There is no secret that there is something magical about theater and film. On the set visit of The Craft: Legacy, that is exactly the experience I expected to have. In a cold and dreary night in Canada this writer found himself in the clutches of a late-night tale. A group of writers circled around Aerin Foegel, a witch consultant for the film, as she recounted what occurred during filming on location. With recorder in hand, I listened intently as she told us about her experiences, her job, and how she teaches others about the power of magic.
On a location that Foegel was not scheduled to be at, she received a call from the concerned Daniel Bekerman (executive producer). In this call he, with uncertainty, asked Foegel to “help them do something in that space. There have been a lot of people that have been experiencing some very strange energy, especially people who do not consider themselves to be open to sensing energy or sprites. Everyone had been having a pretty mutual experience of just feeling like the energy was a lot.” She was asked to do a space clearing ritual at the location, which was performed the next morning.
The supernatural occurrence did not stop there. In fact, Foegel went on to tell us, “I learned that this specific location was once a hospice for many years.” Knowing this and going forward, she also revealed that the night before the clearing she had experienced a dream. “I had a dream about the space, and when I got there it was exactly the same as it was in my dream. So, I felt I could already tell it would be really intense before I got there. Considering this, I did a clearing ceremony and a ritual around the physical space and left some protective objects. It took me about an hour, and I checked in with everyone later in the day.” The day progressed well, and people felt safer after the clearing was done.
To enhance our understanding of the events, questions about what others felt needed to be answered. With grace Foegel replied, “There were people who described feeling pressure on their chest or wanting to weep or even having very strong visceral reactions to the location.” She described the events as intense.
The questions advanced to more about her role and what a witch consultant is. Foegel remarked, “My role here is to make sure that anything that pertains to something that might be a cult is accurate. Any spaces where the girls are practicing magic or are experimenting with rituals and starting to open up their power a little, those are all things that I have been consulting on to make sure they are accurate. I am here to make sure that it is accurate to how we would actually practice it from our day to day lives.”
Foegel did reveal a little bit of advice for all who have an interest in magic, occult, and those who work in the esoteric realm. She looked contently enough at all of us and said in a calm voice, “Magic does not know you are acting. Because of this, I have also been doing some work in my own time to make sure the cast and crew feels supported. Any energetic spaces that are open through the practice of the film are also closed at the end of it.”
As a team, Foegel, the cast, production team, Pam Grossman, and the Hoodwitch have consulted with one another about ways to be inclusive and represent intersectional feminism. The language they used was created in such a careful way as to make it specific to their personal experience — not just the characters but the girls who are playing the characters. “The language is broad and accessible as to allow it to not be bound to a specific culture or lineage that we might not actually have any direct experience with,” Foegel said. She has even spoken to the props team about what kind of objects can be used. “We haven’t used white sage, but we have used red cedar. It isn’t harmful to red cedar if we harvest it to use. Things like that are a part of the consulting role.”
As the night got colder, Foegel conveyed to us some information about the girls. “In every culture there is kind of a version of Lilith, the divine feminine character who goes into the underworld and goes through a painful, and sometimes deadly experience, and emerges changed. This was a discussion with the girls, as well as what it might be like for them to take this journey. They are acting, but they are speaking real words and experience is very real as well. Just remember, magic does not know you are acting.”
What's Your Reaction?
Donnie Lopez is a gay Latino/Hispanic social and political commentator, writer, entertainment journalist, and professor. He writes on topics that affect Hispanic/Latino culture. With his novel insight, veracity, and sense of humor, he entertains as well as educates the world.