Today I’m welcoming Carole Ann Moleti to talk about witchcraft. Her short story, Mishmash Magick, appears in the anthology Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft


I’m always amazed at how all religions celebrate similar feasts at about the same times. The Jews and Christians celebrated Passover and Easter in late March, just as the Spring Equinox occurred. The Orthodox Christians are in the middle of Holy Week, with their Easter this coming Sunday. I shouldn’t be surprised since we’re all descended from the ancients who adopted new customs and beliefs as the wheel of time turned.

Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft was assembled with great care by Rayne Hall to celebrate a varied interpretations of witches and witchcraft by different authors, some of whom are witches, and others like myself who know, love, respect, study, and write about them. I’ve made many friends on this journey to understanding and appreciation of the Craft.

It’s also amazing how my real life’s work informs my fiction, and vice verse. I’m deeply involved in doctoral study right now, and it has nothing to do with witches. It’s scholarly research—related to my clinical practice—but the furthest thing you can get from fantasy fiction and creative writing in general. But I just found out what I’ve been doing all my life is a scholarly form called ethnographic research! The investigator immerses herself amongst people or a practice to study the lived experience to gain greater appreciation. Who knew?

I’ve had lots of practice—and learned a lot by watching and experiencing. Midwives have long been associated with the use of herbs and potions, as well as with witchcraft. Most of my colleagues are not witches, but before the advent of modern medicine, women were called upon not only to assist with childbirth, but also to use their knowledge to heal any number of ills, both physical and psychological, in men, women, and children. When the outcome was not good, or the one expected, the midwife was often accused of witchcraft or sorcery.

Modern midwifery practice embraces all belief systems and incorporates the use of herbs and alternative medical practices and, as such, Wiccans and those with less mainstream religious and spiritual practices often seek our services.

Though divination and connection with ghosts and spiritual beings lies outside the grasp of my mind and abilities, watching those who have the gift do their work has convinced me that all humans have the capacity to use parts of their brain in the same way, but few have developed it. 

The first step is opening one’s mind to the possibility, then embracing it with a peaceful, accepting attitude. But in order to transfer that into credible fantasy and paranormal fiction, writers must, at the very least suspend disbelief and, at best, understand and accept it themselves.

In addition to mining my experience and harvesting story ideas from dreams, I’ve applied my research and journalistic skills to writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I begin with the facts. Huh? We’re talking paranormal, right? 

Herbology, alchemy, astrology, tarot, and divination are as old as history. Prayers and offerings to deities in exchange for favors, intercessions, and miracles are part of most religions, as well as the belief in an all-powerful being or beings that manipulate events.

I value among my friends and clients many witches, energy healers, and spiritualists who have taught me much about their beliefs, and allowed me to experience how rituals (including births conducted in settings where the space is conducive to spiritual and metaphysical connections) generate energy, and how it is channeled to produce the desired effect or outcome.

I’ve carefully followed the instructions of a santera on the use of teas, banishing and cleansing, potions, offerings of fruit and burning scented candles to heal both physical and emotional distress (much the same way people use aromatherapy and many Catholics light votives and pray to saints). Just last March I learned to perform divination with stones from Sew Magical at Lunacon. I’ve studied astrology and Tarot with Mary O’Gara. Witchcraft and magic with Rayne Hall and Deborah Blake. Eastern healing traditions and meditation with Nan Gilbert. Yoga with Ronnie.

Natural phenomena, like observing a woodland full of blinking fireflies, gave me pause to consider the possibility that fairies really do exist. I’ve talked with ghost hunters about their research and practice and learned how to monitor for electromagnetic activity. I’ve felt them and been amazed (but never frightened) by them.

I approach research for my paranormal fiction as a respectful traveler who wants to enter the culture to best experience it. Showing up with a camera, pad, and pencil will not allow you to obtain the information you need, nor the context required to translate it into a compelling plot with believable characters. If you’re going to ask readers for leaps of faith, you’ll need to open your mind take a few yourself.

Bright Blessings!

Check out Carole’s writing on her Amazon author page

Follow her on Twitter or Facebook and watch the book trailer for Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft below.


If you enjoy Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, check out other anthologies in the Ten Tales series, including Spells: Ten Tales of Magic featuring my own short story A Magical Melody.