The Salem Witch Village is a neat little alcove buttressed against the Salem Witch Trials Memorial on one end and Derby Street on the other. Within this alley, you’ll find the Salem Wax Museum, a handful of restaurants, and witchcraft shop, opened in October of 2020 called Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe. I popped in the day after opening to get a feel for the new locale.
What’s Inside Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe?
The Great Wall of Herbs
Upon entering, the first thing I noticed was the massive wall of herbs behind the counter. By my estimation, this might be the second-most extensive collection of in-store herbs in Salem (just behind Artemisia Botanicals). I spent a fair amount of time examining this shelf as the bustle of Salem shoppers floated in and out of the store. My takeaway is that the herbs for sale here are largely geared toward those of a Pagan bent. This makes good sense, of course, when one considers the store’s namesake and overall tone. But it does stand in contrast to other places in Salem that gear their herbal offerings toward general wellness or spiritual exploration. Again, Artemisia exemplifies this latter herbal contribution the most visibly, but there are other “Witch Shops” in Salem that also adopt this aesthetic and intention.
One would expect a decent number of magical tools at a place called Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe and you’ll find a nice selection here. There’s the standard fare of course: Stones, Divinatory Cards, Candles, Incense, an interesting Pendulum display, oils, the aforementioned herbal wall, and a few more odds and ends around the store. Nothing particularly jumped out to me as the prime offering (apart from the herbs) in the way of magical tools, however, which leads me to conclude that the herbal wall is really the primary feature the owners are hoping to push.
Alright, nerds. I know what you’re really here for. How’s the book selection? There are three large bookshelves in the back of the store. By the way, there are steps leading up to a second floor. This area houses the books, pendulums, statues, and all of the tarot reading and other divination booths (more on that later). I don’t know what exactly the owners have planned in the way of special needs access to this area, but when I was there, the only way to access this space was via the five to ten steps leading to the second floor.
Back to the book selection, it’s a bit more curated than one might expect and slightly more broad. Interestingly, the owners have made the decision to lean in hard to the formal magickal schools that form the bedrock of contemporary ritual magic. To that end, at Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe, you’ll find broad overview books on subjects like: Ritual Magick, Thelema, The Golden Dawn, Kabbalah, Old World Magic (Egyptian, Babylonian, Masonic, etc.), and the like. If this curated book style and presentation seems familiar to you, you’re not alone. It was around this point in my exploration of Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe that I began to realize I had seen similar book displays elsewhere in Salem. As it turns out, I was correct.
The Founders of Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe
As it turns out, Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe was opened by Leanne Marrama and Timothy Reagan. If you’re a frequent visitor to Salem, you’ll no doubt recognize both of those names from a series of handouts and sidewalk displays advertising the psychic services of both of these Salem fixtures. Leanna and Timothy are intimately woven into other Salem shops as well, most notably Hex and Omen. Once you’re aware of that fact, a lot of what Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe is trying to be makes more sense.
Psychic and Tarot Readings at Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe
Now, it’s my custom to actually get readings at places before I talk about them, but in this case, I was in a bit of a hurry and simply didn’t have time. I will, of course, update this bit upon my first reading at Pentagram. What I will say is that the owners have devoted significant floor space to readings exclusively. If memory serves, there are four booths in the rear of the store, lining the southern wall. Each is covered by a curtain and the entire reading space is a good five to ten feet removed from the larger collections of merchandise. All of this tells me a few things.
First, it seems clear to me that Pentagram is expecting a significant portion of their revenue to come from readings. This is evidenced in my mind by the fact that they’ve devoted so much floor space to them, way more than either Hex or Omen. Second, they are at least endeavoring to hold readings in a somewhat removed space from the merchandise. This is actually a tricky affair in Salem as floor space is generally very limited (unless you happen to be Pyramid Books) and quite happy to see Leanna and Timothy attempt to offer a more private experience than other places in town can currently provide. One minor consideration I have about the reading space is that it is in no way social distance friendly. Having a peak inside the booths, my guess would be that there’s no more than three feet separating readers from customers. Honestly, though, I have this concern with every single tarot shop in Salem, so hopefully they can all band together and figure something out.
My Thoughts about Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe
It’s so tricky, when opening a new witch shop in Salem, to offer something distinct from the rest of the herd. One of the ways that shop owners have figured out how to navigate this dilemma is by offering very specific tonal differences between shops, while carrying essentially the same merchandise. Pentagram strikes me as falling into this category. It’s true that their book selection is somewhat surprising, but it pales in comparison to other Salem shops, both in terms of volume and scope.
What Pentagram does well is exactly what Hex and Omen do well: Provide a unique aesthetic, emotional resonance, and specific enough presentation that it will likely be enough to allure tourists into the doors every autumn. You won’t find much beyond surface-level examinations of witchcraft and the esoteric broadly here (unless you talk to the staff, that is – I had a wonderful chat with a young woman working at the store about a book I ultimately purchased). And the ones you do find will be in the books section where there are, I’m quite glad to say, some legitimately wonderful and surprising texts on offer. Unfortunately, they’re positioned right alongside much of the ever-revolving, wildly unimaginative, rehashed, dreaded Salem witch books you’ll find decorating the shelves of most of the shops in Salem. But I do appreciate the effort to at least offer a few books for people legitimately interested in actual witchcraft.
Much of my opinion will likely change once I get a reading at Cauldron. But, as it stands now, I only really see myself popping in to see if the book selection changes over time. Or if, like Hex, there’s not much movement on that front. If there is a concerted effort to curate ever more interesting selections and if the readings are good, I can see myself popping in every few months to see what’s new. If the selection is static and the reading is so-so, I don’t see much of a reason to consider Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe as anything other than yet another tourist-aimed witch shop in Salem.
Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe Location, Hours, and More
All Prices as of October, 2020
Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe Location: 282R Derby St. Salem, Massachusetts 01970
Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm every day of the week.
Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe Tarot Reading and other Divination Prices: Readings are $40 for 15 minutes and $75 for 30 minutes.
Pentagram Witchcraft and Magick Shoppe Other Divination Offerings: The store offers Tarot, Scrying, Spirit Mediumship, and Clairvoyance.