Monday, October 20, 2008

Witch Tribute #3: Three is a Magic Number

If you believe everything that Sesame Street taught you, and for the most part I do, you’ll believe that three is a magic number. You’ll believe that the Crocodile King really did need a worthy son, the lady bugs all attended that picnic, and Gracie Slick really did sing a very clever song about numbers. She did, really. Like me, from the time of early childhood, you’ll know that three heads are better than one. Larry, Moe and Curly proved it. You may even know that two’s company and three’s a crowd. John Ritter proved that before his untimely demise. Most of all, three is a magic number to me personally. It’s the number of people in my family … 1, 2, 3. It’s also the magic number that brings us to our next tribute witches.

Witches and other magical women have appeared in threes since the beginning of time. Well, at least since the beginning of half way decent literature, making their first and precedent setting appearance in Shakespeare’s play “MacBeth”. As the official Three Witches or Weird Sisters, these supernatural women were drawn from mythology and legend, and represented rebellion and treason in the worst sense (as Wiki states it). We’re not talking about the Three Graces here, goddesses of charm, beauty and creativity. Or even the very lovely Maiden, Mother, Crone virtues in Wicca. Indeed, these are your more malignant types, representing deceit, betrayal and murder, all nefarious values upon which countless pieces of art and sculpture have been rendered throughout history.

The magic number three doesn’t lose its poignancy moving into modern media. It very simply transmogrifies into something more understandable, something that requires a lesser attention span. There are three sisters, all witches, in the series “Charmed”, which by the way, is set in San Francisco, the city I most adore. There were three vixens in the movie, “The Craft” before the fourth showed up and they all got greedy.


This leads me directly to my favorite witchy threesome, and the witches to which I give tribute in this installment … The Sanderson Sisters in Disney’s movie, “Hocus Pocus”.

Believe it or not, it was just on television yesterday.

These three sisters are my favorite for various reasons, not the least of which include Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.

“The movie opens in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts where three witch sisters — Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson — transformed a boy, Thackery Binx, into an immortal black cat as punishment for trying to prevent them from absorbing the life force of his younger sister, Emily. He fails to rescue her and instead is cursed to spend eternity as a black cat. The witches are tried and executed by the locals. However, thanks to a curse created by Winifred's magic spell-book, they vow to return when a virgin lights the Black Flame candle on a Halloween night when the moon is full (wiki).”

Winifred is play by Midler. She is the loud mouth, red-headed, buck-tooth sister, who is the most powerful magically, and the brightest lit of the three dim bulbs. Demonstrating where the lines between real life and television can often blur, it is no strange coincidence that Midler has since become a headliner in the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, and holds her crowd in a hypnotic trance, just like she did in the movie. Her sister, Sarah, is played by none other than Sarah Jessica Park, aka Carrie Bradshaw, who reigned supreme in another fabled city known as New York, this time ruling with a a laptop, and an array of unusually hypnotic outfits. The last sister, the chubby one who was most prone to various canine tendencies, and rode on an airborne vacuum cleaner, was played by Kathy Najimy. Najimy also moonlighted as a plus size nun in Whoopie’s movie, “Sister Act”. Since then, she has lost considerable weight, shrinking & growing, shrinking & growing, thus demonstrating her powers of transmogrification. All three Sanderson sisters are undeniably stupid, so much so that they couldn’t outwit the three children who released them from 300 years of hell and then tried to send them back.

So, without further ado, I give you The Sanderson Sisters …

Winged Sisters

Since we arrived in The Bay Area in July of 2008, the spiritual front has been a quiet one. There was a small vacation type period, followed up quickly by a settling in period, that was followed even faster by a “getting down to business period” wherein I started the new job and got into a new routine. But after the huge spiritual push, lots of faith and self-discipline that launched us from Connecticut, it seemed to have done its work and so slipped into a temporary dormancy, insofar as spiritual influences are able, that is. I am satisfied with this spiritual quiet knowing that Ammachi will be in the Bay Area in late November, and I’ll be to see Her for the first time in almost three years. Knowing I am just a train ride away from Mother’s Kitchen is one of the best parts of being here. After all this life activity, I could use the boost, although I wonder what spiritual blockage will be forcibly moved by Ammachi’s intense spiritual energy and what it will feel like.

As they are always in my life and whether or not there is spiritual quietude, animal signposts are present to light the way, illuminating certain consistencies or patterns and reminding me that She is there guiding my hand. I’ve written at length about it here. Most recently, Grandmother Spider has been my guide, but since arriving here in California, it’s been all about birds.

I saw a Great Blue Heron from the back of the hotel when we first got here. A familiar and personally significant creature, this was my comforting confirmation that I’d arrived where I was supposed to be in my personal journey. Immediately thereafter, there were hummingbirds, lots of them, all over our backyard, forcing a change in my perception. Just last weekend, I was outside with our Golden Retriever, Jack, when one of these gossamer creatures hung suspended just one foot from my face as if asking me, “Do you get it now?”


In MEDICINE CARDS: THE DISCOVERY OF POWER THROUGH THE WAYS OF ANIMALS, Jamie Sams and David Carson say that, for many people, the hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When we assume hummingbird consciousness, our life becomes a wonderland of sensuous delights. We live for beauty, delighting in flowers, aromas, fine mist, and delicate tastes. When it becomes our totem, the hummingbird teaches us to laugh and enjoy the creation, to appreciate the magic of being alive, and the truth of beauty. Hummingbirds awaken us to the beauty of the present moment. As they dance the four quarters of embodied existence, they bring us medicine to solve the riddle of duality. They also awaken us to the medicinal properties of plants … Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one really gets hurt. They teach us simple courage. Andrews says the twittering, vibrating sounds of the hummingbirds bring us an internal massage that restores health and balance (All Excerpts from a work in progress by Larry Gates -- Copyright 1998).”

This weekend, just Saturday, in fact, I ran headlong into a Red Tailed Hawk at the mall of all places. We were parking the van, when from the corner of my eye I noticed one of these enormous birds in front of another car just across the way. It stood on the ground, so I thought perhaps it was sick, and went directly there to see what was happening. I was drawn to it like a magnet. This was no sick bird, nor was it a juvenile. It was a full grown hawk, healthy and vigorous, and it seemed completely unintimidated by my daughter and I. It jumped from the ground and perched on a railing no less than 10 feet away from me. It turned its head this way and that, getting a close look at us, as we did it. Then, still watching us, and unbothered by the small crowd that was gathering, it jumped into the branches above, where it could keep a watchful eye on everything, and where we could still see it. After five minutes of quiet meditation and absolute fascination, we left it and returned to Leslie, who watched from the van. Finally, undeniably rapt herself, she approached it, as well.
“In representation to humanity, the hawk is called messenger, protector and visionary. Keen vision is one of its greatest gifts. Hawks see things others miss. The hawk comes to you indicating that you are now awakening to your soul purpose, your reason for being here. It can teach you how to fly high while keeping yourself connected to the ground. As you rise to a higher level, your psychic energies are awakening and the hawk can help you to keep those senses in balance. Its message for you is to be open to hope and new ideas, to extend the vision of your life. The Hawk is an animal of flight. It soars through the air looking down, and sees everything. It has a larger perspective of what is going on down below. With its keen eyesight, it looks down as it soars through the air looking for its prey. It can see the smallest of creatures below. The Hawk is known as a messenger, similar to the planet Mercury, for the hawk soars close to the Grandfather Sun, as does the planet. When you listen to the power of the Grandfather Sun or Wise Spirit that lives within, you are protected from all types of harm. The Hawk teaches you to be observant and take a close look at your surroundings. It soars with the power to overcome difficult situations. It soars in circles over the life of the earth, asking you to circle over your life and view it from a higher perspective. The Hawk has a distinct cry, one that most people are aware of. Its cry signifies awareness. If you hear the cry of the hawk, use your intuitive ability to discern the message and seek the truth. If a hawk has soared into your life, you require a higher perspective. You need to see the details of what is going on and look at the bigger picture. Take a look at your situation from above (excerpted from”


In tandem, these beautiful winged creatures, the Hummingbird and Red Tail Hawk, both indigenous to California, and both indicative of air or thought, bear similar messages in different packages. They remind me to keep my eyes open and to use discernment at all times. They remind me to lower the defenses I had erected while in Connecticut, and open my heart once again, free of the burdens of the past and holding a candle lit for the promise of the future. This is a keen reminder at this time in our economic and sociological history, when so much is changing and uncertainty is prevalent; all catalysts for spiritual transformation on our planet.

Thank you, my winged sisters.
Thank you.

End Note: I take no credit for the photographs, some of which have notes on them. Otherwise, I found them on the web.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Our daughter, Liz, is heavy into anime or Japanese cartoons, these days. She's also nurturing a love of Japanese culture and Tokyo. I'd like to share her two most recent artistic efforts, which she created to be avatars on, her latest cyber-passion.

Elizabeth's Heart Avatar

Liz Avatar

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Witch Tribute #2: If You Want A Job Done Right, Do It Yourself

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, like those bitches on The O Channel’s television show “Snapped” (which we always seem to end up watching on Saturday mornings), 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”, who is our second tribute witch during this Fall Holiday Season.

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 series. 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”, for example, 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.

Let’s 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, 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 … truly.

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. Descendants of the Roloffs, 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.

Grimhilde & Her Mirror

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.

Bring Her Heart to Me

Anyhow, The Evil Queen sent some fucktard 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. Jesus, 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 is what perplexes me the most. It is, however, a testament to the severity of her OCD, which is undoubtedly what she would blame the entire mess on 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 by watching cable television and YouTube.

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.

Let’s take a look at The Evil Queen in action …

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Witch Tribute #1: Oh What A World, What A World!

As if the debate wasn't scary enough, my strangerfriend, Dan-the-man, at The Stank Nasty, is posting a plethura of scary movie clips. He's got them all including the freakiest, most disturbing, trailer from "The Exorcist" I've ever seen. I imagine he is gearing up for some disgusting cinematic crescendo toward Halloween. Well, I think this is a wonderful idea. And because today I seem incapable of having an original thought of my own, I will follow suit.

You can add copy cat to your list of explicatives.

Instead of ticking off the clock before Halloween with scary movies, I will do it with ... witches. 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 like one, and felt regrets like one ... even if it's only regret for having my hair messed up by the open window in the van. At work there are times when I must act like one, at home I get chewed out for being one, and my friends all wonder if I used to be one. I have at least one nemesis out there who maintains the belief that I truly am a witch, and gives me credit for a wide array of unfortunate events in her life, as if I had some insidious form of black magic at my disposal, and was bored enough to direct it at her.

Oh please.

I firmly believe that deep down, every woman is a witch, and every witch is wise. I've done a number of artistic pieces reflecting that belief. Here is one of my favorites. The original is a pen and ink piece, 16x24, done with dots, in 1999 ... the "Green Witch" (as its titled) holds her pentegram inlaid with the imagery from the tarot; the sword, the staff, the heart, and the flame, which is eternal. This work is inspired by a book on Faerie Magick.

Green Witch

So, with that, I'll begin the Sapphokinesis Halloween Countown with one of my all time favorite witches, The Wicked Witch of the West. At first, she seems a one dimensional, monochromatic parody of evil, 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. Then, the 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 a personal mythos, and shortly thereafter she became an icon herself.

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, she simply couldn't swing back.

And what was it she got hung up on? Booze, drugs or sex? No.

It was shoes.

A pair of ruby slippers.
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