Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 5.09.05 PMWhen October comes I think about witches. Okay, really, I think about witches all the time, practically. But October feels like the only appropriate month to talk about them out loud, to hang their likenesses in our living rooms, to show off the warts on the ends of our own noses. I spend the month reading witchy stories (currently: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane; on deck: The Penguin Book of Witches) and Netflixing witchy movies and thinking about that witch tattoo I've been wanting for years.

Maybe what I love most about witches is the fact that, this time of year, they're everywhere, despite people's efforts to stamp them out for so many centuries now.

In my neighborhood, signs of Halloween are just beginning to peep forth the way flowers bud in the spring: first you spot one, then two, then you blink and the whole ground is covered with them. It started with a single brownstone stretching out fake spiderwebs across its front stoop; now, every third house has its own spiderwebs, and the fresh fruit stands at the bodegas have been replaced with pumpkins and gourds, and we all just seem to be waiting for the ghosts, the monsters, the magic to appear.

I'm waiting for lots of things these days--namely, my labor to begin. As much as I love Halloween, I don't want a Halloween baby, and as I wind down at work this week I find myself Googling "how to induce labor." Apparently there's a restaurant nearby that's famous for its baked ziti, said to be just the key for women past their due dates. (Let's hope it doesn't have meat in it, because I plan on trying it next week!)

I know this is all silly: the baby will come when she comes, no matter how much delicious Italian food I consume; the shining, brief focus on witches won't spur many people to consider their history, their tragedy.

But I'll still scour Google while watching Practical Magic.



Today, in Things I Can't Get Enough Of: The Secret Circle, and season reads

"Planets are gathering at the key north, south, east, and west angles of your chart, and those are considered to be highly energetic points." Here is an excerpt from my horoscope this month. (Truly, read Susan Miller. She is amazing.)

I suppose it's because I don't have a religion -- there is much to say about that, and all of it positive -- but because I don't, I've always been intrigued by the universe. The first thing I do whenever I step outside after sunset is look for the moon. I have a cluster of stars tattooed on my inner left ankle. I believe in the power of the elements. I have energy shifts in my body, I have experiences that can't be explained. I try to be conscious of what I offer the world, and what I take.

I tend to read seasonally. In the autumn, I want crisp books, fresh starts, high school hallways, Homecoming dances. I want the turning of the leaves to breathe through my pages. I want sharp winds. I got all of that, plus a lesson in crystals and books of shadows, in The Secret Circle books.

I've talked about witches before, how I still half-expect that someday on an important birthday I'll wake up with powers, or will find myself tapping on tree roots, barefoot in a nightgown, after sleepwalking through a dream. (I don't know. There are no woods around me. I don't even wear nightgowns. And yet, this expectation persists.) Clearly, I'm not the only one with an affinity towards them, especially this time of year, my favorite.

The Secret Circle series is from the early 90s, and you can tell that's the case, and I mean that in the best way. They are vastly different from the television show that's on the CW this season. [I like the books better, but that's so boring to say; they're certainly darker and more dramatic -- but less melodramatic -- than the show, and much more thoughtful.] I read them intensely. I bought some (more) crystals. They did that thing where they seeped into my brain and I kept forgetting whether my memories were from the books or from real life.

I never plan it, but every year in October, I have a day where autumn in all its glory fully hits me. I'll find myself with a free afternoon, or an open weekend, when some cable channel I forgot I had is playing a creepy-movie marathon. I unearth my Halloween decorations and light some candles, and the evening paints itself around me as I get lost in some other world. This time, it was in an old high school in Massachusetts, with a 12-person-strong coven and a quilt tangled around my feet.