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Witch & Popcorn

March, 2019

Dracula

This month, I reviewed Dracula, the original one starring Bela Lugosi.

OH MY!!!!!

They just don’t make movies like they used to!

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve found the divine Bela Lugosi to be positively magnificent, but I have never sat and watched the entire original Dracula he made famous.

I waited too long, and if you have not seen it, don’t wait any longer.

Take a look at the trailer of what we have been missing!

Universal has released a set of Blu-Rays’s called “Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection”, and it has six films, including the 1931 Dracula with Bela. The films were made from 1931-1948, and include Dracula, Dracula’s Daughter, Son of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and the very funny Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

I will watch the rest of the films this week, but I have watched plenty of horrors from this era.

The charm of old Hollywood is a feast for the eyes, and the drama of more theatrical type performances actors in movies used to do makes the stories more fantastical.

Bela Lugosi played Dracula so well, people said he WAS the immortal Dracula. Far from it, he was said to be shy in America because of his heavy European accent- YES, it was real! And he suffered from severe sciatica, which led to his reliance on prescription painkillers to the point of addiction. In his acting, he transcended his suffering to become larger than life, and to set the standard for the sexy undead blood drinker who made men, women, and future generations scream in terror and swoon with admiration.

The film is an adaption of Bram Stokers horror novel, Dracula and in the film, it is set in the gorgeous 1930’s, complete with silk, damask, oversized furniture bedecked with art deco finery, and spectacular makeup and clothes.

The film is wildly entertaining, but holds magical truths!

The story begins with the ill fated Renfield’s trip to Transylvania for a business deal with Dracula, who strides into the filthy, ramshackle set of Castle Dracula, and lights it up like the Prince of Darkness he was. We all know Dracula completely destroys poor Renfield, played like nobody else could by Dwight Frye, who ironically died young, himself.

Frye, a veteran actor, starring in more than 60 films in his 44 years, is as big a presence on screen as Lugosi, and really set the standard for Renfield in future Dracula productions. This is also a testament to not only exquisite character development, and passionate acting, but astoundingly good makeup. Frye’s Renfield is initially what would have been called a “dandy” back in that day, and is reduced by Dracula into a Smeagel like writhing creature who more resembles a maimed, maniacal worm than anything else. Frye plays both aspects of Renfield to the max.

All of the acting is equally as good as Frye’s and Lugosi’s, but it is the character of Van Helsing I want to explore in depth, because it is he who exemplifies the occult truths the film expresses.

Of course, we know vampires ARE real, but are not undead blood suckers. Some are simple energy workers who can be very helpful and pleasant, and others may even be completely unconscious of the fact they are vampires, and are a downright pain in the ass. The pain in the ass folk are the ones who drain people’s energy and we might be stuck sharing an office or even a home with them. Some do this on purpose, however. Many of us have at least one family member we could put in this category. Unfortunately.

The film, however portrays the vampire of folklore, which is nothing like the real vampires who live among us. Dracula is dead and needs the blood of the living to survive. He has to sleep in the dirt he was buried in, hates crucifixes and wolfsbane, turns into a bat, and REALLY digs chicks. He keeps wolves for company, and refers to them as “children of the night” and drops the famous quotes like “The blood is the life”.

The wise Professor Van Helsing , who is called in when medicine cannot explain what has killed the lovely Lucy and is sickening her beloved friend Mina, is said to “knows as much about obscure diseases as anyone in the world” in Bram Stokers Novel. Van Helsing also studied other obscure topics, and as luck would have it, vampires happened to be one of those topics. While he was educated in all modern topics, he knew enough not to discard knowledge of the supernatural, most especially when he observed it himself.

As witches, we KNOW people used to be accused of doing impossible things like flying on brooms, and having sex with the biblical devil, and we know the dangers of such uneducated thinking. But we also know how quick many are to dismiss established occult truth such as the ability to move energy, and the harm that can result by the activity of malevolent spirits.

This truth is revealed by Van Helsing in the film when he says, “The strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him.” How many people have insisted that a curse will not work on you if you do not believe in the power of the curse? Good luck with that. A practitioner proficient in curses will not leave any clue they have cursed you. It is like saying you believe you will not catch a disease, so it is therefore impossible to. I am reminded of a very old preacher who told me he never got sick because he believed in Jesus- instead of being thankful he had a strong immune system, that is.

I am also reminded of another individual. I used to have a neighbor from Haiti, who I asked about Voodoo, and he almost shit a brick in fear talking about how awful he felt Voodoo was. He said that he, and many others converted to Xtianity to escape Voodoo and the Voodoo curses, which he claimed Jesus protected against. I would hear the drumming and chanting prayers he did with friends calling Jesus regularly. Well, as some know, I have a relationship with Papa Legba. Papa always let me know he did NOT like my neighbor. One night, said neighbor tore his entire apartment apart, throwing everything all over the place, and even ripping the kitchen cabinets off the walls. The neighbor on the other side of him said he heard the man arguing with somebody else- but police said there was nobody else in the apartment. I was told there had been one hell of a fight. The neighbor disappeared without a trace, and family came around looking for him for weeks following the incident. Jesus did not stave off whatever magic had been flung at him. And no, it was not just him being bonkers- I asked Papa.

Belief does not equal reality, but it does create our perception of reality, and Van Helsing knew Dracula used the fact modern people did not believe in vampires to take as many victims as he wanted.

Van Helsing was able to look beneath Dracula’s glamour, a very powerful magical weapon. Dracula’s glamour just might have worked had he not become overly confident, and gone into Mina’s home, because that is where it was discovered he did not show up in the mirror, starting Van Helsing’s quest to kill Dracula.

Two lessons to us as witches come through this. Keep your glamour strong, and don’t get sloppy. Also, learn to see beneath other people’s glamour. Dracula had portrayed himself as a charming, handsome Count from another land. He was very well spoken, friendly, and nobody would have seen him as a threat. Even within our metaphysical circles and public communities, people whose glamour is undetected by the masses allows them a way in to manipulate, and cause harm. Be the witch who speaks up and expresses something is not right, as Van Helsing was, and protect your community.

Beyond being a fantastic film adaption of a fantastic classic horror novel, this film reminds us that magic and the occult are not obsolete and it is very important to be well versed in modern mundane knowledge as well as educated about the hidden, the occult. It also reminds us that as those who are aware of the role spirits, and energy plays in our everyday life, to keep our eyes, ears, and sixth senses open to when something is just not right.

Don’t take my word for it! Go watch this great film!

Happy Viewing!

Blessed Be!

Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection on Amazon

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Magical Items Can be Found at Fairy Behind the Door An Interview with Artist Jassmond Masters-Bell

July, 2018

 

Fairies. Gnomes. Greenman. The moon. And lots and lots of doors. Hundreds of original, intricately designed and brightly painted items are for sale at Fairy Behind the Door on Etsy.

It all happened by accident,” Jassmond Masters-Bell

said. “I just happened to see a small fairy door mold 10 years ago, and I bought it for myself just to have a little door in my garden I was establishing at the time. I love creating gardens and I was just looking for accessories to go into the garden. This was when the fairy garden explosion happened

When I molded it and it came out beautifully, I showed my first molded fairy door to my husband and he said. ‘Why don’t you make more and see if you can sell them?’”


She did and got rave reviews at a Ren Faire. She made more and put them on eBay.

They just went.”

Although Jassmond comes from an artistic family, working long days in broadcasting – sometimes 100-hour weeks – left her no time for artistic endeavors, but the doors continued to captivate her and so she began making them at home between shifts of her daily job.

It was a very messy procedure,” she said of working with concrete and having dust all around the house all the time.

When the broadcasting company employing Jassmond folded in 2010, she wanted to continue working in the magical fairy world. Moving from Maryland to Colorado’s Rocky Mountains allowed her to have a workshop where she could fully concentrate on more of her own designs and whimsical ideas, finding a pathway to a new career.


When I am in my workshop, I can get locked away down there for hours on end in my own little area … and hope my brain will create something wonderful,” Jassmond said, adding only her cats are allowed in.

Through the years she tried various compounds until recently finding PermaStone.

It’s a beautiful thing to work with. It’s crack and frost resistant. It lasts. It’s soft and light,” she said.

The process is involved. She sculpts an item from clay that must be dried slowly over several days. Layers of latex are applied to make the mold that is then filled with a concrete mix or stone compound, painted in vibrant detail and sealed to withstand the elements.

Each product has a little story that gives it some fantasy as well as a personality.

I’m very fussy about my work. It doesn’t go out unless I’m absolutely positively sure this is what I want to represent me.”


The description for one weathered blue door reads, “This Fairy door belongs to Mrs Odina. She owns a Nights Fairy dormitory where she allows the traveling fairy to stop by and sleepover before they continue on their journey. She runs a tight tree house, her fees are fair but you have to bring your own berries and goats milk for breakfast. It says on the Door ‘Fairies Sleeping’ so be quiet when you pass by.”

Not all doors open to fairy abodes. Take the purple Wibble door. It belongs “to the tiny Wibble people that live among the fae. They are very strange, cute but rarely seen. They usually are the ones that go hunting for ‘Ambergris’ mushrooms so that they can cultivate them and sell their perfume to the Fairies.”

Jassmond said, “I love writing. I want to put what each symbol actually means. I want it to be very earth-like.”

Accessories she has designed allow customers to create their own magical spaces with a selection of windows, flower pots, trellises, mailboxes, lanterns, trees, mushrooms, watering cans, bird baths, pathways and fences.

From fairy doors, she moved onto other beloved objects such as dragon eggs and Buddha cats, which soon found themselves in saturated markets.

I don’t want my shop to look like somebody else’s. I want to be original, so that’s what I’m aiming for – to open up a range of things other people will not have. You get them by designing them yourself.

I look for things that people love all the time … like cats and dogs. People always want cats and dogs because cats and dogs are always part of the family. So I’m expanding my cat range at the moment,” she said of avoiding current fads.

She does commission work as well, such as creating an animal in remembrance of a beloved pet that died. While she likes dogs, she loves cats, and painting them is one of the tasks she most likes.

A commissioned piece Jassmond recently began working on – a large one-of-a-kind plaque for a high priestess – is moving her more into the pagan world where she is quite comfortable.


I have a lot of ideas and I really want to get those going” she said of making more pagan symbols.

I would like to bring back some of the old pagan symbols … Nature is not respected, I feel, in our culture. I would like to make people more aware that these symbols do actually mean something.” Customers have also been asking her to add them to her shop.

For instance, she said, “a lot of people think the pentagram is a witchcraft symbol. It’s not. It actually is a sign of protection, but a lot of people think it’s a sign of evil. I think by doing more of these symbols I really would like to educate people about what these really are.”

Jassmond was somewhat surprised that most of her customers are adults.

That’s the kick I get out of it – that it’s not just for kids. I get more adults approaching me for advice on how to create a fairy garden for all the family if not for themselves.”

Inventory is limited.

When I’m making something I try to make two or three. The reason why I do that is one year I made a door for a customer. I was packing it up and I dropped it. …Since that accident happened I always have a backup and that backup now becomes stock. I always try to have at least one.”

Everything is infused with her own love and magic, and customer reviews bear that out.

Items range from 1-14 inches and from $9.99-$110.00. Those in stock ship sooner than those requiring casting, painting and finishing. She welcomes custom work as well.

You can visit Jassmond Masters-Bell and see her work at her Etsy shop Fairy Behind the Door on her site:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FairybehindtheDoor?ref=si_shop

Be sure to check out Jassmond’s Facebook Page at:

https://www.facebook.com/FAIRYBEHINDTHEDOOR/

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.