For the past 42 years, Liz Pressman, currently an archivist with the New York Post, has adhered to the principles of the Wiccan religion. It makes sense that on the weekend preceding Halloween, she would bodly reveal and seriously address that aspect of her life, via a first-person essay put together with the help of colleague Jane Ridley.
The piece, crowned by a striking portrait and the headline “What’s It Like Being a Witch in New York City” (without the question mark), starts off with Pressman recalling how her personal beliefs cost her an investment banking job in the late 1990s. She later circles back to how it all began:
Young and rebellious, I was just 16 when I was initiated into Wicca by some friends. The daughter of a Jewish father (my dad is the journalist Gabe Pressman) and a Catholic mother, I’d long been considered “different” in my hometown of Yonkers. Like the boy in The Sixth Sense, I talked to dead people–including my late grandparents. But, unlike that child, I was never scared. The spirits that appear to me are beautiful, shimmery beings offering advice and reassurance.
My initiation ceremony took place in a Berkshires forest in June 1975 when a coven of young witches “cast circle”–creating a safe place between the natural and the spirit worlds–by kissing each other on the lips. Completely naked, I felt at one with the gods and goddesses in the Wiccan tradition.
Pressman reached the highest level of Wicca, high priestess, ten years ago. For more info on her dad, who started out as a TV reporter in the 1950s and is now in his early nineties, check out this wonderful 2015 Wall Street Journal profile.