My nerves were tense as I sat outside the nondescript storefront in Montrose. I was about to enter what I thought would be Houston's own Chamber of Secrets, full of black magic and witchcraft. My curiosity won out in the end, as I snapped out of my daze, turned off the engine of my car and walked into The Magick Cauldron.
A specialty store that offers an emporium of products for aspiring and experienced witches alike, The Magik Cauldron has been around for 25 years and looks it, its slightly worn façade reminding me of a '90s record store, or maybe a thrift shop. Despite the witchy contents—the Magick Cauldron advertises itself as "Houston's premier Pagan religious supplier"—the storefront is bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows, and through there's definitely plenty of interesting things on the shelves, it's neat and meticulously organized. Diagon Alley this ain't.
Owner Paul Premazon founded The Magick Cauldron about 30 years ago. It started off as a furniture company on Katy Freeway and developed into what is now known as The Magik Cauldron. Using his wholesaler license, he would purchase odd items like incense for himself and his friends and sell the extras out of the back of the furniture store.
“When I started [The Magik Cauldron] in '85, never in my wildest dreams did I think 30 years later we would still be here,” he says.
I walked around the store, discovering something new with each step I took. To my left, an enclosed glass case full of various plaster fairies, goddesses and steampunk figurines. To my right, a clothes rack filled with a curated selection of lavish velvet cloaks, an essential fashion item for any aspiring witch. Necklaces, bracelets and rings, mostly silver with Celtic designs, many adorned with bright gems and charms, are front and center in a large display case, while the pegboard rear wall displays a bounty of medieval weapons, including swords and axes.
At this point I started to get it: The Magic Cauldron isn't just about the occult, it's a destination for anyone who is interested in things that are a little bit odd or offbeat or even mystical. Just to the left of the medieval weapons are floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with decks of Tarot cards with a sign above warning that Tarot cards cannot be returned under any circumstance.
Premazon explained that Tarot cards should be a one-time purchase—some people believe that you should never buy a used Tarot deck because they may contain psychic energy from the previous owner. However Premazon isn't that much of a purist; he offers customers the option of pre-owned cards that have been put through a magical cleanse, AKA the smoke of a sage stick and an incantation or prayer.
As I continued to make my way through store I noticed shelves filled with loose stones said to contain magical properties based on their color, as well as essential oils, herbs and spices for concocting potions. What intrigued me most were an assortment of pendulums hanging by the register. For the uninitiated, a pendulum is a small stone attached to a chain or string. People have used them for centuries to aid with healing or to unveil inner truths: when suspended from a stationary position, it moves in a circular motion. Ask it a question and the pendulum responds: if it moves vertically, the answer is no, moving horizontally means yes.
Some people believe in the power of the pendulum. Others think it to be pure hocus-pocus. But who hasn't entertained themselves with a Ouija board? Whatever beliefs you may hold, The Magick Cauldron is a fascinating trip to a mystical world.
The Magick Cauldron is located at 2424 Montrose, 713-523-0069, magickcauldron.com.