10 Movie Recommendations for Polytheists and Spiritworkers

The two (Polytheists and Spiritworkers) are not the same thing, I know, but I’ve had a couple of requests lately on both fronts for good movie recommendations and after my initial response of “Good friggin’ luck,” I realized I do have a shelf of movies that I often recommend to students so I’ll give that to y’all here with the caveat that it’s hardly a full list, and my taste runs toward the macabre. It goes without saying, parents, watch these first on your own before letting your kids watch them. Many of them probably aren’t appropriate for small children.

 

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crowCROW (2016)

This is NOT the movie with Brandon Lee nor in any way affiliated with that franchise. It’s an independent film that takes place in the Welsh countryside. The Morrigan, though unnamed as such, casts a strong shadow throughout the movie as does the God Bran and it shows what it means to have a contract with the land and what constitutes appropriate justice when one breaks such a contract. It also really, really shows what it’s like for some spiritworkers. It’s a brilliant movie and we couldn’t believe it as we were watching it. It wasquite an unexpected find.  Plus it has Terence Stamp in one of the most awesome outfits ever.

 

 

 

door_in_the_woodsThe Door in the Woods

Heh. This is such a creepy movie. Firstly, the spirit-worker figure is deaf, which is fascinating as it plays into the way he hears spirits and communicates with them and I really liked that a lot. He’s also pragmatic in a very uncomfortable way and the whole movie shows that sometimes you have to bargain with spirits in ways that forever color the soul. There is no good ending in this one, but the best possible ending capable of being negotiated by the spiritworker. Definitely worth a watch. Again, it shows a reality of the Work with spirits sometimes people want to ignore.

 

 

 

wicker_manThe Wicker Man (original only)

I find this is a beautifully compelling movie. It’s about sacrifice and devotion and doing right by the land and a community. It’s probably my favorite movie, hands down, on this list. I won’t say more than that (though I’d be surprised if most of you haven’t already watched it. This one is well known). It’s a polytheist rather than spiritworker recommendation. To avoid confusion, you want the version with Christopher Lee, not Nicholas Cage.

 

 

 

 

sorceressThe Sorceress (1987)

In French with English subtitles, this movie is based on an extant account of the medieval cultus of St. Guinefort, a cultus that survived, I believe until WWI when tanks leveled the saint’s holy spots. The cultus was extremely Pagan and animist, and quite probably a hold-over from pre-Christian practice. Attempts to curb it, however, were largely unsuccessful. There’s also a fascinating book, The Holy Greyhound by J. Schmidtt about this cultus too. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

boys_in_treesBoys in the Trees

This is a strange and haunting movie. I started watching it one night after my husband went to bed and then 20 minutes in dragged him down to watch it because the Dionysian echoes were just far, far too strong. This is about the dead and debt, and pain and revelation, and most of all liberation and art.

 

 

 

 

 

odd_thomasOdd Thomas

A strange but very kind young man sees monsters and sometimes fights them. Again, this one is a good spirit-worker movie, though not necessarily of any relevance to polytheists. It’s a heart-wrenching performance by the late Anton Yelchin.

 

 

 

 

 

cocoCoco

This one is awesome for adults AND children. It’s all about honoring the dead and doing right by them. I have seen this at least half a dozen times and cry every damned time. It’s a beautiful movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

kill_giantsI Kill Giants

What do you do if you’re a child, a spirit worker, and very gifted? What do you do if you’re obviously being called to service by Thor? While I thought the very ending puttered out a bit, backing away from the reality of spiritwork in favor of “normal” (why, why, WHY?), up until that point, it is an absolutely brilliant movie with a fierce young female protagonist.

 

 

 

 

 

the_cellThe Cell

I hated this movie the first time I watched it. It wasn’t until over a decade later, after having been a spiritworker for many, many years, that I sat down and watched it again and realized that it was all about knowing your inner landscape and claiming power – both things spiritworkers are required to do no matter the cost. It’s also a visually stunning film.

 

 

 

 

 

inkINK

I’ve saved one of the best for last. This is a movie about a magician and wyrd-worker. It presents spiritual reality with an overlay of sci-fi/fantasy but the inherent principles and message it tells about the consequences of choice are terribly important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there you are, that’s my list. Of course, While this was meant to be a list of the top 10  films, I have to also mention two entries more familiar to Northern Tradition polytheists. I adore the 13th Warrior  with Antonio Banderas, the film creates an original story loosely inspired by sources such as Beowulf, and selections from Ibn Fadlan‘s journey among the Viking Rus. And of course the more recently buzzed about Midsommar (which I reviewed last summer here). Enjoy!

What are some of your favorites?

 

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on June 23, 2020, in Misc. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Sorceress, not surprisingly, is one of my favorites. 😉

    I’d add to Coco the film that came out a year or so before it, The Book of Life, which is on a similar theme, and in certain ways is even better than Coco, I’d say–it’s more the “indie film” version of Coco, if that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      haven’t seen Book of Life. will give it a watch.

      Like

      • I suspect you’ll enjoy it–and if Sannion hasn’t seen it, he should watch it, too…there’s an awful lot of Orphic-relevant (or, at very least, Orphic-looking or Orphic-suggesting!) stuff in it! 😉

        And now that people have opened the floodgates with Miyazaki…I recall a few other Japanese films that are also good.

        Onmyoji and Onmyoji II are both excellent. More Shinto goodness, and it features a character who was a real historical person, Abe no Seimei, that also became a Kami after his death, who still has a Shrine in Japan!

        And, one of the only films of which I’m currently aware that has portrayed Antinous on screen–though only for a few seconds, but they did it right!–Thermae Romae. (Thermae Romae II is not as good, and is a bit more lighthearted, but may be worth it for some of what is shown in Japan.) It’s fun to hear Japanese people speak Latin (and for a short Japanese actor with a badly glued-on beard to play Hadrian!), and some of the conceits of the film are also highly amusing! And the main character is portrayed by a Japanese actor that has to be one of the handsomest men on the planet, in my opinion…!

        And, if we get into Indian stuff, the animated Hanuman film from about ’04 or so is one of my favorites–not only does it portray parts of the Ramayana pretty well, but it also conveys what Hanuman’s main divine function is, i.e. to be a superlatively dedicated and ideal devotee, and what such a life entails.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Keith McCormic

        Miyazaki is definitely a source of good stuff with a strong Shinto foundation- “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away” (“Voyage of Chihiro”) are particularly exceptional.

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  2. From a Polytheistic perspective, I adore the scene of a devotional prayer to Mithras early on in the film “The Eagle,” starring Channing Tatum. The movie nicely details the virtues of loyalty, honor (especially paying debts to the dead), and courage. The cinematography is exquisite. While I normally balk at American actors being cast to play Roman soldiers stationed in Britain, it drives home the contemporary political issue of imperial overreach.

    From a spirit worker perspective, I highly recommend the occult-themed film, “A Dark Song.” While I have some issues with the depictions of the technical aspects of the execution of the ritual of Abramelin the Mage, the film uncannily and viscerally depicts the authentic emotional experience of a ritual of this magnitude–the effects of physical deprivation and ordeal, the isolation, the ecstasy of venturing across the threshold of contact with your Holy Guardian Angel. The story is shot on location in Ireland’s desolate valleys (the story takes place at an isolated Welsh manor) and the moodiness, the brooding intensity, the Numinosity of the Work seeps through every frame. The film stars just two actors, driving home the point of choosing your magical partner well! Both give first-rate performances. The demons in the film are super cute and look as if they stepped off the canvases of Wayne Barlowe’s “Inferno” series. I am intrigued by the writer/director and applaud him for this original cinematic experience; I hope he continues to make such eerily unforgettable films!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      OMG Dark Song. the woman was a fucking moron. great movie but the ending…omfg

      “The Eagle” I haven’t yet seen but I’ll give it a chance. Thanks for the recommendation.

      Like

  3. Excellent list! I would also add Pan’s Labyrinth, Spirited Away (anime), and Princess Mononokoe (anime). Basically any anime by Miyazaki. He really shows Shintoism in his anime.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      Oh!! Pan’s Labyrinth and Spirited Away….yaaaas. pretty much anything by Miyazaki. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not a movie, but it’s an Anime series I’m wanting to pick up called “Norigami” or “Stray Kami”. It’s about a young Kami who does not have a shrine of his own. And he will grant anyone a wish at the cost of only 5 Yen which is the coin that is tradtionally tossed into the coin box at a Shinto shrine.

        An anime series I really enjoyed that featured Spirit Work in Japan is “XXXHolic”.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. “A dark song” is an interesting one.

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  5. Another movie about spirits and spirit activity I recommend is the 2016 Iranian film, “Under the Shadow.” Set in the early 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War, the slow-burn narrative creepily showcases how the Djinn introduce themselves into a woman’s life and home, afflicting her and her daughter. Anyone who has ever experienced shenanigans from wayward/displeased spirits in the house will relate to what they see unfold in the narrative. The Hitchcockian method of showing very little, visually, but evoking a great sense of terror from what little you *do* see really comes across in this film. I was so creeped out after my first viewing I immediately had to turn on all the lights in the house! It’s been years since a horror film had that effect on me! I saw this on Netflix and believe it’s still accessible on that portal. It’s also available on AmazonPrime. This movie makes me recall a conversation I had in person at the 2014 Pagan Spirit Gathering in Illinois: One evening, I was volunteering on a First Aid/Medic shift with a young man from Saudi Arabia, a recent convert to Kemetic Polytheism from Islam. He spoke of the widespread belief of the Djinn in contemporary Saudi culture and of experiences of hauntings thought to be caused by Djinn in his Riyadh childhood home and a nearby network of caves. It was a fascinating peek into cultural beliefs that Islam, thankfully, has not eradicated but incorporated (there are such things as imam-exorcists!). The film is definitely worth checking out!

    Liked by 2 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      ooooh I don’t know this one at all. will check it out. 🙂 and kudos for that young man for returning to polytheism. May his ancestors and Gods sustain him.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. One of my favorites, I think it can go under this umbrella, is Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf.

    Like

  7. Disney’s Moana. Polytheistic Gods. Ancestors.

    I’m surprised you didn’t menton Agora, as I seem to recall you raving about that? Or am I misremembering who was harping it’s qualities. Similarly, wasn’t there some movie with a guy dealing with the thugees and becoming an agent of Kali to mop them up (so to speak?). Also Anchoress too I swear was something you talked about years ago.

    Something I mean to check out, the animated film Song of the Sea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Song of the Sea is great; as is its earlier counterpart, The Secret of Kells. Both would make my own personal list as well…

      I have a love/hate reltationship with Agora–it got a lot of stuff right, but because it didn’t get Hypatia right (i.e. it made her an atheist/proto-scientist rather than the polytheist that she was), I can only recommend it with reservation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And to bring Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea together, but in live action and a decade-plus earlier, there’s always The Secret of Roan Inish!

      Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      Agora is a shit fest. It accurately shows the fanaticism, ignorance, and brutality of Christians BUT –and this is what ruined the movie for me–it quite inaccurately portrays Hypatia as an atheist. It is intensely disrespectful to polytheism in this way.

      Moana is awesome. Now if Disney could manage to acknowledge that Europeans have ancestral traditions too, it’d be great. Moana made me cry though. it’s an awesome movie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Have you watched Frozen 2 yet? Great stuff with the spirits.

        Like

      • I agree…was going to mention this, but didn’t. 😉

        It is orders of magnitude better than the first film in that franchise, in my view…yes, “Let It Go” is a great song, but “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself” are in a whole other category, I think. It’s a film that is ultimately about indigenous oppression, ancestral trauma, the relationship of the land and the spirits in it to human consumption and interference, and so much else…which is why I’m sure some people hate it, but I thought it was great!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Keith McCormic

    I watched “Ink” and it was very interesting, thank you! I wanted to kill their cinematographer, but the overall work was intriguing.

    It’s not a film, but I still love the Netflix series “Travelers”. It’s supposedly science-fiction but there is so much about faith versus self-serving humanism in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Keith McCormic

    Thank you for recommending these. I really enjoyed “I Kill Giants”. I’d meant to see it in theatres and never did and you got me to watch it.

    Liked by 1 person

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