Soft yellow fairy lights and herbal aromas filled the streets. White tents selling crystals, teas and candles stood in front of bars and restaurants as people casually explored both elements of the busy street. It was the monthly Witch Walk, held on Second and Fourth St. in Downtown Santa Ana, every third Saturday of the month. This February marked the ninth month since its launch in June 2019.
Open between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., the Witch Walk is a marketplace with over 100 vendors, showcasing tarot readers, psychics, artists, healers and self-proclaimed witches. It was created, independently run and organized by Lacey Conine, who is also known as the Hype Priestess. She wanted a space for them to work and share their gifts with the world.
Lisa Nhan, owner of Nhan Pharm that sells CBD products, said it was only her third time there as a vendor, but already felt a growing community for healers like her.
“It’s all about growing a place for the community. I love the people who come to experience it; it’s authentic,” Nhan said while customers came up and hugged her, delighted to see her again. “People come from far for this. They come from San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, San Diego, Riverside … someone even drove three hours last time I was here.”
Nhan also said that she considers herself a witch, being “connected to the Earth and Mother Gaia.” Gaia (also spelled Gaea) is known in Greek mythology as the primal Mother Earth goddess, giving birth to every living thing on the planet.
“I’ve always been in tune with energy and energy work. Healing is part of being a witch,” said Nhan as her business sells CBD bath bombs, salts, soaps and oils.
Groups of friends, families and couples roamed the market. Men and women alike, young and old, stopped to look at the artwork and smell the various teas available for sale.
“As a person who isn’t so into crystals and herbs and that sort of stuff, I still felt invited. There’s a non-judgemental atmosphere — but everyone is selling stuff, so I wonder if that’s why. Still, it was a positive experience,” UCI student and first-timer of the Witch Walk Nicholas Cohenour said.
Candles illuminated the rose quartz, fluorite, citrine and amethyst crystals that were scattered among the stands. Reaching near the end of 222 W. Second St., it was impossible to miss the hot pink-haired mother and daughter duo selling wire-wrapped crystal jewelry. Various crystals, all in different cuts and sizes, were intricately wrapped with rose gold, gold or silver wires. Xanthia Pink and her mother Marsha have been in the business for six years — Xanthia doing the wrapping and Marsha helping out with the sales.
“It’s a community that welcomes spiritual practice,” Marsha said about the community these monthly Witch Walks are creating. “Vendors feel like it’s where they belong, and customers are welcomed and loved. That’s really important in this day and age of shopping.”
Other vendors sporadically came up to Xanthia and Marsha, gifting them products and expressing their love for one another. Xanthia excitedly showed off an herbal spray someone gave her. The pink-haired, red outfitted women are based in LA, but said that local, repeat customers would come down every time to support their business.
“Mario [a local customer] follows us around. Xanthia had to open for the Witch Walk last time, and he was so happy to just be there for her, holding the banner,” Marsha said.
If the idea of a Witch Walk scares you, I urge you to participate in one. The space allows for empowered individuals to reclaim their identities as spiritual practitioners and healers, going beyond the stereotypes attached with the label “witch.” The community is one that is inviting, both to those new and experienced. They aim to educate, heal and share their talents with the local community — a call to connect with Mother Earth, but most importantly, with yourself.
Alana Tse is a Staff Writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.