18 Mar 2004

Mad Mad House Post #1

Well, last week I started watching Mad Mad House on the SciFi Channel.

I have to say the advertisements for the show were not enticing in the LEAST!! I was gonna refuse to watch it. Actually, I find the advertisements a bit offensive as well. and am saddened at what it takes to make people watch the show.

The REASON I actually decided to watch was because of Fiona Horne. I found a book, Witchin': A Book for Teen Witches, at the bookstore by her and had a chance to start reading it. It was Fantastic! Just the little I read of it. So I went to her website while I was at work and away from my book to see if there was anything interesting on it. Yes, there IS some very interesting stuff there, including a section where she gushes about how much she liked doing the show.

In her own words from her website located at http://www.fionahorne.com she says:

"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."

After explaining a bit about the show itself, she went on to say:

"But the five of us 'Alts' bonded in an incredibly profound way and our
guests were amazing (in good and bad ways!) There was so much
serendipity and magick within the House that it was truly the Divine hand
of fate playing itself out in our lives. Together we created a world within a world and the results are extraordinary.

"And the winner ultimately took away something far more valuable than

I was lucky to catch the rebroadcast of the first episode and then watch the second episode immediately. I am excited to wait for the 3rd episode which is airing tonight! I can't wait to see how things turn out at the end of this game, but so far it is exciting. Looking at the SciFi.com website, there are some really neat things like Fiona's Spell Book and Iya Ta'Shia's Blog.

Perhaps the most strange thing about this show is watching it with my mother. I would be all into watching the interaction watching Fiona or Ta'Shia or one of the other Alts and my mother would start making distracting comments. I know she is open-minded, but the stuff happening in the show and her comments about them made me wonder if I was wrong about her... I had very little to no problem with anything and SHE had a lot of problems.... I dunno... maybe I don't really want to know.

I guess people were criticizing Fiona for being in this show, but the show really is quite special. If you, yourself, are an 'Alt' you will LOVE this show, well, I THINK you will at least appreciate it a bit 🙂 I don't think Fiona was wrong to do it, just as I think none of the others were wrong to do it. This article that I copied from Fiona's Website raises some nice points and concerns, while supporting Fiona and by extension the other Alts.

[Nia's NOTE: Quotes which I find agreeable are highlighted. I will not expound on my comments since this entry is already very long. The Whole article without my highlighting can be found at the below link, which will open in a new browser window.]

welcome to the official website of fiona horne
march 18 2004




Having now watched the first two episodes of Mad, Mad House I feel
ready and compelled to respond to those who criticized Fiona Horne's choice to
participate. Some of the criticism has come from individuals I know and for
whom I have the highest regard, some criticism comes from individuals I've
never met. My response is not personal, but goes to the deeper issues that
have arisen and that have caused me grave concern. My hope is that this
experience will provide an opportunity for us, as individuals and as a
community, to grow together in our spirituality and our treatment of one
another as an expression of that spirituality.

First, I was deeply disturbed to see criticism before anyone had seen
the show. We are a community that suffers from judgments made out of
ignorance and, of all people, we should not behave in a similar and unfair

Second, I was deeply disturbed to see criticism of a personal nature
made against Fiona Horne's character and motivations by people who do not
know her, and who had not seen the show. While the initial promotional
items may have raised some concerns about how we would be treated on
national television, those concerns do not justify a public rush to
judgement against a member of our own community. Our spirituality means
nothing if we do not practice it - and that means that we treat each other
with compassion and tolerance and respect, especially when we disagree.

Third, whether you agreed with Ms. Horne's choice or not, she is still
a member of our community and should be treated with the same respect you
would want if people disagreed with your choice.

Fourth, if we decided not to participate in media because of the risk
of being publicly humiliated, Gerald Gardner would never have come out of the
broom closet and the current Wiccan, Witchcraft and Neo-Pagan movement might
not exist. It certainly would not be the movement we have today - the
fastest growing spirituality in the U.S.

As someone who has been public since 1985, who has placed her legal
career on the line to speak out on behalf of our community to correct the
negative stereotypes and to fight for our religious freedom, I did so
knowing that I would probably be humiliated. I knew I was being viewed
through a distorted lens but the risk was worth the result. My goal was to
fix that distortion with the truth, a strategy that has had great success.
Often media outlets where one would expect to be portrayed badly, such as
Hard Copy, New York Magazine, the National Examiner, or Bill O'Reilly were
those with the most respectful coverage. And media where I would have
expected to be treated respectfully, such as the New York Times, or the PBS
show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, were condescending and inaccurate.

If we made our decisions based upon fear we would still be in the broom
closet. We choose to be public in spite of criticism because we are
courageous enough to try to change people's negative opinions whenever an
opportunity presents itself. In fact, the show has vindicated Ms. Horne's
faith that she, and we, would be treated fairly.

Fifth, those of us who have done a lot of media know that we have done
a good job if we have managed to get three critical points across: 1) That
there is no Satan in our religion; 2) that we worship a Goddess and a God;
and 3) that we are a spirituality which experiences the world as sacred.
Fiona Horne had done her job impeccably in both the first and second shows.
The ritual over which she presided was carefully conceived, skillfully
guided and respectfully presented on-screen.
If she did nothing else for
the remaining episodes, she served our community commendably and she should
be thanked for her personal courage in doing so.

Sixth, Fiona Horne has conducted herself with dignity, strength, focus,
compassion, sensitivity and wisdom. She is a priestess we should be proud

Seventh, at this critical moment in our political history, it is mad for
us to be tearing each other limb from limb when we should be concentrating
our energies on defending our fundamental civil liberties from fascist

Finally, because personal attacks were made upon her in a public forum
I wish to step forward and offer a personal defense. I have known Fiona Horne
since meeting her in Australia in 1999. She threw open the door to me with
complete generosity of spirit and action and is one of the most genuine and
good-hearted souls I know.
She was a rock star on the scale of Gwen Stefani
in Australia, and, in fact, opened for Gwen and No Doubt on her American
tour. She came out of the broom closet after stardom, using her public
notoriety to fight prejudice. Anyone who has the pleasure of meeting her
will not be meeting a "rock star." They will be meeting someone who is
real, warm, genuine, honest, caring, smart, brave, generous and deeply
committed to the best interests of our growing community.

I was privy to her personal struggles regarding whether to accept this show,
and her sincere concern that Wicca, and Witchcraft, be presented fairly.
She was given extensive reassurances and after many meetings, and much
thought and soul searching, decided she would take the risk. Her hope, her
expectation was that she would be able to pursue her career and represent
our community in a manner that would be respected. I shared her concerns,
as did many of you who voiced early criticisms, and I was concerned for her
as well. It takes great courage to step up to the plate and from where I
sit in front of my television set, we were damn lucky that it was Fiona
Horne that was given the opportunity, and that she chose to seize it. Her
career in the public eye has given her unique media skills, apparent in the
way she comports herself and articulates important ideas in accessible ways.
But more importantly, she practices her spirituality with fullness of heart
and deepest conviction. And that is what is most powerfully and genuinely
communicated in her public appearances.

Regardless of what you may think of the rest of the show, Fiona has handled
herself admirably and deserves not only our respect, but our gratitude for
taking a challenging opportunity and transforming it into a gracious
expression of this powerful faith, That's real magic.

Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns and to give them thought.
PWC March 11, 2004 NYC


Phyllis Curott has been an attorney and Wiccan Priestess for almost
twenty-five years. Curott was honored by Jane Magazine, along with Hilary
Clinton, as one of the Ten Gutsiest Women of the Year. She is an outspoken
advocate for the rights of Witches and Pagans in the media and in courts and
won Witches the right to perform marriages in NYC and public rituals in
Chicago. Ms.Curott teaches and lectures internationally and has addressed
the Parliament of the World's Religions, UN conferences, Interfaith groups
and universities. She is founder of the Tradition of Ara and President
Emerita of the Covenant of the Goddess. She is also the author of the
best-selling and internationally published Book of Shadows and
Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic. She received her B.A. in
philosophy from Brown University and her Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.

Well, seeing as I have just put so much into this particular post, I am going to stop talking right now. I may post later, but I will definitely try to post next week for the Fourth Ep of Mad Mad House!

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