The smell of incense and alcohol filled the blacked out room, which lies in the back right corner of the witchcraft store Catland. The only light sources were 2 dim blue hanging lights and several candles on the floor. There was a long table in the back of the room cloaked with a black cloth and covered in crystals, gems, crystal balls and drinks for mixing. A sign sat on the tabletop that read, “hot toddy, bloody mary, lover’s milk and moon milk.” A young witch named Anna Hay Moon stepped onto the small stage, a white projector hanged behind her and 4 rows of small black folding chairs sat in front. “ Our email list is on the bar, we are digital witches.” She said. Anna is a member of the Moon Church a witch coven in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
On Wednesday night Catland stayed open until 1am for the Moon Church’s first zine release event. The zine is a collection of artwork, photography, poetry and spells created by the members of the coven. Their event featured several performances ranging from singers, poets, authors and musicians.
By 9:30pm the room started to fill, chatter spread from the aisles of chairs to the floor where people laid and discussed, chakras, the zodiac, sex and instagram. Sarah Schled stepped on stage and rung a small golden bell, once everyone silenced she burnt sage and wafted it in the air with a bird’s grey feather. Anna then returned to the stage and “called the four corners” the guardians of air, earth, water and fire. The audience then joined her in deep breathing, followed by an ominous alm sound, which vibrated across the room.
The first performance was by a woman named Christina, who is also a member of the moon church. Christina kneeled on the end of the stage in a yellow sequined traditional Indian Churidaar Kurta dress and played experimental electronic music off of an app on her Ipad. Holding the microphone close to her face and looking down she moaned into it and sang about revolution.
“The moon church is a collective of women who are artists, witches, dancers, tarot readers and healers.” Said Christina, who joined after meeting members at the yoga class she instructs at Body Actualized.
The moon church was started this past January by a handful of young women living in Brooklyn, NY. Their meet-ups are rarely in the same location and are coordinated through their email list and facebook page. A typical meet-up for the young witches involves calling the four corners, chanting, meditating and reading tarots. The coven describes themselves as a “community of socially and ecologically engaged women aiming to breathe new life into the archetype of the witch”.
Witchcraft has become a trend this year within fashion and culture with shows such as American Horror Story: The Coven, chain stores like Urban Outfitters have even started to sell witchcraft items.
“Witchyness has been trending hardcore in fashion and music and culture as a whole. Beyond the aesthetic there’s a shift in the mindset of young people towards self-empowerment and their role in the global consciousness (manifested in the internet). There's an impulse towards focused intention and mindful interaction.” Said Molly Burkett, a tarot reader at Catland and member of the moon church. Molly has been reading cards for 10 years and met the women of moon church at the Body Actualized Center.
The next performance was by a female and male duet called The Orchids. A film played on the projector of a woman lying in a bathtub surrounded by growing plants. The duet, Ben Bromley and Sarah Scheld sat at the back of the stage and hummed softly into the microphones rocking back and forth to the beat. The film was created by Sarah and was originally used for a college assignment. Sarah has a bachelors degree in film and is one of the original members of the moon church.
The crowd applauded and welcomed the next performer, Mary Green. Mary wore a black dress wrapped in green LED lights. “Equality is love” she said “And love is telepathic”. She sang original songs along to her acoustic guitar and closed by covering A Beatles hit song “Black Bird”, which the entire audience sang along to.
“Moon church is just the feminist arm of a larger movement towards acknowledging innate divine power and global connectivity. Regardless of whether you jive with our practices, you can relate to the purpose behind them.” Said Molly Burkett
The moon church’s zine is being sold in Catland. Along with the zine Catland offers a wide array of crystals all which have special meanings and uses, as well as books, tarots and even clothing.