Hallowed Whisperings

by by Grace Dunham, Robert Merritt & Alex Ronan

illustration by by Sarah Grimm



A while ago, I went to the Met with a boy my age, and also his mother. We were walking around looking at art. Mostly I was only good for pointing out some artists who’d recently died, but I found the Lilith sculpture, so that’s pretty good. Then I said, “do you know who Lilith is?” And they didn’t, so I told them.

Before Eve, there was Lilith. The Alphabet of Ben Sira says she was created from the same earth as Adam. Lilith and Adam began to argue. Lilith thought they should be equals. She wouldn’t bend to Adam’s will, she would not lie beneath him. “You know,” I said, “feminism,” and then I traipsed down the stairs, letting them think about how brilliant I must be.


Sometimes Lilith was called a demon. Sometimes she was called a monster. Lilith leads men astray. Lilith kills children. Lilith, a witch. These days, if you want to call a woman a witch, you’ll probably just say bitch instead, but a few weeks ago a boy said witch and it got me thinking.

So I went to Salem. Well, I went to Salem because my friends were going and I wanted to see what witches today are wearing, but also because I thought I could maybe be a witch myself and that’d be pretty cool. I asked an old greying man if he’d ever seen any witches and he said, “you’re as good as any.” I don’t know if he meant it as an insult or a compliment, but I don’t care. When someone calls you a witch, or a bitch, or any other name that’s mostly reserved for girls, that just means you’re a badass motherfucker. — AR






this is the rind off

the real finger shave and you

make a sexy potion



in the face

use algaecide

when the pot sticks



popcorn surprise

in my disgusting

camper by the train




strip my nose

and ride down 

the mountain peel



naked pouring

cement in

the rain



black skirt blood

when you

ride your 'bike'



I don't care

about that




it flips the moon


a bowl mess

in the tunnel



fingering everything

in a heap of bags

tasting oil




on your green leg

popcorn making

out like birds



coughing like my cat

father coughs in the tunnel

through the mountain



squeezes and wraps me

up out of breath

cinching tighter



I shake in

a trough

suck up the rest



I'm sick

of dead frogs in my socks

let›s get married

in the well skin



run off 

we laugh and

dance the ring



they come

holding us

by the bridge


twisting up

and down hair

on the bone


really swiveling

you round the trees

I levitate 

— RM






Charm for the Knowing of One’s Future Husband

1 St. Thomas Onion (peeled)
A Clean Handkerchief
A Clean Smock


Lay the peeled onion on the clean handkerchief. Put on the clean smock—being certain the room is well swept—and lay your head upon the onion. Whence you be laid down, stretch your arms out wide and say:

Good St. Thomas do me right,
And bring my love to me this night,
That I may look him in the face,
And in my arms may him embrace.

Then fall asleep. If your husband comes to you in a dream and gives you a kiss, grab him. If you grab him, he will be your husband. If you don’t he will not.



Second Charm for the Knowing of One’s Future Husband


Marygold Flowers
Sprig of Marjoram
A Little Wormwood
Virgin Honey
White Wine Vinegar


Dry the herbs before a fire and rub them to a powder. Simmer the powder, with a small bit of virgin honey, in the white wine vinegar over a slow fire. Lie down and rub your stomach, breasts, and lips with the substance. Repeat these words thrice:

St. Luke, St Luke, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true love see.
Fall asleep. The man will appear before your bedside walking to and fro.



Witch Cake (For the purposes of expelling a witch)


Rye flour


Mix the waters with the rye and salt. Make the cake broad and thin. Bake. Whence the cake is baked, feed it to a dog. The essence of the witch, present in the waters, will feel the pain of the dog’s teeth and be expelled.



Witches Ungent (Flying Ointment)

Poplar Leaves
Alternative Ingredients
The Blood of a Bat
Nightshade Oil


Boil fat in a copper vessel. Get rid of waters until substance thickens. Store it. Boil it again before use and then mix in ingredients (either). Smear the substance on the body until the flesh is relaxed and the pores opened up. Apply to internal absorbent skins so that the power of juices may be stronger and you may fly through the moonlit air.






Recipes culled by GD from Mother Bunch’s Closet (1609), Mother Bunch’s Closet Newly Broke Open, and the History of Mother Bunch of the West (1885), and De Miraculis Rerum Naturalium (1558).



The Independent takes no responsibility whence readers of this publication apply said substances.