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Witch & Popcorn

May, 2019

I’d
heard a filmmaker named Penny Lane was releasing a documentary about
The Satanic Temple, and I was stoked. Then, I heard it did well!
Imagine how thrilled I then was when our beloved editor told me we
had been offered the opportunity to review it!

Here
is the Trailer:

I
know. I know.

Some
of you are balking at the nerve- Satanists! Some, not just Xtians,
believe what the media and mainstream Evangelicals tell us the Church
of Satan and The Satanic Temple is all about- devil worship. Nothing
could be farther from the truth, as this intimate portrait of some of
the chapters of The Satanic Temple reveals.

The
film follows the idea to place a Satanic monument in the State
Capital of Arkansas- not to proselytize or convert people to
Satanism- but to promote religious equality. They have a lawsuit
going to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the State government
grounds, and stated if the Xtain monument goes up- ALL religious
monuments ought to go up. And those of us who watch the news know
that was turned down. The lawsuit continues.

The
process of creating the statue was shown, and the way the Satanic
Temple (TST) raised funds to pay for it. Namingly, through donations,
and what they earn at a shop.

Not
only co-founder and spokesperson of TST, Lucien Greaves, but many
members, some of whom opted to remain anonymous, grant interviews for
this film, but they gave a unified message. TST is looking for
government to be secular, and for the government not to preach
religion, or give religious preference, as it currently does. TST
members embrace personal liberty, justice, and rebellion against
oppressive practices and arbitrary authority. Satanism is about
embracing independence, and not being controlled by other people.

In
the documentary, many news stories about what various TST chapters
are doing for their greater communities is shown, including not only
lawsuits, but after school Satan clubs, highway adoption, beach
cleanup, menstrual product gathering and donation, sock gathering and
donation to the homeless, as well as blood drives.

This
is a stark contrast from the “Satanic Panic’s” claims of the
1980’s and 1990’s! Remember when Dungeons and Dragons games
supposedly opened a portal to suck kids souls to hell? One thing you
might not know is this era saw innocent people jailed for things they
did not do, and multiple lives ruined in the process. TST members who
spoke of it compared the 20th Century’s “Satanic
Panic” to the witch hunts of Medieval times.

So,
it’s well-established you won’t see a Satanist do the things
spooky movies and uninformed “god hates fags” sign- wielding
Evangelicals claim. Aside from doing the above-mentioned community
service work, you will see them embracing seven tenets outlined in
the film, which are:

  1. One
    should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all
    creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The
    struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should
    prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s
    body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The
    freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to
    offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of
    another is to forego your own.
  5. Beliefs
    should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We
    should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our
    beliefs.
  6. People
    are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify
    it, and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  7. Every
    tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action
    and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should
    always prevail over the written or spoken word.

This organization, of course stemmed out of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, founded on April 30, 1966. He may be the most famous, if not the most notorious leader the organization has had, and most certainly the most colorful. In his Satanic Bible, which, no doubt ruffled more than a few feathers, he stated he saw men go to drink, see strippers, and whatnot- all the things Xtianity forbade in those days- and then sit up in church Sunday with wives and kids as if they were model Xtians. It left quite an impression on LaVey, who chose Satan as the archetype for his new religion- not to WORSHIP the devil- but he said Satan kept the church in business, and most honestly embodied the true nature of humanity. Thus instead of deprivation, as the churches taught, LaVey sought to embrace our passions, desires, intellect, and animal side, as we were born to do.

Perhaps
The original Church of Satan was an occult response of sorts to the
“Free Love” movement, but it’s one that speaks to people still,
today. TST and The Church of Satan are two completely different
entities, but they have some similarities, and I respect them both.

In
Hail Satan?, you will see various legal battles multiple TST chapters
have waged in the name of justice, and you will hear personal stories
from devoted members. You will also witness a very impassioned
chapter administrator violate policies of TST, and be fired.

Despite
some beliefs TST is a small cult, it has a National Council, and
dozens of chapters nationwide, as well as international chapters, and
a well-organized system.

The
big question many ask- if TST is not evil and all about destruction,
WHY call it by the name Satan, who many believe is the greatest evil
ever?

Remember
what Anton LaVey said about Satan being a fitting archetype for man’s
true nature for one thing. For another thing, members are
deliberately trying to jolt people’s awareness, and they do not
mind offending people. They have been called the Antichrist, and one
member says that IS half true. They protest the atrocities the church
has imposed upon humanity for so long. Beyond that, they protest, and
reject the mind control and oppression the church has enforced.
Catholic groups seem especially fond of protesting TST chapters, and
one member says they have a lot of gall calling Satanics sinful after
all the abuse and rapes of children. Satan was known as the
adversary- so the church and the oppression she enforces HAS an
adversary in The Satanic Temple- which is quite pro-human.

TST
is among many things, pro-individual, against blind faith, pro-gay,
pro-choice, anti-rape, pro-trans, and all for questioning that which
is forbidden.

Some
ask why TST does not just call themselves atheists if they do not
worship the devil? One member states atheism just states what you are
NOT. There is no ritual or definition. TST defines everything and
gives ritual and structure.

Some
don’t know this, but I have read more than one Satanic publication
over the years, and while I’m not a member, I am in agreement with
their beliefs and practices. I have friends who are also, one of whom
agreed to a short interview.

Interview
with Jodi @ Satanism

SaoirseWhat first drew you to The Church of Satan, or The Satanic
Temple’s teachings?

Jodi-
Curiosity as a child in contrast to what I was
being brainwashed with by fundamentalists. I first picked up LaVey in
middle school or so. A mixture of curiosity and rebellion. I met
other kids who were interested in high school. That’s what those
thumpers get.

Saoirse-
Did the adults raising you find out perchance?

Jodi-
Yes. My mother was absolutely mortified when
she discovered my copy of The Satanic Bible, hidden with my
cigarettes in my dresser. Naturally, she ordered me to stop and go to
church but…fail. Only made my quest that much more enticing. Mother
had many books that warned against Satanic & occult teachings. In
the beginning, I used these as cross-references to find the knowledge
I was seeking. Those books of hers were so funny to me….the titles
and all.

Saoirse-
People who were ignorant raised me also. I did not wake up until I
was in my 20’s. Late!

Jodi-
I think that’s pretty normal.

No
matter what path you choose…to not start to really branch out of
the family illusion

Until
the mid-twenties or so.

I
was teaching Catholicism to school kids during my twenties even
though I was a practicing witch. It was sort of a marital obligation
thing, I though and the director or religion was DESPERATE.

He
called me an Angel… lmao. He regretted that…especially when he
learned I was encouraging children to wait til adulthood to get
confirmed.

Saoirse-
Catholicism and witchcraft go very well together.

Jodi-
I agree.

Saoirse-
I agree. You cannot GIVE anybody to a god or goddess. All baptisms
and confirmations belong in adulthood.

Jodi-
Amen. The church puts too much pressure on kids. Not to
mention, indoctrination is bullshit.

Saoirse-
Exactly.

Jodi-
The way is to choose for the self. One of many reasons I embrace the
teachings.

Saoirse-
What is a favorite Satanic teaching of yours?

Jodi-
I like the contrast of putting those who move
to harm you in their place over the xtian turning the other cheek.
There is much to be said for compassion and forgiveness, yes but also
standing up for one’s self, remorselessly.

Our
culture has been conditioned to take too much shit…which is part of
the reason we are all suffering in this age. We are used to being
walked on and told what to do.

Living
in fear isn’t living

Saoirse-
Exactly.

Jodi-
Satanism encourages a healthy lifestyle and self-esteem.

Some
of this depends on what variety of Satanism we’re talking about,
but you understand.

Saoirse-
What has embracing these tenets
and teachings done for your life?

Jodi-
They have made a way for me to learn of and about myself and others
in a respectful manner. They’ve crushed the early indoctrination I
was force-fed as a child and allowed me to rebuild my own opinions
and Will. It made a way for what I want for my life versus what
others expect or condone.

The
verdict on this is it is one of the best documentaries I have ever
seen, and it did my heart good to see the beautiful people of TST,
and all the wonderfulness they are spreading within their
organization, and in their communities in general.

This
film is a must see.

Here is the link to the films page, and how you can see this for yourself!

Happy
viewing, and Blessed Be!

***

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
.

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

***

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
.