The article that upset me on Bust is now available online. If you wanted to read it, you can find it here.
My partner and I are avid Bust readers. Bust says that it is a magazine “With an attitude that is fierce, funny, and proud to be female, BUST provides an uncensored view on the female experience. BUST tells the truth about women’s lives and presents a female perspective on pop culture. BUSTing stereotypes about women since 1993″.
Bust comes out once ever two months, so I usually leisurely peruse through the magazine. Tonight I picked up the latest issue, the October/November 2013 issue and came across an article titled “A Broom of One’s Own”, an article about “tales from two months immersed in a world of witchcraft. By Callie Watts“.
I was pretty upset by it and actually sent them an email. Unfortunately, the article is only available to subscribers, so look for it in bookstores if you want to read it, but my response is below. I think the author showed an extreme lack of respect to anyone who is dedicated to actually learning the Craft. I was shocked by the lack of sensitivity showed towards a very female empowering religion in a magazine that prides itself on addressing women’s issues. (Yes, I’m totally that person).
For the very first time I was extremely upset by one of your articles! I was surprised by the lack of thought in the article “A Broom of One’s Own” in your Oct/Nov 2013 issue.
As a Wiccan priestess, I was dismayed by the lack of respect Callie Watts gave my religion. The idea that came across was “Oh, Wicca is so cool and easy, why wouldn’t anyone do it?!!!”.
Wicca is a path of hard work and intense study.
Watts sums Wicca up with “Wiccans follow the Wiccan Rede, which basically dictates that you can do whatever magic you want, as long as you don’t harm anyone”. The Rede is a more complex piece that involves a great deal more than that. This misunderstanding shows lack of research and implies that Wicca is a new age religion, rather than a syncretic, codified religion that takes hard work and years of study.
Watts gives many incorrect definitions as well. (A Book of Shadows is not a personal diary, it is the combination of all the work that has been passed down initiate to initiate, coven to coven over years) and showed how lightly she was taking everything she was doing.
She also ignores the fact that many are still persecuted for being practitioners and that many are still afraid to “come out of the broom closet”. These are not issues to be taken lightly and for young women who are seeking the Craft, reading a piece like this can have many long term negative consequences.
The Craft is an honorable path that should be approached with dedication to the Gods, magic, ritual, herbology, mythology, history, sacred art and environmentalism. Making light of the hard work those of us involved in the Craft do, is an insult to a community of devoted spiritual workers.
I expect better of a magazine devoted to women’s issues. Wicca is a religion of strong, empowered women (and men) who understand their abilities and duties. Making light of this path does not gives the proper message to young women about the importance of acknowledging spiritual responsibility and the role that they could play within it.
It’s October! My favorite month of the year! And as cliched as it might be, Samhain is my favorite sabbat. So let’s talk ghosts!
Or, more specifically, Lafcadio Hearn.
Born in Greece, he moved first to Ireland as a young child and then to America where he settled in Cincinnati (my old home town, Yay!). His journalism career, where he became known for writing about sordid murders, took off in Cincinnati. He eventually moved to New Orleans (my current home town, Yay!) and started writing articles for a variety of New Orleans papers. He lived in New Orleans for nearly 10 years. While there he became known for writing about local culture. Some even claim that he “invented” New Orleans as an exotic place to visit.
He also wrote Marie Laveau’s obituary for The New York Times.
(I searched through my library’s databases and believe I found it. For the full thing, click marie-laveau-obit.pdf.)
Hearn moved to Japan in 1890 as a newspaper correspondent. Hearn became most well known for writing about the folklore and ghost stories of Japan. His most famous book was Kwaidan (which you can get an ebook version of for free on Amazon here). Kwaidan has been made into a movie and is still widely read.
I personally love Kwaidan and generally find the stories to be pretty chilling. Here are a few of my favorites:
We have gotten the book cover for Fairy Tale Magic! I’m so excited! It’s everything I had hoped it would be.
Vasilissa the Beautiful is on the cover, carrying the fiery skull that she won from Baba Yaga.
I hope you love it as much as I do!