Magick is Real: Recalling a Youth of Faeries, Potions & Performance

    by Hannah Allyce McClure

    Walk among the Faerie Gardens

    My grandmother, Tanya Hernandez (her maiden name) introduced me to magic. She brought me and my girl cousins, only her grand-daughters, to a clearing in her backyard to see a “faerie garden”.

    She had reserved a space for them to convene in in a clearing under some rose bushes.

    We followed her along her stepping stones, around the bushes and I saw what she had done.

    She had patted the dirt flat and laid little stones in path way. She used wine corks with paper clips in them for little chairs, and tooth picks for a little make shift fence.

    She would lead me and my three girl cousins over to it every time we came to see her. Each week she would move something in the garden, paint little sticky pink or green foot prints on some of the rocks.

    I was the oldest of all of us, and I knew it was her doing, but I remember wanting to believe.

    I didn’t roll my eyes or scoff. I listened intently, I listened and watched her as she told me and the younger girls about the faeries. I wished that it were true.

    I wanted to live in a world where magic was real. 

    This experience has kept a childlike and honest part of me alive even through my darkest points in my life, points where adults become jaded and closed off to magic (in whatever form you believe it).

    I cling to that feeling and that memory any time the world around me becomes too harsh to stand. I think anyone raising a child and wanting them to keep that light alive ought to provide a similar experience.

    Another event that I think its crucial to my way of thinking now (and is maybe more mainstream) is the magic of a sleepover.

    My first Magic Gathering

    My parents never had a lot of money, but they did what they could with what they had and provided a wealth of beauty and knowledge for me and my little sister.

    Unlike our friends, our sleepovers didn’t have a pool side start, or quite as many store bought items, plastic games and snacks. But still, our house was fun to be at!

    In lieu of all the games and treats you can buy with money we used our imaginations and that was infinite so the fun kept coming.

    My mother followed my grandmother in the footsteps of magic experiences through potions. At least it felt like potions through my ten year old eyes.

    I suppose you could also call it an introduction to self care.

    I remember one sleepover my mom boiled herbs in a big pot on our stove; rosemary, peppermint, orange peel and chamomile.

    We sat at our round dinner table and took turns closing our eyes and leaning our head over the good smelling steam. My mother carefully covering the back of each little girl’s head with a cloth to lock in the heat.

    We were opening up our pores before putting on a clay mask. We were all focusing our mental energy at the task of cleaning and soothing our skin.

    It was comforting because of the sweet smells and the warmth, yes, but it was also a sort of spiritual experience.

    It was communal. I could hear my little friends laugh and coo and those sounds were musical and contagious.

    It gave me a similar happy, contented feeling that I had believing that my grandmother had made a home for faeries under her roses.

    Hear my Brothers’ and Sisters’ scream

    As a teenager I discovered my own magic. Magic for me was live music.

    Preparing for a punk show was very ritualistic in nature. We gathered, we adorned our bodies, we painted our faces, and we traveled in groups to meet more.

    Black was our power color. It gave one a sense of belonging. We painted our faces to impress one another and but also to transform.

    I painted my eyes and it was like wearing a mask, an alter ego. Halloween was our holiday of choice.

    We gathered in parking lots outside of thrift stores or apartments.

    Then there was the dance. The metal kids punched the air, pushed each other, ran in circles driven by the wailing lyrics.

    As scary as we looked we were welcoming. It was escapism. We knew if you showed your face you were seeking it too. I jumped on my friend’s back and he ran us through the crowd of gangly, pimply thrashing bodies. My heart was beating in my ears, adrenaline was rushing through my veins.

    Although I never once was hurt I’ll be honest that the threat of violence was my motivation.

    Life was so hard then, the crude, frenetic, clumsy dancing, even just to watch was cathartic. It was emotional pain manifest.

    Now I find my magic in sharing stories. It helps me make sense of my life and it nurtures me.



    If this essay resonates with you, please join our WITCH email list by using the forms on this website so we can stay in touch.


    About the Author:

    Hannah Allyce (Al-leece) McClure is a creole artist, sister, friend and modern day VVitch. She is constantly yearning to grow her tribe of womyn creatives to write or make for her Zine: SPOILS. You can find her dancing and coming alive at night in Houston, TX or look at her art and musings on Instagram , Facebook or on her website:


    all images: author’s own



    You May Also Like


    What I feel to be missing from most discussions of magic (particularly the magic ...

    quick: DID YOU WITCH IT?

    Note: “quick”s are a new series of short, pithy posts straight from the editor, Carolyn ...