22 January 2014

Pop Culture Magick for Geeks - The Things With The Stuff

This year at Pantheacon I'll be presenting a workshop on Pop Culture Magick for Geeks. Over the next few weeks I'll be doing a series of posts on that topic both for folks who won't be able to make it to the live presentation and to provide a little more info than I can reasonably give in a 90 minute presentation. 

There's something wonderful about being a magickal geek.  You see geeks, by their very nature, don't do things by halves.  Geeks don't "like" the things they do, they "obsess."  If a geek doesn't obsess over what they're doing with an all consuming passion (e.g. working on the same bit of code for five straight hours with nothing but a gallon of Code Red for fuel), they usually won't bother.  We see this in our fandoms (Doctor Who obsession anyone?), our gaming (World of Warcraft nearly destroyed my life and don't even get me started on DnD), and, of course, our magick (we can take daily practice to a whole new level).  The beauty of being a magickal geek is that we can actually harness the hundreds of hours of obsession with stories, the years of intense energy fixation into characters, into our magick.  

The Things With the Stuff!

One of my favorite ways to incorporate my geekery with my magick is to work with characters.  Like many inveterate nerds, I often find myself involved in deeper relationships with the characters of my favorite stories (books, tvs, movies, comics, etc.) and games than with other people; and certainly deeper than my relationships with many spirits or unapproachable deities.  I cannot count the number of hours or the amount of energy I've put into my favorite characters.  I can honestly say that I know more about The Doctor and Buffy as "people" than my own sister.  So, I've learned how to harness my obsessions and make them useful to my magick. There are two main ways of using a beloved character in magick: as a familiar or guide, or as a representation of a natural force or deity.

My favorite way to work with a character I obsess over is as a familiar or guide.  Popular characters, think Batman or Aragorn, have a life of their own.  They have tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people pouring energy into them over many years; shaping them and bringing them into our collective unconscious.  Many of these characters are more universally beloved than a lot of deities these days (just look at the crowds at the premier of any Marvel movie).  All of the love and devotion poured into these characters creates a thoughtform of them in the astral plane.  As we individually strengthen our relationships with these characters (by engaging with their stories, talking about them, getting their merchandise, and generally making them a part of our lives) we connect to the energy of that character in the astral.  It's just like strengthening the potential power of a ritual through repetition - the more energy we engage in with a character the more energy we can get back out of them when we need it.  

Once you've got a relationship with a character you can work with that character in the same ways you would with just about any other sentient entity.  I once had a rather difficult encounter with some vampiric spirits and called on the character of Van Helsing to assist my divination in finding a way to deal with the problem.  The character of Van Helsing has more than a century's worth of energy of people believing him to be the absolute authority on vampires - his expertise did not disappoint me.  I've also called on the occasional superhero to escort me home when taking the bus late at night or walking through sketchy parts of town.
And, of course, The Doctor is my spirit guide.  He's a character that embodies pretty much every quality I want in my spirit guide - intelligent, cunning, empathetic, wise, and kind.  He gives fantastic advice and is an excellent intermediary between myself and otherwise less understandable forces.  

I basically work with familiar characters from my favorite geeky obsessions the way other folks work with fae, spirits, daemons, or minor deities.  

Some people also use pop culture characters as representations of deity.  It can be difficult for the modern mind to feel strong connections with antique deities.  Ancient mythology is filled with references to what was once everyday life, but really how much empathetic connection can an office worker have with tales of hunting wild boar afoot or the growing of barley?  It can be easier to look at modern characters as intermediaries or embodiments of the deities of our ancestors.  It can be easier to use a Wonder Woman action figure on your altar to represent Diana than a museum replica (not to mention astronomically less expensive).  I'm rather partial to using Captain Jack Harkness as a representation of Eros (just think about it, it totally fits).  If your brain as an easier time connecting to a modern character that can symbolize a deity you want to work with, go for it.

I have also heard of folks actually worshiping pop culture characters as deities in their own right.  Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about that.  It's not something I would do, but I can understand the inclination.  I'm very comfortable with ancient mythology and have no problem forming relationships with antique deities, but I can understand how that might be difficult for some.  Why wouldn't an avid comic book reader make an offering to Superman?  I vastly prefer to think of modern characters as spirits or advanced thoughtforms because I'm not sure they've been around long enough to have the power I feel like a deity should have, but that's just me.  If it works for you, more power to ya. 

Next up in Pop Culture Magick for Geeks - Who's Your Doctor? 
 Pop Culture Magick for Geeks - Bag of Holding


  1. Have you work with villains this way, as a familiar? Because I wonder how the villains feel about working with you.

    I have tried working with Maleficent, and she feels sorta fun to work with. But I started feeling a burning sensation near the root of my right tigh and I thinkg it´s her lol

  2. I haven't worked with a villian as a familiar. I tend to use them for more limited specific purposes. Villians are tricky to work with, so I prefer to give them narrow parameters.

  3. This reminds me of me and Von Sackville-Bagg (as a spirit familiar), and actually gave me the idea to (finally) interact with the rest of his family from The Little Vampire.