“As a symbol of sexual union, the Priestess dipped her knife into the cup. Next, the chalice passed on from man to woman with a kiss, and the ceremony ended.

“Robert had just been initiated into Ar Dealrach Baintihearna (a Celtic phrase meaning ‘our shining lady’), one of three known covens in the Boston area that follow the Alexandrian tradition of Witchcraft.

“Modern-day witches are different from the image their name provokes. It usually conjures up visions of hags chanting, ‘Double, double, toil and trouble’ over a steamy cauldron of frog toes, dog tongues and lizard legs. But unlike the ones in Macbeth, modern witches never apply their ‘magic’ to evil ends. They practice white magic (rite designed for the good of mankind), believing that black magic (which encourages greed, selfishness and vengeance) carries the seeds of its own retribution.

“Because of misconceptions surrounding witchcraft, few witches advertise their membership. Although the Supreme Court recognizes witchcraft as an official religion, people who openly practice it invite ridicule, even employment discrimination. They survive by lying low.”

Yoko tries art | 35 years ago | October 26, 1971 | Ben Gerson attended a press conference given by Yoko Ono about her exhibition at Syracuse’s Everson Museum.
“Wearing the black beret she wore on Cavett, flanked by Hariathas and John, Yoko opened the press conference with a rather gratuitous speech on the role of the artist today. It was basically a paraphrase of her speech at the Cannes Film Festival last May. ‘The Museum is a dead scene,’ what with the social problems that beset us today, but ‘violent revolutionaries are playing the same game as the Establishment.’ As John silently chewed gum, she continued: ‘You don’t need talent to be an artist; it’s just a frame of mind. I want to show how easy it is to communicate. Artists communicate. Communication equals peace.’ Then a vehement reiteration of her credo: ‘The message is the medium!’

“The speech ends and the place erupts. ‘I love you, John,’ cries one, and suddenly one realizes that it’s another Beatles press conference — scores of photographers jockeying for a better position, Lennon himself, first hiding behind opaque-looking shades, cooly surveying the scene from above, looking like a very intelligent parakeet.

“John at first declines to answer questions — this is Yoko’s show after all. But gradually he finds commenting irresistible. Yes, ‘many pieces and ideas of mine are in the show.’ They had been offered a chance to exhibit in a Las Vegas hotel. John helped the Julian Becks out of prison. The questions and answers were wandering further afield. ‘Janovian theory is hokum. It’s becoming a religion. Therapy (for us) worked to a degree, enough for us to be here, and not at home.’ ‘How Do You Sleep,’ John’s denunciation of Paul on his new album Imagine, was an ‘outburst.’ ‘All my outbursts are in song.’ ‘Attica was a disgusting piece of fascism.’ Hariathas, asked why this was Yoko’s first museum show, asserts that before this, Yoko was the victim of sexist discrimination. He clad in a T-shirt which reads ‘This is Not Here.’ ”

Where are they now?
Dan Kennedy is a contributor to the Boston Phoenix and an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Ric Kahn is a news reporter for the Boston Globe. William A. Henry III was a Pulitzer prize-winning critic for the Boston Globe. Anita Diamant is the author of The Last Days of Dogtown and The Red Tent.

 

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