Few Witches were more prolific in the late 90’s and early aughts than Fiona Horne. She put out ten books in nine years, edited another one, and in 2004 she starred in the SciFi series Mad Mad House. Before her life as a public Witch, Fiona was a part of the band Def FX, worked in television, and modeled for Australian Playboy in 1994 (something she’d do again in the States in 2005). Today Horne works as a professional pilot and just released the memoir The Naked Witch. This Summer she’ll be a featured presenter at HexFest in New Orleans.
As a longtime Fiona Fan (Ari and I were crazy addicted to Mad Mad House back in the day) I recently had the pleasure to sit down and ask her a couple of questions about her memoir, her various endeavors, and of course Witchcraft. Thanks Fiona!
Jason: In your book I got the sense that your movement into Witchcraft was gradual. Was there ever a particularly big “Ah ha!” moment, or was it something you just came to embrace over time?
Fiona Horne: Over the last 30+ years of personally identifying as a Witch, my experience of my Craft has evolved – and I think it will continue to as I journey on through my physical existence.
Being a little girl growing up in Sydney suburban bushland, I spent as much time as I could there, sensing that the natural world was magical, special … it accepted me. I was bullied at school and lonely at home – but the animals, birds, the trees, the river accepted me. I would make little altars with colored stones, leaves and flowers as offerings for my magickal world. I would look to the sky and say little incantations ‘Blow wind blow! Make my feet and fingers glow!’ and then the giant eucalyptus trees would rustle their leaves and I would smell their heavenly scent and I was convinced they knew me and were answering me. I was a little Pagan before I even knew what that word meant.
As I grew through my teens and early adult hood I experienced Witchcraft as a means to an end – a way to get what I thought I needed, what I wanted in my life. I sought an identity in its mystical, exotic and rebellious connotations. Ultimately working in the public eye in the entertainment industry, being on TV, Radio and writing books, meant that I became very identified with Witchcraft and Magick and all of a sudden, I was the popular subversion to the dominant paradigm of the evil Witch and scary magic (sic) – I was blonde, friendly, approachable and I had an Aussie accent (which went over very well in the USA where I ultimately made my home). Cut forward fifteen years to my life now – and rather than casting spells to get what I want, or writing books on how to do that, my personal practice has evolved to be one of Service. I have learned that the secret to making your spells and rituals ‘work’ 100% of the time is to make them useful in the world, in service for a greater good than your ‘little ego needs’. The Universe conspires in your favor and will ‘grant your wish’ every time if your magickal goal is truly selfless.
In my personal space I have an altar, but unlike the altar of old where I was very pedantic and had everything arranged ‘by the book’ with the four elements of Air Earth Fire and Water organized in their corresponding cardinal directions etc, etc, now I just have natural items assembled that reflect my life’s journey – most recently added is birch tree sap that I scraped from a tree on my recent visit to the Alaskan wilderness – it’s healing, smells incredible and reminds me that my soul will always be found in nature.
I was recently asked what do I consider the most successful moment in my magickal career? And I answered, “The day it stopped being my career.”
Identifying as a Witch has always been about my soul, nature and the blessing it is to be a part of this living world for the flicker of time that I am.
You are a pretty serious practitioner of yoga these days. How big of a role does it play in your spiritual life? What about it exactly do you find so meaningful?
My favorite saying about yoga is from BKS Iyengar – ‘The body is the temple, the Asana is the prayer.‘ I love yoga because I experience it as is a moving ritual, a moving meditation – it doesn’t not only occur on the mat – it’s essence permeates every moment of my waking and sleeping life – and everything in between. I find the 8 limb path as described by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra very compatible with my life as a Witch. There are eight steps that act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They are a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self discipline and they address aspects of health – both physical and spiritual. Rather than type them in length here – this article is a well written and concise overview of the steps that you and your readers may enjoy – https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/the-eight-limbs
When I teach yoga, I offer guided meditations that reflect my Witches’ understanding of color energy, the power of using breath in transformation of consciousness and sacred shapes. When my students lay in ‘Star Asana’ with arms and legs outstretched, reflecting the sacred geometry of the Pentagram – the Witches’ five pointed star, we are experiencing magick together.
My daily rituals as a practicing Witch on the 8 limb path are to identify ways of being of service and to follow through with these. That can be something as large as organizing a humanitarian aid effort and personally flying 350 baby chicks to Haiti so that they can grow, lay eggs and feed the school children of the community… to assisting in recovery work after two catastrophic hurricanes hit the island I live on last year.
I noticed Patheos Pagan has an article about the pagan recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.
The two aid missions I coordinated, raised funds for and piloted in February and March of 2017 were also working with the Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti (as referenced in the Patheos article.) The chicks we flew in, grew to feed all the school children and also 500 families on the island of Ile E Vache. We also took in 100 pounds of long bean seed, an agronomist, bee keeper, and the director of the GSF. I am very grateful to be able to report that one year later after these and other ongoing efforts of the GSF, the island community of Ile E Vache is flourishing and well on the way to self sufficiency.
You’ve been reading Tarot Cards for nearly thirty years now. Do you have a favorite spread or deck? Do you have any specific advice for an aspiring Tarot reader?
I have been primarily using The Celtic Tarot Deck, Courtney Davis and Helena Patterson, since the deck was gifted to me when I was twenty or so. The best advice I can offer a reader is to remember the guidance comes not from you, but through you. Get ‘yourself’ out of the way, trust that the first thing that comes to you is the unpolluted guidance and endeavor to be of service. I pray to the God/dess of my understanding before every reading “God/dess allow me to be of service to this person and share with them information which will heal and help them.”
I’ll admit that I missed Def FX the first time around, but since reading your book I’ve been rediscovering them and I can’t help but think you all were really ahead of the curved. Do you think that might be one of the reasons you never really broke through in the states the way groups like Garbage did just a few years later? I also went back and listened to all of your old punk stuff (like The Mothers) which can be found on Youtube. Are there any plans to possibly re-release the early punk stuff?
I’m happy that people have generously taken the time to load the Mothers, Def FX on You Tube – that is re-release enough. Def plans to do a farewell tour of Australia – we had one scheduled in 2017 and we were bringing my friends ‘My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult’ on the road with us. But the promoter cancelled the tour just three months out. At the time that was a terrible shock for all of us – we were looking forward to it – and so were the Def Fan Family and TKK Fan Family. But I think in a way it was for the best.
Two catastrophic hurricanes hit my island home at the time I would have been on tour in Australia. Instead I was on island and experienced both of them in all of their harrowing, terrifying and awe inspiring destruction. I was on ground zero and ready to assist in the recovery and rescue efforts – in that time I was grateful that the roof stayed on my home and that my body was healthy and strong enough to search for missing people, deliver food and relief bags, remove debris and clear roads, bail out flood waters from people’s homes and do this not once, but twice. I guess God/dess decided I would be more useful contributing in this way, rather than entertaining people on stage.
Def will do one more tour – hopefully in 2019 – we will see.
As a rock star (and you are still a rock star even if you don’t think of yourself that way), what roll does music play in your life today? Do you have any current favorite bands, especially ones that might appeal to Witches and Pagans?
I teach spin at a local studio as a part time job. I enjoy making eclectic playlists that span current hits, like K.Flay’s Run for your Life, The Weekend with Kendrick Lamar, Pray for Me– through to Alok remixing Jagger Gotta Get A Grip to classic 90’s like The Crystal Method’s Name of the Game and further back to Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones and Peter Gunn Theme by Henry Mancini. And of course Alanis Morissette’s – You Outta Know brings the out the best ride in everyone every time.
My favorite band right now is ‘All Them Witches‘ – a deep dark deconstructed swamp blues rock band from Nashville, their song ‘3-5-7’ off their last album is genius. And I love all their work – my dream is to see them play live one day.
All musical creations of my friend, pagan musician Wendy Rule’s work is captivating and a constant listen – especially her most recent album Black Snake. Wendy’s husband Timothy Van Diest created an amazing album, Vox Solfeggio that is a nightly listen on my Spotify list – his meditative trance pieces that help me sleep peacefully.
You are currently working as a pilot in the Caribbean, and while reading about that I sensed a lot of contentment. What’s made this chapter of your life so satisfying? How much room is left over to be a public Witch?
The journey to step away from a career in the public eye and become a professional pilot, with a focus on donating humanitarian aid and service flights was a long and demanding one, spanning five years of flight school, building hours and passing check ride after check ride. I did not think I would step back into the public eye. But through Facebook I got a tap on the shoulder from a previous publisher asking if I would consider writing a book about my life. I meditated on the opportunity and communed with my understanding of a Higher Power and determined that it could be an opportunity to be of service. And so I went ahead and wrote my autobiography.
When ‘The Naked Witch‘ was released last year, I was overwhelmed with the positive response. Readers thanked me for being so frank, about my Craft, about the challenging experiences of my life and how I learned to survive. That’s all I hoped when I wrote the book, that my mistakes – both practical and magickal and the lessons I learned would be useful to others. I love that people, Witches and Non-witches, have found my story inspiring and helpful in navigating their own lives. I think this reflects an openness now in the general public to embrace people’s differences and learn from them. Its not about being politically correct, it’s about being rational and informed.
I wasn’t planning to write another book about practicing the Craft, at this point in my life I had taken it back for me just to be a part of my daily life as I work in the aviation industry. (And yes, a plane is much more comfortable than a broomstick! I will never get tired of this joke!) But with so many people asking me for more information about how I live as a Witch now, I am writing a new book tentatively called All Witch-All The Time sharing the practices and knowledge I have forged living on this little rock in the Caribbean for the last seven years. It will likely be released later this year.
Again I meditated on whether it would be useful to do this work. And it appears it is – so I am grateful for the opportunity. My first internationally released book, ‘Witch A Magickal Journey‘ was released in a Twentieth Anniversary edition by HarperCollins last year. In the twenty plus years since I ‘came out of the broom closet’ it’s wonderful to see the growth and positive strength forged in our magickal community. The foreword I was asked to write for the 20th anniversary edition celebrates that there are plenty of public Witch’s out there now. If my efforts all those years ago had a small role to play in the freedom now to openly share our Craft then my humble work is done.
Fiona will be at Hexfest in New Orleans (along with some less exciting presenters like Jason Mankey) this August 2018, presenting two workshops: Hurricane Magick and The Healthy Witch. A few tickets are still available, come join us!