Be the Hero Halloween Deserves

Witches love a good banishing. As a magician and horror writer, exorcisms fascinate me. Whenever I watch priests battle the Antichrist, I cheer for the men in collars even while I cringe at every negative stereotype those films reinforce about daemons, daemon-worshippers, and Paganism in general.

I don’t need a Catholic priest—or any priest—to rescue me if I feel supernaturally threatened. Of course, not everyone feels as confident evicting spiritual jerks from their home as I do, but I realized a long time ago that witches recognize authorities far older than the titles of man. Since then, I have gone directly to my highest power and simply asked him to intervene directly whenever me or mine have needed protection. I recommend that anyone sensitive to this sort of activity do the same, especially when the veil is reportedly at its thinnest.

But calling on my highest power has often meant more than vibrating the appropriate Daemonic enn and drawing the right sigil on parchment. It has sometimes required I display more vulnerability than I have before—and it has almost always resulted in me knowing myself better, for good or ill. A thing learned cannot be unlearned, and that is the price of seeing God. A thing revealed can never be completely hidden again, and that is the price of exposing your belly to the Divine.

Yet our guts also seek to warn us of danger. Remember the last time you felt heaviness in the pit of your stomach, or when someone disgusted you so deeply you wanted to throw up? In today’s world, our conscience seems to reside in our digestive tracts.  We’re even told to relax by not “giving a shit!” In the past, my teachers have advised me to follow my instincts whenever they manifested through these physical reactions. Then again, many people who wouldn’t consider themselves magickal at all base major life decisions on intuition. And why not? Doing so keeps us firmly anchored in the animal kingdom. We are a part of nature. It feels both foolish and wasteful to ignore its gifts.

So, at the risk of baring my belly and looking like an idiot, I’d like to share a song I have used to banish spirits from my house multiple times, Batdance by Prince. (It’s also part of an eclectic playlist I’m posting for Death on Facebook over the next week.) The movie associated with this album exploded into my life when I was all of fifteen years old. I was mad at the world and drunk on the possibilities I’d discovered in Buckland, Starhawk, and Cunningham. I studied the lyrics, agreed “this town needs an enema,” and decided to flush negativity out of my life with the powers that had set my teenage heart on fire.

How did I do it? Intuitively and embarrassingly, using ecstatic dance and dismissive laughter. I had no idea I was playing with chaos and pop-culture magick. Since then, I have learned a good deal about channeling spirits thanks to “Batdance,” including how to horse more than one at a time. Does this mean I think you all should ghostbust with the late 1980s stylings of Prince?

Hell, no! The musical skeletons in your closet may be entirely different from mine. That’s the point. My relationship with the divine is unique. It’s impossible for two magicians to interface with the same daemon in exactly the same way no matter how hard they might try to duplicate each other’s work. Don’t feel weird if you have to look outside the box for ritual inspiration during the Season of the Witch. I sing and dance for the Daemonic Divine regularly. Sadly, I’m no musician! Until I have a wider variety of hymns to choose from, I can only use the rhythms that move me.

Isn’t that the point?

Happy Rite of Eurynomous, everybody. “I’ve seen the future and it will be Batman…”

…unless he is played by Ben Affleck.