Beyond the broomstick: Wicca in private and public

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WADING RIVER -

The practice of Wicca is growing across the country, but while some take their practice public, many opt to practice in private.

Rev. Mark Lyons is the high priest of eclectic witchcraft at the Silver Broom Ministries in Sayville. He says while his ministry’s coven has 50 witches who meet there monthly, some Long Island witches are just not ready to come out yet.

“We probably have more eclectic solitaries, those who practice alone that you would never know what they're doing behind closed doors,” says Lyons.

The witches here on Long Island may not wear pointy hats, but they could be your next-door neighbor practicing witchcraft openly outdoors –where they are closest to nature.

News 12 Long Island was invited to an esbat, or full moon ritual, by Stephen Pellegrino, of Riverhead, his girlfriend Courtney and their friend Brandon. It was held in Wading River. The coven of witches gathered in a circle and used wands and daggers as they chanted to draw down the power of the moon.

At these ceremonies, Pellegrino and his friends cast their spells and make their intentions known to the gods and goddesses.

“The idea behind spellcraft is that it's pretty much just like a prayer,” says Pellegrino. It’s a prayer, they say, that is of good intentions.

Pellegrino says one of the biggest misconceptions is that witches are evil and doing the devil’s work, when it’s really the opposite.

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