Just after the start of the year I popped over to the British Museum to check out the Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibition, which primarily featured illustrations depicting witches and witchcraft from the Renaissance all the way through to the 19th century.
I must not have been the only one heeding the call of the dark side, because the exhibition was utterly packed. I can understand why. The illustrations, which included works by Dürer, Goya, Delacroix, Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, were incredibly fantastic and rich in their depictions of magic, sorcery, and occult machinations. There is something to take notice of in almost every part of them, and the devil definitely is, quite literally in some cases, in the detail.
I had wanted to post the photos I took there a lot sooner, but it practically took an act of divination and the spilling of sacrificial blood in order for me to get a copy of the catalog that accompanied the exhibition. Two of my orders were cancelled due to it selling out, and one was lost in the post.
I had my own brush with witchcraft when I was still living in America. At a perfume counter no less! I was sampling a few Sisley fragrances at Nordstrom when the woman, who was very glamorous – raven haired, not in a goth way; more like a film noir femme fatale with immaculate make up, approached me to ask if I needed any help. I politely declined and carried on sniffing away when she said to me, “You shouldn’t keep your perfumes on the mirrored tray. The morning sun is hitting it while you are asleep, and it could spoil your perfumes.” I was like stunned, but I’m sure I couldn’t have been the ONLY person who didn’t know any better to not keep their perfumes on such a tray, although the detail in what she told me did feel a tiny bit unsettling. So I asked her how she knew this, and she says to me, “You sleep in a red room.” My bedroom in the townhouse I was living in at the time was painted red, and I just kind of looked at her in disbelief.
She gave me this little smile and told me that she often could see things about people that she met and that she sometimes practiced witchcraft. Albeit still quite skeptical, I was also more than a little curious by this point, and I asked her if there was anything else she could tell me to which she replied, “Your first love played piano.”, which was true. Then she told me, “A dark haired man gave you a ring with a purple stone.” At the time, my previous boyfriend had given me an amethyst ring for Christmas.
She had offered to tell me more, but, by this time, I was feeling more than a little freaked out and just wanted to make a hasty exit. I mean I love a good retail experience where I feel that the sales associate really gets me, but, holy shit, this was some next level hocus pocus that had gone well past the point of me deciding Eau du Soir wasn’t really my style. However, it is a memory that has always stuck with me. There was just no possible way she could have told me the details that she had. I never really believed much in what some might call supernatural ability or psychic powers up until then. I’m still not sure if I do, but after having that encounter, I have always felt very curious if there wasn’t something more to it all. What’s weirder is that I never saw her again, even after making many subsequent visits to the same Nordstrom.
Below is the gallery of photos I took at the Witches and Wicked Bodies exhibition, and I am including a Stevie Nicks soundtrack for the purposes of viewing pleasure!