Pam Grossman is the kind of witch that we aspire to be. Smart and artistic without ever compromising on warmth or generosity, the New York based Grossman is the founder of online culture publication Phantasmaphile, the author of What Is A Witch, and Associate Editor of Abraxas International Journal of Esoteric Studies (and if you think that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she’s also a talented writer and curator whose Language of the Birds: Occult and Art was shown at NYU’s 80WSE gallery). Grossman’s latest project is The Witch Wave, a podcast where she and her guests discuss magick, creativity, and culture. We took a peek at Grossman’s Brooklyn home as she told us about the magick that inspired her as a child, her spiritual training, and using Björk in her rituals.
How did you learn about (and train in) witchcraft?
One of the things I love most about walking the path of the witch is that it is self-directed. There isn’t one book, one set of dogma, or one leader to follow. I was a solitary practitioner for most of my life, doing lots of research and experimentation and following enchanted breadcrumbs for many, many years. But things definitely sharpened for me in 2009, when I found my teacher, Robin Rose Bennett. She’s a green witch, which means she has a specific focus on herbalism – a topic which, I confess, I wasn’t as interested in initially as much as I was interested in learning from her. But once I became more in tune with the natural world and with my body, my magic absolutely leveled up, and my world view – and my understanding of my place in it – changed dramatically.
What changes or movements have you noticed the most within the community of alternative spirituality?
What is your approach to those who are wary or skeptical of mystical subjects?
What’s your favorite Tarot card?
That’s a tough one. The High Priestess is pretty hard to resist. All of that resplendent, potent female power! But lately the Star card has been coming up for me a lot in readings. I was recently told that it’s because I’m moving toward a very hopeful, shining place, even though I’m working a bit in the dark and don’t know exactly what’s next for me. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, and moving toward the light.
Who is your favorite pop culture witch?
How do you integrate ritual into your daily life?
Lots of ways, some outward, some internal. I have an altar in my bedroom I work with very actively. I wear certain talismans, scents, and colors every day with a great deal of intention. I meditate. And of course when there are holy days or certain phases of the moon, those evenings get lots of extra activity and attentiveness.
What are you working on right now?
What’s your go-to spiritual tool?
In all honesty, my first go-to is art – both the consuming of it and the creation of it. I’m very fortunate to have been brought up by two artists who took me to lots of museums when I was growing up, so I’ve always seen art as a portal for imaginal and spiritual flight. Work by painters like Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Agnes Pelton, and Marjorie Cameron, to name but a few, have brought as much illumination to me as any ritual or magical device. That said, I will never say no to a candle. Fire magic is so simple, so focused, so elegant, and so effective.
What is your sign, and how do you embody it?
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