Posted by: Witch Doctor | August 13, 2011

HOODIES: To hug or not to hug?


There is far too much happening in the country and the world just now, so we have been doing what witches and black cats do in times like these – we become paralytic and involute. Unfortunately the Internet connection to The Spell Pantry has become paralytic too, so we have no idea whether this post will see the light of day and if it does, when the next one might be.

For want of a better word, lets just call them all “Hoodies.”

The Witch Doctor had a Hoodie helping her in the Tussie-Mussie Garden yesterday. It was a Witch Child trying to keep dry while planting out some new iris rhizomes in the pouring rain. Those of you who have tried to grow bearded irises will know they have to be planted with great care in most UK soils. All witch children are taught from their earliest years to work with the soil and to learn the rhythm of the seasons and to grow strong and gentle with the plants they tend. These plants will be harvested later as ingredients for The Spell Pantry. Spells do not work if their ingredients are tended by weak, angry Hoodies. This particular Witch Child Hoodie was being given a witching lesson on the vagaries of the Family Iridaceae, Genus Iris.

In spite of their hoods, all witch children will have been well hugged throughout their lives because all witches make loving parents. I suppose though, if a posse of them gathered, hooded up for the rain, and took off at a running pace down an English street there would soon be a frenzy of police activity, especially if they were all resolutely texting into their Blackberries.

As Hoodies often do.


These Hoodies would not be hugged. And that is a pity because they are all perfectly huggable and wouldn’t harm a fly.

One of the problems with Human Child Hoodies as opposed to Witch Child Hoodies is that they are very susceptible to Creep, particularly from the age of ten to twenty, although the susceptibility continues, to a greater or lesser degree, for life. It is The Creep that makes them unlikely to be hugged, not The Hood. This is because The Creep makes them “empathy-lite.” Fortunately, for most of The Hoodies, this creep and lack of empathy for the feelings of others is a temporary phenomenon driven by adrenaline and / or hormones, drugs, poverty, wealth, greed, disenfranchisement and heaven-knows-what-else.

You don’t have to wear a hood to be a Hoodie either. Young, creeping, temporarily empathy-lite individuals can wear an assortment of less functional clothes that are not even capable of keeping the rain off their heads. You can see this alternative and impracticable “hoodie” uniform here. The text is worth a read too.


Some Hoodies just dress in plain clothes and have a smiling, non-threatening appearance.


So, it seems there are Hoodies in all walks of life. Sometimes the situation is such that there is such a violent and unexpected explosion of Communal Creep that it can cause a whole spectrum of empathy-lite behaviour ranging from high jinks to murder. Which individuals are jolted by this creep-induced empathy-lite state progress from high jinks through theft, assault, arson, culminating in murder is a matter for the sociologists, psychiatrists, religious leaders and many others.

Whether some of these empathy-lite people who are capable of progressing through to assault, arson and murder are past redemption and can never be cured of their evil pathology is not a matter for witches.

Witches do not yet have a spell that will deal satisfactorily with The Incurables.

We do, however, know how to deal with the majority of empathy-lite creepers who have recently been scouring the streets of London and other major cities in a temporary state of deranged and frantic excitement.

We witches say – put them in jail if the law of the land deems it is necessary, but not now. Give them all suspended sentences until all the jails are made suitable for them.

Funded by taxpayers’ money and bankers’ bonuses, build nice new jails each surrounded by several acres of land.

These “jailed” Hoodies will be “punished.” They will turn the jail land into very beautiful gardens. With help they will design the gardens to be at one with nature and wild life and re-learn the empathy and sense of wonder that comes with such an endeavour. This jail will not be a labour camp where they aimlesssly dig all day till exhaustion sets in. Yes, they will dig, but with a creative purpose. They will learn many new things including empathy for the land, plants, wild life and for other prisoner-gardeners and their gardener-teachers too.

A far-fetched romantic witchy notion?

Not at all.

It is already being done.

“The Garden” is the monthly magazine published by the Royal Horticultural Society. In the August edition there is an article called “Seeds of Rehabilitation?” where they visit HM Prison and Young Offenders Institution Styal near Manchester. This is a prison housing about about 450 women.

“The RHS encourages gardening in prisons through it’s shows as well as its continuing support of the Windlesham Trophy.”

“Prison gardening was the subject of the 2001 film “Greenfingers”. The story was loosely based on prisoners of HMP Leyhill (a low security prison in the Cotswolds) staging their first garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show which won gold in 1998. Leyhill went on to stage other award-winning show gardens, including “No Time to Stand and Stare” at the 2003 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.”

Once the jail gardens are in place and functioning, then start on the schools. The RHS already has a campaign for School Gardening. The government could ensure every neighbourhood has schools with gardens that are used for all kinds of lessons that are overseen by resident gardener/janitors who live in a house in the grounds.

The Witch Doctor has ranted about this before:


And yes, Dave, Boris, and others too, we witches would have put you in one of these gardens and taught you many things such as which plants are safe to ingest and which might make you hallucinate or even kill you. In addition you would have been sentenced to grow lettuces as a result of your misdemeanours during your salad days.

This witch thinks the prison gardens are struggling. Perhaps we witches could even at this late stage prescribe a delayed sentence for you, Dave and Boris, – a term in the Bullingdon Prison Garden in Oxfordshire where in addition to growing lettuces, you could produce honey for local sales and in so doing help in a hands-on way to boost the economy.

“Runner-ups, Bullingdon, Oxfordshire, have made their own collection of bee-hives to produce honey for local sales”.

You would meet other interesting Hoodies there, and you could hug them and learn what makes them tick. After all some, like yourselves, may well become tomorrow’s leaders of society.

It wouldn’t do you any harm at all.

Would it, My Black Cat?

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  1. Dear WD,

    Perhaps you remember the scene in “scum” where the Borstal inmates are gardening. One is happily tending plants in the potting shed, when three other sneak off from their work and rape him. It is a pretty disturbing scene, and leads to a later suicide and borstal riot. “Scum” was not a documentary of course, but everything in the Garden is not rosy.

    Yerboots junior often wears a hoodie, and jeans showing his pants in the approved style of young fashion. It is no more threatening in itself than the bikers gear, punk or skinhead kit of my own youth. Hooliganism and the rioting (appositely called “shopping with violence” on newsnight on Friday”) is generally led by young men. Previous riots have had destruction and arson as incidental to violence, in these riots looting seemed to be the

    Time to tend my own garden, my plums are getting juicy…

  2. Welcome back, Dr Phil,

    For sure many will not respond to gardening therapy, but some will if encouraged by the right person to discover nature in the right way and for those it may make a difference in their life even if not now but later. For others it may be music or art or astronomy or something else that captures an undiscovered quiet sense of wonder.

    But what of The Incurables, the ones who cannot be redeemed, the evil scum? Do they exist? I don’t know the answer to that yet and probably never will, but suspect if they do, they are in the minority.

    I’m sure your plum trees will keep you calm and off the streets!


  3. Dear WD,

    In my view no one is immune to evil, but no one is also unsaveable. My rather old fashioned Christian ethics seem at times out of place in the modern world, but never more needed.

    Perhaps the most interesting thing about the riots is not how they started, but rather how they ended. After the deaths of the three British Muslim Asians it would have been possible for the riots in Birmingham to have taken on a very violent turn. Winson Green had some quite nasty race riots just a few years ago. The actions of the father to quieten the mob wanting revenge were totally admirable. I have much faith that, devout Muslim that he is, that he will be heaven for his faith and action. It was a very positive response and very positive effect on the community also. I’m not so sure that a cancel light vigil the next night was wise (it was at a petrol station!), but it seemed to work.

    Realistically it is hard to see gangstas developing an interest in astrononomy, but quiet contemplation of the wonders of our world would do them some good. Perhaps some babysitting, with no electonic gadgets would open their eyes to the positives in the world.

    Dr Phil

  4. Should read candlelight!


    Dr Phil

  5. Evil is a difficult subject, Dr Phil, and so is an individual’s interpretation of what is right and wrong, and something even My Black Cat has been unable to get her head round, but I hope you are right that no-one is unsaveable.

    As I listened to the father’s response to the murder of his son so soon after the event, it struck me too that this courageous man did not only hold strong and compassionate beliefs regarding life and death, but he may well have snuffed out the Birmingham riots before they ran their course. Didn’t know about the petrol station though! Presmably H and S approval is not sought for spontaneous gatherings!

    Ah, astronomy! To a witch, contemplating the universe instils the ultimate sense of wonder! WD went through her schooling miffed that there was no astronomy teaching in the curriculum, and had to teach herself about the moon, stars and galaxies. As a young child she spent many a cold frosty night outside with her father clutching an old battered telescope looking for constellations and the milky way which sadly is no longer visible in most places in the UK. Yes, I think astronomy should stay in the quiet contemplation programme.


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