Monday, June 14, 2021

Taming the Newspaper Photographer


Eventually I worked out how to get the photographer to make me look good. Basically, ask them about their own work: “What have you been photographing today? What do you like to photograph? How long have you worked at the newspaper?” etc. And of course I’d try and explain Witchcraft so that it didn’t seem too weird. But it’s the image that everyone looks at in the paper. They don’t care so much about the text, although I would get grilled by other Pagans when the articles came out: “Why’d you say that? Why didn’t you say this?” And of course my family and relatives were wincing with discomfort and embarrassment that I would shame them by being interviewed about such a kooky topic. So again, there was more reason to feel tense about the resultant article, but I just had to accept that I couldn’t please everyone.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

When newspapers were actually made of paper

Going through my Book of Shadows from the late 80s and early 90s I came across these newspaper photos of myself from around 1996. Back in the 1990s being interviewed in the newspaper about Witchcraft and Paganism was a bit of a big deal, and it was a real gamble as to how the journalist and more important, the photographer, were going to portray you. If they liked you they might say nice things about you, but if they didn’t like you they would treat the topic, and you, in a flippant manner. As a member of The Church of All Worlds (CAW) back then, part of progressing through the Circles (degrees) involved being able to talk about Paganism to the media. So you’d say yes to interview requests and then wait on tenterhooks for the article to come out and hope you’d come across as OK.

When the article came out there’d be angry phone calls from relatives about how you’d embarrassed them, and when you arrived at your workplace people would stare at you with a mixture of reverence and contempt. Who are you to be getting media coverage, and for something so obviously weird? I would often deeply regret not having done my best to get the journalist and photographer on my side, but eventually learned how to do it (see next post).

These days, now that control of your image is in your own hands, you can make beautiful, professional-looking images with a phone camera, and get international coverage through social media. We see images constantly and are pretty blasé about them. It’s de rigueur to portray yourself in the most glamorous manner possible, for reasons spanning promoting a business or just your own perceived awesomeness. There is no need to sweet-talk a journalist or photographer, hoping they won’t make you look like a clown, we can simply bypass them – and of course media coverage is all really rather ho-hum, it doesn’t have the power it used to. No one even cares about being on TV because everyone’s got their own little YouTube show.

Sure, Witches have been getting media coverage since the 1950s, and much of it sensationalist. Now we have to fight the scrum of social media to get any attention that lasts more than one day. Different times. 


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Goddess Hekate and Her Witches - workshop on 3rd July 2021

Of all the Goddesses of Witchcraft, Hekate is the best known today. This workshop looks at the origins and history of Hekate, her spheres of influence, sacred animals, relationships with other gods, association with mystery religions, connection with the dead, and her role in regard to famous witch-priestesses from antiquity such as Circe and Medea. Through the examination of primary evidence including ancient religious and magical texts, sculpture, visual art, magical gems, curse tablets, and binding spells, the figure of Hekate will be illuminated. Participants will also experience a ritual devoted to Hekate in order to establish and strengthen their own relationship with the goddess.      


The Presenter, Caroline Tully

Caroline has a background in various traditions of witchcraft and magick and is also an archaeologist who studies ancient Mediterranean Pagan religions and their manifestation in the modern world. She has written many articles and chapters on these topics and is the author of the book, The Cultic Life of Trees in the Prehistoric Aegean, Levant, Egypt and Cyprus (Peeters 2018). Caroline reads Tarot and is a regular workshop facilitator on a range of magickal subjects at Muses of Mystery, Melbourne’s finest metaphysical destination.

This workshop will be held at Muses of Mystery on the 3rd July 2021.