Many celebrities play their religions close to their chests and certainly are shy about espousing their beliefs about ghosts, magical unguents, or the efficacy of crystal healing.
Some do not hide it, however. What is there to be embarrassed about? So you incant to the Goddess under a full moon or come from a family of channelers. So you honor the archetype of Lucifer in your chaos magick. We’ve all been there.
And yes, the seemingly misspelled “magick” is occasionally used (including in this article), a convention started by the self-proclaimed Wickedest Man in the World and the father of much of occult gospel today, Aleister Crowley. It is a way to distinguish the practices of Pagans, Witches, and Satanists from those of stage magicians. Though it is not universally embraced (because Crowley is a controversial figure/jerk), it is used here for the sake of clarity. Given the matter of magic(k), one should spell correctly. Here are celebrities who have been involved in the occult.
Henry Zebrowski: last Satanist on the left
Henry Zebrowski is known to most as Alden Kupferberg in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” And for the overlap of those who like murder, the supernatural, toilet humor, and podcasts, Zebrowski does voices on “Last Podcast on the Left.”
He’s also an ardent Satanist who ends every episode of LPOTL with a hearty “Hail Satan!” and, according to Metro Times, combined right-hand path witchcraft and Satanic rituals in officiating the marriage of his friend and co-host Marcus Parks. According to Zebrowski (via Kill Pretty), his show “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell” has satanic vibes because the artistic designer, Shane Morton, is an actual Satanist. Morton got Zebrowski interested in that path. They treat the show as “a gigantic magick ritual.” Zebrowski changes his perception of reality and, though that, what reality is, even if he is just asking reality for “five seasons and a movie.”
This particular brand of magick is chaos magick. Zebrowski has an altar in his home and has said, “When it comes down to it the best thing magick can be used for is cash and power.” He believes he got his role in “Heroes: Reborn” owing to a ritual, albeit one that involved pleasuring himself to charge a sigil. He says the ceremony added more chaos than magick to his life, though, and he spent a year dealing with the personal fallout.
David Bowie: cocaine and Kabbalah
Psychology Today noted that David Bowie filled his cocaine-induced sleepless nights poring through books on the occult. Bowie’s “Thin White Duke” persona was taken from a line in Aleister Crowley’s book of poetry “White Stains.” The musician also gave him and his beliefs a shout out when he penned the lines “I’m closer to the Golden Dawn/Immersed in Crowley’s uniform/of imagery.”
Bowie also took from Kabbalah, a philosophy rooted in Judaism, while simultaneously fascinated by the magical symbology of the Nazis — something that damaged his career. His friend, Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, said, “Bowie felt inclined to go on very bizarre tangents about Aleister Crowley or the Nazis or numerals a lot. … Bowie travelled straight into the heart of psychic darkness, lost in his own world.” According to Far Out, Bowie once saw his pool bubble and was so confident that it was possessed that he had it exorcised. After a fight with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Bowie became so terrified that Page would summon demons that he kept anything that might be used against him, including urine and nail-clippings.
Bowie did not espouse strong beliefs later in his life, saying in an interview cited in Fortean Times, that there was an “abiding need in me to vacillate between atheism or a kind of Gnosticism.”
Azealia Banks: the good witch
People reported that most were unaware that rapper Azealia Banks practiced Brujeria until she posted Instagram videos in 2016 about how difficult it was to clean the blood of all the chickens she sacrificed, requiring a sandblaster to handle the feathers and hardened blood. “Real witches do real things,” Banks noted. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was horrified, their Senior Vice President Lisa Lange saying that they hoped “Banks’ closet clean-up is a sign that she is planning to clean up her act, become a good witch, and stop the cruel and gruesome sacrifice of frightened animals.”
According to MovieWeb, Banks courted more controversy when she disinterred her body of her cat Lucifer, which she boiled to bones. The internet assumed that she was making a potion, but she was moving and wanted to take his bones. To Sia, who publicly objected, Banks wrote, “Have some f***ing respect for my f***ing traditional African religion, you pompous white b**ch.”
The religion was passed down in her family, as she says her mother “practiced white table magic. Prayers for the ancestors and prayers for saints and cleansing and praying for all kinds of protection.” Banks told Broadly Meets that her favorite spell when someone was messing with her is to rub an egg over her body, then crack it at a crossroads. And it sounds like she might need to use it every time she checks social media.
Dan Ackroyd: ain’t afraid of no ghost
According to The Globe and Mail, Dan Aykroyd grew up in a family of Spiritualists. His great-grandfather held seances and his father wrote a book titled “History of Ghosts,” based on journals passed down from his own father. In a Q TV interview, Peter Aykroyd, Dan’s father, explained that Spiritualism is not a religion, only the confidence that one can contact the dead, something Dan witnessed when he visited his grandfather’s farmhouse — where both saw a spirit speaking through a levitating trumpet. According to Cheatsheet, Dan Aykroyd’s childhood home was filled with magazines from the British Society for Psychical Research and American Society for Psychical Research. “I just grew up with it,” Aykroyd said, “There was no way out of it.”
Aykroyd told Q TV that, to him, Spiritualism means “that we look beyond the corporeal for some meaning.” He has had his share of paranormal experiences that bolster his belief in the phenomena, such as his wife’s jewelry dancing next to their bed and “something” getting into bed with him when he thought he was alone.
These are not the only spirits that interest him, though. Huffington Post reported that he is also the creator of Crystal Head Vodka, filtered through Herkimer diamonds for that energetic zhuzh.
Sully Erna: goddess and Godsmack
Sully Erna, the lead singer of Godsmack and a Wiccan, told Rolling Stone that he “never really wanted to be the poster child for witchcraft.” He is open to discussing it, but “as soon as the sarcasm turns on, I shut down the conversation.” Erna embraced Wicca because it worked for him and, unlike Christianity, didn’t require him to follow one book unquestioningly or go to Hell.
Erna understands that being both in a band and a witch is “two weirdo things in one,” but it isn’t a matter of marketing for him. Kids write to him about his religion but, once they learn it is a path and not simply casting spells and Hollywood special effects, they lose interest.
According to MTV, Erna incorporated a Wiccan ceremony into the video for the song “Voodoo,” where his pentacle could not be less hidden away on his bare chest. He stated, “there’s no demons or devils that exist in Wicca … you can’t worship something that doesn’t exist.”
Sammy Davis Jr.: that old black magic
KAIT8 reported that Sammy Davis Jr. briefly flirted with Anton LaVey’s the Church of Satan, having been invited to a party by a group of actors, each sporting a red fingernail. The theme of the party, according to Davis, was “dungeons and dragons and debauchery.” In the center of the room was a naked woman on an altar, though Davis wasn’t concerned for her welfare, knowing the night was more about consensual sex than violence.
Vice detailed how Davis’s interest in the Church might have been more about preferring indulgence. In this memoir, “Why Me?,” he wrote, “I wanted to have every human experience.” In that era, the Church of Satan was a perfect fit, full of free drugs and freer orgies. Davis did take his involvement with the Church somewhat seriously. He made a comedic TV pilot titled “Poor Devil,” involving pentagrams and a mention of the Church. Michael Aquino, one of LaVey’s associates, referred to it as a “magnificent commercial for the church.” They offered Davis honorary second-degree membership. Davis was only too happy to receive it.
Davis left the Church when “one morning after a ‘coven’ that wasn’t all fun and games… I got some nail polish remover and I took off the red fingernail.” He resumed his Judaism until he died in 1990.
Daryl Hall: sacred songs
The infamous Aleister Crowley got into Daryl Hall’s mind, according to Spin, along with “Druidic scriptures.” The ethos that drew in Hall was that one could succeed through finding one’s true will. According to L.A. Record, he did not adopt Crowley’s religion, Thelema. (Heeb Magazine reported that Hall converted from Methodism to Judaism when he married Bryna Lublin, though he was not active.) Still, he did weave it into his music. Though his reading leans more toward “historical fiction and mystical fantasy, plus great detective stories from the Fifties,” he spoke to Spin about his fascination with suppressed mystical doctrines in The Gnostic Gospel later in life. Though he later dismissed some, he kept “a sense of my own ability to make things happen, to literally rely on my own soul for strength.”
Given that he had already managed to turn meeting John Oates during a knife fight into a partnership and a distinguished career that has lasted nearly half a century, his will must have already been pretty powerful.
Jimmy Page: stairway to Heaven
Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin purchased Aleister Crowley’s former home, Boleskine House, on the shores of Loch Ness. According to the Scotsman, Crowley had owned Boleskine in the early 1900s, conducting rituals from the Book of Abramelin. Far Out stated that Page did not spend much time there. The Scotsman quoted Page: “Strange things have happened in that house which have nothing to do with Crowley. The bad vibes were already there.” He instead let his childhood friend live there for 20 years before selling it.
Page doesn’t want to go on record for much, saying, “I don’t really want to go on about my personal beliefs or my involvement in magic.” However, he did answer a student at Oxford Union in 2017, saying that he was interested in The Golden Dawn and “sort of what went on and the off-shoots of it of that sort of love of all things mystical and magical…”
It is a common urban legend that Page must have some affiliation with the Devil because playing “Stairway to Heaven” backward supposedly produces messages about “sweet Satan,” rather than just garbled nonsense to which the human mind gives meaning. Page said of this, “Gosh, it’s hard enough writing music one way round.”
Giselle Bundchen: model witch
“You’re lucky you married a witch — I’m just a good witch,” Giselle Bundchen, the internationally famous model, told her husband Tom Brady, according to CBS Boston. Rick Wiles, a radio host and the founder of TruNews, started fearing for Brady’s soul, according to CBS Boston, saying, “He’s sleeping with a witch. There’s deep spiritual ramifications for that.” Or, if not his soul, Wiles threatened that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might suspend Brady for using witchcraft for a competitive edge.
Brady noted that Bundchen is “so about the power of intention and believing things that are really going to happen.” Bundchen maintains an altar for her husband. She gives him healing stones and anoints him with protective oils, and gives him mantras to repeat. He says that he stopped questioning it, primarily when her directions resulted in him winning.
However, Deseret News reported, their home is full of an amalgam of religious representation. Brady said, “But I think we’re into everything. … I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.” If Bundchen is a witch, she is an eclectic one.
Alan Moore: from Hell
Looking at the gloomy, bearded comic god Alan Moore, who could pass for a mad mystic with ease, it seems obvious that he is a wizard who might worship the snake god Glycon. Moore’s occultism is not a secret in his genre-defining comics “Watchmen,” “From Hell,” and “V for Vendetta.” For instance, Aleister Crowley’s edict, “Do what thou wilt … that shall be the whole of the law,” is quoted in full in “V for Vendetta,” published well before Moore came out as a magickal practitioner, according to The Atlantic. Moore’s occultism appeared in his work most concretely in “Promethea.” One book of the comic takes the reader through the Tree of Life, where one encounters Aleister Crowley once again (though dressed as a woman).
It bears mention that Moore had been in a magickal battle with his contemporary creator and occult practitioner Grant Morrison. According to The Psycho Path, Moore felt that he had helped an ungrateful Morrison’s career. “I’ve read Morrison’s work twice,” Moore said, “first when I wrote it, then when he wrote it.” Since Moore had made his occult devotion better known sooner, he felt that Morrison was hopping on his coattails there as well.
Moore is a traditionalist when it comes to magick, which further irritates him when it comes to Morrison. He believes magick is meant to be a transcendent art, not only a matter of getting things done.
Grant Morrison: pop magick
According to The Psycho Path, Grant Morrison came out of the magic closet a few years after Alan Moore did. The themes were evident in his books well before he admitted his leanings, however.
Morrison practices chaos magick, more interested in making things happen than how he did it; he is not one for elaborate and ossified rituals. This pop-cultural mishmash is on display in his comic series “The Invisibles,” where he throws the whole of the magickal canon into a blender to form his occult protagonists who are trying to wake the world from the grips of evil. As he put it in “Pop Magic!,” “The use of ritual paraphernalia functions as an aid to the imagination only.” Unlike Alan Moore, he doesn’t see a reason to get too attached to what has been done before. He considers “The Invisibles” his hypersigil. He even introduced himself into it in the fictional suit of King Mob — a problem because Morrison says King Mob’s illnesses and misfortunes then fell on Morrison himself, almost killing him. It seems fitting, given that Morrison got the idea after supposedly being abducted by aliens in Kathmandu.
To Morrison, it doesn’t matter if one is skeptical. As he wrote in “Pop Magic!,” “The point is not to BELIEVE in magic, the point is to DO it and see how it works.”
Gabrielle Anwar: once upon
Gabrielle Anwar might be best known for dancing the tango with Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman,” but she has had a long career, notably with her television roles in “Burn Notice” and “Once Upon a Time.”
Anwar discussed her religion with The OCR in 2007, saying that she did not wish to marry again because her husband, no matter how wonderful he might be, wasn’t pulling the same weight when it came to raising their children: “I’m doing all this stuff, and I’m feeling this incredible inequality … And I’m a pagan. I’m a … pagan and this isn’t for me. This institution that was invented to control women and I’m not willing to be controlled any longer.” Her feminism and paganism are inextricably coupled. (Nevertheless, she did marry Shareef Malnik in 2015.)
According to DNA, Anwar comes from mixed theological stock. Her grandmother, the actress Shirley Hill, was an Austrian Jew and her grandfather, the producer and editor Tariq Anwar, was an Indian Muslim. It’s no wonder that she felt comfortable exploring different forms of religious expression.
Princess Nokia: the Black-a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba
In addition to being an actor, podcaster, and poet, Remezcla noted that Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, best known as the rapper Princess Nokia, is deeply involved with Regla de Ocha (aka Santería), an amalgam of Yoruba, Roman Catholicism, and Spiritism. The Fader quoted Frasqueri as explaining that it “come[s] with mediumship, clairvoyance, and healing abilities.” Frasqueri is herself a mix of backgrounds, Caribbean and Puerto Rican, and gender non-conforming, using both she/her and they/them pronouns according to Them.
Remezcla stated that tracks like her 2017 “Brujas” shows witchcraft rituals cribbed from the movie “The Craft” as well as the Yoruba spirituality of the African diaspora. To Cultured in 2019, Frasqueri said the next phase of Princess Nokia would focus more on being a bruja, which involves healing from her own trauma. It took a tarot reading that she did for herself to begin asking for help with the business aspects of her career. “Everything I’m planning on putting out this year,” Frasqueri said, “is based in this witch aesthetic of a goddess.”
Frasqueri is also a believer in astrology to help organize herself and said to Them, “Spirituality helped me focus on taking Princess Nokia to the next level — a mainstream artist who was still independent.”
Carlton Gebbia: the real house witch of Beverly Hills
“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” reality star Carlton Gebbia spoke with Bravo about being a practicing Wiccan. She identifies as a Celtic practitioner but does not belong to a coven. Gebbia felt naturally drawn to it beyond reading and studying, focused on nature and the moon, though having her grandmother teach her helped the process. Wicca is about respecting the world and oneself, her adherence to the religion is fairly traditional.
Unlike some Wiccans, Gebbia does practice magick, saying, “It’s all about love, it’s about harmony, and just acknowledgment that there is something beyond this universe that deals with miracles and that miracles are at work.” Her then-husband didn’t practice it with her — he is a non-practicing Catholic — and Gebbia has introduced the religion to her children. They put crystals under their pillows when they are not feeling well, and they use prayer candles. However, Gebbia is leaving the decision to continue practicing in her children’s hands. Gebbia doesn’t even celebrate Samhain (Halloween) around her kids, since she sees it as something private and sacred. (She does enjoy trick-or-treating with her children. She’s a witch, not a monster.)
Screenrant reported that her castmate Kyle Richards feared Gebbia, which led to friction on the set, particularly after Gebbia was horrified when Richards killed a bee. She also assumed that Gebbia hexed her computer.