Episode 3.2: The Wee Free Men

Happy belated supermoon/ Ostara/ spring equinox! It was the closest coincidence of a full moon with the equinox since 2000, so we hope you did something magical to celebrate! (Katie and Jenny went to see the superbloom poppy fields in Southern California.)

We apologize for the delay getting this posted. Katie’s been going through some major life events, which got in the way of editing, but it’s never too late to enjoy our VERY fun discussion about The Wee Free Men, the first Tiffany Aching book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Plus we have a gorgeously updated theme song from the talented Sarah Little Drum! (Listen to more of her music on her website.)

Here’s a listening guide for the episode. (For a description of our segments, go here.)

Welcome/ Pant Chant/ Introduction (0:00 – 10:15)

“Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?” (10:20 – 35:20)

“‘Round About the Cauldron Go” (35:25 – 55:00)

“Treguna, Mekoides, Trecorum, Satis, Dee!” (55:05 – 1:11:45)

Final Spells (1:11:50 – 1:19:00)

Sign Off and Bloopers (1:19:10 – 1:23:00)

Important Links

SNL H&M Sketch

Childish Gambino’s Live Performance of Redbone

Wee Free Men Heading to Cinemas!

Next month will be a minisode. You can find our schedule for the season here.

Episode 2.3: The Jumbies

Happy Midsummer and Matariki (Māori New Year)! June’s full moon is known as the Strawberry Moon, Oak Moon, Honey Moon, Mead Moon, Rose Moon, and Basil Moon.

In this episode we discuss The Jumbies (audiobook), written by Tracey Baptiste and narrated by Robin Miles.

Our theme song is “Moon and Spruce” by Sarah Littledrum.

Here’s a listening guide for the episode. (For a description of our segments, go here.)

Introduction (0:00 – 4:42)

Which Craft? (4:46 – 13:21)

  • Story inspired by Caribbean fairy tales like “The Magic Orange Tree”
  • Island setting, Caribbean culture
  • Audiobook narration: wide range of voices that reflects the diversity of the Caribbean
  • Reading songs in books
  • The early reveal of Severine’s identity and humanization of her character
  • Reinforcing the theme of balance by alternating points of view

“Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?” (13:27 – 31:22)

  • Nuanced depiction of “bad” characters
  • Multiculturalism in the Caribbean reflected in the characters
  • Celebration of dark skin
  • Core group of friends: 2 girls and 2 boys
  • Malik as a non-verbal character
  • Overlapping issues of indigeneity, colonization, slavery, and immigration
  • Fear of the unknown, “us vs. them”
  • Biracial bodies, merging of different communities

Related Links

Colonization of the Caribbean: Before Europeans

Slavery in the Caribbean

“We Are Not a Nation of Immigrants”: “We should say: We are a Nation of Immigrants, Descendants of Chattel Slavery & First Peoples of this Land. This would compel all Americans to acquaint themselves to the true history and sacrifices of this land that carved out the opportunities they now enjoy.”

“Bald Heads and Queer Noses” (31:28 – 39:12)

  • Jumbie bodies
  • The witch’s body and her shriveled arm
  • The loss of Dru’s hair

“Round About the Cauldron Go” (39:18 – 51:52)

  • Opening scene: Corinne running through the forest chasing her mother’s necklace–sets up centrality of the island enviornment and Corinne’s growing power
  • The witch’s magic vs. Corinne’s magic (both based in natural world) and the liminal spaces they inhabit
  • White witch vs. green woman
  • Severine’s cooking vs. Corinne’s oranges
  • Severine as force of death, Nicole as a force of life
  • Corinne saves the frog, then the frog saves her

Related Links

The Green Man

“Treguna, Mekoides, Trecorum, Satis, Dee!” (51:58 – 57:09)

  • Forming Magic–connected to child-bearing?
  • All Hallow’s Eve and graveyards
  • Importance of the ocean and the fish folk
  • Wax figure of Corinne’s mother

Final Spells (57:14 – 1:00:55)

  • Logistics of interspecies reproduction
  • Not your regular “dead mother” trope

New Segment! Lunar Rituals with Jenny (1:01:00 – 1:06:43)

  • Lovely suggestions for celebrating the summer solstice
  • Thoughts about the power of oranges (and the sun)
  • Rituals for the Basil Moon

Re: our comments about family separations at the border. We recorded this episode before the new Executive Order. However, most of the families that were separated have not yet been reunited, and those that have are still being held in internment camps. You can help by calling your representatives and donating to the following organizations:

You may also want to participate in a Families Belong Together event on June 30.

Minisode 2.1 April Grab Bag

Happy full moon, witches! April’s full moon (one of the most potent and magical!) is called the Pink Moon for the wild ground phlox flowers that bloom in North America in early spring. Other names include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, the Fish Moon, the Grey Goose Moon, and the Hare Moon. This year it is also the Scorpio Full Moon.

In this fun grab bag of an episode–our first minisode of season two–we talk about the sorcery of predatory guardianship, the magic of daily practice and setting goals that focus on internal fulfillment, the mystical origins of birthday traditions, and the witchy power of Hamilton! (Tip: Listen closely to Jenny’s section for some beautiful birdsong in the background!) We also give recommendations for some uncanny books and board games. See below for links and further reading.

Our theme song is “Moon and Spruce” by Sarah Littledrum.

Part One: Magical Experiences, Discoveries, and Thoughts

“How the Elderly Lose their Rights” by Rachel Aviv 

Classical Roots of Harry Potter Spells

Our Girl Who Drank the Moon Episode 

Anne Lamott: “12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing”

This is Why You Get to Celebrate Your Birthday Every Year (NB: half of the citations are broken/ wrongly linked, so definitely take this with a grain of salt!)

Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend

“The Women of Hamilton”

Part Two: Witchy Recommendations

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

Mysterium

As d’Or (Golden Ace!)

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

Disclaimers about Joseph Boyden: here and here

Episode 2.1: Into the Woods

Happy full moon, witches! And welcome to season two!

That’s right. Our whole coven is back to discuss the 2014 film adaptation of the Sondheim musical Into the Woods. The perfect way to kick off a month with a blue moon!

The first full moon in March is called the Sap Moon or Worm Moon. Other names include the Moon of Winds, the Death Moon, the Chaste Moon, the Fish Moon, the Sleepy Moon, and the Big Famine Moon.

CW: sexual assault, #MeToo, Larry Nassar, Johnny Depp, infidelity, infertility. See the listening guide below for which sections to skip.

Our theme song is “Moon and Spruce” by Sarah Littledrum.

Here’s a listening guide for the episode. (For a description of our segments, go here.)

Introduction (0:00 – 3:15)

Which Craft? (3:30 – 17:10)

  • Adaptation: differences between the stage version and screen version
  • Circular narrative and the four central characters
  • Effect of using and changing familiar stories (and returning to the darker roots of fairy tales)
  • Meryl Streep’s performance
  • Conveying theme through lighting, music, and special effects
  • The baker and his wife as everyman characters

“Are You a Bald Head or a Queer Nose?”: Representation + Bodies (17:40 – 1:05:45)

  • The baker and toxic masculinity/ social pressures (+ the importance of having a supportive community in order to change cycles of abuse/ destructive behaviors/ demands of cisheteronormativity)
  • So many dead mothers (separation of child and parent as central theme)
  • Women in diverse stages of life–but no women of color 😦
  • Sexual violence: Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Larry Nassar, #MeToo, empowering victims of assault (31:14 – 40:26)
  • Jack’s sexual awakening and the princes’ focus on sexual conquest (40:26 – 42:45)
  • The baker’s wife: punishing women for infidelity (43:20 – 49:46) 
  • The witch’s body: can beauty and power co-exist? + healing from assault (49:52 – 55:35)
  • Infertility as a curse (55:41 – 59:49)
  • Blindness, disability, and magical princess tears

“Round about the Treguna”: Nature + Spirituality (1:06:06 – 1:22:46)

  • The woods as a psychological, transformative space/ journey
  • Getting what you wish for/ the magic of normalcy
  • Liminal spaces, bridging life and death
  • The spell and its ingredients (transmuted by the cow)
  • The witch’s garden and magic beans

Final Spells (1:23:13 – 1:28:20)

  • Typecast Lucy Punch and other versions of Cinderella
  • Other movies/ plays with similar musical themes
  • Learning from and improving on our parents’ example

Related Links

Liz Gilbert on The School of Greatness

Blooper Reel (1:29:16 – 1:30:06)

A sort-of photo of the four of us, together again:

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Claire and Jenny’s tablet-laptop contraption:

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Katie’s blue hair: