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The Witches of Bushwick

The neighborhood is aglow with sorcery-book shops, pagan churches, and party-throwing covens.

Map by Jason Lee  

1. Catland
Since February, this metaphysical shop, bookstore, and event space has become the hub for Bushwick’s occult-minded set. In addition to stocking a well-edited selection of new and used books, candles, custom-blended incense, herbs, and other mystical tools and supplies, the store hosts a variety of performances, lectures, and workshops, like the recent Witches’ Compass, “an interactive ritual environment and celebration in which participants are guided along ‘the crooked path’ of sorcery.” Says co-owner Phillip English, “It’s a human impulse to try to reach your higher self, and that’s what we’re here to facilitate.” 987 Flushing Ave., nr. Bogart St.; 718-418-9393.

2. Gnostic Tattoo
Leaf Chang’s year-old tattoo parlor caters to locals interested in committing the esoteric to their bodies, from traditional tarot designs—in March, the shop hosted a “tarot and tattoo” party with the Witches of Bushwick coven—to ancient pagan symbols.1089 Flushing Ave., nr. Knicker­bocker Ave.; 347-422-0571.

3. Heaven Street Records
Helmed byCult of Youth front man Sean Ragon, Heaven Street Records is the only shop in the city that specializes in industrial music, an occult-laced genre pioneered by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge and her band Throbbing Gristle in the seventies. Ragon recently hosted “Coil Day” (an ode to the legendary pagan punk band), lining the walls with Coil records and playing nothing but Coil albums. 184 Noll St., nr. Flushing Ave.; 718-381-5703.

4. Witches of Bushwick
This social-media-savvy coven hosts events—including a monthly party at Tandem (236 Troutman St., nr. Wilson Ave.; 718-386-2369)—to bring together creative types who identify as witches, whether it be in relation to the imagery and aesthetic or in actual practice. According to co-founder Anne Alexander, the parties tend to be “dark and eerie, with people dressed in black.” The coven also hosts a weekly American Horror Story viewing at the West, in Williamsburg (379 Union Ave., nr. Hope St.; 718-599-1704). Visit for upcoming events.

5. Body Actualized Center
The yoga studio by day hosts a variety of late-night events with a neo–New Age, all-accepting vibe, attracting local Wiccans, mystical practitioners, and spiritual gurus. Past parties include a Moon Church–hosted celebration (see below) of the pagan goddess Freya. A recently launched Sunday-night “Recovery Station” event offers up a cocktail of occult-themed holistic services—massages, acupuncture treatments, a kava bar, and tarot readings by event co-host David Wilson, of Brooklyn Love & Tarot. 143 Troutman St., nr. Central Ave.; 347-770-1437.

La Grotta Tarot Society
La Grotta, a DIY event space in Bushwick-abutting Ridgewood, hosts this twice-monthly gathering of witches, tarot-card readers, and the occasional astrologist. Every other Thursday, attendees meet to discuss occult-related literature, while tarot and palm readings take place in the larger gallery space in the back. “I think of myself as a natural-born witch,” says Darcey Leonard, the clairvoyant palmist who hosts the event with her husband, Kevin Pelrine, a.k.a. D.J. Sex Libris. “I wanted to throw a party that makes the esoteric fun.” First-timers pay a $3 to $10 membership fee at the door. Starting in November, La Grotta will also host Queerballah, an occult study group and modern séance circle—described by one member as an “AA meeting for urban shamans”—that previously met at Bushwick event space the Spectrum. Visit for more info.

Moon Church
What began last summer as a group of eight pagan women holding rooftop moon ceremonies led to the founding of Moon Church in January: now a community of more than 70 exclusively “female-bodied” members who gather to honor the cycles of the moon; the female experience—including ceremonies to celebrate each other’s menstrual cycles; Wiccan holidays; and the history of witchcraft as it relates to female empowerment. Private ceremonies are held several times a month at the homes of members, but the church also hosts public, co-ed events, such as full-moon dance parties and elemental magic workshops, which usually take place at Body Actualized Center, where several Moon Church members also work. Visit for meeting times and locations.