[This month, we sit down for a quick interview with Jessica Mason. A witch and a lover of cinema, Mason here discusses the Reel Magic podcast; her favorite — and least favorite — cinematic magical tropes; and her upcoming projects.]
ev0ke: How would you describe your personal spiritual path? Does it have a name, or is it more intuitive and eclectic?
Jessica Mason: I would say I am an eclectic polytheist witch. My path has been heavily influenced by Wicca, and I’ve identified as Wiccan in the past, but as my spiritual journey has continued, I’ve found that’s not quite the right term, although it’s certainly easier to use when dealing with non-magical people.
ev0ke: Which Deities, spirits, or other powers are honored in your tradition?
JM: For me, I connect most with deities that resonate with the important aspects of my life. I’m a writer and a person who values creativity, wisdom, and inspiration, so I work closely with and honor Athena with my creative output, as well as Brigid. I’m also a gardener and plant witch, so Demeter and Persephone step in there. In my magickal practice and in connecting with the spirit world, I honor Hecate and the Morrigan.
ev0ke: How did Reel Magic come about? What was the impetus for its creation?
JM: I’ve always been a fan of magical movies, and I’m a huge podcast fan, so last year I had the idea to combine those. There are a lot of great pagan/witchy podcasts, and a lot of great movie and television podcasts, but no one was really combining both so that’s where the idea came: combining my two passions!
ev0ke: You obviously have a deep love of cinema, but, if you could correct one misconception about witches/witchcraft (or eliminate one trope), what would it be? And why?
JM: I think I’ve had enough of the pagan murder cults in movies like The Wicker Man or Midsommar, though those are both interesting films and Midsommar I like a lot. I don’t enjoy the conflation of paganism with human sacrifice and horror.
ev0ke: Let’s flip around the previous question: what are some of your favorite representations of witches/witchcraft in cinema?
JM: I think I speak for a lot of witches when I say that Practical Magic is one of my favorites because it’s such a comforting and familiar portrayal of the craft. The magic in that movie isn’t evil or scary, it simply is, which is what most of our own magic is like. But I also have a soft spot for over-the-top redheaded witches who don’t care what society says they should be: Winifred, Rowena, Endora … that’s who I want to be when I grow up.
ev0ke: For those who don’t know how podcasts are created, could you walk us through the production? How long does it take to create an episode?
JM: The pandemic has actually made podcasting easier I think, because everyone knows how to use zoom now. I use zoom sessions for interviews and record directly from there, then convert the audio and edit it using software called Audacity. The best thing about Audacity is that it’s free and using it allows me to add in clips and to record intros and outros very easily. I have a good microphone and headphones, which is pretty essential.
ev0ke: Is there a particular television show or movie that you have wanted to tackle in Reel Magic, but just haven’t got to yet? Or a particular topic you have wanted to address?
JM: I’d love to talk about The VVitch, which is such an interesting movie, but I just haven’t had the time yet. It would also be fun to talk about lighter things like Halloweentown or The Worst Witch. I’d also love to talk more about how divination, especially astrology and tarot, are used in media, but there aren’t too many movies or shows that focus on those.
ev0ke: What was perhaps the most interesting tidbit that you learned through doing Reel Magic? Some historical factoid, or piece of cinematic trivia?
JM: The research for my first ever episode on The Wizard of Oz was fascinating, mainly because it revealed that The Wicked Witch of the West was the first-ever G = green (in terms of skin color) witch. That image has become so ubiquitous I think we all assumed there was more behind it, but no. It was just a choice that MGM made because it looked great in technicolor.
ev0ke: Where can listeners find the Reel Magic podcast?
JM: We’re on Podbean, Apple podcast, spotify, google, and pretty much anywhere you find podcasts!
ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?