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You have questions. We have answers.

My religion / race / gender-identity / sexual-orientation / age / status / type / flavor / species is _________. Am I welcome here?

Yes, almost all the way across the board. Dogs and other companion species are not allowed out of respect for folks who are allergic. Humans under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when attending classes, events, and private sessions such as psychic readings. Children attending classes, events, or rituals with their parents or guardians must remain in the care of said parents or guardians.

Are you witches? 

Opinions on the history and origin of the words “witch” and “wiccan” vary. Our answer is the opinion and perspective of the management here at The Green Man, as opinions vary even within our shoppe and among our diverse community of teachers, our ritual presenters, and our community. Did we mention how much we love diversity?

Back in the day there were folk magic practitioners and spiritworkers in most villages and towns. People would go to them for help with spiritual and mundane issues: sicknesses, hauntings, luck, fertility. These people had many names: pellarman, cunningfolk, rootdoctor, faery and faith healer, shaman, mojo, strega, curandero. In Middle English people distinguished these local folk practitioners that served the community from their dangerous free agent counterparts, which were called witches. At that point in history witch was a negative term used for unethical practitioners that did whatever they pleased with their talents.

The word “witch” may have an etymological root that was not inherently negative, though it has not yet been possible linguistically to determine a single definitive Proto-Germanic root. Most people pick the one that resonates with them spiritually. Possible roots include words for wisdom, sacred, soothsayer, to bend or shape, to awaken, and others.

During the last century a number of mystics, occultists, and practitioners of traditional magic sought to reclaim those more ancient meanings of the word witch, while enjoying the heretical bite of turning a negative word on its head. We use many words for ourselves and our work, but we love the word witch precisely because it makes folk ask this question. To study witchcraft and pursue spiritual evolution is ultimately a path of pursuing our questions and repeatedly sacrificing everything we think we know, that we might draw ever closer to divine Truth.

At The Green Man we are highly ethical practitioners and we do whatever we please. We find providing excellent, ethical service and training to our community to be most pleasing!

Wait, I'm supposed to call you Wiccans, right?

Wicca may be the Old English pronunciation of witch, and is used by a goddess-based religion that was developed in the first half of the 20th century.  Some Wiccans consider themselves witches, while others avoid the word witch due to its negative connotations.

Because the word Wicca lacked the negative connotation of Witch, it grew in popularity as a term during the latter half of the 20th century when many different types of neo-pagan, folk, traditional, and craft traditions became public. The media often uses it as a politically-correct way to refer to witches to show that they understand that practitioners of the Elder Faith are not green-skinned hags as in popular media. That said, it’s a bit akin to referring to all Christians as Catholics and with respect for the good intention, many practitioners will correct you if you refer to them as Wiccan and they are not of that particular path.

At The Green Man we have practitioners and offer training in both Wicca and other forms of traditional Witchcraft.

Can guys be witches?

Yes. So can trans, genderqueers, intergender, and any-other-combination-gender persons. Cats can also be witches, as well as certain plants.

Can I come and watch a ritual or class without participating?

The degree to which participation is required varies from class to class and ritual to ritual. Call the store and we can give you specific answers regarding specific events. However, you aren’t likely to see the magic by keeping yourself outside the energy; only through participation and experience will you perceive the Work.

Can I take a bunch of pictures and video tape your classes? Can I live-tweet the ritual to my fans?

Audio recordings of any kind during classes, meditations, rituals, or private sessions requires written permission from the teacher or practitioner. Photography and video recording requires additional written permission from a store owner. The presence of recording equipment will be announced to all present and accommodations made for those who do not wish to be recorded.

Before and after rituals, during parties or potlucks, while shopping, or during other free time you are welcome to take pictures of yourself and your friends for your personal use. You may not take pictures of other people, including presenters, without their express permission. Please ask presenters before taking photos of any altars or magical tools.

During ceremonies, rituals, meditations, and other events all phones and electronics need to be turned off. Even a phone on vibrate can be disruptive, so please turn it all the way off! You are welcome to check your phones, like your likes, and tweet your tweets before or after the ceremony.

If I want to come to an event do I have to RSVP? What is the best way to RSVP?

It is recommended that you RSVP in-person or by phone for all events. An RSVP on Facebook or Meetup or another social media site does not count. For classes an RSVP is requested so that the teacher can adjust the space and any materials for the class size. For most rituals an RSVP is not required, however, a few select rituals require advance purchase of a ticket (Beltane, Samhain, Yule) and a few events require an RSVP (Seances, Vision Quests).  Please read the event page on the calendar for specific instructions regarding RSVP requirements.

How do I become a witch? Should I join a coven? Where do I start?

For most, it takes many years of diligent study and training to re-awaken and enliven the gifts and skills they’ve had all along. As you embark on your journey, feel free to start calling yourself a witch at any time — there is no governing body of witches whose standards of witchdom you must meet to use the word.

For some, witchcraft is a religion and they will “join the religion” by performing a simple private dedication ceremony with just themselves and their gods, committing to their new or re-discovered faith. For others, witchery is a skill or an art that works in tandem with their religion (or lack of religion), thus you’ll meet Christians, Unitarians, Pagans, Atheists, and all sorts who practice witchery and thus, consider themselves witches. You may also meet those for whom the Old Arte is their life’s path and their craft, and they wouldn’t likely call it a religion. Their relationship to the spirits is familial rather than worshipful — they work with their gods rather than for their gods. They adhere to no doctrine or set of beliefs as their views and methods constantly evolve in response to their practice of witchcraft!

Just as there are many ways to be a witch and/or practice witchcraft, there are many types of groups available for you to work with other people and enjoy community: open groves and circles, study groups, local tradition-specific gatherings, as well as covens. A coven is a specific type of group that is usually very close-knit, the joining of which is not dissimilar to getting married. Some covens are public, some are secret, some are open to newcomers, some are closed. It should take a while to get to know the coven, and it’s a big decision to join. You can certainly get divorced later, but it can be a bit messy. Avoid covens that rush you to commit! Know yourself and be wary of cultish, unhealthy groups with demanding, charismatic leaders. Isaac Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame

The Green Man and other community centers and public circles are a great way to learn, experience, socialize, and make friends that share your interests in a safe, commitment-free environment.

Why can't we touch the stuff on the altars?

We have lots of things in our shop to touch and feel and experience hands on. However, The Green Man is more than just a shop! We are also a metaphysical community center, a hearth around which diverse magical practitioners gather, and a temple of the Old Ways. This temple includes living altars that are maintained by our practitioners that are surrounded by bright green signs reading: DO NOT TOUCH.

Unlike the statuary that we sell that has a bit of personality, but is waiting for you to take it home and wake it up — the statues, talismans, and sacred objects on our altars are well-fed, very awake, and quite chatty! We understand the impulse to reach out and touch such lively objects, but please respect that these are working altars. The spirits are busy at their tasks and your touch, no matter how well-meaning, can be disruptive to them. Also, some of them bite.

I want to get a psychic reading, but I don't know how to choose and I'm worried it won't be a good fit...

For psychic readings…follow your intuition, of course! When choosing a spiritual or metaphysical healer you can do the same, however, if you’re having a particular problem and aren’t sure which healing modality might be a good fit then you are welcome to ask for a recommendation when you call.

If within the first five minutes of your reading or healing session you feel like your practitioner is not a good fit, please speak up and say that you’d like to end the session. No questions asked and a full refund will be given. You are welcome to end your session at any time, for any reason, but refunds are only given if you end the session within five minutes.  Here’s more information:

How do I choose a reader? And then what happens?

I'm having pain in my stomach, can you tell me what might be wrong and suggest an herb for me to try? Or, should I get a diagnosis from one of your spiritual healers first?

If you’re having a pain, or an ache, or an illness, or suspect illness you should talk to a medical doctor. We are not medical doctors and absolutely will not diagnose illness or prescribe treatment for illness. If you feel that your physical illness has a spiritual component then our spiritual healers are available to work that spiritual root with you. However, working the spirit is not a replacement for medical treatment, nor will medical treatment hinder spiritual healing. If you are having new symptoms then your spiritual healer may require you to ascertain a medical diagnosis before proceeding with any spiritual work.

In addition to our spiritual and energetic healers, our staff currently includes a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and a Master Herbalist. Our Master Herbalist teaches classes on herbal remedies as complementary therapy. She alone is qualified to advise you regarding herbal remedies for physical ailments, and only after a thorough intake and private consultation. These complementary therapists should be spoken with individually if you have any questions about the scope of their practice.

Does magic really work? Can I get a refund if you do a spell for me and it doesn't work?

We are legally required to advise that the magical properties of our products and services are “alleged” and as such the results cannot be guaranteed. No ethical practitioner can guarantee a certain result from magical work, because of the principle of free will. Customers should consider our products and services to be sold as aids for achieving desired results, or as a curios only, and no claims are made as to the effectiveness of psychic or magical work or products. The Green Man is not liable for advice given by staff regarding the usage of said curios.

Do you do black magic?

We tend to think of black magic as magic or spells that usurp the free will of another person or being. Our desire to control other’s hearts, behaviors, health, luck may be well-meaning, but is still considered black magic. What’s the harm in making him love me? She refuses to go to rehab, if I do a spell to make her it will be for her own good!

The harm is that doing a spell to make someone change is different from asking them to change, demonstrating change, begging them to change, or any other thing we might do in this physical world to try to convince them. Magic works on a spiritual and soul level. It works on the level of our most fundamental, divinely-gifted freedom.  To do magical or spiritual work to bend the will of another person to our own is to seek to negate that freedom.  If love is what you wanted, if your spell works, what you will get is slavery. If you don’t see the problem with that, then at least consider the consequences for yourself.  What you enslave you are enslaved to. If you work black magic you will not only poison your own well, you will be susceptible to poison from others and will have to live the rest of your life on the battlefield you have created.

If your desire is love, or healing for a family member, or to get a mean boss off of your back etc., then our staff is available to help you understand and implement spiritual and magical techniques that will work towards your goals without infringing on anyone’s will.

Is it ethical to charge for spiritual services and religious gatherings? Churches don't charge for services and counseling....

We’re afraid the landlord won’t let us pay the rent with holy intentions. Most physical churches are supported either by a few wealthy donors or by significant (usually 10% of their income) tithing by their parishioners. Both Witches and Los Angelenos tend to be individualists and free-thinkers. They want to choose for themselves which classes to attend and which rituals to participate in, and as such we strive to provide affordable a la carte spiritual services, no commitment required. Further, because our practitioners make a living wage, they are able to donate their time and services to persons and causes of their choosing.

Most of our rituals are marked “None turned away for sincere lack of funds” and thus far thanks to the generosity of our community, our presenters usually at least break even on their presentations even if some people are unable to donate.

"Great oaks from little acorns grow."

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