Instead of shopping online or traveling far from home to look for the tools of the trade, practitioners of witchcraft, Wicca, and Paganism from Fairfield County and beyond can now head to Effigy, a new witchcraft store in Monroe. Located on 415 Main Street, Effigy has achieved rapid success since its opening seven months ago.
Effigy is “different from a new age store in that it really sticks to the old ways of witchcraft,” said Donna Golias, who is a co-owner of the store.
Golias said there is actually a large Pagan community in Fairfield County. Effigy’s aim is to be one-stop shopping for all things witchcraft, Wiccan and Pagan. Paganism is the oldest form of worship in the world: it follows the cycles of the earth: the phases of the moon and the progress of the seasons.
The store went unopposed by Monroe’s Economic Development Commission which, according to the town’s website, is an organization committed to “attracting and retaining an appropriate mix of businesses” in Monroe.
EDC Chairman Lee Hossler explained the Commission’s stance on the matter. “It’s just a retail store. It was a retail store before so what they were doing was not out of the norm,” he said. “All it was was one retail store replacing another retail store.”
Effigy sells wands, pentacles, and chalices, which are a few of the essential items witches use at their altars. The store also sells pendulums and ouiji boards for divination, as well as candles, incense, oils, and crystals. All these goods are one-of-a-kind pieces made by artists and witches from around the country.
The store has also been host to a number of sold out workshops. Attendees come from Monroe, Bridgeport, Shelton, Stratford, Fairfield, and Milford, and from as far as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, to take part in classes like “Altar Building” and “Developing the Magical Consciousness.” Many of these classes are taught by world-famous witches and authors.
Effigy's patrons say they appreciate its efforts to serve as an authentic witchcraft store. “I’m so pleased that Connecticut finally has a witchcraft shop comparable to or better than those in Salem," said a regular customer.
In addition to selling altar and divination tools, Golias, who is a shamanic witch and healer, assists customers, among them nurses and energy healers, in choosing among 150 organic herbs from Effigy’s in-store apothecary. Golias also gives herbal tarot readings.
Many people come to Effigy because they want to get rid of what witches call “incorrect energy,” which can be seen as equivalent to what is known in pop psychology as negative energy. Some come in because they want to bring about change in their life or to make something hoped-for become manifest. Golias said that because of the poor economy, a lot of people come in wanting to increase their prosperity.
When asked about people’s perceptions of witches today, Golias said she gets some skeptical or fearful reactions, but that this is really just fear of the unknown.
“Some people will say, “’Oooh, you're a witch, you might cast a spell on me!’ And I say, ‘Well, someone from any religion could pull out a gun and shoot you!” she said. According to Golias, most people do not understand what witchcraft is really about. The main tenet of witchcraft, she said, is to do nothing unless it is for the good of all and harms none.
Golias said that anyone and everyone is welcome to visit the store: she stresses that Effigy is not just for witches. “Everyone is curious and they ask a lot of questions,” she said. “I think they leave feeling more comfortable with everything.”
Golias would like to see Wicca and Paganism become more understandable, accessible, and nonthreatening to the public. Many people do not reveal their Wiccan interests and practices, for fear of judgment and discrimination. For this very reason, there is National Pagan Pride Day, which this year will be held on Aug. 27 with the Connecticut festivities occurring in Berlin.
Golias said she sees witchcraft as the most natural and beautiful religion of all. Humans used to be attuned with the natural cycles of the earth, she said, and with the advent of technology people have gotten further and further away from this connection.
“Witchcraft brings you back to it,” she said.