Photography, technology and witchcraft

Sally McLeanToday has been (as the nice lady I spent an hour on the phone to at Telstra – our main telco here in Oz – put it) “like a full moon day”. And she’s not wrong. Mis-communication, fiddly details that seemed to take forever to sort out and difficulties with just about every communication device I have – which is quite a few.

But, as a burnt sienna half moon rises above the trees in my back garden (made that colour from the smoke of the bushfires currently burning about 20km away – please God, let everyone be safe who is dealing with those fires), I realise that it must not be the little star that orbits our planet causing all the trouble, but indeed, something else entirely different. Like maybe one or more of the rocks zipping around our solar system and aligning in a non-friendly way, perhaps? Whatever it is, I’d like it to stop now, as I’ve had enough of the dramas and near-disasters.

My mood is not helped by one of those dreadful 1900 ads that keeps playing every ad break – sometimes twice an ad break – to the point where, sadly, it is doing it’s job and I could probably quote it verbatim. No, not one of those “call me, call me now” ads (although they drive me mad as well). No, it’s a new one where a self-proclaimed witch (and I won’t mention her name as I refuse to give her any more publicity), claims to be able to give you personalised “astro spells” for use in your love life, career … “fill-in-the-blank-here”, based solely on your star sign.

I mean, really! Since when did witchcraft become sanitized, cure-all pop-culture? Stupid question really, it’s been pop culture for quite a while. And I don’t object to people embracing older philosophies – not at all – what I do object to is the popularisation and denigration of these philosophies to the point where they end up losing all sense and meaning. Is this a plot being executed by members of opposing belief systems? Who knows? Trivialize the competition and you win the war … in a way. But I believe that then takes something valuable away from us as a race.

Let me be clear – I don’t subscribe to any particular religion. I’m not an atheist either, I just don’t like formalised worship. That’s just me. It could be because I have friends and family who follow so many different versions of religion or philosophy that it just doesn’t make sense to me to choose one. I believe they’re all about the same thing. And even if they’re not, then we should try to respect each other’s beliefs and just get on with our own lives. But that’s a topic for another day …

Back to the pop-witch. I just find it dreadful that an ancient philosophy which was all about living with nature and respecting each other and ourselves and the world around us is now trivialized to the greater public by people like this.

I’m not Wiccan. Just to clarify. I’m not Buddhist either. But I’ve had contact with both (I worked closely with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet for three years as their designer on a voluntary basis and you’d be surprised the amount of Wiccans who came along to meditations and ceremonies – very similar philosophies, I suspect). They’re both fascinating belief systems, run very close to each other on a fundamental level, and I think the world is the richer for having them. Its richer for having any philosophy that not only promotes but actually practices tolerance, acceptance and the value of the individual as part of a larger group. (Oh God! That ad’s on AGAIN!!).

But I do object to people making money from those who are desperate to change their lives, attract luck, be happy … “fill-in-the-blank” … with overly-commercial, pre-packaged plastic promises like this one. It’s exploitative and dreadfully cruel. But, then again, belief lends substance, so maybe on some level it does help – but it’s won’t the pop-witch’s doing, it will have come solely from the individual who is looking to change their lives – they’ll be the one fuelling the change by acting on what they believe to be real. As we all do. Every day.

Onto happier things …

I have finally built my mother’s online shop for her photography business “COASTSCAPES VICTORIA“. I’m very excited for her. Okay, so there are only two photographs up there at the moment being used on products, but we’re going to build the site up over the next few weeks and there are over 2,000 photos to choose from in her collection! Mum is actually, I think, a brilliant photographer. She specialises in coastal photography (in case you hadn’t worked that out by the title of her business!) and is a natural (ie. she’s never trained, she just picked up a “point and shoot” camera one day and the rest is history).

So, on that level, it’s been a good day. And the look on Mum’s face when she saw the shopfront was more than worth all the hours of uploading and product creation I’ve been doing for her. Now, of course, she’s full of grand plans for what else she’s going to do … like mother, like daughter! (Which is something I’m very proud of )

So, now that I’ve had a rant, and a daughterly boast, I’ll leave it here.

Wishing you health, wealth and happiness (and no more technology issues!),

Sal x


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