High Priestess Yvette Louise Wyatt says she focuses on the spiritual practices of the African diaspora.
Fresh off the heels of organizing and hosting Detroit’s first ever hoodoo and witchcraft festival in April, High Priestess Yvette Louise Wyatt has opened the latest iteration of her metaphysical offerings on Detroit’s west side. What started as a small stall in the back of her husband’s martial arts studio is now a separate brick-and-mortar dedicated to magical arts and spiritual healing.
“It was amazing! We brought together friends and practitioners from Louisiana, Brooklyn and all over to support each other and share information. Between that and getting the store open, I’ve barely taken a breath the last few weeks,” Wyatt says when we speak in late April.
The shop, Motown Witch, offers anything that a practitioner (or anyone interested in the craft) might need or want, with a focus on herbs, artifacts and ingredients that can be used in rites and spell work such as incense, powders and washes, salts and hoodoo curios. It also sells health care remedies, jewelry and homemade beauty solutions.
Motown Witch is different from other candle stores and pagan-oriented supply shops because it has a distinct Black focus. Wyatt specializes in servicing and teaching Black witches and practices that originate within the diaspora.
“I have African deities in my store. I have things that Black practitioners would want and need in their rites. My statues are Orisha and tribal mascots, and things that are essential to hoodoo and vodun: railroad spikes, gator paws, graveyard dirt. All real and as potent as you need them to be,” Wyatt says.
She describes herself as someone who “the church never called to,” a Black girl who “liked metal and wore dark lipstick in the ‘80s,” but also never read entirely into the idea of Wicca magic or “white paganism.” She says African spirituality, hoodoo and rootwork have always been an indisputable part of her life since she was a child, and she’s glad that more Black people are rediscovering the magic in their bloodlines.
“I grew up in Hamtramck, but my grandma and aunties were from Alabama. There never was a name for what they did, but they’d go out into their yards, do what they needed to and things would just be fixed. I’ve seen and spoken to spirits since I was a little girl. These aren’t things I recently got into. This has been who I am for 56 years.”
16844 Schaefer Highway, Detroit