In 1974, the Rt. Rev. Marcus Loane, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney set up a Commission of Inquiry into occult practices. This was reportedly only the second such inquiry held in a Protestant country since the Middle Ages. The Commisssion reported, amongst other sensational claims, that occultism and Satanism were the "most sinister" of modern "crazes" and that "occultism may provide pornography with a religious base to work from." They even recommended that legislation be passed to prohibit ouija boards, tarot cards and similar devices or instruments of the occult. This report spurred the popular press to even more dramatic headlines.
However, Rosaleen Norton continued to live a quieter and more private life. She also remained defiant and courageous to the very end, and continued to work on her art and magickal practices until cancer took her on 5 December 1979. She died at the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Hospice in Sydney still worshipping Pan. Shortly before she died she is reported to have said, "I came into the world bravely; I'll go out bravely."
This last section will be about just a few things about Norton's religious beliefs and a final quote from the major source for this article. Pan was the major god that Rosaleen worshiped. Pan was the Greek god of shepherds and flocks, of hunting, mountain wilds, and rustic music. Pan was also associated with fertility and theatrical criticism and his season is spring. His name originates from the word paein meaning "to pasture," and he is a companion of the nymphs. Rosaleen Norton's religious beliefs were syncretic. Even though Pan was the major deity in her belief system, she also held such gods as Jupiter, Hecate, Neptune and Baphomet in high regard. In Norton's belief system Pan was celebrated for his creative (generative) powers. Her first magical ritual was "in honour of the horned god, whose pipes are a symbol of magic and mystery, and whose horns and hooves stand for natural energies and fleetfooted freedom; And this rite was also my oath of allegiance and my confirmation as a witch."
Norton believed these gods to have their own reality and not simply as representations of psychological forces to be acted upon. They appeared to the magician when they chose to do so-NOT at the whim of the magician. Norton's readings in the occult included the works of Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune and Eliphas Levi. In her autobiographical articles, Norton remarked that the "onset of adolescence often awakens the religious urge as well as the sexual urge, and this was so with me." It is not known whether Norton practiced Aleister Crowley's system of sexual magick. He did have the most comprehensive and explicit guide to the relationships between sexual practice and magical ritual. Norton "practiced what she preached" and her belief system was fully integrated into her daily life. She wrote: "As for 'Do I feel frightened of the things I see?' No! Never! Most of them are as familiar a part of my world as the teapot is. And as necessary to me."
Jack Sargeant is the author of "The Witch of Kings Cross" which appeared in Fortean Times August 2007 issue #224 which is the source of most of the information of this small series along with wikipedia. Jack Sargeant asks at the end of his fantastic article about Rosaleen Norton and her fascinating (and many times very difficult) life: "What seems remarkable now is the apparent lack of support Norton received during her trials, even when the state took it upon itself to destroy her artwork. There was no outcry from museums or artists, suggesting that the country's artistic and intellectual communities were either paralyzed by cowardice or simply indifferent to Norton's fate. Such a lack of action remains shocking to this day." The art shown is more of Rosaleen Norton's work.
Rosaleen Norton Link