Robin Hardy, Director of Iconic Pagan Film THE WICKER MAN, has Died

Robin Hardy, who died yesterday in England, was 86. Hardy’s most notable achievement as a filmmaker was as director of the critically-acclaimed and controversial 1973 horror film The Wicker Man. Part mystery, part thriller, part horror, part musical, the film has earned accolades from diverse fans: Cinefantastique Magazine devoted an entire issue to it, and called it “the Citizen Kane of horror films.” It’s had books written about it (like Inside The Wicker Man by Allan Brown), academic conferences devoted to… Read more

Songs for Beltane: It’s All About Loreena!

Beltane, or Walpurgisnacht, or May Day, or whatever you’d like to call it, is a festival of merriment and celebration. We’re welcoming spring, and expressing gratitude for everything spring makes us think of: flowers, fruit, warm weather, nature’s beauty, and, related to that, themes rated to fertility and sensuality. The barnyards, forests and fields are full of baby animals, and our own blood awakens in our veins like rising sap. Many of our rituals feature symbolic courtship, even copulation (assuming it’s… Read more

Witches in the News: Grave-robbing is Not Okay

Have you seen this news story? About the “witch” named Ender Darling who let it be known they were taking bones that had “washed up” after heavy rains in a New Orleans cemetery and offered them FOR SALE for “curse work” and “general spells that require bone”” Darling posted about this on tumbler and got called out for it (the resulting flamewar has been referred to as “Tumblr’s Benghazi” which I find in poor taste; then again Darling’s Tumblr name was… Read more

THE WITCH: The Media Witch’s Review

It’s always really interesting for me to review witchy and pagan films, because I’m coming at this work as both a film critic and a practicing witch, not to mention a scholar of contemporary paganism. THE WITCH is just about the hottest horror film to come along in many months (even the Satanists love it, which is kind of cool), if not years, and it’s set to be a game-changer. It’s not your typical horror film: it’s historically authentic almost to… Read more

A Cinema of Evil: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Witchcraft & the Occult

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square. This month we’re asking: Has Hollywood Become Our National Conscience? Read other perspectives here. There can be no denying that contemporary culture is fascinated by horror. This popular genre of literature, film and TV has many sub-categories: supernatural, paranormal, monsters, ghosts, the undead, serial killers, and, of course, the occult.  Witches and witchcraft are a common topic: but do they fall into the category of the occult? The supernatural? Monsters? I… Read more

Brooklyn Stabbing Death Attributed to “Pagan Ritual” (aka, Imbolc?)

Well, in case you thought the days of the Satanic Panic were over and done with, the New York Post (and other websites and publications picking up on the Post’s story, like The Gothamist) reporting a story of a 31 year old man dead from thirteen stab wounds to the stomach, whose wife said he was “into paganism” and must have been performing some sort of “ritual” on himself.  Earlier news stories, such as this one from the NY Daily… Read more

THE WITCH: Enchanting the Satanists

The hot Sundance hit from 2015 THE WITCH is soon poised to open nationwide, and the hype machine is working overtime. The fledgling distributor A24 (which got lucky in its early days with arthouse-mainstream crossover faves like SPRING BREAKERS) is doing some naughty publicity, like this meme generator that lets you define evil in your own way (and got the ball rolling with pre-Iowa Caucus shots of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz).  In other exciting and odd news, many horror… Read more

You Call it Groundhog Day, and So Do I

A number of years ago, as part of an ongoing series of articles on the seasonal festival I wrote for The Witches’ Voice website, I wrote about Imbolc. I liked the article because it actually contained a fair bit about groundhogs! In recent years I have noted that the emphasis on this holiday seems to be all about Brigid. And that’s fine. But I tend to have an issue with a pagan festival that has both a long folkloric history… Read more

David Bowie: Mystic, Magician, Wizard, Shaman, Shape-Shifter, Pagan, God

  It’s stunning to behold the widespread grief and admiration being expressed across social media today, as millions learn of the death of one of popular music’s most beloved icons. David Bowie was a shape-shifter of the highest order, creating unusual and glamorous personae decades before theatrical costumes became the norm in popular music. Bowie was making music videos in 1969, before anyone had a name for the art form. He wrote entire concept albums based upon the stories of… Read more

You Call it Christmas, We Call it Yule… Pagans, Celebrate!

Well, I wrote this article nearly two decades ago but I think it still stands as a decent exploration of the customs of Christmas and Yuletide that many of us still embrace and enjoy. The trees, the lights, the feasting and merriment. Much of my research for these kinds of articles came from the books of historian Ronald Hutton, whose excellent work helped revitalize the more scholarly approaches to understanding the roots of net-paganism and modern pagan witchcraft, as he… Read more