L.I. wiccan mom's set to observe 'Samhain,' not Halloween
BY RICHARD WEIR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Monday, October 22nd 2007, 4:00 AM
Bonnie Thompson's Hicksville house is bedecked with all kinds of witch decorations.
There are witch-on-broomstick weather vanes staked in her flower beds and witch chimes dangling below her mailbox. Sitting atop the sill of her bay window are small iron cauldrons and witch figurines.
But none of these objects is there because Halloween is coming.
Thompson is a real witch, or wiccan to be more exact, who follows the concepts and rituals taught by Richard and Gypsy Ravish. The Salem, Mass., couple are head priest and priestess of the Temple of Nine Wells and initiated Thompson into wicca.
As the wicca holiday of Samhain - which falls at the same time of year as Halloween - approaches, Thompson's split-level ranch house is a hive of activity.
Those who enter the front door are first met with the smoky fragrance of burning incense before walking into a world dedicated to her vocation as a "third-degree Alexandrian high priestess" who leads her own Long Island sect, the Coven of the Crescent Moongoddess.
"The neighbors are really good. We've never had any problems because they know we are good people. We have a dog and a turtle and two children. We are a normal family," said Thompson, 36, who has been married to her husband, Bob, 42, a hospital MRI technologist, for 13 years.
Thompson's dining room table is covered with paperwork, laminated credentials, programs and other material in preparation for her third annual New York Witch Festival, which will be held Saturday in the grand ballroom of the Sheraton Long Island Hotel in Hauppauge.
Last year's event, she said, attracted more than 1,000 participants on a stormy day. She is expecting even more at this year's festival, which features a day's worth of workshops with such titles as "Energy Healing" and "Spirit Communication," taught by a number of authors, psychics and full-time witches. There's even a kid-friendly workshop called "Real Wizardry for the Harry Potter Generation," conducted by writer Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, whom Thompson is flying in from San Francisco.
Thompson, who is hosting a 2p.m. ritual, is quick to dispel any notions of brewing up potions with dried bat wings or casting evil spells and hexes on enemies. That, she says, is the stuff of Hollywood.
The modern-day witchcraft she practices as an initiate of wicca, a nature-based religion steeped in the symbolism of European pre-Christian paganism, is benevolent.
"We honor the gods and goddesses of ancient mythology. We honor the sun, the moon, the Earth. There is nothing evil about it," said Thompson, who works part-time as a florist in Old Bethpage. "Many witches believe in the wiccan rede - that what you do to others comes back to you threefold. So we don't do harm."
Thompson, who grew up on Long Island before moving as a teen to upstate New York, was raised Catholic, like her husband, who still considers himself a Catholic. The couple has baptized both their daughters, Sara, 11, and Bridgette, 5, as Catholics.
Bob Thompson said he supports his wife's religion, but, as a tradeoff, he is raising his girls as Catholics until age 16, when they are free, he said, to choose whatever religion they like.
Long Island’s Own Real Life Witch!
How Bonnie Thompson became
a witch and why she might trade her
pointy hat in for a halo!
Bonnie Thompson lives in a pretty brick house on a nice, normal, tree-lined street in Hicksville. Pretty tame stuff for a witch; that is until you go inside and find a wizard-yes a real one-sitting on her sofa!
This petite, pretty 37 year-old witch, wife and mother (dressed in a stylish black top and pants-sans cape and hat) introduces this reporter to her house guest as if it’s perfectly normal to have a man who looks exactly like Dumbledore hanging about the house.
It turns out Oberon Zell, a famous wizard from northern California, is a family friend who says, “Yes, she just might be the Princess Diana of Long Island witches.”
Her pedigree is indeed unmatched here amongst the witch and warlock community. She is the only local witch to have the distinction and honor of being initiated atop Gallows Hill in Salem, Massachusetts as a 3rd degree initiate of the Coven of Akhelarre. And let’s face it-being Salem royalty really does do something for a witches resume!
Indeed Bonnie, the High Priestess of the Coven of the Crescent Moon Goddess, is known for her commitment to changing the common perception about witches from wicked to wonderful. But to understand her passion for positive witchery we’ll need to go back to when Bonnie was a child and find out just how she became a witch.
“When I was eight-years-old I was sitting in a field looking at an awful wart on my knee,” Bonnie recalls. “Something told me to pick a dandelion and put its sap on the wart. I was convinced that if I believed--it would work. Two days later it was gone!” Bonnie says her grandmother taught her things like telepathy when she was very young but that it was done discreetly-a prudent course of action in those days.
Still, Bonnie says that while growing up in Hicksville she did not really understand her gifts; rather they made her feel like an outsider because no one else spoke of such things. “I was always very different and didn’t fit in with the kids at school. I would spend hours in the library searching--trying to find a book-anything-- something that would tell me that I belonged.”
Bonnie’s searching and persistence paid off. At fifteen-years-old she was just about to find out who she really was and where she belonged. And it happened--perhaps most appropriately--at a local flower shop in Hicksville.
“I was at work one day (at Purcell’s Florists on Rt. 107) talking to a friend I’d made there. I began telling her some things about me I hadn’t shared with anyone and she suddenly cut me off and said, ‘I am a witch and so are you!’”
“Finally there was a name to what I had felt inside for so long,” says Bonnie with such emotion that she appears to be reliving the joy and relief of that very moment all these years later. “I had found my true self. I was a witch! I had found my home.”
But as hard as finding her self had been, it proved even tougher for Bonnie to hone her new-found craft. A witch without spells and potions is a serious problem. “It was a very long, solitary journey. I was self-teaching with whatever bits I could find. I didn’t have a Hogwarts.”
Because local witches and warlocks practiced their arts secretly, Bonnie didn’t know where to find them. Bonnie says there was only one book that covered what it was like to be a real witch; Sybil Leek’s Diary of a Witch from the 1960’s-not very hip for a modern young witch!
But the dearth of information proved highly beneficial. It forced Bonnie to dig deep down into her own intuition to conjure up her very own spells and concoct her own cures. “The information and the answers were right inside me all the time. I was able to figure things out by using my intuition. As my levels of awareness grew, so my knowledge increased. I eventually found a book that said dandelion sap was a cure for warts-just like that voice had told me many years before! You find there is a part of you inside that knows things-no matter how old you are." Bonnie spends a lot of her time sharing her gifts with regular old muggles!
“Much of the life of a modern witch is spent on the telephone helping people,” says Bonnie. “Witches are healers. I even get calls in the middle of the night from people seeking comfort. I am like a member of the clergy but with a magical element.”
Bonnie says she uses practical magic. “I tap into my intuition when someone has a problem. I am a medium and a counselor who uses my craft to connect to a higher source. We are all connected to a deeper power but most people don’t even know they have a spirit. I help people get connected. It means a lot to me to be able to do this.”
If you are going to go to a witch for help, you want to go home with a few spells and potions-the tricks and treats of the trade as it were! And you can get all these things at her Crescent Moon Goddess Magical Supply Store in Hicksville and online. She sells spell kits, witch contracts and makes magical oils to attract money, love, inner balance and healing. All these oils are made from scratch and are, “blessed and pre-spelled by me,” she says.
But what’s the secret to her potions, oils, spells and counseling? “Intent," she says powerfully. “Intention is the key word in all magic. Good intentions for a person’s higher good.”
So what about wicked witches and their evil spells? “We treat others as we would like to be treated,” says Bonnie. “We honor the Old Ways based on proper morals and family values.”
“Magic is about being open--open to things like love and healing,” says Bonnie. “You can’t make or force someone to love you but you can be open to love and that’s what my oils and spells do-they are vehicles for helping you help yourself.”
Bonnie agreed to cast a special spell on the readers of The Leader for Halloween! “You already possess magical powers. They are your will, your words, your desires. They have real power. Good stuff just sort of happens when you use them well.”
Check out Bonnie online at www.crescentmoongoddess.com.
• Courtney Callahan
Episode 6 - Interviewing Bonnie Thompson Hps of the Coven of the Crescent MoonGoddess
Hey everyone. I'm back again with a marvelouse new episode of the WitchCrafting Podcast.This time I interviewed Bonnie Thompson High Priestess of the Coven Of Crescent MoonGoddess. Bonnie Thompson is a third degree (BTW) British Traditional Alexandrian High Priestess, a Priestess of the Temple of Nine Wells and a third degree initiate in the Coven of Akhelarre, both located in Salem MA. I had the honor to interview Bnnie Thompson last weekend on a pagan event in Long Iland NY and we've talked about Iniciation - is it a begining or an end? - about the Wars in the Craft - was is realy the source of this problem?Plus we have on The WitchCrafting Podcast a new space called The WitchCrafting Box. Here you can ear everything about new and old recomended books, websites and events. On this episode we will look through Jason Miller's Protection and Reversal Magick - A witch's Defence Manual.
Asking The Clergy
How would you explain death to a child?
November 24, 2007
Bonnie Thompson, high priestess, 3rd Degree Alexandrian Wiccan, Hicksville:
Explaining death to a child is never an easy thing to do. Coming from a Wiccan perspective, it makes it a bit easier to tolerate. The cycle of life, death and rebirth is prominent in the Wiccan religion. When someone passes away, their spirit never dies. The physical body in which they dwell passes away, but inside of that body is an eternal spirit that lives forever. They go to a place we call "Summerland," which is what the Christian refers to as heaven. There they meet with other spirits of those family and friends that they love who also have crossed over. The person who died always will be with you in the spiritual form, as well as in your heart. Their spirit is still very much alive and is still with you, though you can't see them. They can hear you and see you and be with you. All you have to do is believe and know that they are always with you and that they haven't left you. One day they will reincarnate, which means their spirit will be born again. Families and close friends have deep spiritual bonds, and they stay together and reincarnate together. When they come back to this earth plane in which we live, they will come back to you again in another physical form. Their love and spirit will always be with you.
Send faith questions you'd like us to pose to: Sylvia King-Cohen, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4250
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Last modified on Wednesday, October 23, 2013