NEWS & EVENTS
Longmont Times Newspaper
ERIE -- Jennipher Dallas learned while shopping for carpet cleaner at Walmart that it would be better to wear her orange witch shirt at home exclusively.
"I got dirty looks," she said. "One old lady read it and said, 'Well, I never,' and walked away. So, I usually just wear the shirt housecleaning because people get the heebie jeebies."
Dallas, 39, understands how hype -- especially at Halloween -- gives witches like her a bad name.
But she insists that real witches do not deserve the bad rap or the persecution they historically suffered.
That explains why, while visiting Salem, Mass., over Halloween 2009, Dallas bought the aforementioned T-shirt that reads: "Witches Protection Program Est. Salem, Ma., 1697," which is a play on "Witness Protection Program."
"What you send out, you get back three times, which keeps a witch on the straight and narrow -- or it should," she said of the hexes and curses associated with witchcraft.
Instead of casting spells to curse or hex another, Dallas sees her practice of witchcraft as a playful way to explore the magical side of life.
Her home office hints at as much.
Dallas sits in a pink-upholstered, high-back chair with sheer pink curtains framing the wide window behind the desk.
Three designer witch hats fashioned from pink, red and black silk brocade sport feathers, tulle, silk flowers and ribbons. They decorate the walls when not sitting atop her head.
Yet, her brand of witchcraft is not entirely fanciful, like the version depicted in "Bewitched," a television series that ran from 1964 to 1972 and featured a witch married to an ordinary man.
"I can't wiggle my nose and get dishes done like she did, though I wish I could," Dallas said. "And magic is, unfortunately, not like in Harry Potter (books and movies). I wish it was. I wish I could wave a wand and hop on my broom and escape traffic."
Instead, she conceptualizes magic as an introspective
Jennipher Dallas' self-published poetry book "Veneficus." ( Greg Lindstrom )type of balance between appreciating four elements of nature -- earth, wind, fire and water -- and tuning into a fifth element recognized by witches as simply spirit.
"So it's almost a form of meditation. It's listening to the fire crackling or feeling the coolness of the floor underneath you," Dallas said. "Magic is gaining inspiration from external forces to gather internal force."
Operating as a witch from that balanced place makes her bolder about probing things out of sight and out of physical reach, she said.
"You can choose to look at the shadows and be afraid. Or you can choose to look in the shadows and be curious," Dallas continued.
To develop her thoughts on the subject, she wrote her second book of poetry, "Veneficus: A Poetry Book of and about Spells, Hexes and Curses." She self-published it in September.
"Again, people see the words 'hexes' and 'spells,' and they get scared," she said. "But I'm more Dr. Seuss about it. I'll never win a Pulitzer for poetry."
For instance, she wrote "Ode to the Black Toe" to lament the strangeness of her sister's toenail mysteriously turning black and falling off: "Polish just won't hide the eww/Lotions, potions, what's to do?"
Dallas said that ultimately her goal in writing about her practice of witchcraft was "to poke fun at a subject not usually discussed at the dinner table."
However, the creative effort also speaks to a certain spiritual sensibility passed down to her from her maternal grandfather.
Folks in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, called him a "curandero," Spanish for healer.
He used a type of witchraft, along with herbal remedies, to alleviate arthritis symptoms and other common conditions.
"While I believe that my grandfather had a gift, his greatest gift was making people believe that he could do what he said he could do," she said.
Pam Mellskog can be reached at Mellskog@msn.com or at 303-746-0942.
Copyright 2012 Longmont Times-Call. All rights reserved.
Content copyright 2013. The Writer's Way LLC. All rights reserved.
Goodreads Book Giveaway Contest.
For the entire month of October, you can enter to win a copy of my poetry book, Poetry for Emotions. Just go to https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/68678-veneficus and click on the ENTER TO WIN button. Good luck!