A story that needs to be told, this ground breaking documentary does the trick. Although at 1 hour 15minutes maybe a little overlong for the format and could be a bit faster. Even so it was great to see and hear her biographer, the late Nevill Drury contributing to the story he did so much to research over several editions of his book Pan’s Daughter : the magical world of Rosaleen Norton. I found the first half the most interesting, when she was younger and a rising star, before the grey men in the Australian patriarchy, and the catholic church brought her down and mostly extinguished her fire, sometimes literally in the fire, when the police were ordered by the courts to burn two of her paintings. Outrageous stuff that courts order burning of pictures, a real witchhunt.
The dirty tricks, the illegal raids on her home by the press are all there. And though she fought back and embraced and reclaimed her witch archetype, it was something of a pyric victory as she ended her days mostly as a recluse and died alone in a hospice run by nuns. Many of her former friends in the film seemed too untogether to be there for her at the end.
She became something of a parody of herself, sometimes grotesque in the media game. I was so glad to see the pictures of her in her sister’s garden, her hair down and unbleached, no fringe and no crazy eyebrows – just the beautiful person she once was.
So overall, despite a great body of work, she was well ahead of her time. But a wasted genius, and not through any fault of her own, other than being a woman and a witch. Her astral magick, with which she connected with Gavin Greenlees and Eugene Goossens enabling them to connect across space and time, is experiencing something of a revival just now and the greater details in Nevill’s book will be useful for that. The patrician musician Goossens was an important occult influence though in the end, the career of this magical superstar was destroyed by a media conceived scandal. He died soon after but never blamed Roie for the any of it; despite her keeping a photographic record of their work, which was stolen from its hiding place in her flat by a hostile journalist and they then sealed her, and his fate. So let us remember her, and induct her into the company of gnostic and tantrik saints. A true original, whose magick and witchcraft did not come from the usual suspects of the time, but was a power of love, direct and from above.
Honorable mention to the choreographer, actors and sound people for great soundtrack, though was odd that subtitles when pan danced musick subtitled as esoteric when Lilith danced is was dramatic, great track called “Dark Arts” by Brian De Mercia. Everyone should see this film and support the makers by paying the modest fee to own it.
Mandrake Newsletter has more information on the biography of Rosaleen Norton Pan’s Daughter and some words from its author Nevill Drury