Twenty years ago Australian witch Fiona Horne felt like she was copping it from all sides.
"It was a constant struggle," she told Witch Way magazine last year.
"In the mainstream, we were strung up between Hollywood fantasy and evil danger. We wondered: 'Should we stay in the closet ... we're going to be called devil worshippers.' And within our own community ... I would often think, 'Who needs Christians to burn you at the stake? My fellow witches do it to me every bloody day'."
Luckily for Horne, those days are past. As she points out now, it's easy to become a witch, with covens in the physical and even online communities to join.
And apparently the Blue Mountains has "loads of witches" who she hopes will come to see her spoken word tour at Springwood's Hub on June 30.
The author of a dozen books, Horne has appeared on TV programs all around the world. She's even spoken at Harvard University about modern witchcraft.
And Horne is recognised, not just for her witchy ways, but also her two appearances in Playboy, her role as lead singer in rock group, Def FX (which tours the same month as the spoken word tour) and dalliances with famous men like Paul Stanley from Kiss, and Tom Jones during his Sex Bomb tour. One of her books has the bewitching title: Magickal Sex: A Witches' Guide to Beds, Knobs and Broomsticks. "Nudity was a selling tool," she explains.
The 52-year-old regrets none of it, even if these days she works mostly as a charter pilot (she doesn't use a broomstick!) in the Caribbean often flying on humanitarian missions. She survived two hurricanes hitting her island home in 2017 and flew recovery missions in the aftermath. It's about being of service, instead of being on show.
Horne was up for a role on the hit TV series Charmed but it never eventuated. And right now she admits quietly coveting fellow Australian Miranda Otto's role in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But really she is happy away from the limelight and said in all likelihood this is her final trip home as a performer.
The author said those coming to the tour can expect a "powerful and transformational shared Magick Ritual Experience" and claimed last time she performed the group experience at a Newcastle RSL club the pokies all started ringing with coin wins.
It's a long way from her early pagan activities as a 10-year-old building an altar with stones, leaves and flowers, in the bush of suburban Sydney. And a long way from living in a toilet in Kings Cross at 15 trying to survive.
"I think I've got good at not giving up ... finding a way to learn from my mistakes," she tells the Gazette.
She will be at the Blue Mountains Theatre in Springwood for The Art of Witch book tour on Sunday June 30 at 3pm. As the promotional material says, the event's theme is 'Don't get older - get better at living'.
I think I've got good at not giving up.Fiona Horne