We have upgraded, so now as well as just reading various posts you can also participate as part of a wonderful community of friendly witches, goths and individuals - in our new independent Uncle Festers Social Networking site.
It is with much excitement and anticipation that I recently learned that a "Magick Happens" event was again planned for Melbourne. The last one was many years ago (8??). We attended that one with a stall of goodies and did very well, plus had a lot of fun. (Mind you we had just spent our last dollar at the time investing in lots of stock to take there and needing to replace our car unexpectedly at the last minute.)
We also travelled up to Sydney to attend two of the events there. Then they were privately run by a lady called Rowan, who later passed the mantle onto P.A.N. I haven't actually spoken to anyone yet - but expect to be there with bells on . It should be fantastic. Spiraldance are booked and a witches ball is also planned for the evening. According to the Facebook Page :
Magick Happens is happening in Melbourne on the 5th of December at the North Melbourne Arts Centre. Magick Happens is the event for anyone who is interested in or would like to learn about all things magickal, attend workshops and lectures and visit a reader or two to learn more about themselves and their future. It will be the place for people to come to meet other people with similar magickal interests and learn about local organisations and groups where they can further their learning or pagan social life.
New York- As the weather turns colder and the leaves begin to fall, the Living Dead Dolls once again emerge from their crypt for a special issue of dolls.
This is the second time this theme has been reinterpreted by the spooky dolls. The first set, created in 2004, was a huge hit, “It was one of their best selling exclusives!” says Damien Glonek, co-creator of the Living Dead Dolls “They were an instant classic”.
Because of the overwhelming success of the original edition and continuous public demand, Mezco decided to revisit the set. “We see fans at conventions and without fail they as if have more of those two dolls” says Ed Long, co-creator of the dolls, “This year we decided to make that request come true!”
Far from a run of the mill reissue, the new dolls have significant differences from their predecessors. The new edition features the
updated doll bodies, which feature ball joints for a far greater range of motion. In response to customer requests, the dolls are “bloody”.
“Bloody makes sense” Glonek says gleefully, “After all, there are lots of sharp tools on a farm”. Lastly, and certainly most notably, the faces have been totally redesigned. The redesign is still clearly inspired by the same source, but is markedly different from the original issue.*
The Living Dead Dolls Presents American Gothic are now available exclusively at over 700 Spencer’s stores in the USA.
But we are very lucky in Australia to be able to offer the dolls direct, they came in store this week and are $110 the pair.
Also released this week were series 18 and the welcome return of some mini LDD -
Modern vampires are losing their bite
Where once vampires were likelier to stop a girl's heart, rather than set it aflutter, marketing trends are seeing the menacing immortals reinvented as kinder, gentler souls that are as misunderstood as the young consumers under their spell.
A rebel without the claws, the modern-day bloodsucker has been so transformed that even Barbie is taking a bite, with Mattel having just unveiled a doll version of Twilight's "vegetarian vampire" Edward Cullen. Add to that, the forthcoming teen TV series The Vampire Diaries, and the killing-averse undead in youth novels such as Vampire Academy, and it's clear Nosferatu is losing his teeth.
"Our post-9/11 world no longer looks favourably on people or beings that hide in plain sight yet have the ability to kill us," says Mary Findley, a vampire scholar at Vermont Technical College. "Therefore, it isn't surprising that our vampires have recently become less monstrous . . . even living amongst us in relative peace in the True Blood (TV) series."
That Barbie is on the bandwagon is proof of this. The girlhood brand's preppier-than-thou Twilight dolls, which hit stores Nov. 1, look more apt to drink Beaujolais than blood, and are said to be appropriate playthings for kids aged six and up.
Horror expert Dave Alexander admits he loves the "unintentional soulless-fake person-parasite metaphor" of the bloodsucker Barbies, and believes vampire folklore lends itself well to such non-traditional interpretations.
"The vamp genre has given us everything from Bram Stoker's Dracula to Count Chocula, so why not Transylvania 90210?" says Alexander, managing editor of Toronto-based Rue Morgue magazine.
He hastens to add, however, that the trend toward neutered vampires is not for the classic fan.
"It's as far away as you can get from the vampire mythos, where they're evil boogeymen out to eat the living," says Alexander. "There's nothing horrific about it, other than its popularity."
Pop-culture scholar Aaron Taylor says that cross-pollinating genres isn't necessarily akin to "aesthetic heresy" and in fact can bear rich fruit, as was the case with the horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead. But he isn't crazy about the extent to which the once-unholy terrors have been "defanged" and transformed into "so much empty product."
"The vampire as just another 'misunderstood' pin-up boy," says Taylor, an assistant professor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.
Patrick McAleer, who co-chairs the vampire section of the Popular Culture Association, believes such innocuous portrayals hold a mirror to a society that doesn't like confronting that which scares them.
"Toothless vampires, vegetarian vampires, and compassionate vampires take us further and further away from the origins and initial visions of the vampire as a purposefully frightening figure," says McAleer.
"Perhaps, the vampire is simply the first in an eventual long line of monsters . . . which will be recontextualized and recreated for modern audiences . . . who find difficulty facing fear."
A group in the US is conducting an international survey of contemporary Pagans.
If you are a Pagan they would appreciate your taking the time to complete this survey.
This survey builds on an earlier one completed over twenty years ago, primarily in the United States, which was conducted by Helen A. Berger and Andras Arthen (of the EarthSpirit Community) entitled the Pagan Census.
A number of scholars have noted that it would be helpful to have a follow-up of that survey to see if and how the community has changed or remained the same. The survey that follows uses many, although not all of the same questions that were in the original survey to provide that comparison. There are also new questions, for instance about the Internet, something that was of little interest 20 years ago but is now, and some from other studies, that again permit a comparison. This has resulted in the survey being somewhat long - but they appreciate your taking the time to complete it.
For more information contact Helen A. Berger directly at HBerger@wcupa.edu
Please inform other Pagans about this research project and feel free to pass it along via e-mail or to post a link on appropriate blogs or websites.
take the survey here
There is an artifact in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford: a witch in a bottle. This small silvered glass bottle has a label on it warning people not to open it because there’s a witch inside. You could open the bottle (if you dared) but then the object would be far less interesting- it would just be a bottle because, presumably, the witch would escape:
source - As spied on another blog that had nothing to do with witches
We do have our witches bottles - but they are a different thing - maybe we can rework this idea . . . . . .
The Alternative Designers Market
Date: Saturday 5th September 2009
Cost: $5.00 earlybird entry / $10 after 3:30pm.
Fashion show at 4:30pm.
New Venue: The Colonial Hotel
240 King Street (cnr Lonsdale Street) Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Camden Markets meets London Edge
Worn Wild is a bi-annual event held in March after the long weekend & as part of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week in September.
Showcasing the best of Melbourne's underground & alternative designers with select interstate guests. Fashion, jewelry, hair artistry, accessories & body art for rockers, ravers, queers, punks, cyberpunks, goths, hippies, metalheads, emos, lolitas, clubbers, fans of corsetry & burlesque & general street-stylin'. . . . . .
Wow ! Talk about a fusion between witchy and gothic images
- described as "Pagan Poetry" - I love it!
"paganism, mysticism, Joel-Peter Witkin, vampires, and witches." Using pagan symbols (e.g. nature, flowers, pentacles), feathers, rope, meat and candles as the models' main accessories (and eyeball earrings!), the result is a hauntingly beautiful collection of modern-day witches with big hair and spellbinding stare"
A love of beads and small business saw Margaret Copland eventually establish her successful business; Uncle Fester’s, in Woodend, Victoria.
By Amee Warden*
Sipping her coffee, Margaret Copland explains how she started out in small business. “I’d worked in a bank for maybe ten, fifteen years. I got promoted to a job I really hated so I left the bank. I really liked small business, so I started a cleaning business because I thought it was a good way of making money. But I was subservient to the people I was cleaning for, I hated the fact that my time wasn’t my own.”
A love of playing with beads soon took Copland to the markets where she set up shop and met now partner Hayden Bowman. “I used to sell pewter to Hayden, I think the only reason he started going out with me was because he was getting pewter cheap!” she says with a laugh. “We opened up a shop called Beads and Pieces; we ended up doing a half gothic and half ‘nice’ theme in Brunswick St in Fitzroy, but down the cheap, grotty end. “
Copland reveals how naive her perception of the area was. “I just saw the nice coffee shops [in Brunswick]; I didn’t see how dangerous it was. Hayden had worked in the area and moved in with me and basically took on the role as protector. One night someone took a sledgehammer to the front door. There was also an old family that lived above their shop. One night someone knocked on the door and the mother opened it and they came in, hit her over the head and took all their money.”
Drug rehabilitation centres nearby didn’t help either. “Usually drug addicted people would come in; and they’d steal so much stuff. We were so naive, we’d have our back to them, and they would just take boxes of stuff!” she says with a laugh.
Copland’s move to Woodend was a welcome change from the city hustle and bustle, yet the store development took time. “When we moved here, we were a bit burnt out on people. There was just so much mass humanity in Fitzroy. We had plans to open the shop up right away, but it took us about ten years to get around to doing it.”
Being a practised Wiccan, Copland explains how she first became interested in the religion. “Witchcraft magazine came out about twelve years ago, and from there is where I got interested in it. I did lots and lots of study. My particular area of witchcraft is charms. I’m really into charm bags.”
The alternative nature of Uncle Fester’s has, surprisingly, had no real negative reactions from the predominantly Catholic town. “Look, some people will drag their kids out of the shop, they realise it’s not a nice gift shop. One of our first sales was actually to the Catholic Church. They bought purple candles for the altar, I thought that was funny!” she laughs. “They’d already tried every other store; they did tell us that we were their last call.”
Despite the positive reception from townspeople and customers alike, there has been at least one case of what Copland would describe as evil. “One lady came in, and her son had died. She was blaming his girlfriend; she said she was a psychic vampire and that she had sucked the life out of him. The girlfriend ended up marrying the boy’s ashes. The media made it out to be very light hearted, but according to the mother it was much darker than that. In that case I just listened, she was very distressed.”
Copland’s belief that society has moved into darker imagery stirs some memories up from Brunswick Street. “Hayden’s first thing was glass coffins. There was this one little Italian lady that walked past every day, and she felt that she had to kneel and pray in front of every coffin,” she laughs. “Other people would be really shocked and horrified, but now, nobody would even look twice.”
With the business on her hands, Copland says she has never considered children. “I never, ever had any maternal bones in my body. I was very interested in business; a lot of my books were about that. I just think that what we’ve done we couldn’t have done with kids.”
Though most of Uncle Fester’s business is from the internet, Copland elaborates on how she manages the store itself. “It’s so deadly quiet at the moment, the shop is easy to manage. I think when petrol prices went up, people stopped doing day trips so much. It’s good to have a proper worksite shop; it adds credibility to your website. If people wanted to come and visit us, they can, although 90 percent of them never will.”
“Although, before we opened the shop, I set up the front room in the house as a showroom and a shop, but that just got too busy and Hayden didn’t like people coming in the house all the time.”
Through the daily newsletter that their site posts, Copland says she feels when customers come in; it’s like half the conversation has already begun. “People came in last weekend, and said they weren’t there to haggle, because I’d put up a post up about how Hayden doesn’t like haggling. In the past, if you started haggling with him, particularly when he had his own hand-made stuff, he wouldn’t want to sell it to them anymore! People would agree to pay full price but he’d still say no,” she laughs.
When asked whether she would ever expand the business, Copland hesitates slightly. “I am, but it’s different now than what it was ten years ago. We were selling at markets and now it’s all online. If I was concentrating on the shop, we’d really have to move back to Melbourne, again. When we moved, we thought the city was so grotty, but now I can sort of see the attraction of being in the city again.”
* Interview conducted and written up as part of a University assisgnment
In today's news reports - from Mexico:
Shades of "The Twilight Zone"! There has been reports of children in Mexico awakened to find their dolls are possessed and coming alive at night. The Roman Catholic Church has intervened...
Anything can be an occult object of power, even the most innocent of objects. While it may seem absurd to our 21st Century material and humanistic sensabilities, things such as this have been and continue to be reported in developing countries. We of the developed West observe everything with a rationalistic world view, while most developing countries still look at the world with a spiritual world view. We see what we expect.Source
Maybe I have found the answer to the "Woodend Doll Mystery" I explained last night in the " Shop Chat" section of my Magickal Moments Newsletter!
Tonight Hayden and I went "Doll Hunting".
He mentioned that earlier in the day he had seen some odd looking dolls laid out in a cross by the side of a path. Intrigued I asked him to show me. As it was already dark we took the dog and a torch and set off to find them (of course he couldn't remember exactly where they were.) We came across the first doll lying alone in a puddle - it was a rustic fabric shape with crosses for eyes . I picked it up and we kept walking. We found the others several blocks away and they were now arranged around a tree trunk. There were two others like the first, and some other more childish toys such as a stuffed rabbit etc.
I reunited the first one with the others and we left them all there - wondering what it was all about!