You haven’t really celebrated Halloween until you’ve done it in a nightclub full of witches.
I scorched up a fat bat of God’s Gift and passed it to my friend Gypsy as she guided her messy minivan into the Manhattan-bound Battery Tunnel. “Light some incense, brother,” she advised as her right hand left the steering wheel and clasped the burning joint, so I pulled a stick of Nag Champa from the disaster area she calls her backseat and stuck it into one of the many pre-poked holes in the dashboard. Gypsy was a hippie—a Deadhead, to be precise—and as such had never gotten out of the habit of living out of whatever vehicle she happened to own at the moment. Gypsy was also—like me—a witch, and on this atypically warm Sunday night at the end of October, we were en route to meet with our spiritual sistren and brethren at the 22nd Annual Witches’ Masquerade Ball. That’s right, gentle reader: I’m a genuine witch (no, not a warlock—a warlock is an “oath breaker,” not a male witch).
On Midsummer Eve of 2003, I was initiated as Atreyu Morningstar into the Covenant of the Great Mother by High Priest Lord Julian Aurelianus and High Priestess Lady Amunet. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Paganism (a blanket term that covers pretty much all pre-Judeo/Christian belief systems and their modern interpretations) is the most diverse and tolerant system of beliefs I’ve ever encountered, and provides just the right mix of reverence and revelry to elevate and focus the spirit of an enlightened hedonist like myself. What other religion views sexuality and inebriation as sacramental rather than sinful, and offers its constituents total freedom as to what gods to worship and how?