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The Somber Poetry Of Dreams: The Collage Art Of Hidden Velvet

by on Jun.13, 2017, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Hidden Velvet1

The enigmatic artist known as Hidden Velvet seemed to appear on my radar overnight, and yet, whilst gazing at the somber elegance of her surreal collages, I feel that I have been carrying velvety fragments of her assemblages with me, tucked into the shadowy corners of my heart, for all of my life.

Hidden Velvet6

A floating cloud softly obscures the face of a cloaked woman whose dark mantle gives away to grey vapors. A soft, pale hand loosely grasps a rose while a both a butterfly perches on a fingertip and a snake slithers in the spaces between. Delicate vines of ivy mark the pages of a book that has opened to an illustration of an ominous figure emerging from its darkened interior. It is easy to become lost in these bittersweet contrasts of lightness and glooms, blooming, fluttering life and the stillness of death, and furtive dread juxtaposed against a serene sense of tranquility.

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It is also easy, at least for me, to fall in love with an artist’s work and want to know everything about them. Everything! Sometimes though, I wonder– does a lack of mystery lessen the enjoyment for others who consider themselves equally passionate about these uncanny artists and the intimate worlds they create?  Keeping this in mind, I will share just a few select secrets about the Belgian artist known as Hidden Velvet.

Hidden Velvet4

A wistful dreamer and enthusiastic devotee of antique photographs, Hidden Velvet fell in love with the medium of collage through Instagram. The thought of transforming an image and giving it new life, a new story, was appealing–and, as it turned out, came quite effortlessly to her when she initially tried her hand at it. It was easy at first, she shared, but of course the more techniques and processes she learns, the more challenging and complicated it becomes! Hidden Velvet doesn’t mind the time involved though; she allows her mind to wander and roam as she works through each piece, and it’s always then, she confesses, when the magic happens.

“My ideas may come right before I sleep, when I’m between consciousness and unconsciousness…but that state might happen during the day too. Or sometimes it begins with a precise idea…”

But more often than not, she seeks to use her feelings and instincts, to be spontaneous. “If I try to think too much and force it, it doesn’t work,” she concludes.

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Inspiration, muses Hidden Velvet, can visit in the form of a picture, a painting, a movie, a song. Notes the artist, “I work with music; it helps me to immerse myself in the story I’m about to tell. Music is very important, I often listen to soundtracks and classical music to create.” Some specific artistic influences include:  Tim Burton, David Lynch, Frida Kahlo, Egon Schiele, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage, Edgar Allan Poe, Max Ernst, Camille Rose Garcia, Thomas Kuntz, Kathryn Polk, Lola Gil, Edward Gorey, John Kenn Mortensen, Aubrey Beardsley, Ryan Heshka, Jim McKenzie, Alessandro Sicioldr, Fernbeds, Adam Wallacavage, Yosiell Lorenzo, Rafael Silveira, Kris Kuksi, Alexis Diaz, Camille Claudel. “I’m an absolute fan of Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Eva Green and Tom Waits,” she adds, and continues, “I also find inspiration by reading tales and legends from around the world. The last books I found very inspiring were “Cinderella“, “Snow White” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia.”

Hidden Velvet Aphotic Dream Of The Soul

A pensive dreamer with a fondness for solitude, Hidden Velvet spent a childhood in realms of her own making, reading books, writing stories and creating characters–but it never bothered her, being alone. What she does find troubling, though, is injustice and intolerance; “I have a real tenderness for lost souls, those who have had a tormented life, those who are “different” and judged because of it.” She earnestly observes as an afterthought, ” …so maybe that’s why there are melancholic characters in my world of dreams… I find it more interesting to tell a story with flawed characters. We live in an aseptic era, where we have to be so perfect…but we are not…and it’s ok.”

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An elusive creature whose instagram hints at moths, dainty collars and porcelain dolls, vintage silhouettes, and silent film stills, but not overly much about the human behind the moody, melancholic art, I asked Hidden Velvet what she might like Haute Macabre readers to know about her. Quick to note that she is not consciously trying to be mysterious, but rather that we are living in an era where it has become normal to share everything about one’s life on social media. “I don’t judge it at all, it’s just something I don’t feel comfortable with, but you can definitely get to know me through my collages.”

She did, however, utterly charm me with the handful of enchanting glimpses she provided.

“I can tell you this”, she sweetly divulges:

I’m Belgian, Italian, and Polish • I’m an only child • Simple things make me happy • I want to be amazed like a child as long as possible •  The book I cherish the most is “Les Contes de Charles Perrault”, it’s a very old book with no cover and beautiful illustrations, I have read it thousands and thousands of times • I like to have lots of books; I keep buying them even if I haven’t read the old ones • I’m a vinyl addict • I love biographies • I hate cult movie remakes • I adore vintage furniture and clothing • I wish I was a painter • When I was a child, we used to go to my nonno’s (grandfather) house on Sundays, we started eating at noon and finished at eight or nine. There was always room for a friend or a neighbor. My nonno was an excellent cook and the funniest person. He passed away in 1995 and I miss him everyday • I’d like to have an animal shelter • I have a cabinet of curiosities • When I’m hanging with my close friends, I sometimes discreetly put chocolate on my teeth and smile…

“My art comes from the heart and what makes me really happy about sharing it online is to read people’s interpretations. When you create, you put a lot of yourself into the art form and, when it resonates with someone out there, that’s the best feeling you could have as an artist.”

Those who admire the art of Hidden Velvet should stay tuned, as she has plans to open a shop with limited editions, in the near future. In the meantime, for updates and new work, find Hidden Velvet: Behance // instagram // facebook

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Witches, Sluts, Feminists: The Occult History of Witch Feminist Part I

by on Jun.09, 2017, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Please welcome guest blogger Kristen J. Sollee, founder of Slutist.com and author of the upcoming release Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive.

William Mortensen Witch

The witch is a feminist icon for the ages. In 2017, her serpentine story is more familiar than foreign; she graces our screens, stalks our runways, creeps across our pages, and informs our spiritual practices. As a new wave of feminism floods both IRL and URL spaces to campaign for women’s rights, the witch is not solely an aesthetic influence. Now more than ever, she is informing artists, activists, healers, and everyday folks alike in their resistance against systemic oppression.

Although witches can be of any gender identity, to discuss witches and witch persecution in a historical context without addressing the woman-as-witch mythos would be to ignore a robust canon of art, literature, and scripture that equates femininity with devilry. Many people on the feminine spectrum may now embrace the witch identity for political or spiritual reasons, but thousands of women have suffered and died because of their perceived association with witchcraft.

“The history of witchcraft is primarily a history of women”

“The history of witchcraft is primarily a history of women,” writes scholar Carol F. Karlsen in The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England. To study this history is to peer into the abyss of fear, sexist violence, and toxic masculinity that has dominated feminist discourse for decades. But it is also to uncover formidable strength and fortitude in the face of atrocity and injustice.

The following are four condensed milestones in the history of “witch feminism,” sourced from my upcoming book, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive.

William Mortensen Witch

The Midwife: Bestial Bodies and Reproductive Rights

“Midwife sorceresses kill fetuses in the womb and cause miscarriages…and offer new borns to demons,” proclaimed the 1486 witch hunting bible, The Malleus Maleficarum. “No one harms the Catholic Faith more than do midwives.”

Because midwives dealt with the mysterious, liminal space between birth and death, sickness and health—and specialized in the needs of women—these predominantly poor, peasant women were viewed as suspect by the church and state. Armed with knowledge of herbology, biology, and, in particular, reproductive health, midwives were easy targets for accusations of sorcery. Those discovered teaching birth control methods or providing abortifacients or abortions were often accused of witchcraft and put to death. It is unclear the extent men in power feared the midwife’s supposed black magic capabilities, however, or if prevailing anti-midwife sentiment was merely a smokescreen for acute gender bias.

Hilary Bourdillon suggests in Women as Healers: A History of Women and Medicine that “it was not so much the type of healing being practiced by the wise-woman which laid her open to the accusations of witchcraft but the fact that she was an unlicensed healer.” Yes, midwives could be seen to receive their healing powers from the Devil, but they could also be seen as circumventing the male-dominated medico-religious system.

By the mid to late 1800s, witch hunting had all but ceased, but the campaign against midwives continued in subtler forms. When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867–1973 author Leslie J. Reagan notes that the early anti-abortion movement was partially an effort by the American Medical Association to discredit midwives and establish the primacy of “real” (male) doctors.

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album

Although the execution of midwives and female healers would come to be viewed as a grievous error of the past, government officials are still leveraging their positions to thwart female bodily autonomy. Over the past decade, U.S. Senators have spoken out against birth control, Congressmen on the local and national stage have proved time and time again that they have laughably limited understandings of reproductive health, and a passionate Right-wing campaign against Planned Parenthood continues.

According to Silvia Federici in Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation, the early modern witch hunts can be linked to “the contemporary development of a new sexual division of labor, confining women to reproductive work.” This sexual division of labor largely remains intact, and the women who seek to undermine its supremacy by exerting control over their own bodies and reproductive function are frequently viewed through the same lens accused witches once were. Yesterday’s Satanic witch midwives are today’s Planned Parenthood doctors, nurses, and clinic escorts, putting themselves in harm’s way to help a population desperate for basic reproductive health care.

Despite immense social and scientific advances over the past six centuries, politics, religion, and women’s health remain inextricably entwined.

Read more next Friday from Kristen J. Sollee, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive, and pre-order the book on Slutist, Amazon, or request it at your local bookseller.

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Seeing Stars With Mystic Medusa (Interview + Discount Code)

by on Jun.07, 2017, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Olaf Hajek for Mystic Medusa Piece

I don’t believe in much of anything, to be honest. God or Satan? Nope. The afterlife? Eh, mostly no. Human kindness and decency? The jury’s still out on that one, but I suppose can sometimes be surprised. But divining my daily life choices and long term plans via the cosmic dance of the stars and planets and the machinations of the zodiac? Oh, for sure, I am all about that!  I read my horoscope every day, you can be sure of this. And as with most things in my life, I blame my mother for this habit.

Books on astrology and celestial divination were always stacked precariously on our kitchen table when I was growing up; I can still picture my mother’s face through a haze of smoke over breakfast as I picked at my cereal, while she thoughtfully read the paper and drank her coffee, a dangerously long ash from her cigarette dangling over the cover of a Linda Goodman title on Love Signs or Venus Trines At Midnight.

Unlike my mother, I never was interested enough in the technical aspects of astrology to become an practitioner, but I have had a few favorite astrologers over the years; stargazing prophets who consistently left me dumbfounded with their sagacious observations, fantastic insight, and timely wisdom. Mystic Medusa, with her wonderful astrology blog and super on-point horoscopes, had been at the top of this list for several years, when in 2010 I purchased one of her packages and she came back at me with spookily precise predictions and revelations and corresponding advice. I’ve been a believer ever since.

How does she do it? Will Mystic Medusa spill the secrets of the cosmos? Read on for our recent interview and a special discount code for Haute Macabre readers.

Leonora Carrington for Mystic Medusa piece

Haute Macabre: I’m curious as to where your interest in astrology stems from–what events or influences led to the path you’ve chosen? What motivates you to study patterns and relationships in relation to the movement of celestial bodies? And how was Mystic Medusa borne from this? Are there any areas where you feel your work as Mystic Medusa is particularly innovative or different?

Mystic Medusa: I distinctly recall being at the local library as a child aged about eight and being WOWED by some of the books in the theology and metaphysics section – I read some particularly gruesome but sexy description of the eighth house in a book by Aleister Crowley and was just wowed. Then I began haunting book stores – mostly second hand ones and the few esoteric book stores in my city. I was indiscriminate, ploughing through The Egyptian Book Of The Dead and Malleus Mallificarum with as much enthusiasm as skeevy “Sex Signs” books. So it was instant love and without wanting to sound precious, the moment I first began looking into astrology, it felt familiar, like previous lifetime familiar. I was also obsessed with Ancient Egypt from the age of three, drawing hieroglyphics and getting upset at “mummies” in the museum, as I felt it was terribly disrespectful and magically dangerous. But my career as a burgeoning witch-astrologer was cut short when my advertisement in a newspaper (this was pre-internet) advertising “teenage witch and astrology services” or something attracted hordes of pervy men. I went into journalism – North Node in Gemini/Mercury in Aries here – instead, which I also loved. Years later an editor of mine said she wanted an astrology column and for me to write it, she was just liking my style of writing and had no idea I loved astrology – in fact, she offered to send me off to learn astrology…I was like “I KNOW IT!” So that was a turning point for sure and then it grew from that. I never cease to be amazed at how the patterns and synchronicity occur with astrology – on both micro and macro levels. That astrology works and works so effectively with such accuracy and magic is to me the definitive proof of Dark Matter/Quintessence – other sources at play in our universe. I think I am different in that my journalism background means I love writing and can riff on pop culture and contemporary themes sort of juxtapose it with magic and astrology.

Colette-Saint-Yves for Mystic Medusa piece

You’ve been wowing your readers with your horoscope’s crazy accuracy and spooky insights for a quite some now– HOW DO YOU DO IT? Okay, okay, you don’t have to give up all your secrets, but seriously, I’d love to know more about how you do what you do….do you have a particular philosophy or interest in a specific area of astrology? 

MM: Thank you! With the consults, sometimes a chart just speaks to you and you get a vibe over and above what the basic transits are telling you. Same with Horoscopes – as the Sun and Rising signs are obviously not individual, I go more with the Zeitgeist of each sign for the moment, as tapping into that gives you a major advantage even without having your own personal chart reading. It seems to work! My personal philosophy or interest in astrology varies depending on my current obsession (at the moment it is Chiron cycles and how they play out over VAST tracts of time) but I like to keep a close eye on Saturn – if you do Saturn properly, a lot of other things fall into place. I am also very Pluto sensitive and I feel that it is important not to get too caught up in “OMG freak out scenarios” but rather work out where the opportunities are and accentuate those. I think most of the people who belong to my site are Outer Planet People – that is they have Uranus, Neptune or Pluto closely aligned with their Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Mercury, Mars or Venus – so they are magical pragmatists and highly individuated – they could never have been any other way and the standard tribal conventions don’t support them. Witches with Wi-Fi and a solid recognition of how lucky we are to live in this era, Caligula type politicians non-withstanding.

What’s the biggest “Whoahhh…” moment in your career? And do you ever just get it wrong?

My biggest “woahhhh” moment ? There have been so many! One I recall is this woman who was having a Mars transit through her 9th house and of course there are all sorts of ways you can interpret that – but I had this flash and I said you are literally going to meet this highly erudite soldier – like Haute Mars – and I could SEE this guy in a room that I described to her…I never heard back from her and wondered if that was a bit over the top. Then she got back to me and basically said she was a spy – which I did not know – and that she had met this special forces soldier, in a room more or less as I had seen it. But my main source of pride is providing horoscopes that are obviously not as specific but which do speak to people and augment them, adding an extra cosmic zing to their day, reminding them of when to armor their aura and when there might be strength gain from being more receptive…I don’t recall ever getting anything wrong as such although I definitely irritate some people by being too frank – I don’t like the kind of member/subscriber who tends to want to complain and maintain – their clutter, their weight, their vile lover, the job they hate, whatever – they always looking for an astral escape hatch, some transit that is going to sort everything out like a Lotto ticket and me saying something like “this is a Pluto-Mars time – you have to seize control and now, no matter where the Moon is” just annoys them. Same as if they have this long and convoluted scenario with some guy they feel is “karmic” and my advice is to fuq him off and put a line of salt across their front door, block him on the phone…So I don’t think I am wrong as such but I am definitely not for everyone.

Virgil Finlay for Mystic Medusa Piece

I’ve always loved the visuals on your blog! Can you talk about the importance of art, to your practice? I can tell it’s very important to you personally. And who are some of your favorite artists right now? Can you tell much about a person’s sign from the art they gravitate toward?

MM: Thank you! I love art & end up in some amazing conversations with art. I love the surrealists especially the female triptych of Remedios Varo, Dorothea Tanning and Leonora Carrington. Also I love classic fashion photography like Helmut Newton and vintage sci-fi art such as Virgil Finlay. One of my fave pics is this one here – artist unknown, I find it so poignant as it is from the era when persecution of pagans was rife. In terms of contemporary artists, I think Jesse Bransford is a genius, also Yvan Duque, Camille Chew, Alberto Del Pozo, James Jean – god so many. Re a person’s sign – I am not sure! It would be worth further exploration.

James Jean Moon Goddess for Mystic Medusa Piece

On a recent blog post you mentioned that it seems that most men have “a flipped the f out” reaction as it relates to women with any dimension of esoteric knowledge or interest. What do you think it is about feminine power and the supernatural that freaks them out? And on that subject, how does feminine power/feminism inform your astrology or vice versa?

MM: I think it is innate – there is an amazing book called The Alphabet vs The Goddess that talks about this – ideally logic and stoic or pragmatic thinking should exist alongside intuitive or magical thinking – I think the combination within one person or within a couple is stunning but our contemporary culture has overemphasized the one male god patriarchal science model and diminished the multi-theistic, omens are everywhere more instinct driven one. I think this is evolving though – I was thrilled to see NASA mentioning Dark Matter – the 80% at least of the universe that they literally cannot see – as Quintessence, the mysterious 5th element of the Ancient Greeks. Alchemists were into that also. I wonder sometimes if the current scenario is a hangover from when the Church persecuted the early scientists and thus they are at pains to separate ANY religious thought from their process, which is understandable. I am not sure about feminine power/feminism coming through in my astrology although I do think it is interesting that the very Christian C.S. Lewis (Narnia) referred to females as either being daughters of Eve or daughters of Lilith. I find the Madonna-Whore complex and the way it still permeates society and relationships + all the ancient goddesses fascinating. My fave book for info on all that is The Woman’s Encyclopaedia of Myths & Secrets – it is amazing. I also love the Thunder, Perfect Mind poem/hymn from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Another book – not magic but amazing – that has influenced me of late is All The Single Women by Rebecca Traister – it is a history of the rise of independent women and female economic independence and how it is changing society.

Camille Chew Waning Crescent for Mystic Medusa Piece

Some would say that trying to gain insight from the positions of the planets is anything but rational, though people have been doing it for centuries.What would you say to those folks who grumble about astrology being a “pseudo-science”, or some such?

MM: I would say read Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas – which is a super erudite and dense read on it- but honestly, I have no idea of the mechanism by which it works, I just know it does. That sounds like blind faith but it’s not. I literally have thousands of examples in which astrology has proven itself to be true. And btw, nobody has ever really done full on studies of it – so there. It’s like – for example – I have seen two bona-fide full bore ghosts in my life. I mean, unmistakable encounters that both occurred under the most strange circumstances and were undeniably real. I have seen U.F.O.s – like the classic flying saucer and had three manifestations of what I can only describe as divinity + dreams that have saved my life. I don’t have logical explanations for any of these!

Lady of the Equinox by Kris Chau for Mystic Medusa piece

For our US readers I might ask as to what sort of advice from the stars that you may have as we settle in for a long resistance against this current administration–but I suppose we must extrapolate from that any advice you have for any of our readers, anywhere, who are longing to feel energized and empowered in time of darkness and oppression?

MM: Actually, even though your current administration is not my country’s administration, it feels like it is. That’s power right? Okay for what it is worth – yes it is disturbing when the news flow seems more like a dystopian Margaret Atwood/J.G. Ballard/George Orwell novel and I personally would prefer a very different form of government, I would like to feel that this is somehow part of a grander scheme, that it is waking us up. I have never had more depth conversations with people about ideals, feminism and values than since the last American election. Also, actually, the American Eclipse on August 21 is bang on the Ascendant and Mars of the current USA president. I know that there are more dramatic predictions than this going around (some of them wishful thinking) but I actually think he is going to walk off the job in a snit, citing inability to follow through on his grand vision due to political correctness, legal crap, witches, bitches, whatever. We are in a time of rapid technological and consciousness change and I feel like there are politicians all over the place who have not caught up with it, who don’t reflect the culture of even the most average people. Some are just more garish about being out of touch than others.

Mystic Medusa as offered a discount code for Haute Macabre readers! Use “juno” for 20% off anything in her shop.

Find Mystic Medusa: website // instagram // twitter // facebook

Image credits: 1. Olaf Hajek  2. Leonora Carrington  3. Colette St-Yves  4. Virgil Finlay  6. James Jean  6. Camille Chew  7. Kris Chau

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Seeing Stars With Mystic Medusa (Interview + Discount Code)

by on Jun.07, 2017, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Olaf Hajek for Mystic Medusa Piece

I don’t believe in much of anything, to be honest. God or Satan? Nope. The afterlife? Eh, mostly no. Human kindness and decency? The jury’s still out on that one, but I suppose can sometimes be surprised. But divining my daily life choices and long term plans via the cosmic dance of the stars and planets and the machinations of the zodiac? Oh, for sure, I am all about that!  I read my horoscope every day, you can be sure of this. And as with most things in my life, I blame my mother for this habit.

Books on astrology and celestial divination were always stacked precariously on our kitchen table when I was growing up; I can still picture my mother’s face through a haze of smoke over breakfast as I picked at my cereal, while she thoughtfully read the paper and drank her coffee, a dangerously long ash from her cigarette dangling over the cover of a Linda Goodman title on Love Signs or Venus Trines At Midnight.

Unlike my mother, I never was interested enough in the technical aspects of astrology to become an practitioner, but I have had a few favorite astrologers over the years; stargazing prophets who consistently left me dumbfounded with their sagacious observations, fantastic insight, and timely wisdom. Mystic Medusa, with her wonderful astrology blog and super on-point horoscopes, had been at the top of this list for several years, when in 2010 I purchased one of her packages and she came back at me with spookily precise predictions and revelations and corresponding advice. I’ve been a believer ever since.

How does she do it? Will Mystic Medusa spill the secrets of the cosmos? Read on for our recent interview and a special discount code for Haute Macabre readers.

Leonora Carrington for Mystic Medusa piece

Haute Macabre: I’m curious as to where your interest in astrology stems from–what events or influences led to the path you’ve chosen? What motivates you to study patterns and relationships in relation to the movement of celestial bodies? And how was Mystic Medusa borne from this? Are there any areas where you feel your work as Mystic Medusa is particularly innovative or different?

Mystic Medusa: I distinctly recall being at the local library as a child aged about eight and being WOWED by some of the books in the theology and metaphysics section – I read some particularly gruesome but sexy description of the eighth house in a book by Aleister Crowley and was just wowed. Then I began haunting book stores – mostly second hand ones and the few esoteric book stores in my city. I was indiscriminate, ploughing through The Egyptian Book Of The Dead and Malleus Mallificarum with as much enthusiasm as skeevy “Sex Signs” books. So it was instant love and without wanting to sound precious, the moment I first began looking into astrology, it felt familiar, like previous lifetime familiar. I was also obsessed with Ancient Egypt from the age of three, drawing hieroglyphics and getting upset at “mummies” in the museum, as I felt it was terribly disrespectful and magically dangerous. But my career as a burgeoning witch-astrologer was cut short when my advertisement in a newspaper (this was pre-internet) advertising “teenage witch and astrology services” or something attracted hordes of pervy men. I went into journalism – North Node in Gemini/Mercury in Aries here – instead, which I also loved. Years later an editor of mine said she wanted an astrology column and for me to write it, she was just liking my style of writing and had no idea I loved astrology – in fact, she offered to send me off to learn astrology…I was like “I KNOW IT!” So that was a turning point for sure and then it grew from that. I never cease to be amazed at how the patterns and synchronicity occur with astrology – on both micro and macro levels. That astrology works and works so effectively with such accuracy and magic is to me the definitive proof of Dark Matter/Quintessence – other sources at play in our universe. I think I am different in that my journalism background means I love writing and can riff on pop culture and contemporary themes sort of juxtapose it with magic and astrology.

Colette-Saint-Yves for Mystic Medusa piece

You’ve been wowing your readers with your horoscope’s crazy accuracy and spooky insights for a quite some now– HOW DO YOU DO IT? Okay, okay, you don’t have to give up all your secrets, but seriously, I’d love to know more about how you do what you do….do you have a particular philosophy or interest in a specific area of astrology? 

MM: Thank you! With the consults, sometimes a chart just speaks to you and you get a vibe over and above what the basic transits are telling you. Same with Horoscopes – as the Sun and Rising signs are obviously not individual, I go more with the Zeitgeist of each sign for the moment, as tapping into that gives you a major advantage even without having your own personal chart reading. It seems to work! My personal philosophy or interest in astrology varies depending on my current obsession (at the moment it is Chiron cycles and how they play out over VAST tracts of time) but I like to keep a close eye on Saturn – if you do Saturn properly, a lot of other things fall into place. I am also very Pluto sensitive and I feel that it is important not to get too caught up in “OMG freak out scenarios” but rather work out where the opportunities are and accentuate those. I think most of the people who belong to my site are Outer Planet People – that is they have Uranus, Neptune or Pluto closely aligned with their Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Mercury, Mars or Venus – so they are magical pragmatists and highly individuated – they could never have been any other way and the standard tribal conventions don’t support them. Witches with Wi-Fi and a solid recognition of how lucky we are to live in this era, Caligula type politicians non-withstanding.

What’s the biggest “Whoahhh…” moment in your career? And do you ever just get it wrong?

My biggest “woahhhh” moment ? There have been so many! One I recall is this woman who was having a Mars transit through her 9th house and of course there are all sorts of ways you can interpret that – but I had this flash and I said you are literally going to meet this highly erudite soldier – like Haute Mars – and I could SEE this guy in a room that I described to her…I never heard back from her and wondered if that was a bit over the top. Then she got back to me and basically said she was a spy – which I did not know – and that she had met this special forces soldier, in a room more or less as I had seen it. But my main source of pride is providing horoscopes that are obviously not as specific but which do speak to people and augment them, adding an extra cosmic zing to their day, reminding them of when to armor their aura and when there might be strength gain from being more receptive…I don’t recall ever getting anything wrong as such although I definitely irritate some people by being too frank – I don’t like the kind of member/subscriber who tends to want to complain and maintain – their clutter, their weight, their vile lover, the job they hate, whatever – they always looking for an astral escape hatch, some transit that is going to sort everything out like a Lotto ticket and me saying something like “this is a Pluto-Mars time – you have to seize control and now, no matter where the Moon is” just annoys them. Same as if they have this long and convoluted scenario with some guy they feel is “karmic” and my advice is to fuq him off and put a line of salt across their front door, block him on the phone…So I don’t think I am wrong as such but I am definitely not for everyone.

Virgil Finlay for Mystic Medusa Piece

I’ve always loved the visuals on your blog! Can you talk about the importance of art, to your practice? I can tell it’s very important to you personally. And who are some of your favorite artists right now? Can you tell much about a person’s sign from the art they gravitate toward?

MM: Thank you! I love art & end up in some amazing conversations with art. I love the surrealists especially the female triptych of Remedios Varo, Dorothea Tanning and Leonora Carrington. Also I love classic fashion photography like Helmut Newton and vintage sci-fi art such as Virgil Finlay. One of my fave pics is this one here – artist unknown, I find it so poignant as it is from the era when persecution of pagans was rife. In terms of contemporary artists, I think Jesse Bransford is a genius, also Yvan Duque, Camille Chew, Alberto Del Pozo, James Jean – god so many. Re a person’s sign – I am not sure! It would be worth further exploration.

James Jean Moon Goddess for Mystic Medusa Piece

On a recent blog post you mentioned that it seems that most men have “a flipped the f out” reaction as it relates to women with any dimension of esoteric knowledge or interest. What do you think it is about feminine power and the supernatural that freaks them out? And on that subject, how does feminine power/feminism inform your astrology or vice versa?

MM: I think it is innate – there is an amazing book called The Alphabet vs The Goddess that talks about this – ideally logic and stoic or pragmatic thinking should exist alongside intuitive or magical thinking – I think the combination within one person or within a couple is stunning but our contemporary culture has overemphasized the one male god patriarchal science model and diminished the multi-theistic, omens are everywhere more instinct driven one. I think this is evolving though – I was thrilled to see NASA mentioning Dark Matter – the 80% at least of the universe that they literally cannot see – as Quintessence, the mysterious 5th element of the Ancient Greeks. Alchemists were into that also. I wonder sometimes if the current scenario is a hangover from when the Church persecuted the early scientists and thus they are at pains to separate ANY religious thought from their process, which is understandable. I am not sure about feminine power/feminism coming through in my astrology although I do think it is interesting that the very Christian C.S. Lewis (Narnia) referred to females as either being daughters of Eve or daughters of Lilith. I find the Madonna-Whore complex and the way it still permeates society and relationships + all the ancient goddesses fascinating. My fave book for info on all that is The Woman’s Encyclopaedia of Myths & Secrets – it is amazing. I also love the Thunder, Perfect Mind poem/hymn from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Another book – not magic but amazing – that has influenced me of late is All The Single Women by Rebecca Traister – it is a history of the rise of independent women and female economic independence and how it is changing society.

Camille Chew Waning Crescent for Mystic Medusa Piece

Some would say that trying to gain insight from the positions of the planets is anything but rational, though people have been doing it for centuries.What would you say to those folks who grumble about astrology being a “pseudo-science”, or some such?

MM: I would say read Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas – which is a super erudite and dense read on it- but honestly, I have no idea of the mechanism by which it works, I just know it does. That sounds like blind faith but it’s not. I literally have thousands of examples in which astrology has proven itself to be true. And btw, nobody has ever really done full on studies of it – so there. It’s like – for example – I have seen two bona-fide full bore ghosts in my life. I mean, unmistakable encounters that both occurred under the most strange circumstances and were undeniably real. I have seen U.F.O.s – like the classic flying saucer and had three manifestations of what I can only describe as divinity + dreams that have saved my life. I don’t have logical explanations for any of these!

Lady of the Equinox by Kris Chau for Mystic Medusa piece

For our US readers I might ask as to what sort of advice from the stars that you may have as we settle in for a long resistance against this current administration–but I suppose we must extrapolate from that any advice you have for any of our readers, anywhere, who are longing to feel energized and empowered in time of darkness and oppression?

MM: Actually, even though your current administration is not my country’s administration, it feels like it is. That’s power right? Okay for what it is worth – yes it is disturbing when the news flow seems more like a dystopian Margaret Atwood/J.G. Ballard/George Orwell novel and I personally would prefer a very different form of government, I would like to feel that this is somehow part of a grander scheme, that it is waking us up. I have never had more depth conversations with people about ideals, feminism and values than since the last American election. Also, actually, the American Eclipse on August 21 is bang on the Ascendant and Mars of the current USA president. I know that there are more dramatic predictions than this going around (some of them wishful thinking) but I actually think he is going to walk off the job in a snit, citing inability to follow through on his grand vision due to political correctness, legal crap, witches, bitches, whatever. We are in a time of rapid technological and consciousness change and I feel like there are politicians all over the place who have not caught up with it, who don’t reflect the culture of even the most average people. Some are just more garish about being out of touch than others.

Mystic Medusa as offered a discount code for Haute Macabre readers! Use “juno” for 20% off anything in her shop.

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Image credits: 1. Olaf Hajek  2. Leonora Carrington  3. Colette St-Yves  4. Virgil Finlay  6. James Jean  6. Camille Chew  7. Kris Chau

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