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White Witch

Maja D’Aoust wants to share her diverse spiritual experiences with you—if you’re open to them

Photograph by Ethan Pines

» “I call myself a white witch, and that encompasses a lot of different things. It’s really not a square job.”

» D’Aoust, 37, is a single mother who supports two children with a full-time occult career. She works three to four days a week at the House of Intuition in Echo Park, where she gives readings to half a dozen clients a day. A typical week might see her officiating at a wedding or performing at a film festival. She also cohosts an online radio show and conducts bus tours of local spiritual sites.

» “When I was two, I was very sick, and my mother was sleeping with me in my bed. I remember drifting out of the bed and looking down on my mother and me. That was my first experience with the supernatural.”

» According to the most recent U.S. Census survey, more than one million Californians identify themselves as Wiccan, pagan, or spiritualist. “One stereotype is that you have to be female or a feminist to do this kind of work. I am more of a hermaphroditist because I think that if you’re a feminist, you’re doing the same wrong that a patriarch is doing. It has to be about balance.”

» Raised by a single mother at a hippie collective on Washington’s Vashon Island, D’Aoust was exposed to magic early in life. “My dad was into occultism as well. When he was in prison, he would look at the inmates’ astrological birth charts, trying to find consistencies in the different behaviors they were in there for.”

» In 1968, Louise Huebner was designated the “Official Witch of Los Angeles County.” She cast a fertility spell over an audience of 11,000 at the Hollywood Bowl. The county later rescinded the designation, and Huebner threatened to reverse the spell.

» “I incorporate different Jewish meditations. I love Buddhist methods. To affiliate myself with one religion is difficult.”

» “Witchy Woman,” the second single from the Eagles’ 1972 debut album, reached number nine on the Billboard chart.

» The pop culture witch who most resonates with D’Aoust is Mary Poppins. The 1964 movie of the same name received five Oscars, more than any other film in Disney history.

» “After one event, a Christian woman told me she thought I was a satanist. But at the same presentation I was approached by an Episcopal priest who told me how much he enjoyed it. So I was like, Well, you win some, you lose some.”