I met Jymie Darling many years ago through patronising Panpipes Magical Marketplace back when she was co-owner. Every visit to Los Angeles was made brighter as I always made room for a visit to this respite from the crazy world. Fiona Horne introduced me to them, and they have truly blessed my witch life by being a more connected and powerful individual.
Each time I came through their door was like entering a portal to another world. When you happen upon Panpipes on Cahuenga in LA and hear the bells on the old wooden door, after peering through the glass, enjoying their display of fantasy and magical wares, you are embraced by the fragrance of incense and the welcome sight of old wooden chocolate colored alchemy cabinets and shelves adorned with jars and jars of every herb and oil imaginable. Like an ancient, old witch pharmacy, and an island block in the middle of this place stocked full of candles of every size, shape and color. Their bookshelves were never the mainstream either, but the unusual you don't find at Borders. Corner cabinets of curios, statues, jewelry. It was the closest thing to Diagon Alley. I always felt like I was home, the cat even knew me,and my son grew up collecting crystals there as I was consulting Jymie, Vicky or Allison, personally dressing candles with sigils and hand drawn veves and giving me information that has helped my life.
Actress Fairuza Balk, best known for her role in the 90s cult classic film "The Craft," bought the store in 1995. She later sold the store in 2001 to the Vicky Adams and Jymie Darling.
The store was used as shooting location for Unsolved Mysteries, Rockford Files, The Movie, Witchboard II, and has been involved with JAG, Pirates of the Caribbean II, CSI Las Vegas, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and much more!
Jymie, thank you so very much for taking the time out of your busy life to answer a couple of questions for Around The Cauldron.
Jymie between writing, Babylon Gardens Apothecary, teaching, doing videos, planning Pagan Day Fest, where do you find the time to do it all?
A: I find that I have an extreme amount of energy. I tend to be able to move extremely quickly and have the knack of time management. Like a magickal little leprechaun of time. However, with the length of time it took me to get back to your questions, I do run short at times. I have been taking more and more time to spend kissing the face of Cammy and my horse. I have been truly blessed in this life to be able to pursue my obsessions to their fullest.
Watching your movie ' I Sold My Soul To Satan' was when I really realized your power and knowledge with Magick. How did you even get involved with that?
A: I Sold My Soul To Satan was suppose to be a 5 minute in front of the camera spot for the documentary. As I spoke, the director wanted to have me co-star in it instead. It was tho, utterly by chance. They were walking into Occult places and asking opinions. They just happened upon me although I am listed as the expert in the film industry. Quite funny. I did enjoy my time on that film. I believe that my part in it was crucial and provided a service to those thinking about do such a drastic act.
I remember coming into Panpipes, and always getting a lesson on some new aspect of magic. You are one of the most knowledgeable people and in more than one tradition. What got you started in Magick way back in the beginning?
A: I started out in a really peculiar manner believe it or not. I always had a love for mythology but never quite understood the religious aspect of the stories. Then one day, in a private High School in Santa Fe Springs, CA, Mr. Tom Harvey walked into my freshman year catholic class at St. Paul High. He held Aesop's in one hand and the Bible in the other. He asked what was the difference between the two books. I raised my hand and was called upon. I stated with the utmost certainty of foolish youth, the Bible is the word of God and the other gives morality and advice tales at the end of the story. Might I mention, Mr. Harvey looked like Jesus down to the sandals. He looked at me and screamed as he tossed both books past my head: NO NO NO! BOTH books are written by men full of stories that are simply moral of the story aspects.
After class I asked him about his answer to me. He stated, all mythology was religion and all religions will become mythology. They all have beauty. Learn them all and you will learn the beauty of the universe.
So I did. It became my obsession. Now, I am happy to be able to continue to pursue knowledge. It led me straight through my PhD and now beyond.
How did you get started with your awesome Vodou teacher, that has since passed on? I wanted to talk about that because, you were instrumental in making Panpipes Magical Marketplace a wonderful store and then you had this passion for Vodou later on.
A: Known as Mr. Benin, he ran a store on the next block over called Benin of Africa. His real name is Baba Olu Sesan Delu. I actually had no want to learn Vodou. It just did not seem like it was something I could even embrace. Baba Benin thought different. He would come over to Panpipes and sit and talk. At the end of the day, he would give a riddle to be answered the next day. It was incredible. He taught me without notes, books, courses, initiation fees, etc. Soon I began to not only embrace the religion, I found that it was part of my soul. It made sense to me. The expansion of the religion. The animus concepts. Incredible. Of all the religions that I studied inside and out, Vodou sang the most beautiful energy song to my soul. I buckled down and became an insatiable student. He told me a few things to spot the frauds:
Never pay for your initiation. That is not legit.
Never believe Haiti unless you are deep in the villages and hardly anyone goes that deep for initiation. They are out for gullible tourist money and will give you some stupid Maman name...your name is just fine as it.
I miss him, a lot still. I was the first store on the West Coast to incorporate Vodou in it's rawest form and now I run an online version called Vodou Shoppe.
Is there anything that you have not done that you would like to?
A: Yes, there is. Life is so full of so many things to do and accomplish. It almost seems like I am falling so far behind in living. I have travelled the world except for a handful of places. I am a USAF veteran AMMO troop. I have a PhD in Anthropology, a Masters in Abnormal and Criminal Psychology and a couple of bachelors. I want to swim with a great white shark. I want to get a small plane pilot license. I want to return to Europe again. I want to bring diversity and tolerance through education to people. I want to ride Ducati, the Prince of Friesian horses, in a show, a competition and for fun. I want to finish the books to get all of my knowledge and experiences out there for people to build off of. I want to white water raft. I want to sit on a Tibetan mountainside once again now that I have so much more knowledge and understanding. I have a long list and most of it is quite pithy and not of great consequence I suppose but those are my wishes.
One of the most important things I have learned so far..there is only one tree of life in this world. It is not a philosophy of itself but it's branches are all the philosophies and religions of the world. To understand the full aspect of life is to know the tree.
Those are all of my business with a canine line coming out soon too.