Witchcraft is in the Bones

PAN Media Release

Sunday night on Channel 7 sees Temperance Brennan and FBI agent Booth face one of their strangest cases: an investigation into the mysterious world of Wicca and witchcraft. But have the writers and producers of the hit show ‘Bones’ got their facts straight?

The answer is both yes and no according to David Garland of the Pagan Awareness Network Incorporated, an organisation that represents Wiccans, Pagans and other followers of indigenous European religions in Australia.

“Wiccans do venerate the moon,” he said today. “The moon represents the unconscious forces at work in our lives. When we hold ceremonies according to the phases of the moon, we deliberately engage with those hidden aspects of our own psyches.”

He also said: “Some Wiccans do take their clothes off to perform especially important rituals – the show gets that right as well. It is to do with the belief that everyone is equal before the Gods, and that clothing reinforces notions of class and status. Unlike other religions, we don’t see anything inherently sinful or shameful about the human body.”

But the show didn’t get everything right. Mr Garland, who is an initiated Wiccan, pointed out that the notion of “white witchcraft” and “black witchcraft” was a Hollywood myth. “Witches in real life are people like everyone else,” he said. “The forces that witches work with are forces of nature that are neither good nor evil. In that respect, the episode gets it completely wrong.”

According to recent statistics, Wicca is the seventh largest religious community in the U.S. In Australia, the 2006 Census showed 30,000 people identified as following a Wiccan, Druidic or similar nature-based faith. That number is close to the combined total for all Sikhs, Quakers, Baha’i, Jains and Taoists in the country.

“People have always been fascinated by the supernatural,” Mr Garland said. “But now more people are looking behind the veneer and seeing something they can relate to.”

When asked to predict whodunit, Mr Garland didn’t hesitate. “Witches have been the archetypal bad guys (or bad girls) for centuries. Maybe the people who make ‘Bones’ will change that on Sunday night, but I doubt it.”


David Garland
PAN Inc President

PAN Inc Media Officer

The Pagan Awareness Network Incorporated Australia (PAN Inc) is a not-for-profit educational association with members Australia-wide. It has no formal ties with any religious body, but works in a proactive fashion, both within the Pagan community and as a point of contact for the public, including government and media organisations.