Darkness is unknowable, forbidden. In our overlit, opinionated world, darkness is untrustworthy.
When I was a little girl, my mother bemoaned the melanin browning my skin.
“You used to be how-fair!” she exclaimed. On my birth certificate, my skin was labelled: fair. But now, my extremities were stained: hands, feet. I’d inherited my colour from my father, an aristocratic hooligan. It infected our blood with something ill-behaved, prone to vice.
Attending my gently racist nursery in Surrey, I begged Ma to dress me in a white polo-neck, the better to ‘pass’ as acceptable.
I was never accepted. I stopped trying to pass. I learnt to question dominant cultures, at home and in the world. At The Demented Goddess, we remain intrigued by the denials that hurt us all. Exploring darkness, for this issue, we wish to bring you new light.
In the last decade, over 90 people in Assam, India, have been burnt, beheaded or banished from their homes as ‘witches’. They are mainly women, particularly land-owning widows. For this issue, we investigate the actual rituals of Wiccans, with charismatic bookshop-owner Christina Oakley Harrington. Scholar and witch Sabina Stent considers magic in the home, taking us on a visit to the Spellbound Exhibition in Oxford. We recall the dizzying career of Donyale Luna, the world’s first black supermodel, marooned in a sea of drugs and adulation. And aesthete Louise Winters tells us how she is creating revolutionary funerals that are finally allowing us to grieve, potentially healing the darkest suppression of our culture: Death.
Editor, The Demented Goddess
Main photograph of our Resident DJ, Caoimhe Lavelle.