As a small childe in the 1950's I had a friend named Carol Nicastro, she and I constantly played in the magickal realm of fairies, pixies, gnomes, Gods and Goddesses. Even though we went to church every Sunday like good Catholic little girls, by 10:00A.M. when church was over we ran home and changed into our play clothes to enter the magickal realm. We entertained forbidden Gods and Goddesses in our play world. Little did I know at that time we were conducting ancient riuals waiting to resurface known as the Craft today. But , low and behold when I was a teenager at 14 and still hugging trees and talking to nature spirits I started getting around the Bronx . I was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx . This is where I discovered Bontanicas.
In 1966 the Village Craze and hippy fare had intially permeated our area and I found a shop on Kingsbride Road next to Jahn's Ice Cream Parlor. It was called the Bronx Village Shop. The Proprietors name was Chinky a small Puerto Rican woman with long black and silver hair who dressed in exotic clothing and sold all of the popular jewlery of our time. She totally facinated me. We became fast friends and I started voluntering my time in her shop. In exchange she would give me earrings and jewlery which was so importatnt at that time for me. A few weeks into my internship there I discovered she read Spanish Tarot Cards. She handed the deck to me and told me to do a reading, up until this point I had only read with regular playing cards. I did a reading for a customer, which she interpreted and it turned out that I was very good. I soon became a regular reader at her shop.
A few more weeks passed and she said to me "come with me I have something to show you" she lead me by the hand to the back of her shop. Behind a wall was a small staircase that lead to a tiny loft that was actually meant for storage. Up the stairs we went and I was sweating bullets because I felt a prescense of power from the top of those stairs. At the top of the stairs, my eyes laid upon something I have never seen yet it immediatly struck me as being right. I felt a sense of comfort and home. It was scary, awesome and forbidden at the same moment yet the sense of rightness was there I was torn between two emotions. On the floor of the small loft was an oriental carpet and upon it was an alter of Saints and Gods that I have never seen, yet reconized. There was a large black faced madonna holding a white child like a queen she held the spot of prominent honor. This statue was surveying and overlooking all of the other Gods beyond her view. To her right was statue of a Saint dressed in red and white robes with long hair and a crown upon her head. A sword in one hand and a chalice in the other with a tower at her feet. Next to her was a black male God sitting cross legged with a gold medalion on his chest with a gold crown. A myriad of fruits, cigars, bowls of water with camphor, statue of a rooster, crucifixes, pine apples, coconuts, bananas, mangos and a black women holding snakes. All of this was so confusing the Catholic Saints I have seen never looked like this. Yet that awesome power I will never forget it ran through my body like a lightning bolt. This was the first tangable magick I was able to lay my hands upon since my childhood with Carol Nicastro. I immedialtly embraced Santaria as my new world. Of course this did not make my Italian parents very happy. When I brought home Saint Barbara it was not a Saint my mother reconized she called it "a Heathen Goddess" this did not daunt me. Of course the fruit flyes that were forming around the bananas were not welcomed in my mothers home, but they knew I was an odd child and let it go. I was happy and hey they were Catholic Saints I was still 15.
In the next few years books on the craft started to come out and by joining a book club I was able to purchase six of the most popular books on the market for a penny. Of course all the regular novels were crap and I was stuck buying two a month but, I had six witchcraft books for a penny inclueing "What Witchess Do" by Stuart Ferrar and "Mastering Withchcraft" by Paul Huson this lead me to want a Cystal Ball . I was married one year and my husband and I ventured to Brooklyn Heights to find the Warlock Shop I was 20 and now regulary practicing Santeria, Hindu, Mediatations, Gods and looking for Wicca my final Journey.
It was the September of 1971, and the Witchcraft Craze was sweeping through the younger generation of my era. The Eastern Gurus were dying off in popularity and we were looking for magick with a substance, a tangible feel for something that was more familiar with our society. What better than British Witchcraft! Therefore, it was this craze that made my own internal search come easy. I had always believed in a Goddess and had played with faires, gnomes and elves as a child. Eastern religions had a multitude of Goddesses, but this was not enough to quench the fire within my soul.
Oh the joy of discovering the Warlock Shop that Sunday in September!
The Warlock Shop in Brooklyn Heights was a world unto itself. Enclosed in a small shop between two buildings lay another world in secret existence. It was here that all " The Craft", as we know it to become today would give birth and rise from this small Universe. Herman Slater and Edmond Buczyski were both proprieters and High Priests of N.Y. Wicca. Eddie being Welsh and Gardnerian and the more magickal part of the business initiated me into the Gardinarian Tradition on February 2nd 1972. That May I was elevated to 3rd degree and that same afternoon Raymond Buckland came in to visit with Herman and Eddie. I was so young and thrilled that I met him the afternoon of my elevation to 3rd degree. Herman, the elder of our coven, trained me in the business end of the shop.
I started working for the shop, waiting on customers, weighing herbs, blending oils, casting spells, selling jewerly and speaking endlessly about "The Craft" after about two years, I left for a better paying job, only to return in 1978 to Magickal Childe owned and operated also by Herman Slater (Lord Govannon) and Edmond Buczynski (Lord Gywddion) on West 19th Street New York City, New York. It was in the Magickal Childe that I created the Enchanted Candle in 1979, In the years I spent working at the "Childe" my exposure to the occult world was vast and multifaceted, I found myself highly capable of absorbing the knowledge. I learned from the various customers and employees that frequented the shop from several different religious areas involved in the world of magick. From the O.T.O (Crowley's Magickal Order) to priests of Voudon, I was exposed to it all.
In 1972 Eddie and I started the first Minoan Ritual which later lead to the Minoan Tradition. It was in 1975 Carol Bulzone and I met through Herman after she came back home to New York City from Salem, Massachusetts. She had been on a magickal journey and in July 1975 I intiated her into the Craft with Lord Amon (David Farnham) my first husband. In1976 Carol assisted me in starting the Minoan Sisterhood and we wrote the Book of Showdows together with Eddie (Lord Gwyddion). It was our shared dream to one day open a magick shop of our own. In 1981 The Magickal Childe was up for sale. Herman was selling it every other month. After we raised the finances, Herman changed his mind. However, Carol and I still wanted a magickal Shop. So on September 7th 1982 Enchantments inc. first opened its doors to the Village. My learning about Eastern Hindu and Buddhist Magick continued at Enchantments when I was intiated into the rights of Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth, and female Buddha Tara.
The Enchanted Candles were flourishing and I was inspire by many to compile the art and to write a book. In 1986 The Enchanted Candle was first published. Since then over 20,000 copies of the book have been published by myself. The five years I spent co-owning and operating Enchantments was a continual exposure to different walks of magickal life. It was here that a predominant part of my Enchanted Formulary began to evolve. In 1987 I sold half of Enchantments inc. to Carol and persued motherhood on a more full time basis.
I relied heavely on my publication for support and a part time job doing reading consultations for one of the largest Botanicas in the world Original Products. Here I learned more about Santaria or (Saint Magick) then I had in previous years. My book was already being sold there, so the reception I received from the stores vast clientele was very warm and extremely informative. Trade secrets from the customers as well as Originals two owners Milton and Jack were an open book to me. Here I continued working on formulas and I learned a tremendous mountain of knowledge on perscribing Spirtual Magick.
As I continued on my path I left Original Products in the Bronx in 1992 and reopened a shop on the West side of the Village called Magickal Realms. Finding Manhattan still a difficult commute I restructured and opened Magickal Realms "Enchanted Candle Shoppe Inc." in Bronx, New York with my new partner
Sandra Rivera (Lady Zoradia) where magick and the Enchanted Candle still flourish as a wicca shop in the Bronx. Magickal Seals have continued to be created and designed since the recent republication of "Enchanted Candle" as well as formulas for oils incense and herbal baths.