: Yeah. So the energy's in, now it needs to steep for 13 minutes or
more. Okay, now what I have here is a rock from our land - sandstone - with
some blue corn, which is a native American sacred herb representing the earth
and the physical body. Air, representing the mind. This is frankicense. Those
of you who are in other churches may recognize the smell. Fire, representing
the energy. Water, representing our emotions. And a crystal, representing the
spirit, or the divineness everywhere. So what I'm going to do -
GERALDO: Should we move the globe out of the way so we can see it, or what? Or
you need it?
Ms. FOX: We're going to - Yeah, we're going to do to it, and this is something
if anyone here would like to participate, no matter what your background is,
then I welcome you, as I move into this very short prayer, to focus on each of
the things that I'm doing. And -
GERALDO: Wait, before we decide whether or not to do that, what's the end
product going to be?
Ms. FOX: What we're going to do is send love to the planet.
GERALDO: Oh, so you're not going to make anything, you're going to beam out
some love feelings.
Ms. FOX: This is a very short example of a longer ritual that we often do.
GERALDO: So anyone who wants to participate in beaming love out, focus.
Ms. FOX: Okay.
GERALDO: Go ahead. All right.
May the land be pure,
May there be food, shelter and homes enough
For all the world's people,
May there be clear clean air,
May humankind's intelligence and knowledge be increased,
May there be responsible use of energy,
May there be creative solutions to all the world's problems,
May there be clean waters throughout this globe, this earth,
May there be understanding and love amongst all people
Of all ages, of all races, of all nations, of all sexual orientations,
Of all lifestyles and of all religions,
May humankind walk in balance with the plants and the animals
And all the other life forms on this planet and in other worlds.
Imagine a light, a white light, from your heart flowing into this
crystal, and send on that light love, spiritual love, and whatever your
particular spiritual orientation is. And as I channel this crystal and
the light into this globe, a symbol of the earth, feel that energy
flowing around the earth, and call to the mother earth if it feels right
for you in the next few moments by chanting her name.
So mote it be.
AUDIENCE: So mote it be.
GERALDO: So this commercial must be. We'll be right back.
GERALDO: Before Lady Sabrina shows us her love potion I just want to see what
the audience thinks.
3rd AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi. I'm a total unbeliever. I'll tell you why. Nine years
ago I got involved in what you call white or good witchcraft, and it looked
very beautiful at first. It was very etheral and mystical and all this, and
the more I was in it I began to be driven, I began to be depressed, I couldn't
sleep at night, I began to go on food binges. And praise God someone told me
that Jesus Christ is alive and could live in my heart and change my life. I
met Jesus Christ, he delivered me, and I just want to say that I don't care
what kind of witchcraft it is, God says it's abomination, and there are
results and there's a penalty to that it's sin, and you will pay.
GERALDO: Wait, wait. [Crosstalk] Let Whitney answer, then you.
Mr. STREIBER: I would like to say something right now. And that is I am a
Christian too, a Catholic. And all I have to say is, when one starts to think
in oneself that the other man's religion is evil, you have to look in your own
heart, because that's where something is really wrong.
GERALDO: Let me make the dialogue less intense.
Mr. STREIBER: Lighten it up.
GERALDO: Yeah, let me lighten it up a bit. What about the people who are at
home who aren't reacting in a religious way, but who are saying, "Oh, come on.
It's nice and it's nice words, but it's all mumbo jumbo."
Ms. FOX: I think each of us has to find a religion that is right for us. I am
very glad that you have found a religion that is right for you -
GERALDO: A non-religious answer, please.
Ms. FOX: A non-religious? Well -
GERALDO: What about the people who just say -
Mr. STREIBER: Does magic really work, Selena?
GERALDO: - the "Oh, come on people" rather than -
Mr. FREW: Wait a second. We heard people laughing when she had the globe out
here. And granted, the nice little inflatable globe was funny. But it's
important to realize that these kinds of things are not what the magic is all
about. That's just a symbol. We need something so we can all say, "Oh, yeah,
the earth." But that's the kind of thing that people laugh at, and it's not
important, it's not an important part of the magic.
GERALDO: Give us the love potion then.
SABRINA: The love potion? Okay, it's not a potion, it's a spell.