Creepy Occult Time

Writing about the occult is one of those issues that brings my writer self and my Druid self into conflict. From a Druid perspective, I don’t believe that there is anything outside of nature, although my notion of ‘nature’ includes the scope for much that could be deemed ‘supernatural’. (Ghosts, spirits etc). As a Druid, I don’t find any of these things inherently creepy or disturbing. As with all aspects of life, some bits are better than others. I’ve been creeped out by things I couldn’t explain, but I’ve also been happily surprised and inspired.

From a writing perspective, stories about happy benevolent contact with things magical get dull really fast. The best occult tales are horror and spine chillers. Think Phil Rickman, the hugely popular Dennis Wheatley (who I haven’t read) Clive Barker and no doubt many more. The occult is inherently uncanny, beyond our knowledge and control, dangerous and hard to tackle. As a plot device it drives stories wonderfully well.

The pagan in me wants to write a positive, magical realism, with a pagan take on the world in which magic is not evil. The writer in me… won this time round.

Dead Sexy’ is dark, and the occult, where it manifests, is not friendly at all, or safe, or benevolent. It’s a story I’d been working up to for a while. There was a jewellery box, with the name ‘Octavia’ on it. She was part of my family, and went mad. That’s all I know about her. The first time I heard about her, it stuck in my head, and I’ve made up stories before, trying to imagine what might have happened to her. All speculation. The Octavia in this story is someone I created, borrowing the name and drawing on the inspiration. Otherwise, this is complete fabrication.

It’s not the first time I’ve written scary evil occult stuff, either. The writer in me apologises to the druid in me on a regular basis. At some point, there will be reconciliation and I’ll write a creepy occult story with a druid hero or heroine, and that will balance out entirely.

8 thoughts on “Creepy Occult Time”

  1. As a fellow Druid, I completely agree with your perspective on ghosts and such being part of nature. That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing about “evil supernatural beings.” Although we are more accepting and celebratory than some people about positive magic and spirits, the ancient Celts believed in harmful spirits and magic as well. Lir’s children were transformed into swans by a wicked woman – a witch in many translations. In Ireland, the Pooka is a malevolent creature who likes to trick or even kill people. In my Druidic perspective, it is perfectly acceptable to write about the more demonic/destructive magic because it’s just as much a part of the world as the creative, beneficial kind. 🙂

    Kudos on the writing! I’ll have to look for a copy of your book. 🙂

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  2. Two thoughts. First, just because something is part of the natural world, doesn’t mean it can’t be scary. A hungry tiger may be completely natural, but if it’s standing in front of me, you bet its scary.

    The other, probably more useful one, is that the magical, spirit world is at least in part shaped by us as humans. We attract things, or sometimes create/shape them, which are unhealthy. Also many things there reflect back at us what we bring to them. There are plenty of bad people out there.

    You could still have a good story and reflect positive aspects of the occult by giving your lead some helpers in dealing with the nasty bits.

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  3. You have to go where your Muse takes you sometimes even if you might have doubts. Where there is light there is also darkness. I like stories that go to a darker place and/or explore the fragile human psyche, which probably spreads into that unseen spiritual world. Magic can be good or evil depending on how it is used.

    Is this story available yet? I like the premise.

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  4. Hi Bryn,

    Merry meet. I’m a Wiccan, not a druid, but also a writer with an occasional dilemma–from the other end of the paranromal spectrum, because I write romantic comedy.

    How do I write what deserves respect, but make it funny at the same time? Well, a very wize elderly author (and I wish I could remember her name, but unfortunately, I can’t) once said, “To be a writer, you must be fearless.”

    In other words, you can’t worry about how others will ‘take it’ especially when you’re dealing with something as subjective as the art of storytelling. And I hope readers know that fiction is just that–something from the author’s imagination and no more.

    Best of luck with your writing, even if we don’t read each other’s subgenres, I respect what you’re trying to do.

    Ash

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  5. Well, it would be really creepy if suddenly niceness reigned, and nothing could hurt anything else: not only are all the spooks harmless, but owls and cats can’t damage mice, wolves can’t prey on rabbits or sheep or deer, spiders can’t hurt flies, Great Old Ones can’t devour mankind….

    Thank goodness you haven’t gone that weird on us!

    Besides, Hello Cthulhu already has the market cornered.

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