By Naomi Serviss / New York City
This is Liz Pressman’s busy season.
As a psychic, witch, medium and astrologer, she’s swamped with media queries from muggle (non-magical) reporters.
They ask the same Halloween-y questions they lobbed at her last year. Liz answers with gusto and enthusiasm, because that is her wont.
“Non-magical people want to know a lot and ask questions,” she says.
There’s much ritual around the Halloween celebration.
“We have to prepare! This is a very social time of year with open rituals and balls,” she explains. “Big-time witches tend to be solitary people, except for covens.”
“You get to see old witch friends if that’s your jam,” she says.
Psychics are drawn to this apple-crisp time of year. “It’s the time when spirit communication is easier because the veil is so thin.”
Liz was initiated into witchery in 1975, when she was 15. (She’s 64 now.) But it wasn’t her first experience with other worlds.
“I was born with both mediumistic and psychic abilities,” she says simply. “As a child, I assumed everyone could see, hear, feel, sense what I did. But I soon learned that was not so..
“And I probably should hide these abilities.”
A trauma at age six brought her mediumship into focus. “Most people who can see spirit can see it from birth.”
Her new spirit friend Caroline would pop out of the den wall. She’d greet Liz with a handshake.
“One day my mom, thinking that this imaginary friend was cute, asked to meet Caroline. I brought her out of the wall and my mom pretended to see her. Caroline always wore a white dress and was a guide to me.”
“Caroline said something that I conveyed for her to my mom. My mother turned white as a ghost.
She knew it was a spirit and not my imagination.
“From that point on, my mom made sure I went to church with her every Sunday.”
As the leaves turn color and drift to the cold earth, Liz considers all the spirits and guides
she’s encountered these many decades past.
The coming solar eclipse on November 8th will be a portal for spooky energy.
“It’s annoying and I have to set boundaries with spirits I don’t want walking around. Doors have been pushed open and they party in the attic. Occasionally they’ll walk there and I realize it’s a spirit, not a person.“
Her coven is a handful of witches who’ve been together for 25 years. “Our High Priestess is upstairs, and we have a bond that will go on and on.”
What about spell-casting? Not her cup of tea. Liz prefers coffee, anyway. “I’ll cast a spell only if it’s an emergency,” she explains.
“Love spells, money spells, road-opener spells, I don’t do those for clients anymore. It attracts people who are weird, and I don’t want to attract bad karma.”
Some spiritualists, including Liz, believe we are born with two guides: “a teacher-main guide and a joy guide. These are the spirits who watch over us. Their job is to be our guides in this lifetime, although we may know them from previous lifetimes,” she says.
Deceased loved ones can act as guides as well.
Says Liz, “I am lucky to have a deceased friend who has a very high vibration and was a guide to me while he was incarnated and agreed to work with me, knowing he would soon be going upstairs.”
She loves the hoopla over Halloween.
“I decorate with all the kitschy, Halloween stuff,” she admits. “I have a giant skull that laughs when people come to the door.”
“It’s kind of a Mardi Gras, a carnival atmosphere,” Liz adds. “Kids dress up and you get to give them candy. Children aren’t scared of witchcraft. A four-year-old asked me ‘Mom told me you’re a real-life witch. Is that right?’
“I said yes, I’m real and a witch, too!”
Liz describes some of the rituals she’s participated in, combining witchcraft with ceremonial magic. Her small coven casts a circle,purifies it, then performs the ritual called for.
When Liz reads for clients, she first prepares an intricately detailed natal chart. Over Zoom, she records the session. “Astrology is a sacred art, not a tool to wow people with. Our natal charts are sacred documents.
“During sessions my guides are in charge. I have come to trust them implicitly. It’s like virtual reality—I’m in the movie of a person’s life, in a place where there’s no time or space, just spirit.”
“I give what I get. If I’m not supposed to say something, my guide sort of frowns at me.”
Her best companion now is Boo, her black (what else?) cat.
“Boo is my everything. My co-magician, my co-medium. He meows whenever spirit is impatient and wants to be brought into a reading. He’s like my host to spirit.”
Liz wants muggles to relax about witches, who are now in the zeitgeist!
“It’s safe to say I’m not superstitious. I believe in cause and effect. Muggles might feel witchcraft is filled with wacky beliefs, but it’s really basic science.”
Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com