Sal Santoro was born in New England and began studying Occultism as a young adult. It wasn’t until his move to LA in 1985 that he took his studies to the next level seeking out various pagan groups to expand his knowledge. Since that time, Sal has become one of Hollywood’s go-to sources for all things Magic.
Sal’s unique perspective and scientific help demystify this often misunderstood craft. He has shared his expertise on the CHUEY MARTINEZ SHOW, COAST TO COAST WITH GEORGE NOORY and countless others. Sal and his wife Popi Mavros, opened THE CROOKED PATH, the leading occult apothecary store in Burbank aimed at destigmatizing the occult and helping people along whatever their spiritual/scientific journey.
Along with Renee Watt, Sal hosts BETWIXT the SHADOWS, a podcast showcasing his knowledge and engaging personality. Sal is a philanthropist lending his time and expertise to those that need help and an ordained minister.
"Witchcraft isn’t always theological or spiritual, sometimes it’s just a basic science"
When did you start to get interested in witchcraft?
This all started when I was a teenager living in New England. My best friend and I started exploring by reading books, which wasn’t as easy to obtain back in the late 70s. You couldn’t just walk into a library and pull something off the shelf. But we somehow obtained books, like 777 and Mastering Witchcraft and dove in. By the mid 80s I moved to Los Angeles where I continued my journey of learning. I joined the Golden Dawn, did a year and a day with two separate covens, worked in a few occult shops and just soaked in the knowledge.
Which is the part you enjoy the most about sharing your knowledge of witchcraft?
It’s seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they realize they don’t need 40 years of knowledge under their belt to manifest change. Anyone with basic knowledge and understanding of magical systems can practice this art. Witchcraft isn’t always theological or spiritual; sometimes it’s just a basic science. Other times it’s a combination of all of those things.
Do you have any advice for people interested in learning about magic?
The world of magic or studies in the occult can be very broad. The first thing I would advise is to determine what you’re actually interested in – is it Witchcraft, spell crafting, ceremonial magic, wicca? If you’re not sure, that’s ok. This is an opportunity to learn. Take your time and find out what you’re most interested in. Read, talk to like-minding people, attend events if you can, and ask questions. There is so much to learn. Something I’m still doing myself after all these years.
What does magic mean to you?
Taking from a famous quote: I’m inspired by the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with my will.
Who are your idols?
Outside of the magical world, my two top idols are Steve Tyler, Prince and David Bowie. They have truly shaped me into the person I am today. I love that they set their own rules and didn’t care what people thought. They are/were great musicians, performers and icons.
If you didn’t like witchcraft or magic, what would you like to do?
Although I’ve been studying the occult for over 40 years, it wasn’t what I sought out to do as a profession. My ultimate passion is music and if I could do anything, I’d be a singer in a rock band. Music has always been present in my life. My father used to blast swing, big band and jazz music on the weekends and whenever I hear that today, it transports me to a different time.
Do you consider that nowadays there are more or less opportunities for new ideas and modern witchcraft? Why?
There’s definitely more opportunity. It’s not as taboo as it was back in the 70s when I first started seeking out knowledge. I couldn’t walk into a shop like ours to ask questions or buy books. Today people can have open discussions about their philosophies and even develop new systems. That’s the beauty of witchcraft – there’s no one way to do things and people with knowledge in various systems can develop new systems that work for them.