Stella Australis
Book of Shadows*Witchcraft History*Oz Pagans in the Media*Australian Pagan Events*Australian Religious Rights*Graphics*NovaPagan*Links

Australian Media on Paganism

For whom the spell tolls

Sydney Morning Herald, May 26th, 2000 by Ali Gripper

Forget black hats and bubbling cauldrons - the keys to modern-day witchcraft are self-affirmation and visualisation, writes Ali Gripper.

It's easy to see why the world of witchcraft is such a seductive form of spirituality to many young people - particularly young women. Celebrity witches such as Deborah Gray, author of the bestseller How to Turn Your Ex-Boyfriend Into a Toad, make the whole thing seem like an elaborate game, or a lifestyle statement.

There are witchy magazines, witchy clothes, and books full of Dolly magazine-style articles, crammed with secrets, rituals spells for finding true love, or dealing with your mother-in-law, and handy glossaries of terms such as "Merry Meet" - the traditional greeting by witches. It's all rather moonstruck and melodramatic.

"People might look at all this and think it's about glitter and fairy dust," says Gray, speaking at a witchcraft expo in the Sydney Town Hall. "But if you think it's a panacea to get all the money you want, and the right lover, and the right job by casting a few spells, you're mistaken."

Much of modern witchcraft, she says, is about basic psychology - it's applying ancient laws such as visualisation, and becoming awake to the magnificent possibilities inside yourself, and learning to take charge of your own attitudes.

It's about going on an inner journey, and asking yourself what is really true for you to do in your life. Casting spells, she says, is just a physical symbol of applying your mental will to whatever that is.

It's not exactly mainstream, but then, witch fairs at the Sydney Town Hall are a long way from being burnt at the stake.

"Witchcraft is really just about realising that our thoughts have power and can manifest things in your life," she says.

For instance, any witch worth her broomstick does not go looking for a soul-mate by attending endless parties and looking about desperately for "the one", Gray says. She puts her ear right down onto her own soul and listens hard.

"She takes candle-lit baths, repeats affirmations that she is beautiful and worth loving, and might use a mirror meditation to see in her mind's eye exactly the kind of soul mate she wants to attract to her. Not the way he looks, but what his qualities are.

"And perhaps the most important thing to ask herself, whether she is ready to be in a relationship in the first place, and what it is in her that has stopped her finding that right person up until now."

There's nothing particularly pseudo-mystical or hocus-pocus about spells, she says - it's simply about unleashing invisible forces around you and within you, and changing the atmosphere of your mind.

Even the ex-boyfriend spell, for instance, is more about healing your own bruised heart than seeking revenge. "It's actually about turning your resentments and fears into a toad, and then destroying it."

In a world so tilted towards consumerism, surely anything that is an antidote to competition, to struggle and to limitations, and any path which places value on self-understanding and self-acceptance rather than getting a car, house and money, is interesting.

The Magickal Expo, featuring lectures and workshops on modern day witchcraft, Wiccan traditions and tarot, will be held on Saturday, June 3, from 10am to 8pm and Sunday, June 4, from 10am to 6pm at the Sydney Town Hall. Admission is $10/$7 concession. Phone 9482 2741.

Page Updated 2nd April, 2000
Hosting by WebRing.