Tag Archives: pagans in the media

Does Witchcraft really need to be promoted?

Last night Network Ten’s The Project aired a piece about witchcraft.

I will endeavour to post a video of this piece online if it becomes available, but suffice to say it was fairly simplistic and stuck to the basics (no, witches don’t worship the devil; and no, they don’t ride around on broomsticks), and featured interviews with the likes of Stacey De Marco, Lucy Cavendish and others.

The piece was not particularly good or bad. While I have many issues with the idea of “Big Name Paganspreying on the naive, the stupid and the mentally ill and profiting from their pseudo-celebrity, not to mention the whole notion that witchcraft is for sale, happily there was no opportunity for any of the “personalities” involved to spruik their overpriced wares.

Rather, the witchcraft it discussed was a fairly homogenised, “mass consumption” PG-13 version of what many consider to be witchcraft, with a focus on oracle cards and spell casting. To Network Ten’s credit, the word “religion” was thrown around more than once, and there didn’t seem to be much glamorising of covens or suggestions that teen witches could turn their ex-boyfriend into a toad or any other nonsense.

The Project’s piece received a mixed response from the Australian Pagan community, but more importantly it brought into light the old argument of whether witchcraft should be “promoted” at all, in this way or in others.

A decade or more ago, I would have said that yes, we do need pieces like this: to debunk rumours of satanic rites, of pointy hats, baby eating and broomsticks.

But we are almost in the year 2014. If there are people out there who still believe all that stuff, I say we let them. They certainly don’t make up a majority of the population any more, and most of them are so set in their ways that a three minute fluff piece on a magazine-style news panel show probably isn’t going to change their minds anyway.

If mainstream media simply must report on witchcraft, then it would do us a lot less harm to do so a bit more impartially, without going in for all the stupid stereotype garbage or interviewing only a certain kind of witch from a certain part of the country… not to mention the dark, sinister music. But hey, it wouldn’t get the ratings they want from mainstream audiences!

The main purpose of pieces like this is to advertise witchcraft as being a come one, come all new-age religion, suitable for everybody into something a bit spooky. The danger here is that no, it isn’t, and to portray it as such just leads to more and more misinformed people spending their hard-earned money on ridiculously overpriced products and “workshops” to become even more misinformed…. Unfortunately, the most insidious and parasitic of our BNPs are always there with open arms to empty the wallets of the naive and vulnerable folk who foray into witchcraft.

I’m not saying that witchcraft should be an exclusive little club (or maybe I am, I haven’t decided yet). My point is that knowledge and spiritual growth are not commodities, and should not be touted as such. Generally if people genuinely want to find out about something, they will look into it for themselves in their own time, and make up their own minds.

Witchcraft does not need “promoting” in this day and age. My religion is not a trend, a fad, a hobby or a spectator sport. Is it really so bad that I just want to go about my spiritual business without it being televised?

– Galloway.


Filed under Witchcraft

The Older documentaries of Witchcraft

Humans generally love documentaries, even ones that are 30, 40 or even 50 years old, and if the information is completely out-dated, they’re still sort after. Especially witchcraft and paganism related documentaries. For some reason, I prefer watching the older ones that came out in the 60s or 70s more than recent ones.

As Wicca was new in the days of Gardner and Sanders, the older documentaries are in reality ‘a beginner’s guide’ to 20th century Witchcraft, Wicca, and Paganism – and are often for the public rather than the witches. They have an enchanting elegance and charm, a few posh English accents, and a view into the past as it was for the Wiccan forefathers. Even then, a lot of the things said in these videos are bollocks/out-dated/unimportant.

Here are some old documentaries relating to this topic of witchcraft, paganism, goddess worship and wicca. If anyone knows of anymore documentaries, reply in comments.

1. The Occult Experience (1985)

A documentary of Australian Occult, later put into a book by Nevill Drury. It stars Janet Farrar, Selena Fox, and Margot Adler, to name a few.

2. Women and Spirituality: The Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, Full Circle (1989, 1990, and 1993)

A trilogy of Canadian documentaries, ‘Women and Spirituality’ of Goddess worship, and witch-hunt history. All just under an hour each, the trilogy contain different topics that parallel each other. Here are two of them.

3. Legend of the Witches (1970)

Delightful black and white documentary, it follows Alex Sanders and his coven.

4. The Power of the Witch (1979)

In this, you hear Doreen Valiente and Eleanor Bone using very posh English accents. Investigated by the hip Michael Bakewell, who also looks into the suspicious murder of Charles Walton during this documentary. Check out the hilarious exorcism at 43.45 mins into this youtube video.

5. Witchcraft Yesterday and Today (1990)

Raymond Buckland’s video opens with a sunny garden scene, the tune of John Barleycorn playing in a renaissance fayre kind of ritual. Then, like all the other documentaries, gives a history of the Craft, and of polytheistic worship. Raymond sits and talks a lot beside a nice 80’s style indoor fern. It’s almost just as easy to just listen to him talk rather than watch the documentary.

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by | August 11, 2013 · 11:15 pm

Solstice Celebrations for All

Photo courtesy of Damiana Fortune

There was a time – not so long ago – that the advent of the winter solstice was for the most part ignored in Australia. In recent decades, I recall a couple of times when others pointed out that the shortest day of the year was coming up, but that was about it. Winter came and went each year, and for most non-pagan people it was cold and dark and frosty, and then it wasn’t.

This year, I am pleased to report that I was spoiled for choice over what to do for the longest night, and the invites weren’t just coming from pagan folk! As well as the usual Yule celebrations held by dear pagan friends, we have started to hear about all kinds of interesting things.

Inner Melbournians were treated to the Inner Light Festival at Federation Square. Participants enjoyed a lantern procession, dancing and a culturally diverse feast.

Further North, the Blue Mountains Winter Magick Festival saw artists, musicians, dancers, drummers, choirs and community flock to Katoomba. According to the website, the streets are annually “lined with market stalls and everybody who attends is encouraged to dress in costume”. Similarly, many other local communities (like this one) put on dinners, dances, movies and more. By all reports these were attended by local people of all ages and walks of life.

Photo courtesy of Damiana Fortune.

This letter in the Albury-Wodonga Border Mail reports a far more sombre affair put on by the twin cities – an event for survivors of suicide. To me, this shows that non-pagans are beginning to experience more deeply the different facets of this time of year, and are using this darker period to remember and reflect upon dark times, those fallen and those left behind.

On top of this, the shortest day and longest night now set the stage for icy-cold swims, fun runs and special snow events.

Underlying this wide range of events is a strong theme of community. And while some maintain that this relatively newfound secular interest in the solstice is nothing more than a greenie fad, I choose to believe that people are waking up to the world around them again, and are actually giving a damn about the place where they live.

– Galloway.


Filed under Pagan Community, Paganism - General, Uncategorized