Tuesday, August 28, 2012


A Conversation With a 17th-Century Sorceress

In response to a recent comment, I got in touch with a 17th-century sorceress.

What kind of spells do you cast?

What kind of spells don't I cast! Well, there are a number, actually. In fact, mostly I only do love spells, but usually by the time I finish describing their pros and cons, and how people generally feel after I cast one for them (bad, almost uniformly, unless they're unwell), most people decide against them. Because if you think about it, love spells are deeply sad, and are in fact probably an oxymoron.

But I also do spells for ailments.

What do you wear?

Capes! Cloaks. Lace. Lots of heavy garments over lighter garments, with some thin, papery scraps of cloth tied around various body parts over the heavier garments. Lots of black, lots of gray. Bolts of color here and there, but usually visible only to me (and sometimes others, when I pump my arms, etc.). Honestly I love getting dressed — it helps me get into character, so to speak, not that I'm a character.

I've got these wonderful black leather boots that I inherited from my mother. They lace up with tiny ropes of braided whole shed-snakeskins that I have to oil every couple months or so, but I never forget. They look like old gray strings at this point, and have a sort of musty funk, but I don't mind. It's part of my history. And I love having little secrets like that. Like, "they're not bootlaces — they're braided snakeskins, and nobody knows but me."

Do you brush your hair?

No, most self-respecting sorceresses don't, BUT I will say I run my fingernails through it enough that this question is almost moot!

What are your fingernails like?

They're long, and come to a point. They usually have a little bit of dirt under them, which naturally gathers there when you have nails as long as mine, but I don't clean them as much as I could because I find it adds to the mystique.

Tell me about the love spells again. Why are they so sad?

Well, think about it. Let's say you loved someone, and he or she didn't love you back. Frustrating and heartbreaking. So you come to me, and I cast a love spell to make him love you. Happiness and joy! But ... who is this person who now suddenly loves you? Why do they love you? They love you because you bought a bit of magic that made them feel this way, which neuters the very quality that makes love valuable — its mystery, that it must be earned, that it's free to vanish. They don't love you — well, they do, but they don't, if you know what I mean. It's that their heart has been enslaved. By you. Which is sad.

Do you speak from experience?


Did you undo it?

I did.

What happened? 

He went his own way and I went mine. He never knew he was under a spell, he just thought it was a funny thing he felt for a little while. For me it was the whole world, but oh well, that was a long time ago.

So how many love spells are you casting a week, despite all these disclaimers?

Hmm. Probably in the range of five to six thousand.


I know.

64 Comments / Post A Comment

The Lady of Shalott

If you're casting five or six thousand spells a week you probably don't have time to brush your hair! Geez!


@The Lady of Shalott Fun fact: a spell casting takes about as long as writing a tweet with a complicated thought in it. Some tinkering with character length, and you're done.


@feartie Spells: like drabbles, with 200% more enslavement!

fondue with cheddar

@feartie And if you're really good you can do it one-handed, leaving the other hand free to rake through your hair.


That is just fantastic@k


Frigging fragging perfect


May I request a spell that turns me into a sorceress as well so we can spend our days brewing potions and our evenings strolling barefoot through moonlit forests, woodland creatures dancing at our side?


@Yahtzii Yes, this is a very good idea! Very very good. You could specialize in spells that hide things in other things, like pinata cookies.

I will specialize in all things wine related.


@Yahtzii Yesssss


Someone needs to start a Hairpin Coven in the google groups.

Point 1) we need to all dress like Magrat Garlik

sarah girl

The only way this could have been more perfect is if it had a little shaky Edith drawing with it.

maybe partying will help

This seems entirely right.


Can you tell me if Manon is really living inside Nancy or did she just go batshit insane?


Oh this is perfection, Hairpinny perfection.

Side note: do you pronounce moot with a short oo sound to rhyme with put, or a long oo to rhyme with boot? Mr. Iceberg does the former, also insists on using moot as a slang term for vagina, both habits I detest.


@iceberg rhymes with boot!

Faintly Macabre

@iceberg I pronounce it MOO


@iceberg Definitely rhymes with boot. As proof, I offer "Jesse's Girl". I rest my case.


@EternalFootwoman Haha YES!!! Evidence! *goes to google lyrics*


@Faintly Macabre Like Joey Tribbiani does!


@iceberg He is wrong. He is wrong. TELL HIM HE IS WRONG



oh! valencia

@Dancercise Definitely will be singing this in my head all damn day.


@iceberg The IPA pronunciation guides at all three places I just looked all agree! Mooooooot is right indeed!


@tales Just to bring this back to witches, do you think "moot" is from the same etymology as "mote," like in "so mote it be"?


@HereKitty: Because it's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter.


@Dancercise Those are the lines that make me ABSOLUTELY SURE that the narrator of that song is actually lusting after Jesse, not the girl. I can't entirely explain why.



That is where my entire generation learned this word, half of them after being corrected when they quoted the line "The point is probably mute."

Katie Heaney

I sort of want to ask what she thinks about Ouija boards, but the truth is she's probably already let me know her answer and I just wasn't paying enough attention.


Ugh, stupid me! I didn't read the title and thought this was an interview with Stevie Nicks.


Dearest 17th-Century Sorceress - where can I find such beautiful blue glassware?

(Love this. <3)

Faintly Macabre

Do you mind when people call you a witch? And don't you feel that "sorceress" has sexist implications, and that all humans of the magical profession should be referred to as "sorcerers" or "sorcersarians"?

maybe partying will help

@Faintly Macabre



@Faintly Macabre Sorcerix?


@Ophelia Sorcervix?


@Faintly Macabre licensed supernatural technicians


My BFF will often point at me, and my crazy hair, and yell "WITCH!!!" quite often and now I know why. And as I am unemployed, I think I have found my new calling.

oh! valencia

@romastrega love spells!


I want the boots. Orrrr maybe just the whole outfit.


Are you married? If so, do you run around screaming "LIAR! LIAAAARRRR!" at your husband?

Faintly Macabre

@Bittersweet Did Prince Humperdink ruin your life?


@Bittersweet But she's not a witch, she's your wife!

fondue with cheddar

@Faintly Macabre Does everything go down easier with a chocolate coating?


@Mame Dennis-Pickett-Burnside: Do you know why the witch couldn't get pregnant? Because her husband had a hollow weenie...


@Mame Dennis-Pickett-Burnside

Daisy Razor

I'm not sure a love potion would appeal to me. One that would give me perfect hair for the rest of my life, on the other hand...


@Daisy Razor Yes!

But what of the beauty potions, Sorceress? The ones for skin like dewy flower petals and hair as sleek as a raven's wing etc?


But also, the issue of consent with regard to love potions is some Harry Potter-obsessed feminist's undergraduate thesis in the making.


A Conversation with Granny Weatherwax


@frigwiggin As soon as I got to the dirt part, that is EXACTLY what I thought.

Wait, no. Which is the witch with the skulls from Boffo's?


@Ophelia wasn't that Agnes?

Priscilla Peel

@Ophelia I think Miss Treason had the skulls and the creepy iron clock.


@Priscilla Peel Yes!!

D. Lurker

"It helps me get into character, so to speak, not that I'm a character"

This is my exact thought process every time I attempt to go out. So, I guess I'm a 17th century sorceress.. So much explained, so much left unanswered.

Does Axl have a jack?

She turned me into a newt.


@Does Axl have a jack?
I got better


@Does Axl have a jack? So I have to soak my bonsai trees in the sink every week to water them, and it turns out that some very small rocks do, in fact, float.

Betsy Murgatroyd

Is there a spell that makes him notice me? Once it's past that, I'll do the rest of the work.


@Betsy Murgatroyd I agree. Have a class with a guy I haven't seen in a year. Turns out my ovaries leap every time he smiles. Just let me fuck you, dude. Please. Just once. Then you can go or come back as you wish.
I'm not desperate. Or horny. Why do you ask?

Reginal T. Squirge



Do you weigh more then a duck?

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