Author, musician, television personality and actress, Fiona Horne is one of the most publicly recognized practitioners of witchcraft. In this revealing interview with Moody Moons, she opens up about feminism, being “out of the broom closet” and her new book.
Oh, yeah, and she’s a pilot now.
1. Let’s get right to it. What’s brewing in your cauldron lately? I hear there’s a book on the horizon.
Yes there is! After a long break from writing and working in the entertainment industry to concentrate on a new career in aviation, I was approached by a publisher to write my autobiography. I now live in the moment of being grateful and say yes, being willing to trust and take the next indicated action, so even though I hadn’t planned to write another book, I accepted the opportunity and its been quite the magickal journey to relive many past moments and commit them to paper… the book is called ‘The Naked Witch’ (as in ‘baring my soul!) and its released by Rockpool Publishing in print in Australia July 2017 and e-book internationally at the same time. The international print version will be released in 2018.
Also my original internationally released, Witch: A Magickal Journey is being re-released as a 20th Anniversary edition by Harper Collins UK in print and e book – it comes out this year. It’s fun that both these unexpected publishing events are happening simultaneously.
2. How has your perspective on witchcraft changed since your last book? In what new ways has your path evolved?
The last book I wrote was a work of young adult fiction – published by Allen & Unwin in Australia in 2012 its called ‘Witch: A Summerland Mystery.’ It was fun to write – my first work of fiction – you can find it at my website www.fionahorne.com.
Stepping out of the public eye and taking my Craft back for me as I focused on working as a commercial pilot these last six years, allowed me to really reconnect with the Pagan wonder of my original steps on the Path. Quiet times alone in nature – on the land and under the sea especially, gave me the opportunity to refine my Craft and identify some very simple principles that form the foundation of what I practice now. In a way it could be called ‘naked Witchcraft’ in that its pure, minimalist and requires very little props – its a state of living and being that is magickally mindful. My autobiography talks about it in the last chapter.
3. Given the number of television and radio appearances you’ve done, I think it’s fair to say that you are perhaps one of the most public and well-known practitioners of modern witchcraft in the English-speaking world. How has being so completely “out of the broom closet” effected other areas of your life? What would you say to people who are afraid to be public about their involvement of witchcraft?
When I came out of the broom closet 20 years ago the world was a different place… now who doesn’t know a proud self-proclaimed Witch? Working in the conservative environment of business aviation as a pilot now, I was concerned a little what would happen when my bosses Googled me (as everyone does). My director and I are linked on social media and when the cover of my book was promoted we were sitting in the cockpit and he said, ‘I saw your book… umm, I don’t know what I can say that wont get me into trouble!’ I laughed and said, ‘say what you like-I promise you its already been said! I just decided a plane is more comfortable than a broomstick that’s all!’ He laughed and its never been mentioned again. A little positive humor can go a long way.
4. Can you tell us a little about some of your earliest experiences in witchcraft? What drew you to this path?
I grew up in the Australian bush and as a little girl I was always disappearing into the bush, I spent every moment I could there. I found my experiences in the natural world magickal and profound – they defined the foundation of who I am – the bush was where I felt the most at home. I talk about this in my autobiography. As a teenager I looked for alternatives to Catholic faith I was being brought up in. I was drawn to the ritual of the church – but not the theology and ideology. I related much more to the explosion of new age consciousness and Goddess oriented spirituality that happened in the 80’s… and that is how I started to forge my path consciously as a Witch… but I think I was born one. I just had to learn that fact through a series of events. I talk about this in my new book too.
5. Many people remember you for your early book, Witch: A Magical Journey, which was quite popular with pagan set at the time of its publication. Particularly, you succeeded at reaching younger, more cosmopolitan readers. You’ve sometimes been credited with “making witchcraft cool.” What do you think about that?
I’m grateful to have a positive impact in people’s lives … as I mentioned earlier it’s lovely that, after being out of print for a few years, it is being released as a 20th Anniversary edition! Being young in physical years is an interesting time… I am considered an Elder in the Craft now and yet I personally don’t define my life by being young or old in years…. having said that, I wouldn’t go back to being in my teens and twenties for anything! It’s a challenging time as you put so much pressure on yourself to forge an identity. If my first book helped young people to feel confident and safe spiritually, to express themselves without fear, then that’s a wonderful thing!
6. Originally from Australia and as someone who has experienced witchcraft in both hemispheres, what are some unique differences between American and Australian approaches to the practice?
Mainly when we celebrate the Sabbats! Haha! It used to be such a big issue, but these days everyone seems to get it pretty easily. I remember in the early days doing public appearances and spending so much time explaining why Yule was in December in the North and June in the South… but really its so easy. Just look at what nature is doing and you have your answers. However, I live in the Caribbean, pretty much on top of the equator now and we really only have two seasons – winter and summer! So I have come up with different ways to celebrate the turning of the wheel, ie: the passage of planets and stars through the sky and the events on the land and in the sea… I call it Island Witchcraft… maybe there will be a book about that one day…!!
7. How do you feel about the word “feminist”? Does it have a place in Wicca? Would you describe yourself that way?
Yes absolutely, I’m a feminist. And yes it does have a place in Witchcraft. I am not as interested in making a public statement about my opinions as a feminist anymore. I just live it. Working in aviation as female pilot, I am an extreme minority – and the old sexist ways are often flung in my face. Being a feminist means choosing my battles with wisdom and strength – and most often that means just getting on with the job. The plane doesn’t know whether a man or a woman is flying it.
8. Do you still keep a snake? Have you taken on any other familiars?
No snake- though I love them still! I now have a beautiful island dog as my heart and soul partner. She found me on a beach… though it may have appeared I rescued her. But truly, she rescued me. Her name is Fifi – I love her so much. I write about her in my new book too. I also find a profound magickal connection with sea animals at this point in my life. I have been freediving for just over a year now. I have SCUBA dived for the last 20 years, but as a freediver, without all the equipment and bubbles, I find I can get very close to fish and underwater creatures and have a connection with them that is very magickal. The peace and inner stillness encountered deep under the ocean on a single breath allows for an altered state of consciousness that facilitates a profound connection to the source of our lives… we all came out of the sea. I have a lot of fish familiars now.
9. In addition to being a witch, you are also a pilot! This is so cool! I see you’ve used your skills in the air to help with humanitarian efforts. I find this interesting, because pagans are often criticized for not contributing to charity on the scale that other spiritual communities do. How has your spiritual practice influenced your decision to devote time to these causes? What would you say to the witchcraft community about organizing to help others in need?
This is something I talk at length about in my book – how to identify opportunities to be of service and get involved. The main reason I became a professional pilot was to get involved in humanitarian aid efforts – and then I realized I would like to be a pilot as an everyday job too. I haven’t heard of pagans being criticized… but I tend to focus now on what is supportive and positive in the world around me rather than getting caught up in negative opinions. I can be more useful and effective in the world if I focus on being of service and magnifying what is good and working in human life rather than what isn’t. So the first step is to allow yourself to choose to be helpful and trust that you will be guided towards opportunities. I went to Africa to do a bush pilot flying course, thinking that I would offer my flying services to missions in Africa. But it turned out there was an opportunity to help much closer to my Caribbean home … Haiti. I organized and flew two missions there this year in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
10. Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Just that I’m happy and grateful that you wanted to chat and hear about what I’ve been up to Tiffany! And I would like to invite your readers to check out my website – it’s linked to everything that I’m involved in now if people would like to find out more!