Monday, October 31, 2011

THE FINAL WITCH: Morgaine is Calling

Spender Stanhope's
Morgan le Fay
Morgaine is Calling
Morgaine, my love, are you calling me?
From beyond the lusty, soulful seas
Of retrograde calamity!
Supreme, you once reigned over me;
When distractions outweighed reality,
A glorious mistress named Destiny.
Yes, She tests us all again and again;
And as planets come ‘round, doubts may set in, but …
Lo! New journeys are ripe to begin!
Morgaine, my heart, your day is done!
No karmic bondage, no smoking gun;
For tenets once binding are long since unsung.
But know this …
You are my moral compass,
My lamplight in the black;
You are what keeps me straight & true,
Though your call harkens me back.

~
I look fondly on the past,
But seek refuge in the present.
Even though …
Morgaine is calling.
 ©January 29, 2008, Mercury Retrograde, Inferior Conjunction
“The term Archetype began with Carl Jung. In Jung’s terms, ‘archetype’ is defined as the first original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned or emulated.  These patterns derive from a universal collective consciousness which in metaphysics is called the Grids, Akashic Records, Sea of Consciousness, that which creates our reality.  In this context, archetypes are innate prototypes for ideas, which may subsequently become involved in the interpretation of observed phenomena.” (author unknown)... Archetypes are visual symbols or energetic imprints that exist in our psyche.  They can often convey messages that verbal and written communication cannot.   As simple energy patterns, archetypes are often neutral.  The subjectivity of our personal experience and the way we are perceived by others, and how those two perspectives interact, interpret those archetypes and how they manifest in both light and shadow aspects in our lives.  Upon feeling our archetypical energy, we give it form embodying it in the mainstream in popular film, fiction, drama, and the world’s religion and mythology.  These embodied archetypes, when viewed retrospectively or in sequence, become the colorful tapestry of our personal mythos, our story."  Excerpted from a Blogpost dated January 28, 2008.

Jessica Walters as Morgan le Fay
in tv's "Dr. Strange"
I wrote the poem above in 2008 at the beginning of a significant transition in my life.  It wasn’t the first time Morgaine encouraged me through a difficult period, but it was the first time I was able to unload enough emotional baggage to finally feel free.

As Archetypes go (and witches for that matter), Morgan Le Fay from the Arthurian legends, or Morgaine as I prefer to call her, is one of my personal favorites.  I’ve written much about her in my blog here.  I find her most fascinating because as I changed and grew, she changed and grew in my pop-culture lens right along with me. As the evil Sorceress Morgan Le Fay, she was one dimensional, bent by the mainstream media to be an evil witch, focused on power, conquest, and the evil use of magic.  She made countless appearances in comic books and also some on television.  

Then, I discovered Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon”, and Morgan became Morgaine, Sister to King Arthur Son of a Hundred Kings, and a Priestess of the old religion.  Like the witch  Elphaba in “Wicked”, she became multi-dimensional in her story and likewise when applied to my personal growth and changing archetypes.  I devoured that book and Bradley's other works hungrily, convinced the author experienced past life memories rather than simply creating fantasy. The stories were too rich. They resonated too strongly within me.

Morgan le Fay
by Anthony Frederick Sandy's
Morgaine is my favorite, the most meaningful, and the final “witch” in my Halloween Countdown.  I also realize this is a personal posting that may not make much sense to you.  She is special to me for many reasons, but for now, her mysteries include these messages: 
  • Don’t let others steal your power. If you’re too hung up on how others feel about you, or too hung up on the past, you’re giving it all away. 
  • The goddess is everywhere.  When modern spirituality began to change, She didn’t disappear; she simply took a step back to let the nonsense play itself out.
  • Be aware of what lies behind the veil.  Everything we perceive is subject to the lens we view it through. 
  • Everyone is entitled to their point of view, their own voice. Anything less is a conscious or unconscious ploy for control. 





Have a wonderful Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

And now a few words from Mimi & Eunice ...

STEEL CAGE
around your mind

FIXING STUPID


LOOKING FOR PROBLEMS


DRAMA
It's the end of the world!

TRIGGER


EVERYONE'S FAVORITE COPING MECHANISM


LET THEM GO
if you love someone

HALLOWEEN WITCH #5: Malificent of "Sleeping Beauty"

Aside from Snow White’s “Evil Queen”, who is well known and very horrible, “Sleeping Beauty’s” Malificent is a 9.9 on Disney’s richter scale of evil.  Contrary to popular belief, however, Malificent is not a witch but an evil faerie; on a par with the Fairy Godmother, only selfish, jealous, and narcissistic.  She was the fairy that didn’t get invited to Princes Aurora’s christening and then got really, really pissed off about it.

Rather than go into a bunch of descriptive information that you can see for yourself in the video below, I’d like to take a look at this spectacular  villain’s staying power. 

First, she’s been in a number of movies, video games and novels since her first appearance in “Sleeping Beauty” fifty years ago in 1959.  This is in addition to having a solid presence at Disney’s theme parks, where she appears in the night time spectacular “Fantasmic”, is on stage regularly and plays a strong lead in Halloween festivities. 

At this time, Malificent is stepping into the mainstream and set to appear in ABC’s latest epic fantasy drama “Once Upon a Time” this Sunday night – tonight, in fact.   Played by “True Blood’s”  Kristen Bauer, she is supposed to make a single appearance as the Evil Queen’s nemesis, with rumors of a recurring role.  What I’ve seen on line looks delicious. 

Most surprising, however, is that Disney has a live action movie in development right now and scheduled for a 2013 release.  Entitled aptly “Malificent”, rumor has it her Nefariousness will be played by Angelina Jolie.  Fans in the know spend a lot of time speculating over who should play that role, as you can see below, as well.  There are rumors that Tim Burton of “Alice in Wonderland” may direct, although I’ve also read that “Black Swan’s”  Darren Aronofsky may do the deed.  I’ve had enough of Tim Burton, thank you very much, so quite frankly having Helena Bonham Carter play Malificent is simply out of the question.  I don’t know how I feel about Aronofsky.  I saw “Black Swan” and was aptly impressed, but his use of CGI was subtle and his character’s descent into madness was somewhat understated.  I don’t know if subtle and understated is what Malificent demands.  Nor do I know if Aronofsky’s work delves deeply enough into pop-culture fantasy to follow her all the way into the depths of hell.

With only one more witch to salute by Halloween, which is tomorrow, let’s take a moment to savor the shapeshifting demoness Malificent.

Her message is this: The next time someone gets on your nerves, I mean REALLY gets on your nerves, don’t hesitate to transform into a giant dragon and pound the shit out of them.  Just make sure you don’t trip and fall off a cliff when you’re doing it.



All rights to the creators of these videos.

Friday, October 28, 2011

HALLOWEEN WITCH COUNTDOWN #4: Snow White's Evil Queen

Excerpt from Countdown #1:  The Witch.  There are big ones, small ones, fat ones, and tall ones. I've been called one, felt like one, and look like one frequently. I've cast spells like one, had 'em bounce back on me like one because I wasn’t doing it right, and felt regrets like one ... even if it's only regret for having my hair messed up by the open window in the van. In corporate, there were times when I had to act like one, so naturally when I got home I caught hell for being one because I couldn’t change gears quickly enough.  I’m glad that isn’t a current issue.  My friends wonder if I used to be one, and I have at least one hater out there who maintains the belief that I truly am a witch.

Oh please.

I firmly believe that deep down, every woman is a witch, in a kitchen-y/healing/intuitive kind of way (granted many women have simply forgotten this), and every witch is wise. I've done a number of artistic pieces reflecting that belief, as well. Like the tarot, witches and witchcraft inspire my art because categorically they peek into the mysteries of womanhood and strive to explain its secrets.

Writer’s Note: This is a re-re-worked version of a blogpost I wrote in 2008.

There is something inherently pathetic about a witch who won’t do her own dirty work. If you’re going to embrace the devil in your psyche, the least you can do is wield the poison apple yourself. This is the lesson learned by the Evil Queen in Disney’s “Snow White”, the subject of our Halloween Witch Countdown #4.


One may argue that The Evil Queen, also known as Queen Grimhilde, is not a witch, but a royal matriarch, and therefore is disqualified from this tribute. I would disagree with that. Any woman who is narcissistic enough to get hung up on her beauty, for example, or riches, or power, and then kill someone to protect it, should be elevated to witch status … um, evil witch status, that is. After all, every woman is a witch, and every witch is wise, right? Walt Disney certainly understood this. Glinda from “TheWizard of Oz”, as I’ve stated previously, was incurably annoying, but she was, most certainly, what we might consider a good witch. It is interesting to note that Queen Grimhilde, voiced by Lucille La Verne, was also Disney’s first “serious” villain in a full length feature, and has yet to be surpassed for excellence in sheer malignancy.

One must acknowledge the presence of OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder, in most all of these evil women, as well. Cruella had to have a Dalmatian puppy coat. Trying to realize that desire in a number of nefarious ways finally did her in. The evil queen, Narcissa (what a name!) in Disney’s “Enchanted” had a thing for her stepson. I’d rather not analyze that too closely, thank you, and not just because he was a completely self-centered dolt whose teeth were way too big for his face. Yet, despite calling on her powers as a shape shifter and turning into a dragon just like Malificent (from “Sleeping Beauty”), who by all counts was an evil feary and not really a witch, she managed to be outdone by Love’s First Kiss, which is about as pathetic as it gets.

Disney’s Evil Queen is a regal bitch who probably started out as a scullery maid. She happened to be graced with good looks. Perhaps she got lucky enough to find the King alone in his office when, after a difficult day on the stock market, he needed a good blow job. She was happy to oblige, after which one might speculate it was her good looks that found him enamored of her, so much that he had his first wife tossed unceremoniously from a parapet. The king neglected to reveal that he had a daughter by his first wife, who was also lovely, although very young. She, of course, was quickly banished to the Kingdom’s projects, where she shacked up with seven little people, because, after all, there can be only one good looking bitch in the castle. These little people took advantage of Snow White for house cleaning services and singing with woodland creatures when they weren’t in the diamond mines slaving for the precious gems upon which the Kingdom’s failing economy was based. Before too long, the Kingdom would be forced to purchase those precious gems from other countries such as Far, Far Away, and the seven little homeys would have no choice but to work at Kingdom-Mart, where they would be fired if they were caught whistling on the job. In fact, it was this crash in the market that drove the King to his own death shortly after being married.

What made Grimhilde, now the reigning matriarch in the kingdom, so darn special was that she could read crystal balls. Some women are just born gifted, I guess. Soon, scrying became her chosen tool of divination, and she used it to find and promptly dispose of other young, lovely and nubile ladies in the realm. Nobody knows why she ended up with that annoying Magic Mirror, but it was he who couldn’t keep his big trap shut when the banished princess got old enough to be competition. Maybe one of the little people, thrust into a personal alcoholic hell after losing his job, couldn’t keep HIS big trap shut in the local pub. After all, he couldn’t get any insurance at Kingdom-Mart and so his addiction was never treated.

Anyhow, The Evil Queen sent a Huntsman to kill the princess, and demanded her heart be returned in a pretty little box. I just love little boxes. She threatened the Huntsman with death if he failed. Naturally, he did, and if that wasn’t enough, he tried to deceive her, as well, because he needed his job desperately providing that you just can’t find good help these days. The Evil Queen, an alchemist at heart, descended into her dungeon laboratory, where she drank polyjuice to look like the old woman who worked in the Castle’s laundry.

The rest is history.

The fact that the Evil Queen sacrificed the very thing she coveted to get what she wanted, her beauty, is what perplexes me the most. It is, however, a testament to the severity of her OCD, which is undoubtedly what she would blame if she were arrested for premeditated murder and put on trial. She wasn’t, of course. People in true power, no matter what time in history, can get away with raping the country they live in, and having others killed for the sake of convenience. This, after all, is fact and can be seen time and time again on the internet (however, now in mainstream media).

The moral of this story, if there is such a thing, is two-fold. First, let’s acknowledge that the Kingdom did not have a decent plastic surgeon. If it did, the Evil Queen would never have bothered with the Magic Mirror and the whole crises could’ve been averted. Second is the age old axiom, if you want a job done well, you have to do it yourself.

Pretty box or no, if Grimhilde wanted Snow White killed, she should’ve put aside her class bigotry and racism and ventured into the projects to do it herself to begin with.

WITCH COUNT #3: The Scarlet Witch

I’ve had an adult crush on The Scarlett Witch for a little over 10 years.  I wasn’t focused on her as a kid, but as I grew up, something about her looks and powers attracted me.   It might just be a fantasy about wearing the red spandex.  I’m pretty sure as comic books go, she’s one of the few if not the only mainstream or primary Marvel character that is a good witch.  So why the Scarlet Witch won't be in the new Avenger's movie rather than the Black Widow (boring) is beyond me.

I identify with Wanda Maximoff aka The Scarlet Witch, number 3 in my countdown to Halloween,  because she’s been through so many iterations during her life and career.  I went through many iterations before figuring out who I was, too.  It was like the writers and artists had a hard time settling on the details around what made Wanda special.   Wanda has the ability to manipulate probability, which I think is pretty damn cool.  But they dorked around with the origin of her powers, the breadth of her powers, what kind of magic she wielded, and the level of control she exercised over them the whole time she was in print.  Nobody screwed around with Wonder Woman. She was who she was right from the start, more or less. Nobody dared screw with her mythos either (until recently and WTF? is that about, anyhow).  

I think manipulating probability would be incredibly awesome, not just at a Black Jack table in Vegas, but also in daily life.  All chattering about destiny and synchronicity aside, a significant portion of life seems random to me (being in the right place at the right time and all that), so manipulating probability seems the perfect way to stack the deck just a wee bit more in one’s favor, right?  

Initially, Wanda’s hexes were short rage and limited to her line of sight, which is totally metaphorical.  The ability to affect change in our lives, particularly when we’re younger, might be limited to those things we think we can see clearly or understand.  It also implies a desire to control our lives, particularly when we’ve had rough beginnings and need to heal, like I did.  Wanda’s hexes were unconscious for a time, and now and again they backfired.  This is so me, as well.  As a young adult, many of my reactions were unconscious, and much of what I thought I had under control backfired.  Then I learned how to respond, rather than react all the time, which was life altering.

The writer’s introduced Chaos Magic “a form of magic so dreaded and horrific that all of Earth’s sorcerers made a pact …” … sounds pretty gross, doesn’t it?  The entire world is made of chaos magic, folks.  It’s called CURRENT EVENTS and, man, it’s happening right now.  The Janese earthquake, Joplin tornados, the recent and on-going stock market uncertainty, the latest depression, the mortgage foreclosure crisis, unemployment, cancer, HIV, hunger.  There has got to be some nasty super villain out there fucking everything up!  We need a superhero now more than ever. We Americans don’t call upon Laxmi or Ganesh.  We call upon Superman and Batman to save the day!  Maybe that’s why the current rush of superhero movies is doing so well.  We need “The AVENGERS!”  If that isn’t chaos magic, I don’t know what is.

In the end, the writers decided that Wanda’s powers were a combination of her mutant ability to affect probability and Chaos Magic.  Not too far after that, she became almost omniscient in the ability to utilize endless possibilities.  And so this is where I’d like to leave it … with endless possibilities. 

In this life we are walking through chaos wielding our own form of personal magic, which for me is creativity.  It doesn’t matter if it’s making art or writing.  Creativity is the weapon I have against this changing and often frightening world.  It’s how I keep from being overwhelmed.  It’s how I attempt to stack the deck in my favor.

                Ask yourself if your creations are “powerful enough to alter reality”, “rewrite the entire universe” or “cause multiverse-threatening ripples”. 

                I don’t think we need the power to warp reality.   It’s warped enough already.

                We only need endless possibilities.

                Such is the power of the Scarlet Witch.

Source.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WITCH COUNTDOWN #2: Endora from "Bewitched"

Imagine this. You’re an ageless but mature beauty, an immortal in fact, not tethered to the physical world. You come and go at will and in a clap of thunder, riding the winds of high drama and high fashion like an expert. You are effortless and free, without suffering even one hair out of place. You’re more fabulous than Bette Davis, more dramatic than Joan Crawford (even your eyebrows are superior), and you make Shirley MacLaine’s past lives seem mundane. You are a classic renaissance woman, irreverent and self-possessed, and you wield the power of the gods with a wave of your hand.

You have one problem.

Your only daughter, the light of your life and heir to your magical legacy, married a chimpanzee. She adores this chimpanzee and insists on living with him. Nothing you say or do will deter her.

If you were Endora, from the series “Bewitched”, you might certainly see circumstances this way. She absolutely loathed mortals, so why wouldn’t she consider Derwood an ape?

Endora is the second witch in my Halloween countdown and one of my absolute favorites. Why? Because beneath that scathing and caustic demeanor and that fabulous sense of style, there beats a good heart. It’s true. She cast a number of charms on Derwood, including one that made everyone hate him and one that gave him an unfailing memory. She also hexed her fair share of business deals.  In fact, she did everything possible to undermine her daughter’s marriage, but she never really hurt the blundering jerk.

Endora didn’t send Dum-Dum to the moon or to purgatory. She never zapped Dustin into the gaping jaws of a tyrannosaurus rex or a hungry great white shark. She didn’t put him in the path of a runaway train or the under the tires of a Cadillac.

 No.

Beneath the flamboyance and indignation, Endora wanted her daughter to be happy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WITCH COUNTDOWN #1: The Wicked Witch of the West

I almost let Halloween drift by without paying tribute to one of my favorite iconic characters.

The Witch. 

There are big ones, small ones, fat ones, and tall ones. I've been called one, felt like one, and look like one frequently. I've cast spells like one, had 'em bounce back on me like one because I wasn’t doing it right, and felt regrets like one ... even if it's only regret for having my hair messed up by the open window in the van. In corporate, there were times when I had to act like one, so naturally when I got home I caught hell for being one because I couldn’t change gears quickly enough.  I’m glad that isn’t a current issue.  My friends wonder if I used to be one, and I have at least one hater out there who maintains the belief that I truly am a witch. 

Looking beyond the word's negative stigma, I firmly believe that deep down, every woman is a witch, in a kitchen-y/healing/intuitive kind of way (granted many women have simply forgotten this), and every witch is wise. I've done a number of artistic pieces reflecting that belief, as well. Like the tarot, witches and witchcraft inspire my art because categorically they peek into the mysteries of womanhood and strive to explain its secrets.


So, with that introduction, I'll begin the Sapphokinesis Halloween Countown right here with one of my all-time favorite witches.  Ponder The Wicked Witch of the West from the acclaimed “Wizard of Oz”.

At first, this Evil Tyrant of the Silver Screen seems to be a one dimensional, monochromatic parody of evil.  She was perpetually doomed to play second fiddle to the effervescent Glinda, who will forever reign as a gay icon. I mean, you can't walk down the Castro in San Francisco without seeing Glinda's condescending smile beaming down at you from a greeting card. If you’ve seen Kristin Chenowith perform recently on television, you know what I mean.  Then, author Gregory McGuire helped us get to know The Witch in his book, "Wicked". Once that became a broadway musical,  The Witch got a name.   Elphaba and her personal mythos became an icon shortly thereafter, and that iconic status reverberates frequently in the newest crop of musical draemedies, like “Glee”. The song “Defying Gravity” is an anthem for emerging personalities everywhere.  It was an anthem for me.

She was a modern woman, this witch, who was unable to recover from a broken heart. When she got hung up on the wrong thing so intently that she tortured pathetic Dorothy over it, she simply couldn't swing back.

And what was it she got hung up on?  Booze, drugs or sex?  No.  It wasn't even a man.

It was shoes.

A pair of ruby slippers.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hilary Parry: The Girl Next Door Who Reads Tarot

I’ve been read by many tarot card readers, and I’ve had all sorts of readings. I’ve had very, very bad readings, and I’ve had some good readings, too.  Even some wonderful ones.  So my experience and discernment ensures I identify and focus my energy on readers who are in touch with good ethics and professionalism.

I read the cards myself, but have done so only once for another person in the last few years.  I use the cards as tools of personal query and spiritual discovery, and they are extremely inspirational to my work and creativity.  

I am connected to a group of tarot readers on-line.  These are tarot professionals who take their work seriously.  They do professional readings, they charge for their time and effort, and they have a client base.  They meet about the tarot, present on the tarot, and in many cases write about the tarot on–line and in published works.  They make it a point to attend tarot symposiums like RS11 and SFBATS, for example, to make connections and to congregate with people of a like mind.  They all have a solid presence on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+.  Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady of Milwaukee, is one of these women.  I bumped into Hilary Parry on-line after she became Theresa Reed’s tarot mentee, and Theresa promoted her work.  I had no qualms about Hilary’s ethics given the company she keeps.

Heeding the call of her heart much like I do with my art, Hilary Parry has just launched her own professional tarot business.  And as part of her promotional introduction, I was fortunate enough to get a free reading that consisted of two questions.

            Our interaction was entirely over the computer, so I put my questions in a message.  Hilary provided the readings back to me the same way.  Given that she and I have never met and have never talked on the phone, I was very impressed with the precision of her work.  Her interpretations of the cards in answer to my queries were not just spot on, but deep and multi-dimensional.  Hilary gleaned the most profound layers, the unseen gems, of the reading and brought them intuitively to the forefront.  This is the profound difference between a “reader” who relies on definitions and established symbolism, regurgitating already published information, and a gifted intuitive.  The intuitive uses her gifts to weave the truest and most pertinent meaning of the cards into a metaphysical tapestry, and then communicates or articulates her discoveries in a way that is understandable to the querent.

I highly recommend Hilary’s services.

You can find Hilary at tarotbyhilary.com and on Facebook.

You can find Theresa Reed at thetarotlady.com and on Facebook.  Theresa is currently redesigning her website, and as soon as she launches, I'll add a link to the side bar here.

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