Michael Kay, The Union Democrat

Dana Fink does not have a long crooked nose, long greasy hair or any warts.

Most of the time at home she wears "jeans and combat boots," not a tall black hat and dark robes.

And she and her husband have two dogs, but do not own a black cat - or any cats at all. She's allergic to them.

In other words, Fink looks nothing like the faux witches that will

fill the streets this Halloween. But as a practicing Wiccan for 18

years, it is a label she embraces.

"I don't mind what we call being 'out of the broom closet,' " she said.

Fink, 52, was introduced to the Wiccan religion in 1992. She took to it right away.

"At that point, my life was as dysfunctional as your life can get," she said.

The religion's principles and practices resonated with a

sensibility she had long felt within herself and gave her grounding.

A family friend told her she declared herself a witch at age 13.

She has always felt she picked up sensations others ignored. Friends

called it an overactive imagination, but she felt it was explained in


"I've always had friends that you couldn't see, and it just made sense to me," Fink said.

She studied on her own for a while, then decided to seek out a

teacher. Finding an ad in the Sacramento County phone book, she called

the number.

"Where the hell have you been?" she asked the complete stranger.

"I've been right here, you weren't ready," said the man who would later become her teacher.

Eighteen years after picking up the religion, she is more dedicated than ever.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Fink keeps office hours at Moon-n-Star

Tarot in the Mother Lode Holistic Wellness Center in Jackson.

She offers tarot readings, tea readings and oracle card readings,

and even casts spells. Those typically involve women looking for men,

she explains.

"If you want to bring something into your life, a new car, a new

house, a new boyfriend, as long as you are not messing with somebody

else's life, it's all good," she said.

In other words, you cannot wish for a particular person.

Wondering if it works? Ask Fink.

"Nineteen years ago, I ordered my husband," she said, not cracking a smile.

The two knew each other, but only after her spell did they become romantically involved.

Although her husband wouldn't explain the beginning of their

relationship the same way, he supports her practice. But apparently

there is only one way he'll ever believe it's not a bunch of


"He says, 'I don't believe any of it until you give me six numbers and I win the Lotto,' " she said.

Life as a practicing Wiccan has not been without its trials.

While living in Galt, Fink said she was flatly denied a business

license for her tarot reading practice. She also believes her

step-daughter - who does not consider herself a Wiccan - was refused a

spot on the cheerleading squad due to her mother's religious beliefs.

Then there are the reactions she gets from people while openly

supporting her religion. Some years ago she had a booth at Snyder's

Valley Springs Powwow.

"People would walk into my booth and they would realize where they

were and they would back out as if they were going to get something on

them," she said.

There are two main misconceptions that she dislikes.

The first is that Wiccans are devil worshippers. They do not even believe in the devil, she said.

The second is the crooked nosed, greasy haired stereotype.

"Only bad witches are ugly. Good witches are sexy," she said.

The prejudices against Wicca prompt many of her friends, and even

some members of the small coven to which she belongs, to conceal their


"We guard each other's identity because of the beliefs of mainstream society," she said.

But this Halloween, when she heads down in her witch's robes to

Jackson for the Halloween parade, she will look just like everybody


Except maybe even more excited.

"It's like our New Year's," she said.