On a sunny corner of Salem MA historic downtown, Hauswitch Home + Healing welcomes you in with a sign: “Come for the smells, stay for the spells!” It may be the best smelling store in Salem, but it’s also a home for a growing community of witches and healers, built on an occult history that goes beyond the famous witch trials. Erica Feldmann is the voice behind the distinctive shop and its mission to create a space in “Witch City” for young witches to come together. What began as a blog has grown into a brick and mortar space that sells a mixture of housewares, spell supplies, and tarot decks. With Feldmann’s guidance, it also supports an active calendar of classes, workshops, and political action. With a book on the way and a new collaboration on the shelves, we visited the shop to chat with Feldmann about embracing power and learning every step of the way.
What was your entry point into spirituality?
I’m not totally sure what my entry point was, but when I was very young my favorite movie was The Worst Witch with Fairuza Balk and Tim Curry! I was very into the idea of spells and potions and flying around with kittens in a satchel. I started reading books about Runes and Tarot around the age of nine. My mother and her family would casually drop in things like, “Oh, that’s because we’re witches” or, “Oh, your Grandpa is a witch” into conversations all the time, so being a witch was a totally natural thing. It was like, “we know how to make shit happen and so we’re witches.” So from a very young age being a witch was about knowing you’re powerful, not some green-faced caricature.
How did you learn or train in your areas of focus?
I dabbled in Wicca when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t something that really resonated with me. Since I’m not a religious person, I guess I would say I became mindful of the power of intention setting and energy work when I was in graduate school. I was studying witches and witchcraft in an academic sense and doing this other more personal work of stepping into my power as a witch at the same time. Since I’ve opened my store Hauswitch, I’ve learned so much more about things like Tarot, astrology and herbalism through my community and the workshops we host here. I always say my store is like my dissertation so I’m still learning all the time.
What changes or movements have you noticed the most within the community of alternative spirituality?
Social media has such a huge influence has really helped to connect groups of feminists and witches. Everything is really coalescing in a very promising way.
What is your approach to those who are skeptical of mystical subjects?
Luckily, I own a store in Witch City so I don’t run into a ton of resistance! For the most part, by the time people come to me they’re signed up to the whole idea.
What’s your favorite Tarot card?
It’s actually the Emperor! As a radical feminist since birth I really never considered the importance of embracing the divine masculine in my life. But it turned out to be so transformative for me to work with the energy of that card. Discipline and structure isn’t something I really had a lot of in my life growing up. Learning how to embrace those concepts became so important to achieving the kind of success I was after that I was able to finally incorporate that energy into my life. It’s also given me a way to stay connected to a strong fatherly energy since my own father passed away 6 years ago. But the biggest lesson of the Emperor for me has been integrating the “take up space” energy of that card. I think its a really important idea for womxn, queers and people of color who are socialized to make themselves as small and marginalized as possible to embrace. I think we naturally see that kind of energy as threatening, but if we can learn to hold it and work with it I think we can really usher in the paradigm shift the world needs right now.
Who is your favorite pop culture witch/pop culture witch you identify the most with?
The girls from The Craft, 100%. All of them. They were outcasts who wore their witchcraft so confidently and I’ve always thought that was really cool. But honestly, Kelly Cutrone is totally my true life witch role model.
How do you integrate ritual into your daily life?
I have a lot of rituals around working with my ADD. When I work from home I light candles and fill my workspace with essential oils that I can sniff when my brain wanders and crystals that give me magical, beautiful things to look at right at my desk. At the beginning of each week I start with a tarot reading where I ask what energies will keep me grounded, productive and creative throughout the week, as well as what overall energy to bring in and what to let go of.
What are you working on right now?
I’m actually finishing up my first book! Its called “Haus Magic” and it will be released in early 2019. I’m almost done with the text but I’m doing all of the photography for it as well, so I’m about to get started on that. I also just partnered with my dear friend Jess Lavoie in creating LightHaus, a line of non-toxic magical home cleaning products that I’m incredibly proud of. So I’ll be focusing on building up that business now that the store is thriving without as much of my direct attention.
What’s your go-to spiritual tool?
I really like working with crystals and minerals. Their beauty really helps me connect to the magic of the natural world and I find incorporating their subtle energies into mine to be so helpful. Pyrite is my favorite, but I also love Black Tourmaline and Blue Kyanite. Recently I’ve been working with Moldavite to release some old stories around money and do some heart healing. I also use tools I learned in psychic meditation every single day. Simple things like grounding techniques and clearing cords have completely changed my life.
What is your sign, and how do you embody it?
I’m a Gemini and if you ask just about anyone I know they’ll tell you that I fully embody that! I am 100% capable of holding two different ideas at the same time and often do. I’m also very communicative, i.e. I have a big mouth that has gotten me into trouble on occasion! A friend of mine once described Gemini’s as “both the bull and the china shop” and I fully subscribe to that description!