14 February 2014

Ready For Pantheacon

I'm sitting in my room at the Doubletree about to head downstairs for the first slot of Pantheacon presentations. I'm looking forward to another great con :)  I hope to see some of you at 9am on Monday for my workshop on Pop Culture Magick for Geeks!

05 February 2014

Pop Culture Magick for Geeks - A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villany

Some of my favorite characters in the geek universe aren't the clean cut heroes.  Everyone loves a good anti-hero and nobody tops are really compelling villain, but do you really want to work with them magickally?  Absolutely!  The energy stores available to a really amazing villain are incredible.  However, you need to be extremely careful about how you do it.

The whole point of working with pop culture characters in magick is to utilize the rapport you've already established with a character and to tap into the energy that you and every other fan has pumped into it.  The rapport you have with a character is the same whether it's a hero, villain, or something in between.  The energy surrounding a character, however, is extremely different when we're talking good guys and bad guys. 

Let's take a look at the energy of an anti-hero as opposed to a straight up good guy.  A black and white hero, Superman for example, embodies purely "positive" traits such as honesty, loyalty, compassion, etc. (Yes, yes, I know every hero has a dark side and that those are the best stories - just go with me on this.)  Such upstanding and forthright heroes tend to gather very strong positive energy and you can absolutely count on that energy to want to "do the right thing," making it pretty darn safe to work with.  A good anti-hero is a lot more complicated; they tend to have fairly obvious flaws (think Wolverine's anger management issues or Deadpool's insanity - seriously, I love the character but work with him at your own risk) and don't always stand on the moral high ground.  The energy surrounding an anti-hero is a lot less predictable than the energy of a more clear cut hero; sometimes it's extremely positive and other times it's quite negative, and that energy can change rapidly - particularly if the character is still evolving in the public consciousness.  That means you have to be even more careful than normal to be precise about which version of a character you want to work with (see my previous post for more info).  If the energy you want is from a character during a particular comic issue, television episode, or movie you need to explicitly say so and be totally sure of your intent before you start your working.
Deadpool and Loki - I have no idea who made this image but I love that person

And then there's the true villains - The Joker, Darth Vader, Loki, Malificent.  I adore villains and I tend to work with them a lot.  Yes, I like to play with fire, but you should know that about me by now.  Working with villains is just like working with anti-heroes, but much much hairier.  Villains have baggage, lots and lots of baggage, and that carries over into the energy that's available surrounding them.  Their energy is strong, often stronger than that of the heroes that fight them, but it's often tainted.  It's the nature of a villain (in everything but horror movies) to ultimately lose the battle and that inevitable failure can, potentially, affect your working if you're not extremely careful.  When I work with villains I tend to utilize just one or two qualities that the villain embodies.  For example, utilizing Loki's ability to talk anyone into just about anything or the Joker's ability to disrupt established patterns (no matter what the cost or consequences).  Villains also tend to have more of a mind of their own, so you must be extremely precise when outlining your intent in using them.  Give the mind of a villain an inch and it will take ever so much more than a mile.  I mean it, be careful!

*Steps down from moral high ground* And sometimes you just need to do a working that requires more moral ambiguity than Captain America can provide.  We're all our own people and can do whatever we want as long as we're willing to accept the consequences of our actions.  If what you really want is to cause a little chaos, then working with a villain will do that.  There will be a price (there's always a price), but the work will get done.  I'll leave it at that.

Other Posts on Pop Culture Magick for Geeks
The Things With The Stuff - A basic introduction to using pop culture characters in magick
Who's Your Doctor? - Thoughts on determining version of a character you want to work with
Bag of Holding -  Tools, props, and altar swag

04 February 2014

Pop Culture Magick for Geeks - Bag of Holding

One of my absolute favorite ways to use pop culture in my magick is in my choice of altar swag, tools, and props for spells.

Traditional tools and altar pieces, while lovely to look at and nice to own, can be both pricey and impractical.  As much as I would love to have the $600 hunk of labradorite as a part of my altar, it's just not in my budget (and really, the piece would needs its own custom liturgy just to keep it charged).  So instead I have action figures and toys on my altar.  They have the benefits of being inexpensive (unless you're talking serious collectibles, jeebuz!), easy to get a hold of, and are relatively innocuous when people come over.

Here's a little altar I set up for doing a prosperity spell during the Superbowl (with all that energy running rampant, why not take advantage of it?  It helps that my city was overflowing with successful and joyous energy).  I specifically used the figure of Loki to represent the silver-tongued skills I need to improve in order to wrestle a raise out of my firm's rather reluctant partners.  I used the figure of Boba Fett to represent the ability to find a better position if my firm won't pony up appropriately.  Nothing quite like using strong and tenacious characters with a big ol' free energy source to fuel a potent working.

I also enjoy using pop culture characters in protective workings.  At work I keep a small stuffed Chtulu as an anchor for a ward to keep my more annoying co-workers from hanging out near my cube. Lovecraft's Cthulu is one of the most terrifying characters in 20th century literature, that has somehow morphed into the poster child for weird creepy people everywhere - I love him.  A stuffed Cthulu embodies everything I want to evoke in my work area - cute an innocuous if you don't look too closely, but foreboding and uncomfortable if you dig where you're not welcome.

Pop culture geekery is also treasury of potential tools.  Need an athame, why not get a replica of a dagger wielded by a DnD barbarian?  Need a coven sword for your den of nerds, why not a Klingon bat'leth?  Personally, I use three different wands (pictured above) - depending on what I'm doing at any given time. The top wand is one of a pair of arnis sticks that I use in defensive/offensive work; the middle wand is an ebony wand in the Harry Potter style that I use for more finessed workings; and the bottom wand is the 10th Doctor's sonic screwdriver that is marvelous for workings involving heavy intellect or air energies and any kind of creative problem solving.

Harness the power of your nerdness and make thinkgeek.com and Toys R Us your primary shopping places for spell components (and don't forget second-hand toy stores, they can be amazing!).  Who says a line of little green army men in your garden can't work as an amazing ward?  Use the images of characters you already love and obsess over to make your magickal workings more natural for you.  An object is no less sacred for being mass produced and loved by children everywhere, as long as it holds special meaning for you.  Magick is all about harnessing natural energies and nudging them where we want to go, if it makes more sense for you to do that with action figures than herbs and crystals (or all three!), then go forth my nerdy brethren :)

Other Posts on Pop Culture Magick for Geeks
The Things With The Stuff - A basic introduction to using pop culture characters in magick
Who's Your Doctor? - Thoughts on determining version of a character you want to work with