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Portland Is the Best Place in the Country to Be a Witch

Even outside of spooky season, Portland is a place of magic—a town where, if you want to turn witchiness into a way of life, there are plenty of resources at your disposal.

Anywhere else, the sight of a coven of witches floating down the river would be a cause for concern, or at least confusion.

In Portland, we just call it October.

In three years, the annual Witch Paddle has grown from a small group of Facebook friends dressing up and hitting the water into a legitimate civic tradition. Just before Halloween, hundreds of exhibitionists don pointy hats and grab their paddleboards for a slow roll down the Willamette.

Related: Hundreds of Paddle-Boarding Witches Took Over the Willamette River on Saturday.

Even outside of spooky season, Portland is a place of magic—a town where energy healers and herbalists are taken seriously, where you can grab cocktails at a tarot-themed bar on North Mississippi, and where, if you want to turn witchiness into a way of life, there are plenty of resources at your disposal.

Those looking to turn an interest in the metaphysical into a full-fledged career can study at Portland Psychic School or Portland School of Astrology (see No. 28). Secret Forest Books in Richmond sells everything from hand-carved wands to "ritual kits" in a space that looks like Hogwarts crossed with your great-grandma's living room.

Moonshadow, on Southeast Belmont, refers to itself as "Portland's oldest Pagan resource" and offers "handfastings, legal marriages and all other sacerdotal rites performed by ordained pagan clergy." Homebody in Slabtown sells artisan brooms, and there's even a "Mystic District" that houses three magic supply shops on just one block of the King neighborhood.

"Portland's ability to embrace thinking outside the box makes this a safe place to explore astrology, witchcraft, herbal medicine and the like," says Maria Vashakidze, owner of Seagrape Apothecary on Northeast Wygant Street, "a perfect brew for any witch looking for community."

1. Because we're creating new neighborhoods…

2. Because we made voting even easier… 

3. Because a doomed building is now a temporary work of art… 

4. Because we're still No. 1 in semi-factual superlatives… 

5. Because you can finally get a beer for less than $10 at Moda Center… 

6. Because our news anchors don't take crap from internet trolls… 

7. Because University of Portland continues to turn out some of the best women's soccer players in the world… 

8. Because we are the champions of cyclocross…

9. … and roller derby… 

10. … and air guitar…

11. Because we're turning wastewater into beer…

12. … and beer into exercise…

13. Because a local punk legend is holding a permanent rummage sale in the basement of a record shop…

14. Because we let you stop and smell the weed…

15. Because we're a world hub for slap-tagging…

16. Because even Texans are impressed by our barbecue… 

17. … and you can get almost any style of pizza here… 

18. … and also, we've perfected the soy curl… 

19. Because we're dedicated to keeping our strippers healthy and limber…

20. Because our gynecologists are building a better speculum…

21. Because our airport keeps getting more awesome…

22. …and so does Movie Madness…

23. Because we're making Halloweens more inclusive…

24. Because the city's most daring developer is growing strawberry fields in the sky…

25. Because we're bringing the pay phone back, minus the "pay" part…

26. Because you can turn on the TV and see your neighbor compete in an eating contest against a bear…

27. Because hardcore foosball players finally have a home…

28. Because we're home to the largest astrology school in the United States… 

29. Because this is the best place in the country to be a witch… 

30. Because we believe no kitty should be left behind…

31. Because the barred owls are taking over…

32. Because the best Trail Blazer in history is playing in front of us…