The Horne witch project
ALI GRIPPER Sydney Morning Herald Friday,
01 Oct 1999
From section: Metro Mind, body & soul
ALI GRIPPER is almost
spellbound as Fiona Horne initiates her into the ways
of witchcraft in the '90s.
The nation's most glamorous witch is
calling from Melbourne on her PR manager's telephone. Her
mission: to redeem several centuries of persecution and bad
press about witches. This one-woman crusade can sometimes
"Witchcraft is such a maligned
term," she says brusquely. "People still see us
as inherently evil, or as cackling old hags who cast bad spells
on people. Most of it is about worshipping nature and the
world, and enriching your own life."
If anyone can make the image of witches
more appealing, it will probably be Horne. Over the past few
years the former rock star (she fronted Def FX but is now
solo) has carefully cultivated the image of a minor celebrity;
a pin-up girl for the New Age. She's got terrific cheek bones.
Her nude shots with a snake for Playboy caused a buzz. She
says "cool" quite a lot. And you'll be hearing more
Underneath all the jargon and pop psychology
is someone hell-bent on promoting herself, as well as gaining
public understanding and acceptance of witchcraft. Three minutes
after telling me that "all the magic you ever need is
inside you" and "heaven is already here on Earth",
she's asking for the date this article is to be published,
hoping it helps with "cross-promotional opportunities".
Her new book, Witch - A Magickal Year
(Random House, $24.95) is written in a perky, Dolly-magazine
style and makes witchcraft seems like a kind of game or lifestyle
statement. There are secrets, spells, a Wiccan marriage ceremony
and even a handy glossary of terms such as "Merry Meet
Merry Part Merry Meet Again" - the traditional greeting
and farewell performed by witches.
Witchcraft, says Horne, is a benign,
inspirational, alternative way of living and its time has
come again. There's no denying that ancient, pre-Christian
beliefs such as witchcraft and Wicca have attracted the interest
of many young people, particularly women, as a far more appealing
explanation of spirituality. The Internet is swamped with
witchy activity, mainly by those disillusioned with a conventional
"patriarchal" church system.
Horne admits she was a Catholic. "I
could never understand that you have to eat the body of Christ.
Why should we, when we are already complete in ourselves,
when our bodies are already sacred?"
Despite all the ceremonies and rituals,
however, witchcraft is not really "spiritual" as
such, says Horne, nor is it a religion: it simply fulfils
the same need that a Christian or a Jew finds in their faith.
But this doesn't stop it bringing tremendous emotional and
physical gains, she says.
Horne says she knows many professionals
who are witches and incorporate rituals into their daily life.
A man can be a witch, too. You don't
have to dress in special clothes and you can take your witchcraft
into the office.
"One woman I know, is working
her way up the telecommunications industry and has cauldrons
and crystals. She has a pentagram [a star sign used for blessings]
over her office door," she says. "And she's making
a s---load of money."
Witch - A Magickal Year by Fiona Horne
is on sale today.
Witchy speak from Witch - A Magickal
Athame: A knife used for casting circles
and channelling energy. Not used for cutting up chickens.
Blessed Be: Traditional witchy farewell
Handfasting: A wedding ceremony for
Pentagram: A star used for blessings
performed by witches.
Poppet: A doll made to represent a
person or an animal and used in spells and rituals.
Skyclad: "Clad only by sky"
- in other words, naked.
So Mote It Be: Chanted at the completion
of a spell or a blessing. Used in the same way as "amen".in
the same way as "amen".