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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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.
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.
The 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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?