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
"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.