“ “Witch” is an easier way of self-identifying than trying to explain that I’m sort-of a Pagan/borrower of many practices/not quite Wiccan. It’s also something of a point of pride because of both personal and historical history with the word. “Witch” isn’t, shouldn’t be a bad thing. Powerful women have always been “witches”. Mentally ill women, queer women, and groups of women have all historically been accused of witchcraft. Being able to say yes, I am a witch, is a freedom that’s relatively recent.
I started practicing when I was 8 or 9 because a friend’s older sister was a Wiccan (this was the 90s and Charmed and Buffy were big). I’d always been attracted to certain aspects of it—I’ve been collecting crystals since I can remember—but her introduction of it really drew me in. It took me a while to explore it more completely and make it my own. I was raised in an interfaith household that was luckily always very accepting of my spiritual choices.
Magic has always been a way of connecting with myself and with those around me. I am highly empathetic but often ignore my own feelings and experiences over those of others, and I have found multiple times within practice or ritual that I have been able to uncover something—an emotion or realization—that I had been keeping from myself. It’s also a way to be mindful of the things I care about; I think it’s not unlike how people of other faiths find solace and fortitude from the act of prayer. Magic is the act and the intent; a result, to me, is not necessarily the goal.
[My practice is] totally eclectic; I borrow from a lot of traditions and make even more stuff up as I go along.
Magic is very, very personal. Ritual is also extraordinarily personal. There are very few people I have allowed around me during ritual; it’s something that I often don’t feel like I want to articulate to others—or can articulate to others—and it’s something very, very close to my heart. I am very introverted and I feel like my ritual and practice is the innermost inner self that I have; obviously I don’t mind others seeing my tools or altar or touching my things, but, the actual act of ritual is massively personal to me. I find it really meditative, as well; soothing, almost. I tend to keep rituals to full moons, new moons, and sabbats. However, if I’m feeling really overwhelmed, or struggling with something I’ll often do ritual to help sort myself out.
Every item on my altar that has been a gift is particularly important to me. I have animal bones that a friend found for me in a bear pit near his home; I have crystals given to me with purpose by someone I care about; I have a rock shaped like the face in The Scream by Edvard Munch that my stepmom gave me with absolutely no understanding of my practice but knowing I “like rocks”. The people in my life give me power, and working with the objects they have been kind enough to give to me—whether with the goal of my using them for ritual or not—simply makes me very happy.”
A little extra fact:
“I feel like I should talk about my cats! Both of my boys—Oscar (brown one)in coffin bed shown above) and Vercingetorix (black one)cat I am holding) came to me by fortune, and I realized shortly after he came to me that Oscar, who I’ve had for almost two years, is something of a familiar(a witch’s companion) for me. Vercingetorix is still a kitten and his personality is developing, and obviously I love him very much, but I feel very connected to Oscar.”
-Elizabeth Kinports, Witch in Washington Heights, NYC
My friend Cooper and I have been making beer for a few years now. First we would do it in college just for fun to share with friends. Now that we live 170 miles away from each other, beer making has become an excuse for us to visit each other, and hang out.
For no other reason than for fun, and the mantra of “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” I entered our most recent beer (a Rye IPA) into the Brooklyn Wort home brewing competition. The drop off was at the bar a block from my apartment, and people seemed to like our most recent brew! So why not? Today I got the e-mail that we were one of 30 beers chosen to compete in the final round! If we win the people’s choice, we get to make beer at a brewery in Brooklyn for free, as well as some cash. If the critics choose us, we not only get money and to make beer, but we get to hold a party at this brewery for our friends and family. If we win, you’re invited.
Wish us luck, and thanks for encouraging us over the years to make some beer for you.
In the spring of 1962, a group of freshman led by Gary Sparaco did what many of us have done: they went looking for a place where they fit in and where their talents and passions would be useful. And when they didn’t find that place, they created it. W.O.N.Y is Red Dragon Radio, SUNY Oneonta’s college radio station. Fifty years after it’s birth, W.O.N.Y is still going strong and breathing life into our campus and the greater Oneonta community.
I guess if there’s any word to describe my college radio station, WONY 90.9FM, the first word that comes to mind is “family.” I was in a ton of organizations when I was in Oneonta: I was in a sorority, I was a senator, a tour guide, and I wrote for the newspaper…but nothing felt more like home than being in the radio station. I met my best friends there. I met my roommates there. The reason why I got my internship with the Federal Communications Commission was because I was a DJ…which is still odd to me, given that the FCC and College Radio typically don’t have the best relationship, but hey! It was an awesome internship and it was cool that the FCC was willing to reach out to college radio! How many people can say that a college club changed their lives? I know that I can.
Each year, we all go back to Oneonta to reunite for a weekend. Everyone is always ridiculously happy to see one another. I was really excited because finally, not only was I going to get to live out some great times with my best friends again, but I was also going to get the chance to finally show boy-I-fancy what this club is all about and why it rocks so hard. To tell someone about WONY is one thing, but to see it in action is another.
Friday was awesome, we got to go out to Happy Hour, ate yummy Chinese food, watched this awesome Canadian TV series called Trailer Park Boys (if you haven’t heard of it, Netflix it, trust me on this one), and then we ventured off to a bar crawl where I got to see friends that I haven’t seen since last WONY Alumni Weekend!
However history has shown us that even the best of things, fall eventually. The Dinosaurs. Rome. And yours truly. I was having an awesome night, but around 1AM, I started to feel sick. I thought it was because I might have had too much to drink. As the night progressed, I found out that this wasn’t because of having too many rum and Frescas. Somewhere along the line, I ate something that didn’t agree with me at all. I knew there was a big problem when I started shivering in boy-I-fancy’s arms and it wasn’t until 6 AM when I could finally fall asleep. I thought that maybe sleep would fix everything. It didn’t. I woke up and my whole body felt like jelly,I still felt nauseous, and I didn’t have an appetite. I was disappointed, it was such a beautiful day on Saturday, my friends are going out to breakfast, and here I am in bed- while boy-I-fancy runs off to get me medicine. I was looking forward to this weekend all year, how could I get sick?
Although the events of the weekend weren’t going as planned, other great things happened. My friends were willing to go the extra mile to make sure that I was comfortable and that I was feeling better. I was in a lot of pain and incredibly nauseous but I still hiked with my friends to watch them play golf off of Table Rock, which was incredibly epic. After that, they drove me to Urgent Care and waited in the parking lot until I was done (turns out I have the stomach bug from hell), put a TV in my room so that if I couldn’t make Saturday’s party, that I would still be entertained, and I received so many well wishes to get better. My old roommate even brought me back fresh-squeezed orange juice, which is my favorite! My anti-nausea medication knocked me out but I still went to the party and I slept on the couch for the most part. My friends were just happy that I made it, even though I wasn’t awake for most of the merriment. Remember when I told you that WONY is family to me? They really are <3 Most of those friends I mentioned that did all of that nice stuff for me, I haven’t seen or really talked to in months. Yet they still took the time out of their day to take care of me. It just speaks volumes to me on how good their characters are. Without the station, we all would have never met.
Throughout all the craziness, we all still had a wonderful time in Oneonta and I’m already looking forward to the next Alumni Weekend. Also, I’m finally watching Lost! I’m so addicted to it! I always wanted to watch it, but everyone always told me that if you didn’t watch the first episode…well, you’ll be lost!