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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Witches of the river: The magic of San Marcos subculture

Illustration by Madeline Carpenter

The magic of witchy shops, occult societies and a thriving pagan culture has been quietly shaping the San Marcos community for years. Unknown to many, there’s a mystic world amongst Hays County, where the supernatural meets the everyday.

Today, the subcultures of paganism, miraculous healers and other metaphysical realms have had a resurgence through markets and social media meet-ups. Places like the Abracadaver Witches’ market and the TXST Pagan Student Fellowship are just a few of the places where those interested in these practices have found their connections.

“There’s a big range, a variety of vendors as well as guests that show up to these events to expand their horizons,” Danielle Hughes, operator of The Magic, the Moon and Me Guidance, said. “When they’re walking around the events, they are engaging with the different vendors, talking to them and getting different information about it. All of the local businesses, artists and creators are so willing to support each other and provide that really welcoming and inclusive experience.”

As a tarot card reader and Reiki energy healer, Hughes uses her work experience to attest that a portion of the Texas State student body is heavily involved in the subculture, and make up a large amount of occult people in the community.

“College students are much more open to [the divine] being that they are at the beginning of a career path. They’re working on creating a career, doing the education to… build a life for themselves,” Hughes said. “College students really can benefit from the service. The beautiful thing about card reading is that it provides them guidance around those things. I’ve had different clients come in and want to know about their major in specific. ‘Am I on the right path? Am I doing the right thing?’”

Fawn Gregg, owner and operator of local esoteric shops Herbs and Oddities and Stonebound Treasures, has been a significant member of the culture since she was a freshman at Texas State in 2008, priding herself on spreading the positive and welcoming nature that her business and colleagues have to offer.

“I love creating any kind of space that brings people together who are seeking in any capacity,” Gregg said. “I’m open to anything and everything. I want to facilitate spaces where people can reconnect to Earth’s medicines and power of healing. Being of loving service is a spiritual practice.”

Many of those in the community that follow these unique practices are aware of the historical and current negative connotations their subculture has. Most are unbothered by the misconceptions and even encourage those who may be repelled by their interests to join in on the conversation.

“We don’t label things. It’s just people getting together to discuss different things they’re fascinated by,” Gregg said. “All of those divisive labels that we give ourselves and we pass on to others, those are just barriers to love, barriers to connection and their temporal constructs. There’s no weirdos that walk into my shop. These are my people.”

Gregor Ælfweald, Priest of Three Flames Kindred and council member of San Marcos Pagans and Heathens, has experienced the realm of paganism and the metaphysical outside of San Marcos previous to becoming a local.

Ælfweald speaks for the larger circle when he recognizes this lifestyle is not for everyone, but there is an incredible amount of acceptance for those willing to learn more.

“You have to be the kind of person who won’t listen to what everybody tells you,” Ælfweald said. “It’s a person who’s curious, who has a certain amount of wonder about the world, and I guess a certain amount of courage to go find that as well.”

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