The shopkeeper looked up from the book she’d been perusing, The Christian Witch’s Handbook: Solitary Practitioner’s Edition by H. Fuller Hutchinson. It was a familiar sight she beheld: A younger woman, perhaps in her late 20’s or early 30’s, with a furtive demeanor and brightly curious eyes.
Having decades of experience, she innately understood that the young woman wanted the shopkeeper to be aware of her presence, but didn’t want direct attention.
“Welcome. Feel free to explore. I’ll be here if you have any questions.”
The young woman flashed an uncomfortable smile of acknowledgement. Then meandered down a wall aisle of books the shopkeeper knew to be for the curious and those seeking to learn about the various paths and practices. This aisle also contained all the basic ritual items one would need or want if they were just starting out.
She observed the young woman thumb through a couple of books, then put them back. Next she looked at the tools for ritual and practice. Her confusion was clear as she picked up both a dual edged dagger and a single edged knife seemingly more suited to using in the kitchen. She grabbed one of each and approached the counter where the shopkeeper stood.
“Will you help me understand the difference between these two knives?” She pleaded, overwhelm evident on her face and in her voice, as she carefully rested both blades on the counter.
“Certainly dear, I’m quite pleased to do so. The smaller blade has sharp a edge on each side and ends in a sharp point. The handle is has a hand guard between the handle, called a hilt, and the blade. It’s commonly known as a dagger. It is always used as a ceremonial or ritual tool and never actually cuts anything physical, it is strictly used for ritual. It is called an athame.
The second one here is a bolline. It’s also ceremonial, however, it’s also more of a practical tool, much like a kitchen knife. Notice the single edge blade and lack of a hilt.
Do you have any other questions?” the shopkeeper inquired.
The young woman tentatively replied, “Well, you see, I’m a Christian and even though I know church tradition considers witchcraft and paganism sins and heresy, I’ve come to believe some of the practices actually honor and serve God’s purpose of loving the world.”
Suddenly the shopkeeper understood there had been a divine and mystical reason for her to have chosen the book she’d been perusing just before the young woman came in.
“You know,” she began to explain, “There are Christian Witches. Here, perhaps this book can help you on your path.”
“Thank you sooo much,” the young woman exclaimed. “I was so confused and kind of scared when I came in today. You have been so kind and helpful. I’ll take the book and wait to decide which blade I’ll need. How much do I owe you?”
“I am always happy to help. Let me know how else I can help once you’ve read the book. That will be $15.”
As she placed the book in a bag, she grabbed her business card, inserted it in the front cover. Then handed it to the young woman, who left the shop with a more confident and purposeful demeanor than she had entered with.
The shopkeeper smiled to herself, mentally saying a prayer of gratitude for the encounter and that the young woman finds the path for her.