Fiona’s life story reads like a Hollywood screenplay. She was adopted at an early age, raised Catholic, and considered becoming a nun. When her teenage rebellious streak hit, she gave up Catholicism and became a Satanist. From Satanism, Fiona decided to make a complete 180 towards a path of “love and light” New Age mysticism. When she made the decision to become a witch is of some debate. Based on interviews with Fiona, even within the same interview, she tends to waffle on this topic specifically.
Fiona read Ly de Angeles’s book The Way of the Goddess in her early 20s. About that book, Fiona says,
“Here was a book about witchcraft or, more specifically, Wicca, that was both easy and thrilling to read and I realized that, all along, I had been a witch.” (1) And yet, in the same interview, she waffles on this statement by saying “I kept studying and reading and thinking and…I thought “Okay, I think I might be a witch.” (1)
A reviewer of one of her books at Amazon.com states that an Australian magazine
“quoted her saying that she ‘had never done any kind of witch craft [sic] or anything like this growing up, and even until that weekend’ (a [W]iccan event in Sydney, Australia)…Then, a couple of years later, she claims to have been doing this since early teens.” (2)
Clearly, further research will be required to resolve these multiple conflicting comments.
Fiona’s fondness for rock music as a teenager inspired her to join the music industry. In 1990, Fiona became the lead singer of the techno band DEF FX. For the next seven years, she dedicated her life to the band, touring with groups like No Doubt and Blink 182. She kept her face in the media spotlight through her performances, interviews, and by posing for Playboy magazine.
Then it all came crashing down. The band broke up. Here’s where Fiona’s life story gets “interesting.” At some point in her life, she claims that a psychic had told her that when she gave up the rock star life, she would become an author. Looking around to see what she could write about, she selected witchcraft. Her first book, Witch: A Personal Journey came out in 1998, one year after her music career had fallen to pieces. Since Wicca was hot, she was able to land an interview in the Australian edition of Rolling Stone magazine that same year (possibly with a stipulation that she loudly proclaim her “witchiness,” although that is pure speculation on the part of this author), even though her music career had died an ungraceful death the year before.
Several books later, Fiona has aspirations of being the diva of Wicca. She arrives at interviews in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, and brings changes of clothes so she can look her best for the obligatory photo shoot. Her Wiccan-themed Web site is sponsored by a cosmetics company. She makes radio appearances to tell how anyone can toss together a love spell in a few minutes. Oh, and even though she’s Wiccan, she’s also an atheist.
At some point along the line, she “discovered” tidbits about her past to help “validate” her “witchiness”. In interviews she hints that her family lineage traces back to Hungarian gypsies. She used to control the wind as a child, (3) and her biological mother has the ability to control birds. (1) While she does not outright use these claims to further her authority as a witch, she does hint at them as some form of distorted credential dropping.
The Teachings of Fiona
Fiona’s works seem to be a perfect shell of pop-culture Wicca, and digging a bit deeper, some larger issues develop.
Think that Fiona wrote her books because she was inspired to share her love of the Craft as a lifelong exploration with others? Think again. In her own words:
You know I respect the fact that people enjoy my books but I don’t enjoy writing them. Like it’s not something I do because I’m passionately driven to do it ….I’m over it. (3)
Of course this hasn’t stopped her from continuing to produce books and other “tie-in” products related to her brand of Wicca. Many times Silver Ravenwolf will take negative comments for her Teen Witch Kit. By far, Fiona Horne’s “Wikid Witch” kit surpasses Ravenwolf’s kit in terms of shoddy spirituality and a disgusting level of “sell-out-ism.” Thankfully available in limited supply only in Australia, the kit is described as
Packaged in a funky lunchbox and featuring a magickal CD, cosmetics, candle, exclusive website access and lots more, the kit is being sold Australia wide through department store Myer/Grace Bros and the [S]tuf cosmetic chain. (4)
What did Fiona have to say about her kit?
“I’ve created the kit more for the people that are reading books and are drawn to it but are scared to start.” (3)
Yep, if they’re scared to explore their spirituality, Fiona will water it down and make it “safe.”
The CD component of it (the kit) is a guide to a ritual. I do have them cast circle but it’s not a full blown thing at all. Like there are no cakes and ale, there’s none of that sort of stuff, it’s a real basic thing of just creating a sacred space and declaring the elements present… (3)
So creating sacred space is simple but cakes and ale is too complex? This seems completely backwards to me.
They are not even doing a spell, they are doing cord magic, very basic cord magic. Imbuing the cord with power, getting used to the idea that you can empower a certain object with your will and your intent and hold it in there. (3)
And yet she lists similar activities on her web site as spells.
Really, when they get through the ritual, there’s just a little bit of spoken word information about witchcraft, I just talk about the basic laws and stuff. (3)
So *after* she’s had them do a ritual *then* she explains laws and, hopefully, ethics? Talk about putting the cart before the horse! Unfortunately, it only gets worse.
And then, when they get to the end, if they have comprehended the ritual and they have been sufficiently moved by it and responded to it, they will be compelled to create their magical name. Now that magical name, because of the way I tell them how to make it up, is a specific Wickid Witch magical name specific to this magical experience and it gives them access to a web site which is like a chat room. And only those who have done the Wickid Witch experience and got to the point where they comprehend it and are sufficiently moved by it and understand how to work out the password, get access to the site. (3)
I’ve read this paragraph several times, and each time I am unable to know where to begin with the issues I have after reading this paragraph. From the idea that Fiona tells them exactly how to make up their magical name to the fact that a spiritual experience is being equated with a way to access a secret part of a chat room, this televangelist-style commercialism is wholly repugnant.
In this same interview, Fiona does explain why she feels it is important to make materials like this for teenagers.
They have got the power of the consumer dollar like never before. (3)
Her views on Wicca itself are disappointing. In her books, Fiona makes no difference between Wiccans and witches. While this is troublesome, she is hardly the only author to engage in that level of confusion. Other issues are more disturbing.
According to one review,
There is focus on practice rather than theory, with little discussion on why Wiccan Witches do these things and what they believe. (5)
Most shocking of all are Fiona’s beliefs about the God and Goddess, which flies in the face of generally accepted Wiccan beliefs.
In the book I actually mention how I’m atheist in a sense, I don’t believe that the God and Goddesses exist in their own right. (3)
To clear away any idea that she might have simply misspoken herself, Fiona reinforces her atheism in her books and interviews.
You don’t even have to believe in the Goddess to be Wiccan. ‘Gods are like mirrors. They show us ourselves. That’s why we create them.’ (6)
While she repeatedly stresses that Wicca is not all about spells, her books, Web site materials, and actions speak louder than that one politically correct statement. If you’re looking for information about Wicca or witchcraft on her site, you’ll find slim pickings. On the other hand, if you want spells, she’s a one-stop shop. Considering that teens and preteens are her preferred market of choice, some of the spells are troubling at best.
Take, for example, her Condom Spell, which will “guarantee a successful night on the prowl.” (7) Looking for a way to clear out negativity in your life? Try the Triple Fast Acting Jinx Removing Bath and Floorwash where “To add a touch of voodoo… read the 23rd psalm from the Bible focusing on releasing negativity in your environment.” (8) But lest you think that spellwork is something that is to be taken seriously, she’s also got a spell to “Help Mark Woodford Get Back on the Court at Wimbleton.” (9)
Her books have equally questionable merit. With chapters like “Witches Britches: Witchy Style and When to Take Your Clothes Off” and “Cosmetic Conjurings: Making Your Own Witchy Cosmetics,” (10) Fiona seems to have one ability—the ability to take a valid spiritual path and turn it into a cheap parlor game.
According to the Publisher’s Weekly review (available at Amazon.com),
Occasionally, ethical qualms silence Horne’s ready tongue, leading to curiously unusable directives (as in “Bitchcraft,” the chapter on hexing, where she describes in graphic detail the preparation and abuse of an enemy’s effigy, but primly refuses to tell you what to say while you’re doing it). (2)
Providing information without an ethical basis, watering down spiritual beliefs to the realm of frivolity, and making a religion into a mass marketing ploy do not speak highly of Fiona.
So Why Raise a Fuss Now?
Several months ago, a press release made its way through the Pagan community about a new series on the Sci-Fi channel. The advertisement read, in part:
New reality based TV show for the SciFi Channel is looking for a practicing Witch who can cast spells and conduct moonlit rituals. The perfect witch looks the part, dresses the part and lives the part 24 hours a day. (11)
There was a huge uproar by many who read this article. The producers obviously wanted to find someone with the “witchy look”, furthering the stereotype that witches are not normal people. Who on earth would lower themselves to this level? You guessed it, Fiona Horne.
The show is called Mad Mad House. The premise is that a group of “normal” people have to live with “alts” (those with alternative lifestyles including a self-styled vampire, a naturist, a “modern primitive” and a voodoo priestess). The person among the “normals” who is most accepting of the “alts” wins the grand prize. Automatically this reinforces the belief that witches are not normal people.
So how did the filming go? According to Fiona, “It was one of the most challenging yet rewarding spiritual, emotional and mental experiences I have ever had. A real Rite of Passage for me and a time where not only was my practical experience of the Craft enhanced but also my psychic and esoteric experience… my personal practice of my Craft has gone through another quantum leap—by this I mean my psychic skills have gone through the roof. Watch the show and you will see what I mean! It’s all caught on camera!” (12)
Did she provide a positive role image for Wicca?
‘Some people will think I’m a bitch, not a witch,’ Horne said in an interview at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Hollywood. ‘Really, there were times the dark goddess had to be invoked and challenges had to be faced. And all of us at different times as Alts had to really wield the sword of enlightenment and cut through the crap, and that happened a few times.’ (13)
Every time I turn around, I am finding yet another reason not to recommend Fiona Horne’s books and materials to students. From ethical failings to informational inaccuracies to a trivialization of Wicca and witchcraft, Fiona continues to outdo herself, showing that fame and fortune are her top goals. The good news is that as the marketability of Wicca as a trend diminishes, Fiona will likely disappear with it. In her own words, “I don’t see my job as being that of a witch; my work is as a writer, an entertainer and a performer. My witchcraft is not my job but its funny how it’s become interlaced with my work.” (14)
Thanks, Fiona. Please go back to those fields and leave Wicca and witchcraft to those who believe strongly in their path.
Unfortunately, almost all of the reference links are no longer active.