Campus Craft: Student witch discusses beliefs

(Photo by Brad Leuchte)

During student Evy Gaudette’s first year at Framingham State University, they had a unique, if not terrifying, experience.

Gaudette, who identifies as non-binary, prefers they/them pronouns.

Along with a group of friends, they said they contacted a spirit in the McCarthy Center on Halloween night using an Ouija spirit board.

Unfortunately, some of Gaudette’s friends didn’t take the game seriously.

“It attracted a lot of negative energy,” they said. “[My friends] were treating it like a joke. … Yes, it’s a board game, but it’s real things that come through.”

According to Gaudette, the spirit summoned that evening was malevolent. “It started saying really rude things. It started saying things in Latin that I don’t know. … I could feel it and it was very bad.”

Eventually, since the group was “terrified,” they decided to end the conversation through the board to the spirit.

“But the energy was still so strong even after we said goodbye. It was horrifying,” they said.

Gaudette’s encounter with this spirit is not the only extraordinary experience they had in college.

Since Gaudette turned 18 and abandoned their Christian upbringing, Gaudette has been practicing magic. Because they struggle with many physical health issues, their craft has evolved to focus on healing and protective spells.

Their goal is to become a hedge witch, which is “basically a healer.

“I want to be able to help myself as much as I can, but I also want to help others who are struggling,” said Gaudette. “Since I know how difficult it can be, I want to make sure other people are healthy and happy as well.

“I practice a lot of protection magic to keep negative energy away from myself so I can take time to heal,” they said.

When Gaudette starts to feel anxious, they said they use Quartz crystals to help them calm down. They said Quartz absorbs negative energy.

They added having a craft to focus on is a “very healthy outlet.

“I consider myself to practice white magic because it harms none,” Gaudette said. “So I do things to either benefit myself – like maybe I need some good luck and I do a spell for that – or I help others.”

According to Gaudette, it is “very common” for witches to use the “harm none rule” and the “three-fold law.”

“So if you hurt someone else, it will come back to you three-fold,” they explained. “It’s like karma. A lot of witches that I know, we don’t practice anything that would harm others or bring others bad luck. But there are other witches that I know who do dabble in the dark stuff. It’s not a good thing to get into it. It really isn’t. It will ruin you, in my opinion.”

In terms of everyday magic, Gaudette said they often use “glamour spells” to enhance their self-confidence.

“I’ll infuse a little magic into my lipstick or something,” Gaudette said. In order to infuse an item like lipstick or mascara with magic, they will dip the closed product into rose water, which is often used for beauty.

Gaudette added glamour spells don’t change your physical appearance, just how other people perceive you.

If Gaudette is feeling ill, they use lavender or chamomile. “I’ll mix it together and put a little sage oil in it, put it in a bag and I’ll hold onto it,” they said. “It’s all very, very simple stuff that I do and it doesn’t take a lot of time.”

Their favorite place to shop for supplies is a small, one-room store in Spencer called the Avalon Rose Cottage.

“It’s very small but they have gems, they have stones, candles, incense, sage smudges, room-clearing sprays, little statues, cauldrons, books you can use for a book of shadows – basically all the basics,” Gaudette said.

They added etsy.com is also a great source for witch supplies.

When shopping for basics such as herbs, Gaudette said they often run to grocery stores such as Hannafords and Walmart.

“Common herbs you can just go to the grocery store for them. Pick up the little packages of Cormack spices and herbs and you’re all set,” they said.

As a psychology major with a minor in neuroscience, Gaudette hopes to become a neuropsychologist. Gaudette said while they do use psychology in their tarot and pendulum readings, they try to keep the craft separate from their career.

Tarot cards are a form of divination, and are commonly used to evaluate situations and outcomes. A pendulum reading requires a weighted object hanging from a wire, string or chain. The pendulum is swung back and forth, and provides yes or no answers to questions.

Gaudette said they like to practice magic on other people, but a witch must be “compensated” for their work.

Along with tarot readings, they will perform basic spells and make charm bags for those in need.

“I usually charge very cheap rates. Just bring me a can of soda from your room, or 50 cents,” they said.

Gaudette is not the only witch in the family. Their mother is a “kitchen witch” who works with herbs while cooking, and practices her craft with “mystical beings.”

These creatures include fairies and trolls, according to Gaudette, and occasionally Gaudette and their mother will leave them offerings in the forest.

While both Gaudette and their mother practice magic, they are solitary practitioners and do not practice together. When they were young, their mother attempted to hide their lifestyle from Gaudette until they turned 18. This way, Gaudette explained, they would not be influenced by their mother’s craft and be able to choose their own religion.

When Gaudette finally turned 18, their mother taught them everything she knew about the craft. After that, it was up to Gaudette.

They do most of their research for their magic through books and online resources. “I have books on herbs. I have books on Wicca – I’m not necessarily a Wiccan, but Wicca has a lot to do with other parts of the craft.

“There is a difference between being a witch and being Wiccan,” they said. “Being a Wiccan is part of the religious aspect of being a witch, but you can be a witch and not have a religion.”

According to wicca.com, Wicca is one of the oldest belief systems in the world, with evidence of their faith dating back nearly 30,000 years.

Gaudette said while they are not Wiccan, they are pagan. Gaudette does not celebrate the gods and goddesses, or the wheel of the year. However, they do honor the solstices.

“I don’t really pray to any gods or goddesses unless I need to do a specific type of magic and I need a little help,” Gaudette said.

Solstices are astronomical events that occur twice a year, and are connected to the winter and summer seasons. The summer solstice occurs on the longest day of the year, while the winter solstice takes place on the shortest day of the year.

On these days, Gaudette will recreate the altar they keep on top of their mini-fridge and wear specific colors in honor of that season.

“I set up my altar for the season and I just do the typical things anyone would do to celebrate a holiday. I’ll wear specific colors and burn incense and just go about my day. I’ll just do a little mini-ritual for it,” they said.

Their favorite part of witchcraft is helping others, they said. “People come to me with their problems and I do what I can to help them.”

One of Gaudette’s friends recently came to them for help with a bad breakup. “What I practiced was called a binding spell. What that does is keep the person away from the person that’s being bothered,” they said.

There are many different ways to perform a binding spell, according to Gaudette. A more complicated version entails placing a picture of the person you want to banish in a jar, filling it with dirt and rocks and burying it in the ground.

However, Gaudette performed a much simpler ritual for their friend. “What I did was I took the picture, cut it up and flushed it down the toilet,” they said.

“You can do whatever you want, as long as you have the intent. Being a witch on campus, it’s a lot more difficult. It’s more about the intent than the action.”

Since Gaudette does most of their work with plants and herbs, they said they like to keep “a little bit of nature” with them all the time. In their dorm room, they tend to a variety of plants.

“There’s a lot of things you can’t do on campus as a witch,” said Gaudette. They can’t burn incense or candles – however, battery-operated candles seem to work well as a substitute.

Gaudette’s dorm, the notoriously haunted Horace Mann, actually has very little psychic energy, they said.

Gaudette added they felt more of a presence in O’Connor Hall than anywhere else on campus.

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