Samhain and Witches and Bears, Oh My!

Hi, everyone.  My name is John Genest, and my paths recently crossed with Michael Rupured and the other authors of the A Taste of Honey anthology this summer in promoting the book.  During that time, Michael offered several guest posts here on his blog and I chose October 30 because it was closest to a holiday near and dear to my heart: All Hallow’s Eve,  the Celtic Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”), or just plain old  Halloween.

Though my story, “Just Breathe,” was about a cub going in for a sleep study on Valentine’s Day evening (can you imagine?) and the woofy technician that monitors him, in my other writing endeavors I follow the adage “write what you know” and I know of  two things very well over the past twenty-five years: Bears and Witches.

Bears are..well, read the introduction to A Taste of Honey by one of our wonderful editors, B.G. Thomas, and the stories therein to find out what Bears are.  On the other hand, Witches have been written about for centuries and have entertained us on screens big and small from the last century to now.

The kind of Witches I’m talking and writing about, however, came out of the “broom closet” in the early 1950’s after the last Witchcraft law was repealed in England, and a new religion based on old pagan traditions and practices known as Wicca was born.  I was always fascinated by stories of magic and witchcraft as a child, and when I learned at 19 that Wicca existed and I resonated with its magic and morality, I self-dedicated on Saturday, October 14, 1989, and have just celebrated a quarter century anniversary as a Wiccan Witch of the East.

Casting Call for a Daddybear, my first published story in a 2011 anthology called “Tales from the Den: Wild and Weird Stories for Bears” by Bear Bones Books (see sexy cover below), was a tale of a Wiccan coven of  two straight women and a Bear who meet on the first day of Spring to cast bottle spells into the sea to bring their heart’s desires, and the results of those spells.  Any guess what the Bear was casting for?   Three years later, that story has grown into a novel I’ve affectionately entitled “Bearly a Witch” and hope to find a publisher for soon.

The reason it took three years to write this novel is that I was writing another simultaneously, alternating chapter for chapter.  The second novel is about a young man found reading a mythology book by the professor whose office he was supposed to be cleaning, and how he was later invited to be a dedicant of “The Coven of Arcas” for a year and a day to see if he was ready and worthy of initiation.  This novel has a couple more chapters to go before I wrap up an epic Bacchanal over Labor Day weekend.

Another anthology by Bear Bones Books, this one of Bear poetry from forty contributors called “Hibernation” (see another sexy cover below), contains my poem “Upon Reflection” which I began with that eternal question: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the Bearest of them all?”  Or if you’re looking for a magical holiday tale of a late night tryst between a jolly old DILF and his significant otter with a major twist, head on over to and look for “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” (and if you’re a graphic artist who can help me with a professional book cover, please write me at so we can talk).

What I hope to do with my writing about Bears, Witches, and Bear Witches is a) provide some great entertainment for my readers; b) take the stigma and stereotypes out of witchcraft with realistic portrayals of modern-day Wiccans; c) explore the humor and hubris of the Bear subculture in all its many forms; and d) provide some front-row one-handed Bearotica for us men who don’t believe in cutting to the next scene or a slow fade to black when it comes to hot and heavy Bear sex.

In closing, I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of this season of the witch.  Go see a scary movie, dress up for a costume party, or greet the trick-0r-treaters that come to your door for candy this Friday.  Set a Dumb Supper, a place at your dining room table, for your dearly departed who might wander through at this time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest.  And remember, get your crops in before midnight or the pooka will spit on them.

Thanks, Michael, and Happy Halloween, everyone.


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