Experimental Magic: The Evolution of Magic

Experiment with your magical practice by learning how to apply art, pop culture, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines to your magical work, as well as exploring fundamental underlying principles of what makes magic work. You'll never look at magic in the same way!

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How to Create a Pop Culture System of Magic

In Pop Culture Magic 2.0 I discuss how to create pop culture systems of magic , but what I thought I would share here is the actual creation of such a system. I'm in the process of developing my own system around the Batman mythology. I picked Batman, because I've always liked Batman and felt a connection to that particular mythology. However instead of starting with the obvious approach of working with the characters of the mythology, I decided to take a different approach.

My initial work has been around connecting with the prominent places in the mythology Batman, starting with Gotham City, but also including places in and around it that factor significant into the Batman mythology. One of my reasons for focusing on the spaces of the Batman mythology is because of how the characters (and the writers of the comic) refer to those spaces as living beings. For example, there are numerous references to how Gotham is alive and how different characters need to be careful because of how Gotham can interact with them. Now this might be meant metaphorically, but what it creates is a mythological narrative around the actual spaces in the Batman mythology and that narrative can be worked with as well as working with the characters. I think it can actually enhance the work you do with the characters in this mythology and would suggest that you can apply this concept to any pop culture system of magic.

So essentially what is happening is that I'm treating the spaces in the Batman mythology as entities in their own right. The question that arises is whether a person should work with those entities, especially given how they are described in the mythology. Arkham Asylum is described as a tumor for example, which consequently might not be so desirable to work with. Gotham is also treated as a predatory entity. Other spaces such as Wayne Manor, the Batcave, and the GCPD building aren't described as living entities, but nonetheless can be treated as such because of their prominence in the mythology. For that matter villain hideouts such as the Iceberg lounge called also be considered in a similar vein.

I think in developing a system around the mythology of Batman its useful to do some work with the spaces in that mythology. I did connection workings with Gotham City, Arkham Asylum, the GCPD, and Wayne Manor/the Batcave. I visited each space on the astral plane and communicated with that space, in order to establish how that space should fit in my system of pop culture magic. I felt that by doing this I was establishing my own narrative with those spaces and with the mythology at large. And what I learned is that each space had its own perspective on what it was and how it fit into the mythology. Gotham city didn't feel like it was intrinsically a predator, but responded to the idea of it being a predator because of the characters and how they expected it to show up as a space. Arkham Asylum saw itself as a protector of both the city and its patients. GCPD wants to protect the city, but also feels at odds with it and keeps lots of secrets. Wayne Manor is a mask for the Batcave, which sees itself as the refuge and home for Batman and his alterego. This aspect of space can be worked with if doing a ritual with the mythology, where you desire to utilize a specific space of that mythology.

If you have a pop culture system of magic you work with or one you'd like to develop, I suggest exploring some of the spaces in the mythology you're working with. Treat them as entities and see what happens when you connect with the space. How does it respond to you? What does it want? How does the character interaction with the space shape both the space and character and how might you factor that in to your own pop culture magic workings?

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Taylor Ellwood is the author of Pop Culture Magic Systems, Space/Time Magic, Magical Identity and a number of other occult books. He posts about his latest projects at Magical Experiments.


  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer Sunday, 16 August 2015

    LOVE THIS! What a cool idea! I'm not a fan of Batman myself, but I definitely see what you're talking about.

    Have a quick question - I'm unclear on whether "Pop Culture Magic 2.0" is a sequel volume or /replaces/ the original due to your own expanded understanding of things. I meant to ask this on an earlier post of yours talking about the book too. I want to buy your book(s) but not sure if I should get both or if doing so will kind of confuse me because they conflict in places. Thanks!!

  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood Monday, 17 August 2015

    Batman is just an example. You ca take what I'm sharing here and apply it to a pop culture of you own choice. Pop Culture Magic 2.0 is a sequel to Pop Culture Magick. You'll get a lot out of the original book as well as the forthcoming one. Thanks for asking!

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