ROGERS PARK — Two brothers bonded by their love of magic have found a bigger space in Rogers Park to practice their craft.
Blake and Wycke Malliway reopened their witchcraft store, Malliway Bros, at 1407 W. Morse Ave. late last month. The two started their store at 1626 W. Morse Ave. in 2018 but grew out of the space over the years.
“We could only have, comfortably, 15 people in there,” Blake Malliway said. “We were turning people away left and right, which you don’t want.”
Costumed partygoers gathered to celebrate the relaunch Aug. 28.
The store — nearly double the size of the original location — is decorated with whimsical antiquities, colorful charms and candles. It has a parlor-like sitting space by the front door.
Oils, candles, charms and books from a vast collection are some of the store’s most popular products. The brothers try to sell anything someone starting out in witchcraft might need, and they’re open to stocking new items customers suggest.
The Malliways are practicing witches, and they hold seminars and workshops in the store to share their wealth of knowledge. But the brothers said they’re teaching their spin of magic and witchcraft, as there are other ways people can practice.
“We tend to view witchcraft as hands-on, getting your hands dirty, casting spells,” Blake Malliway said. “But so many people have their own interpretation, and we don’t want to say what they’re doing is wrong. It’s not our place to judge them.”
The two said there can be a difference between being a witch versus identifying as something more religious, like being a Wiccan or follower of Pagan religions.
“We typically say a witch is the practitioner of magic, and it’s not really something that has to be religious,” Wycke Malliway said.
As kids, the Malliway brothers were self-proclaimed “nerds” and were drawn to anything and everything to do with magic and witchcraft, whether that be Harry Potter books or the evil queens in Disney stories.
They remember when they realized their passion for magic and spells would follow them into adulthood.
“I think it was when my first big spells were actually happening around 10, and that was when I realized, ‘Oh my God, this is real stuff I can actually do,’” Wycke Malliway said.
Blake Malliway said he was 11 when a classmate drew a pentagram with a Gelly Roll pen on the back of his hand. He felt transformed and began practicing and researching magic.
After a brief stint vending at Pagan Pride events, the brothers settled on the idea of opening their own space to conduct workshops and sell products and art from independent artists from all over the world. This led them to Rogers Park.
The neighborhood welcomed the Malliway Bros shop with open arms, a bit to the brothers’ surprise.
“Because our last shop was between three different churches, we were going in there ready to expect some sort of backlash,” Wycke Malliway said.
Even through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brothers managed to keep the store and its community thriving. The shop was closed from March 2020 until July. They offered curbside pickup for customers on top of virtual workshops, which attracted people from all over the United States.
“I think our own practices during COVID got stronger because we were able to step away from the world, and there was nothing else to do but delve into the magic,” Wycke Malliway said. “The community really wanted to get together, so they pushed just as much as we did to make the workshops work.”
The brothers said they’re excited to get back to hosting this fall — COVID permitting — with a calendar of events during October, including a spirit circle around Halloween.
“That’s definitely something we’re going to be bringing back, rain or shine,” Blake Malliway said.
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