The Heart, Soul and Center of Practical Magic

“I am seriously in need of a Witch. First of I think they are cool and I wish I could… do spells. I was wondering if you are really a Witch. Could you put a spell on me so I won’t have to worry about money problems anymore? This would really help my family. We are going in a rough patch. Please write back. And if you are not a Witch please tell me. I don’t wanna look stupid.”

I received that email from a person who read one of my articles in the Witches’ Voice reader. This is what replied: “I believe I’m not the kind of Witch you are looking for. Magic doesn’t create miracles. It is more like a kind of prayer with a lot of flare. We focus our energy and make change happen, but not like in the movies. It takes time, dedication and a lot of work. I’m sorry your family is going through a tough period. I hope the best for you and your love ones.”

I didn’t have much time when I got the message, so I couldn’t go into details. I hope the person is keeping an eye on my blog. I thought about the “are you a Witch?” question for a while, and a quote from A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett came to mind. Its words explain exactly how I understand magic and Witchcraft:

“Mistress Weatherwax was right, and Tiffany wished she wasn’t.

‘Why did you and Miss Tick send me to her, then?’ she said.

‘Because she likes people,’ said the witch, striding ahead. ‘She cares about ‘em. Even the stupid, mean, drooling ones, the mothers with the runny babies and no sense, the feckless and the silly and the fools who treat her like some kind of a servant. Now that’s what I call magic—seein’ all that, dealin’ with all that, and still goin’ on. It’s sittin’ up all night with some poor old man who’s leavin’ the world, taking away such pain as you can, comfortin’ their terror, seein’ ‘em safely on their way . . . and then cleanin’ ‘em up, layin’ ‘em out, making ‘em neat for the funeral, and helpin’ the weeping widow strip the bed and wash the sheets—which is, let me tell you, no errand for the faint-hearted—and stayin’ up the next night to watch over the coffin before the funeral, and then going home and sitting down for five minutes before some shouting angry man comes bangin’ on your door ‘cos his wife’s havin’ difficulty givin’ birth to their first child and the midwife’s at her wits’ end and then getting up and fetching your bag and going out again…. We all do that, in our own way, and she does it better’n me, if I was to put my hand on my heart. That is the root and heart and soul and center of witchcraft, that is. The soul and center!’ Mistress Weather­wax smacked her fist into her hand, hammering out her words. ‘The . . . soul . . . and . . . center!’

‘Echoes came back from the trees in the sudden silence.”

If you understand Granny Weatherwax’s words, then you also understand why I love Practical Magic, both the book and the film. This tale is one of the best combinations of fiction and witchery I’ve ever read and watched. No, the movie’s magic isn’t real, but the process and the witchy characters are very realistic.

Don’t be mad at me, but while Hurricane Irene was smacking the East Coast, I was visiting the wonderful spot where Practical Magic was filmed. The Owens’ grand Victorian is no longer there, but the lot in San Juan Island remains magical.
Remember the rocky spot where Sally’s daughters dumped the banishing syrup?
What about the gigantic pine trees?
According to Julia, the author of Hooked on Houses, “Producer Denise DiNova says that the house where the Owens family of witches lived played such an important role in the story that they decided to build it themselves. ‘I don’t think we could ever have found a house that could have matched our needs.’
Yes, my loves, the San Juan County Park is such a magical spot that Hollywood had to come to it, and build the Practical Magic witchy house on its land. If you visit Friday Harbor one of these days, and decide to visit San Juan Island, you’ll notice that the house is gone, but the magic remains.

Magic is reality sprinkled with will, with intent and with a little witchy flare; practical Witches embrace this knowledge, and live by it.

***

Grab your broom, a smile, a little magic and a pinch of imagination, and visit the rest of the Practical Magic Partiers. They are waiting…

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106 comments:

  1. Linda Wildenstein9/23/2011

    Oh darling girl.....how lovely that you were there. Especially loved the photos of you, Piano Man and the Princess. You all look so happy, it warms my heart.
    This was such a thoughtful sharing today, thank you ever so.
    Oma Linda

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  2. gaiajcm9/23/2011

    I really like your blogs

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  3. Waaa!! You're making me want to run out and get my hands on "A Hat Full of Sky" right now and I have enough books I'm trying to read at once! You're not being nice.

    :)

    I also haven't read or seen "Practical Magic" but the photos you've shared look beautiful.

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  4. Danielle Suplicki9/23/2011

    I'm totally jealous, but also a little sad that the house doesn't exist. I can't even imagine the work that went into building it, just to tear it down. Loved the photos of you three, you've got your own kind of magic my love, it's in that trio of smiles and hugs! :-)

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  5. MagicLoveCrow9/23/2011

    Magaly, I have the biggest smile on my face and my heart is glowing! I love what you wrote and  I love the picture of you, piano man and the little princess! Such a precious picture! You can see the love and magic surrounding you all! Beautiful post! Beautiful pictures! 

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  6. Knowing you are smiling makes ME all warm inside ;-)

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  7. I think you will LOVE the Tiffany Aching Series. Ask your brother how he likes them. Oh, and ask him if he is biting his nails waiting for Snuff ;-)

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  8. I was a bit hurt about the house being gone too. I felt better when I found out that at least some of the pieces have become special in different ways. For instance, some of the stone were taken to a local inn and used for pond, I think that is pretty cool. 

    And you are right my Princess and my Piano Man make me feel quite magical  ;-)

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  9. I have to admit that I've been looking at the pictures a lot too. I really like that picture of us. I remember we were trying to get really close together, so that grandma could take a picture. I was telling the Princess "You in the middle, you in the middle" and she said, "Noooo, I want this leg." It makes me smile every time ;-)

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  10. Your comment above ("I want this leg") is giving me the biggest grin. The heart always knows...
    A wonderful addition to the PM party.
    You also have me wanting to revisit my friend Terry Pratchett.  The best thing about winter is more time to read.

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  11. So cool that you actually visited the movie site! You're connected to it now.

    cassandra

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  12. Debra She Who Seeks9/23/2011

    How cool to have visited the movie's locale!

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  13. Mrs BC9/23/2011

    Oooooooh Magaly I got tingles looking at your photos, I can't believe you where there!!! In that actual spot! WOW!!  Ok, calming down now :-)

    The rest of the fam is off camping this weekend & my whole night tonight is centering around doing some magical stuff then watching Practical Magic. Maybe having a little lime in the coconut...
    xx

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  14. Betsy Bailey9/23/2011

    I love the book and the movie for the same reason. Their magic isn't as flashy as a lot of hollywood and book magic, so it feels more real to me. And I love the quote from Pratchett. He pretty much nailed it didn't he. 

    Blessings. 

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  15. Laura Thurston9/23/2011

    How absolutely awesome!!!  I would have loved to be there too.  The house is amazing.  And the little "bluff" where the girls dumped the syrup is quite possibly my most favorite spot.  Of course I'm a water baby at heart.  Amazing post my dear friend.

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  16. How wonderful that you got to visit the actual site!  Your photos of it are beautiful, as is your family.  I've added 'A Hat Full of Sky' to my reading list.  This is my first visit to your blog (for the PM Blog Party) but it won't be my last...I love it!

    Victoria from Brushstrokes

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  17. She is a heart tingler ;-)
    And I must agree with your bit about the winter.

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  18. I like to think so, for it feels extra witchy. 

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  19. Put the lime in the coconut... how lovely. Enjoy your me time, and then tell us all about it!

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  20. Terry nails it every time!

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  21. So happy you liked it. The syrup spot spoke to me too. It was strange to see it full of jelly fish.

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  22. Yay! Welcome Victoria, I hope you enjoy Terry Pratchett as much as I do. His fiction is full of wisdom and his witches, even the very young ones, are full of reality.

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  23. ElleMoonGoddess9/23/2011

    oh i love love your pictures!!!! fantastic post!!! 

    love you much! xoxoxo

    elle

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  24. Andrann Larouche9/23/2011

    Lovely post Maggie! Seemed like a great place to visit. Too bad that house was just a shell... But I'm doomed... I want THIS house, to live in.... Or something equally great...someday I'll find it (and be able to afford it, too!)

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  25. Tamara9/24/2011

    Magaly, this was a really special post. You shared a personal trip with us that you took to the Island with your loved ones and it truly made me smile. :) Seeing the actual photos of the places they filmed the movie was a huge treat...and of course I'm mad and jealous!! lol j/k well a little jealous. :p xoxoxo Thanks for a great visit! :)

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  26. Kiki Howell9/24/2011

    So cool you got to actually be there, there is so much energy left on sites like this. Still, so sad the house is gone :( It was the same for me in Salem, so much energy left everywhere from the past, even though almost everything is gone. 

    Great Post!
    HUGS
    Kiki

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  27. Slommler9/24/2011

    It was early...the sun hadn't come up yet.  Her face was worn and so tired..she looked so fragile.
    "I think he is gone", she said.  I checked and he was not breathing and blood covered his face and chest.  He was gone,  No more will he suffer.  She will!  I told her to go and take a nice long hot bath.  When I heard the water running...I began the process of preparing him for the funeral home.  Warm water and plenty of soap...I began....!!
    True story...!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  28. LuLu Kellogg9/24/2011

    You have such a lovely Blog and I loved the fact that you visited the site where the architectural shell for the home was constructed.  That must have been truly magical!

    Thank you so much for visiting my Blog and it's lovely to meet you!

    Happy Fall!
    LuLu~*xoxo

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  29. So glad you do, Elle. And I've been prying for the fast recovery of your hand, I hope you are up and doing all the great things you do really soon ;-)

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  30. And when you do, you will have a great witchy party of course! I'll bring the margaritas! 

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  31. It was an amazing trip. Spending time with the grandparents was amazing. Not to mention that it was so nice to see the Princess take some very important steps in her young life. A treat indeed.

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  32. I think that too many of the great physical structures in our lives are bound to disappear, but the things we do with the memories (when we get to experience old Salem through one of your characters) brings the places to life.

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  33. And if you ever forget why I love you, my dear SueAnn, just summon this memory. Amazingly witchy...

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  34. Karen Hopkins9/24/2011

    Isn't Magic wonderful ?
    I think Magic lingers long after the drive that asked it to move is gone.
    Magic was made in the San Juans... and you and your family simply added to it !!
    Bless,
    Karen

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  35. Happy fall to you too. The entire trip was a treat. I need to confess that I had no idea that was the place where the movie had been filmed. In truth, we were not be able to do a lot exploring, but we got stranded because of Irene and the joy started. The house is gone, but there is something wonderful about the place. I have other pictures: one of grandma looking at a crow, and grandpa staring dreamily at the see (which is a wonder in itself because he is a marine biologist), the pictures of my Piano Man at sunset, the Princess posing as mermaid... frogs, goats, jelly fish, elders, willows, a dream of lavender.... it was an adventure I'll never forget.  

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  36. I really love the way you said that ;-D

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  37. Moncha Eilis9/24/2011

    What a great post. It's wonderful to the place where this fantastic movie was filmed. I love the little froggie too ; )
    Have a magical weekend.

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  38. What a beautifully and gorgeously laid out post. I loved it, Magaly. The photos and the clips from the stories are wonderful. I've never read Discworld but now I think I want to just to get to know Granny Weatherwax. What a wise and wonderful character.

    Thank you for sharing these photos and your visit to the magical spot. 

    Bright autumn blessings to you,Bird
    http://birdsearthyspirit.blogspot.com/

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  39. I always love your blog, and this post actually made me tear up a little!  Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and words!
    Rhea

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  40. Victoria9/24/2011

    Beautiful...what a gorgeous post! Love the photos..they are fabulous..thanks for sharing your unique magic as always!
    Hugs
    Blessings and light
    Victoria

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  41. Have you read her Green Witch short stories?  Alice Hoffman has a flair for writing.  :)

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  42. That frog was adorable. We were picking blackberries really early in the morning. I called the Princess and my Piano Man, who were picking too, to come a see the little beauty. I pointed so they could see her (I'm sure it is a girl lol) and I touched her by mistake, but she didn't move! I nudged her until she walked to my hand, and then I had to pick her off and place her on a branch because she just did't want to leave. So yes, I love her too.

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  43. It makes happy to know you liked it.

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  44. I read Green Witch the novel, but I haven't read the short stories. Have you reviewed them? 

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  45. Michelle B9/24/2011

    What a magical party post! How lucky to have traveled to San Juan Island. It's a shame they tore the house down. Your photos there are amazing. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my PM party earlier, Michelle

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  46. Sandi Crawford9/24/2011

    Absolutely beautiful post. I am glad I got to read it. I would love to visit there myself sometime. Great job on this, and thank you for commenting on mine. I so enjoyed making that box. Have a blessed weekend!



    *´¨)


    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)


    (¸.•´ (¸.•`*SANDI

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  47. Georginamorley9/24/2011

    I totally agree with your view of what a witch is. That is how I live my life, and many people call me witch even though I rarely use that name myself. Lovely pics of your lovely family.
    Blessings on you always XXX

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  48. That is so fun that you got to visit the actual spot! Lucky!! I had heard the house was actually just a facade...Either way I don't care I wish I could live there!  Sometimes I sit and watch or listen to the movie 2 or 3 times in a row when I'm creating.  haha

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  49. Wonderful post Magaly! I was under the impression (many readings) that the house an movie setting was Witby Island off the coast of WA. Anyway, it sure looks like your family had a an awesome time!
    I am in need of some power at this time, in numerous ways, finances is just the tip of the ice berg, we have a HUGE issue with our house. I have been saying for years that we are under a water curse of some kind.
    anyway, I'll always accept prayers from witches and non-witches :)
    Happy Mabon and BB,
    Susan

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  50. Amanda Brueckner-Acevedo9/24/2011

    Love it!

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  51. I wish the house was still around, but we take what we can get, huh? 

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  52. Have a wonderful day too. I enjoyed the entire trip, but I must say that seeing the park was a real treat ;-)

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  53. I didn't use to to call myself anything, then I saw how people thought that I didn't use the label because it was bad. I embraced it, and I so happy I did. One of these days I'll define what it means to me...

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  54. It was indeed. The inside was empty and the plants were fake. I guess we need to close our eyes and make it real. We are Witches (and pack enough imagination to reinvent the world) I just know we can do it ;-) 

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  55. Sally's herb shop was in  Coupeville on Whidbey Island. They actually painted the entire town white to make it fit the movie, and then repainted the original colors. A lot of work, huh? But I'm glad they did, if not we wouldn't be having all this fun!

    Happy Autumn Equinox to you too!

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  56. Theresa9/24/2011

    This was such a lovely and touching post, Magaly.  :) Thank you very much!  How amazing that you got to visit the site where the beautiful Owens house stood!!! :) That was truly magical.   Please feel free to come and visit with me, too.  :)
    http://faeriemooncreations.blogspot.com/2011/09/practical-magic-blog-party-2011.html
    Sincerely, Theresa

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  57. I'm very glad it touched you. Your thoughts on sisterly bond went very deep too. Thanks so much for sharing...

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  58. Richelle Clementson9/24/2011

    I just moved to Washington state in Dec and have been wanting to visit San Juan Island!!  Yes yes!!  I will certainly make the trip before I move again next year!  I dream of that house, kitchen, and garden!  My husband laughs at my obsession but one day when we're doing with all the moving because of the Army, I am finding me a house like that!!  Or having one built!  Do you live in Washington too?

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  59. I really enjoyed my visit here, and the photos of the cliffside are incredible. Wow...this post really resonated with me - I loved the story here. Thankyou so much for having me - it's wonderful to meet you.

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  60. Allysha Woods9/25/2011

    love love love your post! thanks for sharing and for dropping by my blog!

    http://awmylifeasiknowit.blogspot.com/

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  61. dragonfly jane9/25/2011

    I love your post and so agree with your views on magic and of course granny W.

    I loved that house, half the time I watch the film now just to drool over the settings, scenery and costumes.

    I'm also in a big sulk now, read your post and thought I'd not seen the cover of the book with the boot on, then notice it was on kindle, rushed to amazon and it's not available to those of us in the UK, I will stamp my foot and have a sulk till it is available LOL

    frith
    J x

    Happy Witching Magaly

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  62. lisasplace079/25/2011

    Oh my, your post really melted my heart - it is just a beautiful.  And aren't you the lucky one to have that trip with your family.  Thank you so much for sharing this  with everyone.  Hope you can stop by my enchanted oven.
    Magical hugs,
    Lisa

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  63. Hi Richelle (what a pretty name you have!). San Juan Island is precious, when you go, make sure you have an entire day or at least half, because you don't want to miss their lavender farm. It is ginormous and you can smell it forever. 

    I feel the same way about the house.

    I don't live in Washington, my Piano Man's parents do, so we'll probably go there every once in a while ;-)

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  64. It is nice to meet you too, Tina. So glad you like it, go ahead and stay because we do love having you ;-)

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  65. Oh my do I ever know how you feel about the boot on the book. I've been all meanness because is is not available on hardback. I read the books I love many times, so I prefer a binding that can take the usage. I almost settled for the original hardback cover, but no I love the boot, so I'll just put a cover on it myself. I'll share when I do!

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  66. Magical hugs right back at you. And of course I'll stop by your enchanted oven, and see what's baking ;-)

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  67. Birgit9/25/2011

    Thanks for sharing those thoughts and the magical photos! :) That's second best to actually visiting the place.

    I enjoy your writing style and what substance your writing has. I will definitely read more of your blog when time allows.

    Magical Times,
    Birgit

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  68. Misty Fouquet9/25/2011

    I would love to go to Washington state one day. It looks so beautiful up there! Thanks for sharing the beautiful spot with us!

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  69. Can't wait to have you back. And please link your name to your blog, so that I can visit you too.

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  70. Hi Misty, it was a wonderful trip. Fun and enjoyable to our little family. And the berries were yummy ;-) 

    Oh, please attach your name to your blog when you are leaving a comment, so that I can visit you too.

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  71. Tereza9/25/2011

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comments!

    Your post was most inspiring and I'm very interested in reading the book you mentioned 'A Hat Full of Sky' - the little excerpt you provided has wetted my appetite for more!  I'll be off to Barnes and Noble today to look for it!  LOL!

    Enjoy the party!

    Blessed Be,
    Tereza
    I Heart the Goddess

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  72. I am just a tad envious, Magaly! The location for the movie just oozes magic and I would love to go there. The photos of you and your family are priceless!

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  73. You'll be happy to know that it is a series, the first book is The Wee Free Man. And if you haven't read Pratchett's Witches do give a go, people's lives change after they read Granny Weatherwax ;-)

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  74. It felt magical indeed. I'll share a few pics of my Piano Man and I at sunset, oh my...

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  75. What a beautiful location even without the house!  (I knew it was no longer there but had no idea that it was built specifically just for the movie & torn down after until I was reading something some where).  I would be sad to not see the garden there.  Thanks so much for dropping by my PM party post and for your kind words!  Happy 2nd Annual Practical Magic Blog Party! 

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  76. K. Michele9/25/2011

    What a beautiful and touching post! Thank you for swinging by my blog for my PM party post as well.

    Blessings to you and yours,
    K. Michele

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  77. This is an absolutely lovely post with so many very true remarks. With times as hard as they are, I imagine more and more witches must get these sorts of requests. I think the way you handled it is just perfect!

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  78. I asked him about Snuff and he said "Snuff? What's that?" That and also "I don't have nails to bite..." (We both keep our nails really short for piano playing.)

    He's read more Terry Pratchett than I have, but he still hasn't read all of them. I'm sure he'll get to Snuff eventually. :)

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  79. It is sad indeed to know that it is no longer there, but I feel better when I know that some of it was used (the blue stones were use for a pond at an inn) also just to have events like this bring the book/movie to life, it's a real treat. Happy PMBP to you too!

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  80. I'm very happy you liked it ;-)

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  81. I thought it was really telling too. How people turn to Witchcraft (or anything and anyone for that matter) when they are in trouble. It is sad that they think that lifelong problems can be solved with a little magic; magic is not synonym with miracles. I guess now that we aren't hiding in the shadows more people will understand that.

    Oh, I stopped by your blog, so sad you missed the party. I know you'll have something lovely for next year though ;-)

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  82. Aine Dark9/26/2011

    Practical Magic is my favorite movie. I have it downloaded on my cellphone. All the harassment, and outright negativity that these women faced for so long, they stood up and stayed strong. And I use their (fictional) story to help me feel better about myself and keep with my practices. I just downloaded the book, cause I know that the books tend to have more detail than what the movies will include. Thanks for featuring this, Magaly.

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  83. Tangerinetabby9/26/2011

    How wonderful to visit such a magical spot. Blessings, Lisa

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  84. Geckostone9/27/2011

    Wow, what a perfectly magical day and wonderful photos to remember it! ( love the tiny frog!) I love the quote from the book, but I also love how you described being a witch too," like prayer with alot of flare" and " we focus our energy to make change happen"! That qualifies me too then! Tee hee! Hugs Deb

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  85. Eternalprincessryan9/27/2011

    Absolutely beautiful pictures! Wow, it must have been something to be able to stand right where the house once stood! Thank You for sharing your story with me! Have a wonderful rest of the week! 

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  86. It is super different. Let me know what you think after you are done. 

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  87. I already knew you were witchy ;-)

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  88. It was quite precious, especially with my love smiling at me (and poking jelly fish).

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  89. Mina Crump9/27/2011

    Oh Magaly, what an enchanting party. I love the verses you chose from "A Hat Full of Sky" to sum up what being a witch is. It is beautiful, honest and solid truth. Though you look to be in your 20's, your soul is ancient.

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures of the time you spent with your beloved Piano Man and precious Little Princess. Your description of the land both in sight and essence is pure poetry and I savored this magic to the final word. May there always be blessings within your world, dear friend.

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  90. And I wish the same blessings for you, times three, my luv! 

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  91. Anita Funkhouser9/28/2011

    I just found your site. I looked at it cause I did a Google search and recognized one of my favorite quotes from a Hat Full of Sky in the search.  I adore Terry Pratchett too. I read a few of your blogs and saw that you went to the place where they filmed Practical Magic.  I love that movie too but didn't realize they filmed it in Washington.  I live in Washington and I am glad you had time to visit our lovely and magical state. I drive through the Cascade Mountians a couple times a year and I always think that if places can be magical too, the Cascades must be among the most magical in the world :)  Thanks for your blog.  It is lovely and well written. 

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  92. I am very glad you stopped by, Anita. And I loved Washington this time around too. I had been there before, but only for work; not a lot time to enjoy the beauty of the place. This time, oh my, I think I saw (and ate) at lot of beautiful things ;-)

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  93. Melissa Krampert9/29/2011

    Makes sense taht a house that amazing could only be a cream!  Great pictures though!!!  Looks ike you had an amazing time!!

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Meanderings

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  94. Misty Fouquet9/30/2011

    I just read this today! Haha I am new to the blogging thing so I didn't see the "subscribe by email" thingy :) I did notice you added my blog to your reading list today! Thanks for that. I will remember to do this from now on! Your blog is great! Thanks again!

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  95. Still making  my way through all the PM posts.  So wonderful that you go to go to that magical place!  And you spotted a little frog too - not like those large, croaking monsters in the movie!  What a lovely trip for you all - thanks for the tour!

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  96. Anna @ Frostedpetunias10/03/2011

    Well it took me forever to get here but I made it. Ta-da! Another amazing post my dear. Love your words about witchery, true magic and the power of this film so many of us love so well. Lucky you to be able to visit that amazing place. That whole area is magical even without the house, and your photos with your loves just ooozes bliss. Thank you again for sharing and making this another fun year. Happy October :)

    Anna

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  97. I thought about the same thing! This little babies don't even make a sound ;-)

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  98. So glad you liked the post. It took me forever to get around too and I don't think I got them all *sigh*

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  99. It is sad that they only created a shell house for the movie. We all love that house!

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