S6E29: Italian American Witchcraft With Delores Norman

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Dec 10, 2022

Join Andrieh Vitimus, Zachary Lui and their guest Delores Norman in a discussion about Italian American Witchcraft. In this episode, learn about Italian American folk magic, the beliefs, and practices that have been passed down from generation to generation. If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating topic, be sure to tune in!


S6E29: Italian American Witchcraft With Delores Norman Show Notes

[00:00:48] “Doom Magic Challenge: New Iteration with Prizes”

[00:02:08] “Psychic Rituals with Cash Prizes: Get Ready!”

[00:09:51] “Ceremonial vs. Practical Magic: Exploring Differences & Coin Spell”

[00:17:22] “The Power of Memory Erasure in Public Spaces”

[00:20:47] Unraveling the Complexity of Correspondences in Magic.

[00:23:58] “The Role of Magic in Overcoming Blind Spots”

[00:29:19] The Complexity of Paying Rent and Magic.

[00:36:29] “Breaking curses: traditional practices revealed”

[00:41:49] “Breaking the Silence: Navigating Social Media Bragging”

[00:43:59] “Public Altars: How Sacred Spaces Become Shareable”

Scroll Below for Transcription

Andrieh Vitimus: Be sure to subscribe and like our channel. Well, it’s another week, it’s another show on the semi live deep down Rabbit Hole and right now, Queen City of Curio and Apothecary Video Casting. Where are we broadcasting from? Mr. Zach? Where are we broadcasting from?

Zachary Lui: We’re broadcasting from Toronto, Ontario, 607 Gerrard Street East on the fourth floor. Specifically 401 and two though really. That’s pretty much the whole floor.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yeah, we have everything but one office and we’ll one office floor.

Zachary Lui: We’ll take it over.

Andrieh Vitimus: We’ll take it over. Yeah, we’ll take it over eventually. And in fact you sometimes hear that because sometimes people come to our door right, we’re in the middle of the show. So that’s how it is when you do a live radio show and actually stuff comes out versus overly produced podcast, et cetera, even though we have a podcast here. So before we start, we have a couple of things coming back. The return of the one, the only doom magic challenges. In fact, it is coming back, but differently before and this time in a new iteration that we’re about to start. You heard it here first. People will do magic, come up and devise rituals with one spirit or a general topic. Have about two weeks to conceive of that ritual and we’ll kind of be interviewing you as you kind of go through just a process to see, let us know. And then basically we’ll have a panel of semi celebrities. They’re not really celebrities, but they are pretty good occultists and authors kind of just tell me what you thought about that. And then we’re going to keep going until we get to semifinals and finals and there will be real prizes worth a few hundred dollars. It’ll be fun time. Yeah.

Zachary Lui: Actual money. Actual money people.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yes, actual cash prizes. Yeah. Right. So that’ll be the new one. I mean, obviously it isn’t just come up with a ritual. You need to actually spend two weeks actually trying to make the ritual have impact. So it just can’t be like TikTok. You make it pretty seen. Some of the celebrity judges also are pretty good psychics. So when you perform the ritual, if we don’t feel that it has a kick, well, probably can’t win. So means you actually have to do the work and have a fun time. Obviously supposed to be a fun time. And generally speaking, I know it sounds like that’s totally subjective, but it’s really not. If you get four people who generally have some psychic ability in a room and all are saying a head kick, the chances of that being totally subjective are if you study statistics, almost zero. And I study statistics as a data scientist. So yeah, about that, about that. But you heard it here 1st, first of the year we’re going to start if people are interested this weekend coming up we’ll have I know the holiday is crazy, holidays are crazy. But I think next weekend we’re going to have a ground and center. Basically, if you’re having issues with that, come down to the store 04:00 on Sunday next weekend, right? Zach yes. Next weekend we’ll teach you how to use some stones and stuff like that, actually use them. So if you have them around your house, that’s fine. We’ll teach you how to actually use them to ground, how to hold them in your pocket. All these things actually go holiday shopping and not go insane. It’s sort of a stressful time for a lot of people, but we’ll show you how to actually use those in stealth ways so you could be out holding your necklace and you’re actually doing magic. Which leads into exactly what we’re going to talk about today, right? Zach.

Zachary Lui: Yes, we are. So with us today is Dee Norman. She’s a witch who grew up in an Italian American magical tradition. She’s received her first Tarot deck at the age of eleven and has been staying card, reading magic and witchcraft ever since. Her focus is the state of esoteric art, symbolism, and Grimore. She’s been a professional Tarot and Oracle card reader for over 25 years, reading cards and teaching workshops in several states and on two continents. And in 2021, D was published in Ebola Mata Leonard Oracle Deck, based on the art from the 15th century of the Emblem book. She lives in Tennessee with her partner, her daughter, and their dog, Halloween Jack. Welcome to the show.

Delores Norman: Hi, and thank you.

Andrieh Vitimus: Now, I said it was related because one of the first things in your actual book talks about practical magic. It’s all about carrying things in your pocket and making stuff change, sometimes through stealth means or not what people think is ritual magic. Not necessarily not magic, but not the same as ritual magic.

Delores Norman: Correct. I have experienced two different magical traditions in my life. I grew up first in an Italian American folk magical tradition, like my bio says, that came through my mother’s side of the family, and so it’s something that I have experienced pretty much since birth. However, that key moment at the age of eleven on St. Nicholas Night when I received my first Tarot deck, opened up the wide world of ritual and ceremonial magic to me. And so I’ve also been pursuing that, not really since the age of eleven, but since about the age of 16. So I’m very familiar with the similarities and differences between the two styles of practice. But this book that I wrote is all about my family’s practice, which is very down to earth, very simple, but very effective.

Andrieh Vitimus: Right. You make the point early on in the book that a lot of what’s in the book shares similarities with other sort of ground, what I call grounded traditions like conjure and Greek magic and sort of other kind of folksy styles of magic that maybe aren’t highbrow magic or high magic.

Delores Norman: Correct.

Andrieh Vitimus: I think you made the statement like, your grandmother did it, your mom did it, you do it. And it’s all about actually magic that keeps the whole family doing well, really kind of practical. Like how do we keep people from being sick? How do we get a little extra money to buy Christmas gifts? How do I contact God right now and become one with the angels? It is really about really about what is day to day life with magic. And I found that very much more.

Delores Norman: It’S much more about how do I contact Great Aunt Lucy and ask her for help with my marital problems? There’s a lot of ancestor work. There’s a lot of work with the saints, but it’s on a very practical, that laundry list, shopping list level, where you’ve got things you need to get done and you use magic to get them done.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yeah, it’s interesting because the saints is actually another one that’s, you know, I think we see that a lot in conjure work, too. We see that in all the traditions that necessarily Christianity has sort of touched. There’s this, the highbrow of the saints, and then there’s this sort of like all of us lighting candles to St. Expedite to get things to hurry up. But maybe not Expedite in your case, but maybe St. Anthony to open up doors.

Delores Norman: St. Expedite is my patron saint. He’s who I work with the most sonic spirit.

Andrieh Vitimus: There you go. In Italian, the saint that only exists in New Orleans, but now he exists everywhere.

Delores Norman: There is a lot of tradition with him in parts of Italy.

Andrieh Vitimus : Let me break it up now. We’re having problems.

Zachary Lui: Is it us? I think it says no connection on her end from what I can see.

Andrieh Vitimus: Well, let’s check that out real fast. We are having technical difficulties. She’s YouTube real fast to see that.

Zachary Lui: It’S no, I brought her back in. She is having a little bit of problems there.

Delores Norman: Hi, can you hear me now?

Zachary Lui: Hi.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yes, we can. Live radio.

Zachary Lui: Live radio.

Andrieh Vitimus: Before we go any further, papa legba open the doors. Keep the technological technology open despite all the haters that seemingly affect the negative internet. You’ll get some run later. There we go.

Zachary Lui: Practical magic right there.

Andrieh Vitimus: Practical magic right there.

Delores Norman: So where did I cut off?

Andrieh Vitimus: People might think I was joking, but Zach’s like, nah, he wasn’t joking.

Zachary Lui: I was going to go to another room. I know we’re live. I was going to get you the rub, man.

Andrieh Vitimus: Maybe should. But let’s keep talking about this because I think it’s very interesting. Myself have done a lot of ceremonial magic and a lot of traditions, and there’s a different thing about magic when you’re just trying to keep your family okay. And ceremonial magic, although I’d argue like it’s probably a hidden secret that nobody talks about because I don’t know why they don’t want to talk about it. They can use angels in a more folksy manner. Okay. But I mean, for the most part, there’s this sort of like well, you just need to do magic in ceremonial magic for self sort of just self change. But this isn’t that type of magic. It’s like, what do you do when rent is due? Quite bake it. And there’s a lot of things one of the ones that we kind of mentioned was there’s like this little coin spell. I think that’s a great little example because this is not the first time I’ve heard this spell. I’ve heard this in different forms, but I think it’s a really good example of a lot of the things in the book. And maybe you could tell us the coin spell because it’s so easy. Anyone could do it, even listening.

Delores Norman: Gladly. So the thing about the coin spell, the one trick is in this modern world, I rarely have coins in my pocket because I pay for everything digitally. But if you do happen to have coins in your pocket, the first moment you glimpse the full moon, what I was taught was you reach in your pocket and you turn a coin over in your pocket and you say something along the lines of full moon, bless this coin and bring me lots of prosperity throughout the month. Then you either keep that coin with you or you spend it to make sure that it brings blessings into other people’s lives too. Which is what I normally do, is I make sure to spend the coin so that it brings that positive energy and spreads it around the community. There’s a lot in Italian American folk magic that has to do with not only improving your home life, but improving the lives of the families around you.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yeah, maybe we should talk about that because you’re coming from your mom did this, your grandmother did this. What it was like as a kid, I don’t know. Coming from families that are magical, did they actually tell you what you’re doing? Or they just did it instead of expect you to kind of be like, did you figure it out? It’s just what we do.

Delores Norman: It is the fate of the immigrant child that their elders want to Americanize them and make them blend in. And so a lot of what was done by my mother and grandmother was done on the down low. We weren’t given a lot of explanation, but I was highly, highly curious. So I would ask questions and pursue the information because I was very interested in it all. But they didn’t want to reveal a lot of it at first. And it really was not until I was in my thirty s that I got my first real sit down, have an interview style conversation with both my mother and grandmother at the same time and ask them to fill in the details of some of the things I had been witnessing my entire life. So up until then, they might tell me to, for example, burn a black candle, which is the name of my book. But they wouldn’t necessarily say how that was going to help me or what that was going to do for me. Just I needed to do it. And then it was therefore taken on face. So I would take the little candle home and I would burn the little candle knowing I was doing something. But what exactly the mechanism was, was not explained.

Andrieh Vitimus: Sounds very familiar coming from Ukrainian family. All these things never told me why I should do this or why they were so militant about me being an altar boy. None of it. They don’t tell you like, oh, yeah, this is actually ritual magic and this is actually this and this and that because of what you said. And I think that’s an important point. This Americanization and by Americanization, we should say this is Americanization of the probably early 80s. It’s not Americanization now. Now people would come here and be like, this is what we do. Right? Because the culture has radically changed in the last 20 years or so or 30 years. It’s not in the didn’t talk about this stuff or World War II. You didn’t talk about it.

Delores Norman: I think that even today there’s still a lot of reticence because of the type of information that it is. Nobody wants to seem foolish. No one wants to seem credulous in front of strangers. And so a lot of this stuff, I still think is kept very much on the down low. And I can only get people to open up and talk about their family practices if I start revealing my family practices in front of them and that kind of gets the ball rolling. They know I’m a safe audience in which to express all of that.

Andrieh Vitimus: Well, I should say, if you know anyone or anyone listening wants to talk, we just do a show. We get all these people with family practices together, talk about because we know this stuff was real. Seriously, don’t be ashamed by that public service we’re telling you. I found it also interesting because some of the things is kind of like even though you do ceremony and magic, there’s parts where you’re talking about doing psychic greetings and having something to actually basically, that’s really hard to get for a lot of ceremonial magicians is that, yeah, you have to actually kind of learn your own symbols and your own symbolism and kind of figure out, well, maybe what some of this means, because it may not be the same as your mom’s or grandmothers or what’s in the book.

Delores Norman: Yeah. And that morphin changes over the time. And the only way you can get that is through attention. And my favorite topic journaling, what you remember, what you experienced, write it down because you’ll lose it and you won’t find the patterns in it like you would if you actually record it. Or audio record it if you don’t want to write it down.

Andrieh Vitimus: I got to play a sound effect because I so support this message.

Zachary Lui: Yeah.

Andrieh Vitimus: Totally support it. I mean, I don’t know how many times we’ve been on the phone or we’re dealing with students. We’re like, yeah, you got to journal stuff. And they’re like, I don’t want to journal. We’re like, if there’s no record, it didn’t happen. They’re like it happened. No, it didn’t.

Delores Norman: And I’m sure you have both and your students have experienced that psychic wallpaper effect that happens where something phenomenally strange will happen, but your brain just likes to wallpaper that over, and you don’t remember it unless something else calls it to mind later. And if you write it down, it gets captured. If you don’t, it’s luck of the draw. Whether some other experience brings that forward in your mind again well, actually even.

Andrieh Vitimus: Goes further than that. And we’ve actually tested this. You can do open magic in a cafe outright heavy hardcore magic cafe, and everyone will not remember what’s going on. If you try to pet, you know, other people are in there that don’t know what you actually do. They won’t remember that time slice, and everyone will just think like, oh, I just want got a drink. They won’t remember anything weird at all. And that’s interesting. Phenomena. We’ve actually tested this. Like, we could get this on my strangers and in public places where people just mentally go out of their way because they I believe it’s because they psychically. Just use the phrase from a Hitchhiker’s Guide to university. It’s someone else’s problem field. And they just, like, put it out of their memory. But they put it out of their memory so far, they don’t even remember that there was something weird going on that day in that place. And we’ve tested this effect. Like, you could have this multiple times out. You could go break your tarot cards, and you’re like going hard with your you have a little cappuccino, and you go hard. Try it out. You’ll see, you’ll be like, wow, no one did. Everyone walked away like nothing’s happening. And then if you actually knew anyone, they’re like, yeah, did you notice anything? No. It’s weird.

Zachary Lui: Really weird.

Andrieh Vitimus: What you’re describing that we do ourselves when you don’t write it down is sort of a fact that is general. Or you could expand it. You could try it out to expand it to other people too. So one of the things you kind of and you keep going on that with the journaling, but you’re talking about the importance of actually writing down your psychic impressions too, as part of this Italian witchcraft. Italian witchcraft tends to use a lot of herbs, but at first you aren’t like, here’s your recipes. You’re like, what’s your second impression of that?

Delores Norman: Yeah, here’s the thing. I have been teaching workshops everywhere for a long time now, and a lot of the people that I interact with when they’re first starting into a magical practice are completely concerned and paranoid over if they have psychic ability or not and if they’re going to be able to get the impressions that they need in order to know what’s going on. And it takes a lot of convincing to tell someone you’re picking up on those impressions already. You just need to recognize them. And the way you recognize them is knowing yourself really well and starting to decipher the impressions you’re already receiving. And that goes back to that idea of your personal symbolism, but it also goes to using that practice regularly when you’re doing magical and spiritual work and taking a moment to not go, okay, well, it says Basil does this in the book or on the Internet. And so that’s what I’m going to use Basil for. You could have a completely different relationship with Basil and you might have to spend some time with Basil basil. To figure out what your relationship with Basil is and what you’re going to use it for because there are many uses for Basil throughout history.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yeah, I think this is the hardest thing about this is the hardest thing to get people out of what you’re describing. I really think it is because ceremonial magic has most people ceremonial magic is their first inclination for magic. And ceremonial magic says this is the correspondence and this is the book. All the books say this, but practicing magicians like yourself, and I think all of us here would say, well, it sort of depends. It’s not as easy to decide. Like, Basil is a great example because there’s probably five different uses. I could think of Basil right off top of my head and some seem like they might be partially conflicting depending on what they’re mixed with generally a benign herb generally, and tasty as well. Very tasty, but not necessarily like what people would think it would be like, well, what about this one use? It’s like, well, it’s like another one, it’s like cinnamon. Like, well, there’s a lot of uses for cinnamon too that people might be like, what? Because it’s again, it’s not as simple as here’s this, it’s how you’re interacting with herb. And I like what you said there. Like, I kind of kind of similarly stressing this. You’re already getting impressions, like you’re just ignoring them. It’s a pretty good way to start, it’s a good way to talk about it. Do you ever find when you’re teaching people what they expect is sort of the idea of magic is getting away of what’s actually going on?

Delores Norman: I think so. I don’t think it lasts for long. If they’re really determined to pursue the path, whichever path they are pursuing, eventually it has to sink into them that they’re experiencing things that they did not expect. But there’s often a pep talk or two that is along the lines of if it was everything that you just expected, why would it be magic? It would just be some kind of science. If you put in this input and you expect this output and you get that output, that’s not a lot of room for magic happening. You have to give the universe elbow room to deliver and to create the unexpected, because to me, the unexpected is a large slice of what magic actually is. You put an intention out there, you don’t know how it’s going to get fulfilled until it gets fulfilled, and it may happen in a completely unexpected way, and that can really upset people. There are people that are very much into only getting what they put into it or only getting what they expect to get out of it.

Andrieh Vitimus: Well, one of the things I like to always say is that if you could predict the mechanism of the magic, you wouldn’t have needed it in the first place.

Delores Norman: Yes.

Andrieh Vitimus: Right. Because you would already did all the exact things you needed to do to get exactly the outcome you wanted to get. So why would you do magic at that point instead of do the exact steps you know you have to do to get the exact steps that you need to happen? Magic always happens at the thing where you’re hitting a blind spot where you otherwise don’t know what steps are necessary. Right. You’re not maybe not asking for help, but you’re using this sort of extra I don’t want to say force, because I don’t want to use that term either, but using some extra X factor to facilitate something that would not normally happen because if it could happen in what you thought if you had all the details down, it would be easy to make a project plan and just make it happen. You just study project planning and figure out you do stuff on this and this and this and this and this, and the next thing you know, all of a sudden you get this outcome. And it’s pretty predictable if you’re a good project planner and if we wanted that as magicians or witches or whatever you identify as, we would and often do put our stuff into a project plan to get X, Y and Z when we can really conceive what the steps are. So I’m not against project planning. That’s kind of what I do a lot of the time. But if I wanted something that I magicking for, it means that I don’t really know how to make it happen.

Delores Norman: I have found that I don’t want to be one of those people that are like, having a child teaches you so much. But no, seriously, teaching a child about magic really makes you break down magic and how it works and the mechanisms it uses. One thing I found myself a conversation with my daughter about is she’s like, mom, can you do this? Can you do that thing she sees on TV. I’m like, no, I can’t do any of that. And I said, but for example, I could do a ritual, very intense one right now, to open our front door, and someone may come home unexpectedly and open the front door, and that could be the mechanism through which that spell worked. Or the wind could blow it open, or someone could wreck a car into it or anything.

Andrieh Vitimus: Or I could walk over and open the front door.

Delores Norman: Exactly. Because the amount of energy and effort required for the magical route is usually much more than if you have a practical, mundane solution. And so what is the point of sitting here and chanting for 10 hours to get my front door open when I can walk over there and do it? So then she was kind of like, well, magic is boring. Off she went, because she was like eleven at the time. But it’s important to know that’s why you save up magic for the important stuff. The protect my family, heal my wound, bring in the money to pay the rent. That’s why you save it up for that important stuff, because it’s effort. If you take it seriously for what it is and you rely on it, it is a lot of effort, I.

Andrieh Vitimus: Think so, although I take a more martial arts approach to magic. So I’m like, yeah, you do magic for stupid stuff, but that’s like you go to the dojo and you’re throwing punches continuously for no reason except for practice.

Delores Norman: Well, practice is not a waste at all, I think.

Andrieh Vitimus: No, but the goal is like, okay, so I saw a blackbird today. Great job, magic, great job. But I mean, it’s not like pay rent, but it’s like, okay, I saw this weird animal today. Great job. I mean, that’s the kind of stuff to keep yourself sharp. Okay. Or Great, I caused it to rain today. Good job, magic. Right again. But that’s practice, that’s a little different. And I think that’s such an important point because it’s like, yeah, why would you spend 10 hours to do a spell to make the door open.

Delores Norman: Where you want to allocate your interest and your energy? You only have so much day. You only have so much energy. And what do you save up to use for magic and esoteric practices?

Andrieh Vitimus: Also, the other thing, like paying rent or protection, is more complicated. There’s a lot more chaos, there’s a lot more variables that kind of we can’t see whether or not you’re I think you’re in rural Tennessee, right, just south of Nashville. If you are in the heart of downtown Nashville, whether or not you’re there, when there’s a mugging or not is there’s so many variables of how protection, magic affects that you could be five minutes late on the highway and you’re not at the right place at the right time for that to have occurred. It’s so chaotic that there’s a lot of room for manipulation. It’s not quite like the door, which.

Delores Norman: It’S more like a nudge in those situations.

Andrieh Vitimus: Right. It’s just a very subtle nudge. That’s all it needs. Or with rent, it’s often just a matter of did your employer pay you or did you sell enough books this month? Right. It’s kind of chaotic. Right. There’s not a linear X to Y relationship between those there’s a linear X to Y relationship on the outcome, but not the process. It’s not so simple. Like I could just walk to the door. A lot of things have to happen for rent to get paid. Like my employer has to well, I mean, usually you wouldn’t even have to enchant for that if you had a real stable job. But if you didn’t, do you get the money that somebody owes you by the time it’s there? Or do other people book at the last minute? All those things are kind of chaotic because now you’re dealing with the Internet or you’re dealing with not social network, but your in person social network, as it were, or any number of variables that this could come through. Like the mechanism is still chaotic and complicated. Or whenever I teach magic to kids, maybe the kids are doing protection magic for the parents. Right. That’s still complicated. Right. Which it’s sort of like, what does protection mean at that point? Well, it could mean a lot of things, but usually it means bad stuff just doesn’t hit you. And that’s complicated. That’s a complicated sort of intention. It’s not so simple like the door example you gave.

Delores Norman: Yeah, that’s where that beauty of giving the universal wiggle room to come through for you really pays off. When there’s all those variables and there’s lots of wiggle room, then it doesn’t seem as difficult to accomplish your goals magically.

Zachary Lui: So in your book, you describe olive oil and water as a divination for healing. That’s pretty practical. So could you get into that a little bit?

Delores Norman: Yes. This is both diagnosis and cure for the evil eye. And this is a practice that is handled very differently from one Italian family to the other, at least in the US. And I assume in Italy, too. And some people that really feel like this is information, I will say preface this with that cannot be passed on except under a certain key set of circumstances. And I put it in my book. And why did I put it in my book? Because I don’t want this to die out and I want people to be able to I thought that there was an audience out there of people who were Italian American, who weren’t magicians, who wanted to figure out what nona was doing in the kitchen all those times. So anyway, when someone is suspected of having the evil eye, you sit them in a chair in the kitchen, you get a white saucer and you fill it with water. Now, some people. Do holy water. We would just do water right from the tap. And what you do is you hold the saucer of water over their head and you pray Our Fathers and Hail Marys alternately, one after the other. And as you do that, you dip your hand into the olive oil and drop it into the water three times. One, two, three. And then you pretty much cry, using the oil to determine if the person has the evil eye or not. And it’s funny, if you talk from family to family, there are difference. Some say if all the oil comes together into one spot in the center, forming an eye shape so the saucer looks like an eye, that means the person has the evil eye. There’s other families that say the exact opposite, that if it spreads across the water and doesn’t make a coherent shape, then that means that the person doesn’t have the evil eye. So you can take your pick, but just pick in advance what you are going to use.

Andrieh Vitimus: This sounds so much like the Ukrainian earwax thing that Zach notes see me do, like where you take the person’s earwax and you basically melt it and put it on water and you could tell if someone’s cursed based on the pattern of the earwax.

Delores Norman: That’s wild. I’ve never heard of that before. I love it.

Zachary Lui: Or the wok.

Andrieh Vitimus: You created things. The methodology you described is very similar, except instead of olive oil, we’re using the person’s earwax. But one of the things too is we should say what the evil eye actually is, because I think some people may not actually know listening. They hear the term, but I don’t think they know.

Delores Norman: It is a very complex group of beliefs having to do with the general idea that someone’s negative glance can do harm to you, your possessions, or your loved ones. It’s usually rooted in jealousy in you having something that they want, but it can also be rooted in other things, but most of the time having to do with jealousy or envy and vedia. The envious eye, and it is found historically in cultures across the globe, except for China, australia and North America are the three places where it was not found historically.

Andrieh Vitimus: I think there’s variants of the evil eye state of China, right, Zach?

Zachary Lui: Oh, there absolutely is.

Delores Norman: Really? Because all of the literature, the scholarly literature, says no. So I would love to hear more about that.

Zachary Lui: Yeah, it’s combined with mudras. And remember that in Chinese garments, you usually be wearing robes, so you usually do the mudras and then you’re projecting with your eyes. Or you’re doing it while doing a talisman on your tongue, like drawing it out with script, and then you breathe it out. So both variants work depending on which way you go about it.

Delores Norman: That is fascinating. Is there a term or something that I could search for that would have more info? I do a class on the evil eye. So if there’s a term or anything I can search for to find out.

Zachary Lui: More, there is no terms, unfortunately. It’s just more like it’s in the oral tradition.

Delores Norman: And then that narrows it even to fewer traditional cultures that didn’t have that. So it is very widespread and there’s a ton of elaboration on the different beliefs. One question about the Ukrainian practice. So with the Italian American practice, when we find the diagnosis, we take scissors and we cut this symbol that shows us that there is the evil eye and we mess it all up and to cure it, to get rid of it. And then we clean out the bowl and do the process over again to check and see if we were successful. Is there anything like that in the Ukrainian practice where you kind of get rid of it and then you retest?

Andrieh Vitimus: Oh, yeah. If you see somebody’s curse, you definitely take corrective action right there. Well, I mean, it depends. It depends on the person. Some people will be you got to get paid. You got to get paid to take the curse away. But if it’s a family member, you definitely take it away. And again, this gets into family stuff. Where I’ve seen it done, it wasn’t explained in retrospect. I get it once you’ve got the earwax because you actually use hot water to get it out and then put it in a bowl. And then the minute that you’re like, yeah, this person’s curse, you start singing the rosary or praying the rosary over that person to break it, and if it’s necessary, you start calling saints. That’s what I saw. But it’s done in Ukrainian, so it’s a little like you’re asking, they’re praying rosary in Ukrainian or that’s the way I saw it. And now they’re basically going and doing it in practice, I don’t necessarily do the rosary because I have other things to call, but I have done the wax stuff before because basically it’s pretty good. It’s a sympathetic link and it really does tell you you could pretty easily see in the water, like, is this person cursed? Really cursed, actually, just because it’s from their body. So, you’ll know, if there’s a curse in there, right, but I’m going to try this oil thing because that’s easier. I don’t have to get it.

Delores Norman: I will never forget once this has happened very recently to me, where I thought I might have the evil eye. And so I was preparing and I was going to do it on myself with the saucer and everything, hold it over my head. And my partner, who is also magically inclined, is like, oh, hey, let me help you. And I’m like, thanks. So I get the saucer of water, I fill it up and I put it on the table in front of me. I sit down in the chair, he walks into the room and he’s like, oh, hey, let me get that for you. He grabs the saucer and just dumps it all over me. He didn’t realize there was water in it. Soaked me. And I was like, okay, this might be an indication that there’s something a little bit off in the household. If we can’t even get the ritual to detect if I have evil eye, right, and you’re pouring.

Andrieh Vitimus: I generally think that as a public figure, as, you know, probably there’s probably about 100 curses that get thrown every couple of months. You know, it’s just I don’t know why, but it’s you know, it’s probably true.

Delores Norman: I upped the Home and Family Protection about the time that the book came out and even did protection for, like, my publisher, my agent. I was just, like, going to be.

Andrieh Vitimus: Very thorough about it. I should probably do that next time. That’s probably a good idea. It’s probably more thorough. I don’t know why people feel the need to do that, but they do. And that’s unfortunate, but I think I go ahead.

Delores Norman: In my family’s tradition, a lot of it is unintentional. So they may be feeling the negativity towards the person, but they’re not necessarily throwing it your way. But the other thing is that there is a belief that the person who does intentionally throw that negativity your way is being influenced by their own negative entities that are controlling, manipulating them. And so when you pray to get rid of the evil eye, you also pray for whoever sent it to help them escape whatever negative entities forces that they’re suffering from.

Andrieh Vitimus: I mean, I know we weren’t going to just talk about the evil eye, but I think it’s a fascinating context because the evil eye suggests that anyone could do magic. A lot of the myths suggest anyone can do magic. It’s in there. It’s like people would say, oh, no, that’s not what it says. But it is really saying if there’s enough envy, enough, like core envy. I mean, pure, unadulterated envy rage, like, as it were. Like, it’s not just rage because it’s envy rage, or like, you know, that’s enough with the eye and the contact with the person to cast the evil eye. In a lot of cultures, that’s enough to cause an actual curse to do damage. But it can’t be a cursory sort of envy or jealousy. It has to be this almost madness level of jealousy. But it happens more than people would ever like to admit. Even in American culture, people are really jealous over the neighbor that gets a new car, over the author that publishes a new book.

Delores Norman: Social media in general, people who you go on social media, I go on social media. I put myself out there now because I do have a book that I’m trying to promote. And you’re trying to show pieces of your life off, but you’re also trying to keep things the distance between yourself and the world at large, because, yeah, that’s a big concern for me. It’s like you don’t just go out and post and brag about all these wonderful things happening to you, because that’s asking for it. In my culture, it’s asking.

Andrieh Vitimus: I think I was always taught almost not to brag about anything, and that doesn’t work in the modern social media, because people expect they expect you to actually talk about the results of your magic. And by the time I’m talking about the results of your magic, my magic, it’s already been two years. So people are like, it’s a general metric. And Zach has actually seen this before. I start talking about how the spell happened, and it was phenomenal awesome results. It’s been about two years since I got the awesome results. I figure that’s such past tense that it doesn’t matter anymore because I was actually taught it’s not that you don’t talk about the magic. It’s that you don’t talk about what you want or what you’re actually getting because of the evil eye or the witchcraft of the mouth or all of this kind of jealousy based traditions. So it’s like, if I was ever a millionaire, I wouldn’t talk about it until I was already a triple millionaire, right. I’ve crossed a million threshold, but it’s more like now I’ve crossed a 5 million a year threshold, right. And then I would talk about it, because at that point, it’s past the breakthrough point. I think that’s a good metric that you’re talking about or a good not talking about this. I know it’s against what is generally advised is social media marketing, but it’s hard.

Delores Norman: You’ve got a balance. And what I find myself doing is that if I want to use an example for spellwork, if I want to show off an altar that I made, I fake it. I don’t fake it. I make the real thing, but not for any purpose. I create a spell that is just for illustration purposes. I create an altar that is just for illustration purposes, because I don’t know how people deal with just, here’s a picture of my altar. I’m like, oh, don’t show people pictures of your altar. Show people what you’re doing.

Andrieh Vitimus: I’ve taken the approach that the altars we make, because we make a lot of altars here, like, we just did Fet Gede, which is like the service of the dead. We have videotaped, but the Fet Gede is supposed to be for the purpose, to communicate with the dead. But it was done with the ideology that it was going to be shared to the public, with the spirit’s knowledge that it was going to be shared to the public, that we were doing this in a way that it was going to be filmed and that we were going to take pictures and share them. I kind of made a separation between private altars or what I have in my house versus what we build in the center for public consumption, like anything built in the center, is for the public to consume. And therefore the spirits involved are very well aware that for me personally, part of the arrangement we’re making is that there has to be some level of protection for us to share this that could actually help people. It could actually help someone trigger them in a good way that they they might see an altar that helps, that has some psychic juice, that helps them break through whatever their issues are. But that’s been the sort of workaround like that. Anything in the public sphere is public and the spirits already know that.

Delores Norman: But that would be community type altar is a lot different than there’s lots of people on social media that are just like, here’s my private, personal altar in my house.

Andrieh Vitimus: I would never do that. Actually. I don’t know why people would do that. What you’re describing.

Delores Norman: I think a lot of it has to do with people who are just starting out and who don’t have other people around them, want to share what they’re doing so badly, want feedback on what they’re doing so badly that they want to put it out there and they want to get feedback on it. And they want people to go, that’s gorgeous. Or you’re doing it right, or you’re doing it wrong. Or they want some kind of indication that what they’re doing is real. And if you don’t have anyone to talk to in your own personal, private life about that, you don’t get that type of validation those people start.

Andrieh Vitimus: You know what, I think that’s a real problem because a lot of the stores are not accessible. A lot of the places are not accessible. You could come to our store and ask us, hey, can I come to a ritual? And be like, go get us lunch and we’ll go to the other room, I guess, right? Sure, whatever you want to do. We can clean it after you’ve done it. Like, hopefully you buy herb and candles here, you know what I’m saying? But there’s a lot of places not so accessible. So where do you go?

Delores Norman: Where I am right now, my little local shop, the Pandemic, got it and they had to close their doors. And there’s no place near me I would have to drive into almost the center of Nashville to get to a place. And so I have now I make a lot of my own candles. I patronize a lot of little independent makers online and stuff like that. Heck, if you guys ship, I’ll be checking out your shop.

Zachary Lui: We do ship.

Andrieh Vitimus: We don’t have enough time to make as much stuff as we’d like. We have some pretty talented potion. I don’t want to say potion makers because they sound like so Harry Potterish potion mess, but I mean, my wife makes oils and some of the actually best oils I’ve ever used. And I don’t say that just because she’s my wife. Zach right. Aren’t they the best oils that we are?

Zachary Lui: Absolutely the best oils. Like, someone got a small sample of the fiery wall protection they got fixed the next day. Their problem.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yeah, they emailed us, this is the shit. Me and my wife, we would basically like, wife, if you’re going to make oils, just only use essential oils. Because I hate synthetics. I don’t hate synthetics. But, oh, my God, the stuff she comes up with, I’m like, well, this is pretty good. Yeah. If you weren’t my wife, I’d still think this is pretty good. There’s the wife effect. And then I’m like, but this is actually pretty good. I’d buy those.

Zachary Lui: We have spent. What are you talking about?

Andrieh Vitimus: Yeah, but I mean, on the flip side of that, that’s the thing. A lot of also what you’re talking about in the book is also about this kind of making your own stuff not necessarily complicated. Right? Yeah. We’re talking about essential oils, but some of the spells look to me like you just mix a couple of herbs and olive oil, and there’s your oil, and that works perfectly fine.

Delores Norman: Yeah. So growing up, my mother and grandmother used very few components. They used stuff sparingly, and they used stuff that came right out of their kitchen. Now, Italian American folk magic is often called Kitchen Witchery, and there’s a large facet of it that is Kitchen Witchery. I don’t think all of it is Kitchen Witchery. I do think all of it is a very practical magic. And writing the book for two audiences, one audience being magicians who just want to learn the Italian American aspect of practical magic, and the other audience being people who maybe have never done magic consciously in their entire lives and just want to maybe experiment with it. I wanted to keep things very simple so that they could pick up stuff around the house, which is what my mother and grandmother did anyway, and still accomplish things magically without having to go break the bank and go and buy a lot of stuff and get a lot of supplies. And then if you really get into the practice, then you can go and branch out, go to your metaphysical shops and get some more complex spell components and work with them. But the tools that you start out with, I think, should be very simple because they should be AIDS to what you’re trying to accomplish and not detract from your work. And I think a lot of times people try to use super complex setups, and that just distracts them from their focus, and they can’t accomplish what they want to because the tools are actually pulling their attention away from what they’re trying to actually do. And it’s funny because mom and Grandma I talk about in the book, they would say they do not practice magic. They categorize themselves as good Catholic women who do not practice magic. They practice this wild and wacky version of Italian folk Catholicism, but they do not practice magic. And they’d say to me, oh, you with your Kabbalah and your tree of life and your Hebrew. That’s magic. What we do is not magic. And I’m like, okay, we would have.

Andrieh Vitimus: This debate just like my family making me become an altar boy so I would learn all the stuff that’s not magic. That’s just being a good Catholic. Even though three or four people in the family ended up as Jesuit priests after the fact. Right? Sure. It’s not magic. You’re not doing magic. We’re just teaching you. So that way those of you little sensitive, you get the right. You’ll be in better hands that way. Yes, as a guy, it’s not magic. Nor is it the fact that we have the priest come to the house and bless every single window before Easter. Every single window, every single door. It’s not magic. It’s not magic.

Delores Norman: I got to be by the way, my parish is one of two of my parish’s first altar girls. When they finally let altar girls happen, it was scandal at the time, which I think back on now, and I think it’s crazy. It was interesting because about the time second grade hit, I wanted to be a priest so bad it had to be explained to me multiple times about why I couldn’t be a priest. And I thought it was BS at the time. Very upset. But yeah, Catholicism brings its own special magic, and the folk variations on it can be so complex and so beautiful those unwritten practices that folks that aren’t in any book brings a lot of richness to people’s lives.

Andrieh Vitimus: I think that’s the thing. There’s sort of European and Hispanic and these other subcultures Catholicism and then there’s, like, the more Protestant level of Catholicism. A lot of people don’t realize they’re really not the same thing. Even as raised as an Eastern Orthodox Catholic, it was clear that demons were actually real. It wasn’t like, oh, yeah, this is a metaphor for your subconscious mind. No demons, literal windows. And when other people get jealous, they literally send demons to you because they give the evil eye. And then demons come and follow the evil eye who gets marked by it or essentially something similar to that. So we got to make sure our neighbors don’t send the evil eye to us or something. Right. And it wasn’t like we’re going to talk about magic or overly described. It was like, this is just the way it is. Right. Which is very different than I think a lot of people’s experience that Catholic Catholicism thing. There’s not one Catholicism either. I think people have to realize that.

Delores Norman: Because my partner, he grew up in Owensboro, Kentucky. It’s a very small town. He grew up Catholic. But it was a very canonical, plain vanilla Catholicism. And I would talk to him and be like, man. It’s amazing what I grew up with. And he’s like, we did not have the same Catholicism. It’s not fair. I had this very strict, varied, by the book, very law abiding Catholicism that was very rough on ideas of guilt and sin. And my family was just all over the place because Italian Americans, they say, you need the church when you’re born, when you marry, and when you die. And that’s pretty much it. The rest of the time you go in and out of the church building and do whatever you want, but you don’t have to go to Mass or pay attention to the priests. Those people are crazy. So it’s a very personal relationship with God, even within the Catholic context. So you show up for feast days, you party, you do bingo and stuff like that, and then you pretty much ignore everything else that comes out of.

Zachary Lui: The see, this is reminding me of even, like, the Cantonese Catholicism, which is hilarious because they’re like, well, you know, Guan Yin is an angel. Screw it. You just go to her when you need stuff, you’re like, Right.

Andrieh Vitimus: Nice. So do you have any appearances coming up?

Delores Norman: Let me think about that. No, I do not. Actually, I’m taking a rest. The book came out in September. I did a lot of running around in September, October, and have been recovering in November. And now the holidays are coming in December. But I am about to start planning my schedule for next year. I do a lot of appearances in Atlanta, Georgia, so I went to Mystic South, which is a Southern magic convention last year. I’m hoping to go there again this year. I do a presentation. Last time it was on Lehner Mond. This time it will probably be on the evil Eye, believe it or not. And there’s also a shop there that I’m hoping to do a presentation at. But all my conventions and stuff are all up in the air right now because I haven’t heard back from whether I’ve been accepted or not.

Andrieh Vitimus: Should you travel to the Great White North of the Canadian lands? We are welcome to do some stuff and have you absolutely present stuff at our store.

Delores Norman: Oh, my gosh, that would be so fun. I’ve only been in the airport in Canada once while flying back from Australia. I’ve never gotten to enjoy Canada, so that would be a delight.

Andrieh Vitimus: Well, Toronto is a pretty cool city, so if you ever find yourself or ever want to come up here, we’ll make it happen. It could be fun times. So that said, do we have anything coming up, Zach, for the store? I think we do. We do.

Zachary Lui: Absolutely do. So, as Andrea was saying earlier, we do have the Grounding and Centering to Keep Your Sanity workshop coming up next week. Actually, is that next week or is it tomorrow? It’s tomorrow, isn’t it?

Andrieh Vitimus: Tomorrow?

Zachary Lui: It is tomorrow.

Andrieh Vitimus: We’re already losing our sanity for holidays.

Zachary Lui: Right. So Destress is tomorrow, 04:00. And then the week after on the 18th, we have the Tarot workshop that we’re continuing with that series with our sponsors. And then after that, we have a few goodies.

Andrieh Vitimus: We should say that it’s insanity because we’ve mapped all the rider wipe to the Kabbalah and actually show how to use it and actually show how to actually use it intuitively with the guide rails of the kabbalah. Not like strict ceremonial magic, more practically. And even then, people push me on how to make talismans out of every Tarot card. So we went over that last class for the cups. So more than your average class, especially when you start talking about making talismans. And we’re talking about calling the spirit of each Tarot cards even minor Arcana and the face cards. So people are getting a lot out of it. Yes.

Zachary Lui: And then from there, new Year, new luck. So January 1, we’re starting our Luck Buddha series. So we got some rituals on that for people who like to become a sponsor and or you could pay Ala Cart for that. We also have a patch set up for that one. And then we have our Fox Daoist Fox Magic Workshop on the 28 January.

Andrieh Vitimus: We should say all of our classes are hybrid, so if you are interested, we do them in person and online.

Delores Norman: I want to go to all of them.

Andrieh Vitimus: You know what? We can work something out. We can work something out. Like you pimp us. We’ll be like, Come on in. It’s a guest author, Dean Norman. Right. There will be one more thing. Because it’s by popular demand, I’ve been requested by about five people to do a Master Chaos Baphomet.

Zachary Lui: Let me get the sound here.

Andrieh Vitimus: Wait, you’re going to do the sound because of the Mass of Chaos Baphomet? Really? Okay. Been requested to do a Mass Of Chaos Baphomet. And here’s the deal. Anyone who is a lead sponsor, which is only $10 a month or better, up to the platinum sponsors we have, you can come in virtually or whatever. I’ll give you all the instructions and we’ll do a Mass of Chaos Baphomet around the second week of January, which is an intense, insane ritual of magical empowerment. People usually think it’s a dark ritual, but I don’t because Baphomet is so associated with the core elements of Earth itself and the dualities of Earth itself. Yeah, you asked. I’ll do it. Second week of January. There you go. The alleged sponsor, right? I’m not going to just do it for the public for free so they could turn off my Facebook again. You got to be a sponsor or invite a guest. Dee, you can come if you want. It’ll be a fun ritual.

Delores Norman: I want to come.

Andrieh Vitimus: Okay, we’ll invite you. We’ll give you the invite. We’ll touch base after the after we stop recording, I will give you the details.

Delores Norman: It pays to know people.

Andrieh Vitimus: Yeah, I know, right? It does. I mean, it’s actually a pretty weird ritual. Not weird.

Delores Norman: I like weird rituals.

Andrieh Vitimus: I would say it’s probably it’s how I met Zach, actually.

Zachary Lui: It is.

Andrieh Vitimus : He decided I was not a fake magician after that ritual. He had been going to a lot of people, but then he decided after that ritual, I was not after that.

Zachary Lui: Ritual, I was like, yeah, this is pretty fucked up in a good way. I must go through his book and contact this man.

Andrieh Vitimus: He did. And now we’re co owners, right. Ten years later, what happens? So by that virtue, I probably should thank Baphomet for ever meeting you, Zach.

Zachary Lui: Absolutely.

Andrieh Vitimus: See, there we go. But, yeah, we’ll give you all the details, we’ll invite you, and after that, we will be doing more stuff. We’re working that out, literally tonight for the whole next year of what’s going to happen in the store. So Zach’s probably going to order dinner, sit me down and say, okay, operational manager, what should we do?

Zachary Lui: Let’s crack these out. Let’s crack these workshops out.

Andrieh Vitimus: Right.

Delores Norman: Before I forget, there is something happening in April that is not an appearance in April. Llewellyn’s Complete Book of North American Folk Magic is coming out, and I do have a chapter in that book, but it is also a huge book of almost, I think, 300, 400 pages of folk magic practitioners across the United States talking about their personal practice. So that is cool.

Andrieh Vitimus : You know what? If you’re friends with anyone else who’s being published in that book, let’s plan to get everyone on as a panel and as many as possible and get a copy in our library. That would be actually great.

Delores Norman: See what I can do.

Andrieh Vitimus : I’ll ask out offline who you’re working with. Get that. As always, for some of you listeners, COVID numbers, again, not going in the right direction. So stay safe and healthy and happy, and we will see you all and you’ll hear from us next weekend.