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Ryan Gosling
Is Gosling making a huge mistake?Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Did a lemon tell Ryan Gosling to play Ken? A witch weighs in

When life gives you lemons, ask a witch what it means

We have all made peace with Ryan Gosling’s upcoming turn as Ken – the lustrous plastic prince, beloved boyfriend of Barbie, and trailblazing queer icon. The news was announced last month after a picture of the actor in costume – skin glowing like a satsuma, eyes dead like a corpse – began circulating on social media. “This has been coming my whole life,” said Gosling, once the role was announced. “I felt seen. I think a lot of Kens will feel seen when they see this. Gotta do it for the Kens.”

But Gosling didn’t always feel this way. When originally approached for the role by Little Women director Greta Gerwig, the actor admitted last week that he needed time to “think about it”. After venturing into his backyard, presumably to muse on Gerwig’s offer, he was struck by the sight of a Ken doll “face-down in the mud next to a squished lemon”. He took it as a sign. He got out his phone, took a picture, and sent the image to Gerwig with a message. “I shall be your Ken,” he wrote, “for this story must be told.”

For reasons that are not clear, we have decided to dwell on this part of the story. Perhaps it is the powerful symbolism of the flattened lemon; of Ken’s hairless body, lying prostrate in the mud. It raises questions. Like, what makes a good omen? What makes a bad omen? What is the true spiritual meaning of a lemon? Is Gosling making a huge mistake? Anxious to have some of these queries answered, I emailed Lucya Starza, a witch and author of Pagan Portals and Poppets and Magical Dolls, to find out more. 

Hello Lucya. How would you interpret Ryan Gosling’s squashed lemon?

Lucya Starza: When someone asks me how they should interpret anything they think is an omen, I usually ask them how they felt about it, because that’s really what’s important. You could see Ken in the mud next to a lemon and feel a need to rescue him, or you could feel a need to return him to his rightful owner, or you could see it as a warning about not drinking too much... 

How do you know if what you are seeing is an omen and not just a random object on the floor?

Lucya Starza: It’s what your attention is drawn to really and, again, how you feel about it. If something strikes you as having some sort of message for you then it’s quite likely it’s your subconscious sending you the message. The thing itself probably is a random object, but you noticed it and felt it was special and that's what makes it important as an omen. The subconscious often works in dreamlike ways using symbols, and can make you spot things in everyday life that aren’t particularly unusual except that they seemed that way to you. I teach workshops in crystal ball reading – or scrying – and often what people see when they're learning to use a crystal ball is symbolic too.

Do you believe in good or bad omens?

Lucya Starza: Yes, I do, although I don't believe the future is fixed. A “bad omen” can be more of a warning, giving you the opportunity to get things checked out, or make better choices, or look into something more closely.

What are the classic good or bad omens to look out for? 

Lucya Starza: There are many classic omens relating to animals and birds. For example, there’s the saying about magpies: ‘One for sorrow, two for joy.’ There’s more to it than that, but those are the first two lines. Many people will say ‘Hello Mr Magpie, where’s your wife?’ If they see a single magpie as that’s supposed to avert the sorrow. I’ve seen quite a few solitary magpies though, and not come to any ill. I do believe it’s unlucky to walk under a ladder – after all something might get dropped on your head if there‘s anyone up the ladder.

Finally, as an expert in mystical dolls, do you think you could make a voodoo doll from a Ken or Barbie?

Lucya Starza: I’d call it a poppet rather than a voodoo doll. Poppet is the traditional English word for a magical doll but yes, you can use manufactured dolls for magic. It does help if you also have something that connects to the person you are doing the spell for. That could be some of their hair or just their photograph. Poppets don’t always get used for cursing though – you can use them for healing spells, good luck spells, or any other type of spell. The doll just represents the person the magic’s being done for if they aren’t actually present.

Thank you Lucya.