Happy Halloween! This modern version of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (sow-in) has roots stretching back 2,000 years to Ireland, the UK and northern France (no, it’s not simply a tacky American thing). And what better way to celebrate than by honouring Australia’s most famous witch, Rosaleen Norton. Known in Sydney as “the Witch of Kings Cross”, Norton was an “artist, poet and Neopagan occultist” whose lifestyle and artwork shook post-war Aussie sensibilities. “As a divorced bisexual woman practicing occult art, Norton rejected the social mores of mid century Sydney. More remarkably, by eventually embracing the identity of ‘Witch,’ Norton harnessed the media to revalorize a slur against her, and reasserted her agency within the public arena” (Lyndon Blue, 2015). Pointy hats off to you, Rosaleen!
(Image credit: By Ivan Ives From the collections of the State Library of New South Wales [ON 388/Box 020/Item 059] Mitchell Library, Courtesy ACP Magazines Ltd.)
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