Wish I could say otherwise. That movie is rife with cultural misappropriation, gross neglect for facts and an almost complete disregard for reality. But it was a fun movie and it gave me something I lacked. So let me tell the story a bit and move from there.
I was 14 and in eighth grade and my ESOL class took a field-trip to watch the movie in theaters. I had immigrated from Cuba almost two years prior, but I was already fluent in English. In fact, that January the ESOL Director of my school and the guidance counselor wanted to move me to Regular classes across the board, and advanced classes in Science and Math. I was still new to the country, though, so I’d chosen to remain with my ESOL group for English instruction and venture out to only Regular scheduling beyond that… And I was holding on to top grades in all those classes.
(Now I sound like I’m bragging, and that’s just not cool… Or even the point. My intelligence is not part of the question… Unless I feel self-conscious about attributing “everything” in my life to a cheesy action Hollywood remake? Ugh.)
Anyway, the movie blew the doors of perception in my mind. I came away enchanted (not by the cheesy action and CGI) by the depth of history minted into every misappropriated artifact, and by the mysticism that was so alien from my lackadaisical Catholic upbringing. The color palate was probably a huge contributor to this. Who doesn’t like all that gold? Golden sands, golden treasures, golden stones, golden skin.
I remember thinking that “the ancient people” of the Earth left us a code, a guidebook, for how reality functions that we’ve since lost and only barely managed to touch. So I went home and found every excuse to take my lunches at the school library, reading every book on history and mysticism and ESP in the library. When I got bored, I read the fantasy and science fiction sections. This was basically the holding pattern I established through most of high school. By college, I took one class in Anthropology (literally the intro course) and then met with the professor to express my fascination on the topic (I eventually graduated with a BA in Anthropology). And in my sophomore year, I joined forces with 3 other pagans in the student body to start the Pagan Student Alliance. At my first Mabon ritual one of them told me that I was, or I’d make, “one hell of a witch” based on the energy I was giving off. Best compliment ever!
Now here I am, wondering if my roots–the beginning of this strange quest I’ve taken–can still be mined for inspiration and determination to stay the course.