Thursday, 3 June 2021

Nigel Ayers On Stewart Home's 2020 Novel She's My Witch

She’s My Witch by Stewart Home (London Books 2020)

This novel tells the story of a social-media driven romance between a Spanish Witch and a London born fitness instructor, in London between 2011 and 2014.

It moves through a background of the physical space of London, but more importantly through a re-imagined London-scape of memories, dreams, and reflections. The couple’s relationship is shaped by overlays of legends and patterns and archetypal characters from the lovers’ fascination with shlock music and exploitation cinema. 

The narrative is punctuated with a sequence from the Swiss IJJ Tarot deck, in numerical order, each chapter is headed with the image of a Major Arcana Tarot card. It begins with The Fool and ends with the World. 

In his lecture about the Tarot, Carl Jung noted that “man always felt the need of finding an access through the unconscious to the meaning of an actual condition, because there is a sort of correspondence or a likeness between the prevailing condition and the condition of the collective unconscious.” Jung’s experiments with divination were intended to accelerate the process of “individuation,” the move toward wholeness and integrity, by means of playful combinations of archetypes.

In She’s My Witch, the playful archetypes come from popular fiction, the dominatrix, the fitness coach, the ex-skinhead - and their reminiscences of Screaming Lord Sutch; the Angry Brigade and the Valencia Rave scene. As in a lot of Home’s previous fiction, the plot is constructed around pulp archetypes, rather than individualised characters.  For each reference there is an “occult” element. The themes are of “otherness”: the underground world of secret knowledge that permeates an understanding of the hidden; the unofficial secret histories where identities are fluid, genders are blurred and shapes are shifted. 

The witchcraft operates in a specific set of dates and times – a contemporary folk history post Rave and pre-Brexit - when social-media began to become paramount in shaping social interactions and bewitching collective unconscious.  

As the mystical psychologist and filmmaker, Alejandro Jodorowsky, puts it, "the Tarot will teach you how to create a soul."

Stewart Home She’s My Witch ISBN 978-0-9957217-4-6 (2020) London Books Paperback £9.99

This book review by Nigel Ayers first appeared in print in The Enquiring Eye: Journal of the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic, Issue 4, Autumn 2020. The magazine can be bought online here.

She's My Witch by Stewart Home can be bought online here.

Other reviews of She's My Witch included those at 3AM Magazine, The Morning Star and 3.16 Magazine.

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