SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — When you think of a witch, you normally think of the potions, the spells and flying brooms, but their practices are more holistic than you think.
“The ritual work that we do is about symbolizing the internal work externally,” said Carmen Loup, who practices yoga and is the owner of Cosmic Corner.
“You don’t need any tools to do the craft to do the work, but the tools make it easier,” said Loup.
Cosmic Corner is an all-inclusive shop for anyone who practices any belief and any religion, where information and guidance can be found to help further your spiritual journey.
Loup took News 3 through the different beliefs and covens that practice here in Savannah.
Practiced here for centuries is hoodoo, which was created by enslaved Africans who use the earth, footwork and song for healing and manifestation.
“Many of our elders are hoodoo practitioners, and they’re all so sweet and so willing to help,” said Loup, “and if someone shares interest they are always willing to share.”
The practice includes candles, oils, water, herbs and roots derived from the practical work of herbal healing.
“A lot of it, you will see some similarities with Catholicism a little bit with the candle work, which is a little witchy, let’s all admit,” said Loup. “Every practice uses candles.”
This is different from voodoo, which originated in West Africa and involves the worship of spirits called Loa as well as music and animal sacrifice.
Loup also noted that there is a small community of modern pagans or neo-pagans, who believe that the universe is interconnected and is Earth-centric. The Norse community can be found here, who worship the old Germanic gods you may know like Odin, Freyja and Thor.
“There are a lot of just general nature people who work with nature spirits,” said Loup.
If you want to explore, Cosmic Corner has weekly events, where a melting pot of beliefs can be found. Events include yoga, meditation groups, tarot readings and manifestation.
“Anything you do is going to come back to meditation, so learning how to meditate well is going to be a huge part of any witchcraft that you practice,” said Loup.
Loup practices yoga, which is not a religion but originated from ancient Indian spiritual practices and focuses on self-realization and meditation. They were initiated into a Shiva-based tradition.
“It’s about getting deeper and deeper, meeting and knowing people, and then you will be offered invitations eventually,” said Loup.
They love more than just the physical practice of yoga; the mystic tradition, philosophy and the science behind it were what brought Loup to initiate.
“Reading the ancient scriptures and learning Sanskrit has been wonderful to learn, one of the oldest if not the oldest still practiced traditions,” said Loup.
The initiation process was not some call to the devil to write your name in the book, they said, but an important ceremony where spiritual energy that has been built up through your lineage is passed down symbolically.
You don’t have to be mantra-initiated to have a spiritual journey or have a spiritual experience, but it is an anchor to come back to when struggling to open up.
“People don’t understand that spirituality is here to help, it’s not here to hurt,” said Loup.
Demons, hexes and curses are what many fear when it comes to mystic traditions, but good and evil don’t exist in these traditions.
“There’s that dualism of good vs. evil, and people have that so ingrained in their mind that there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and that’s the biggest misconception I wish I could get people to understand,” said Loup.
They noted that mystic traditions teach opening that third eye to see and understand that there are not many differences between us and we all have a unique and beautiful perspective on life.
“These things that we think are evil or mean, we think that because it’s against our egos,” said Loup. “And when you are able to set the ego aside and glime beyond the ego, that’s where the bliss comes in.”
Savannah is known as the most haunted city in America. Loup says they have had unexplainable experiences but is still a skeptic and explains why they love this haunted city.
“I would say this city has a lot of character, and I feel that people have loved something, people have lived in something maybe people have died somewhere. I can sense that feeling in a place,” said Loup.
“That’s why I love Savannah so much. I want to be somewhere that has that character, feelings like it’s been lived in, feels like it has been loved because that’s what gives it energy.”
They are planning for two upcoming festivals, the Samhain Festival on Oct. 28 and Beltane in the spring.
“We’ll do drum circle, especially Samhain is great for a drum circle, releasing ceremonies and just being together and stir up some energy together.”