Carson woman finds happiness in witchcraft
By jill lufrano
Appeal Staff Writer
She can joke about casting spells and making potions, but Melissa Gower says being a witch isn’t about what many people see on television.
“There are times when I wish I could just wiggle my nose, but no. I still have to come to work” she said.
Gower manages her mother’s Carson City store, All Things Mystickal, and teaches classes in witchcraft, tarot card reading and other topics. She has practiced witchcraft for some time, and was surprised at the large community of believers in the pagan religion and Wicca in the Carson area.
Growing up surrounded by mountains and nature in Carson, Gower said it was a natural transition for her to become involved in witchcraft. She has always been respectful of animals and nature, she said.
“I realized that this is what nourishes my soul,” she said.
As a witch, Gower celebrates earth, nature and working to make yourself a better person.
“With the craft, you really make a commitment to yourself and all other beings,” she said. They believe in God and a Goddess, she said. “There is only one rule: ‘Do as you will and harm none.'”
Spells are performed, but not for money or love, Gower said. Spells are cast for developing one’s self awareness, like overcoming personal obstacles, cleansing and healing.
As a pagan, Gower celebrates eight earthly holidays, including Samhain (pronounced sow-in) on what is now called Halloween. Samhain dates back to ancient times when Celts living in Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France celebrated their new year on Nov. 1.
Celts believed that on the eve of the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead was blurred and ghosts returned to earth. They believed the presence of the spirits made it easier for Celtic priests to make predictions.
Halloween has a deep meaning of connecting to the dead, as the veil between the living world and the spirit world is thinnest then, Gower said.
“On this Halloween, it would be great if people realized it’s about honoring those who are no longer with us,” she said, suggesting people set out pictures of dead relatives and remembering them. It promotes family unity, she said. “It’s a time of honoring people who have passed and the contribution they made to our lives.”
Gower said she believes there is “a little witch in everyone. We’re all spiritual beings.”
Witchcraft involves the five elements of magic — earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Practitioners believe in balancing the elements in everyday life by gardening, painting, reading, exercising, concentrating on good emotions and meditating.
Several circles, or covens, of witches exist in the Carson area, but many witches practice alone, Gower said.
“It certainly has made me happy because I know spirits will always protect me,” she said. “Even when times are difficult, it will always work out.”