This is a long-overdue episode. Two of my city’s most interesting residents live right next door and we’ve finally had a chance to sit down for a proper interview!
An artist and mother, Beth Threlfall is a black cord priestess with Thirteenth House Mystery School in Victoria BC. She works hard to bring her art into the world on a day-to-day basis: believing that art is a way of living — not a thing to do — has helped her experience community through her artistic practice. She is also a children’s art instructor with the non-profit organization ArtsReach, and works with the Pandora Arts Collective in her home community of Fernwood. Beth is best known as the originator of Fernwood’s famous Pole Painting Project, which she started back in 2008 and has not only transformed the look and feel of the streets in her neighbourhood but has also inspired residents to artistically engage with and participate in their local surroundings.
A practicing witch since his initiation in 1986, John Threlfall is a black cord priest with Thirteenth House Mystery School. A freelance writer for nearly 30 years, John has had a typically eclectic career—including working as a stage manager, wedding DJ, technical director for a haunted Gold Rush theatre, co-host of a motorcycle TV show, four seasons as the on-air “walking encyclopedia of popular culture” for CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera, and 12 years as a staff writer for Monday Magazine, where he ultimately wound up being Editor-in-Chief. He’s currently the Special Projects and Communications Officer for the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria, and has been teaching with UVic’s Department of Writing since 2006.
Thirteenth House Mystery School is one of the Victoria’s oldest and largest covens. Started in 1993, Thirteenth House has also been running introductory public classes in the practice of witchcraft since 1998.