A 'Witch Queen' Who Casts Her Spells Year-Round | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

A 'Witch Queen' Who Casts Her Spells Year-Round

Play associated audio

Lady Rhea is not the kind of witch you'll find in a pointy hat this Halloween. She is a real workaday witch, grinding out a living selling magic products in a booth at Original Products, a grocery store-sized botanica in the Bronx. She's been a practicing Wiccan for nearly four decades, making her one of the longest-serving high priestesses in New York City.

"I am a Wiccan high priestess and Witch queen," she says. "My age — I've been in the craft since '73. I have a lot of coven people and people who are attached to me over the last years, so one of them coined me 'Pagan Mother.' Call them up and I'll say 'Hello, are you listening? This is Pagan Mother, call me.' "

This week, Lady Rhea will see a small increase in Halloween-related sales, but most of her clients come looking for the same things that have kept her in business all these years: money, luck and love.

"Some of the requests I get are for love," says the high priestess, whose birth name is Aurelia Bila. "Or, you know, come-to-me candles."

A lot of customers want their boyfriends back or help losing weight, Lady Rhea says, but others want help with money. "They gotta get that dollar going, it's a tough area."

At her booth, people can buy cascarilla, camphor, candles, crystals, frankincense and $40 spell kits.

"This is a museum in itself. You have people asking for a bath. ... Pompeia water, which is an old perfume. Yeah, walk into Macy's and tell them you want Pompeia cologne," she says. "This is a practice, it's an earth religion and so we are a very earthy people. I will not look at a pigeon and consider it a flying rat, I will consider it a creature of the sky father."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wilder's memoir reveals that she witnessed more violence than you'd ever know from her children's books. The South Dakota State Historical Society can barely keep up with demand for the autobiography.
NPR

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

The market for single-serving coffee pods is dominated by Keurig's K-Cups. But they aren't recyclable, and critics say that's making a monster of an environmental mess. Meet the K-Cup Godzilla.
WAMU 88.5

Maryland's Biggest Campaign Donors Didn't Get Results In 2014

A lot of dollars from big donors went toward Democrat Anthony Brown's loss in the gubernatorial election.

WAMU 88.5

Concerns About Digital Snooping Spur Bipartisan Legislative Push In Va.

Former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the ACLU are supporting legislation that would limit the ability of law-enforcement and regulatory agencies to collect information and build databases without a warrant.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.