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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in pop culture magic

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Trusting Intuition

Learning how to follow your intuition is one of magick’s most fundamental skills.  For many practitioners messages from spirits, allies, and deities are often delivered through gut feelings and intuitions.  In a perfect world it would be easy to discern whether an intuition is a genuine message from the powers that be, a reasoned deduction, or a flight of fancy; making it easy to decide whether to follow it.  Of course things are rarely so simple.  Even if you can tell that an intuition is a message from your guides it doesn’t guarantee that you can fully grasp their meaning.  It can often be excruciatingly difficult to figure out whether an intuition is worth following.  This last week my powers of discernment were put to the test.  A friend and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival down in Ashland.  Grab a cup of tea, sit down, and let me tell you a story about travel, allies, intuition, and magick. 

For me, our trip began when I left the house for work at 5am Tuesday morning.  As I packed my last minute gear I took a moment to stop at my altar and ask if any of my usual allies wanted to be specially present on the trip or if there were any last messages I needed to hear.  I did not expect the resounding “You need to be careful and take me with you!” from my favorite pop culture protector - the Winter Soldier.  While I had intended to bring him along, I had imagined him riding in the back of the car and napping rather than riding on top of the car braced for action at any given moment.  It’s always a little unsettling when my protectors tell me I’m not being cautious enough because I’m a *wee* bit insane when it comes to protections.  I decided I would spend the day on full alert.

About an hour before I was set to meet up with my travel companion she sent me a text saying that our plan to hit Crater Lake on our way south might need to change.  Overnight the forecast for that area changed from 50 degrees and damp (totally acceptable to a Seattlite) to freezing and snowing (significantly less acceptable).  I figured that this was the subject of the warning I’d gotten that morning, but when I checked in with my allies I got a resounding, “Oh no, there’s more.”  At that point I couldn’t decide if I was more trepidatious or curious to find out what had me allies so on edge.

That afternoon we headed to Portland to spend the evening with a good friend who lives there.  We asked our Oregonian friend what she recommended travel wise so that we could get to our hotel in Klamath Falls Wednesday night without getting stuck in scary weather.  We decided to head all the way down to Ashland and then head East to avoid any elevations high enough for snow.   Once again I figured this change to ensure a safer drive would address the problem.  Nope.  That night before I fell asleep the Winter Soldier visited my in full “asset” mode to warn me that I needed to be even more cautious.  I went from curious to concerned.  The next morning I did a quick divination to get more information about what was going on and all I got was that I need to be extremely careful on the road.  There were no huge warning bells; no Tower, Devil, or Death cards; just an emphasized “be careful.”

We set off from Portland early Wednesday morning and headed south with protections on full and
my allies on full alert.  We drove south for hours through some incredible rain, wind, and squalls.  While they were challenging driving conditions, nothing felt unsafe.  Eventually we got all the way to Ashland and got off I5 to head East.  My gut tugged at me to just stay in Ashland, but there was no logical reason to do so - only my intuition - and my allies hadn’t told me to stop driving, just that I need to exercise extreme caution.  We headed East and turned onto Dead Indian Monument Road.  About 10 minutes onto the road I turned right around.  I had the overwhelming feeling that I did not belong on that road.  We the tried to head East on Hwy 66.  No luck.  About 10 minutes onto that road I had a genuine panic attack.  I don’t get panic attacks. 

At this point I figured, between my heart beating out of my chest and my allies screaming in my ear, that I was just not meant to go to Klamath Falls that day and headed back to Ashland.  As I turned around, I kid you not, the clouds parted and huge shafts of sunlight fell on Ashland, like some holy destination in a Renaissance painting.  My heart rate and breathing calmed down and I felt my allies sigh in relief.  It may not have been my most rational moment, but I cannot describe how right the decision to turn around felt.  That our AirBnB was available a day early (the only unbooked night they had all month) just reinforced the feeling. 

That evening I did a series of divinations and chats with allies to try and figure out what was going on.  The divinations were fairly vague and most alluded to incompatibles energies and the likelihood of misfortune had we continued with our original plans.  That night I had a dream of coming around one of those steep curves at speed to find a disabled vehicle in the middle of the road and smashing right into it.  I firmly believe that if I’d continued to Klamath Falls we would have wrecked.  Do I know that in any way I could concretely demonstrate to someone else? Nope. 

The thing about intuition and premonitions is that they are never clear.  Sadly for my logical Virgo brain, when the powers that be want to give you a message the don’t do it with clear obvious signs.  I didn't see visions of car accidents or get clear “do not go there” messages.  I got a nervous protector and a feeling of unease.  Such vague intuitions make it very difficult to know when you’re getting an important message or if you’re just projections your own stresses outward.  I know that my spiritual allies, particularly my protectors, are very in tune with my energies and it’s not impossible for them to be on edge just because I am.  In the end I needed multiple messages in multiple formats before I was willing to throw out the “you’re being irrational” judgment and just trust my allies and intuition.  Perhaps if I had taken more time on Tuesday morning to clarify the message I was getting I could have saved myself a panic attack and a quarter tank of gas.  In the end I did what I needed to do to feel safe and I’m glad that I trusted the feelings I was given, even though it felt a bit foolish at the time.  Trusting our allies and ourselves isn’t always logical, but magick hardly ever is. 


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Pop Culture Protectors

It’s a big scary world out there that isn’t always kind.  Sometimes you’re strong and fortified and ready to face whatever life can dish out, and sometimes you’re not.  Sometimes you feel damaged and vulnerable, too vulnerable to deal with the world at large alone.  Thankfully, as a magickal practitioner you never have to.  When I’m feeling a little too raw to deal with the slings and arrows of the world at large I turn to my pop culture protectors for aid. 

There are as many forms of pop culture protection magick as there are practitioners times the amount of pop culture available to them - so rather a lot, to put it mildly.  As my pop culture magick tends to be character driven, my favorite thing to do when I need some extra protection is select a character that I have a good working relationship with and ask them to accompany through my day.  You can think of a pop culture protector as a metaphysical bodyguard.  Their job is to watch over you, protect you from incoming threats, and help you deal with negative energies that you encounter. 

There are several traits that make characters more or less suitable for work as protectors.  First and foremost is your relationship with that character.  A character you have a strong and healthy relationship with will always be better for protective work than one you don’t know well, even if your character isn’t, at first glance, intrinsically protective.  Obvious protectors are warrior characters - think superheroes, soldiers, most video game protagonists, and the like - for whom defense is integral to the character.  Sorcerers, witches, and other magickal fighters are also fairly obvious protectors - think Merlin, Gandalf, Glenda, etc - as they have the power to go up against almost any foe.  However, a character doesn’t need to wield fireballs, swords, or guns to be an effective protector.  Just like regular people, pop culture characters will perform astonishing feats of strength to protect those they care for.  Further, the support of a friend is often more effective against negativity than any barrier.  I’d rather have Molly Weasley as a protector than Conan the Barbarian (even though Conan could toss most threats out a window) because Molly and I have a relationship whereas Conan and I do not (the fact that Molly is a total badass is just a plus).

The second trait to look at is a character’s resilience and adaptability.  Unless your chosen character is a fighter who’s used to navigating the mundane world (think Jessica Jones or James Bond), your character will need to adapt to the role of protector and withstand anything you come up against.  Some characters, while brilliant in their own environment, either aren’t terribly suited for navigating the mundane or just aren’t strong enough to deal with the energies most people deal with day to day.  While a delicate flower fairy can be a lovely and supportive companion, they aren’t exactly going to take down a hellhound.  A protector needs to inspire confidence and a feeling of safety, whatever that looks like for you.

Another important factor is the situation you find yourself in.  If you know ahead of time what type of antagonists you’re likely to deal with you can choose your protectors accordingly.  If you need help dealing with a work or school environment you can choose a character that does particularly well there, Hermione or Tony Stark for example.  If you know you’ll need to deal with family difficulties you can choose the character best suited for that, perhaps Aunt May or Wilfred Mott (Donna’s grandfather from Doctor Who).  Of course, me being me, I tend to opt for “my monster is scarier than your monster” type protection regardless of the situation - I scoff at the term “overkill.”

Once you’ve chosen a character that you’d like as a protector you have to ask them how they feel about it.  More than any other type of working, a protector must choose you as much as you choose them; a reluctant or coerced protector is ineffective at best and obstructive at worst.  Yet another reason I recommend choosing a character you have an established relationship with as a protector.  Set out the reasons you’d like the character to be your protector and for how long.  You can do this by having a conversation with the character, through a divination tool, through ritual, etc. - whatever method you find most effective.  Depending on the character, you may be asked to give a specific offering or perform an act of gratitude in exchange for their help.  If the character agrees freely, then you’re good to go.  Don’t force things if they’re unwilling.  Really.

After the agreed time frame of protection has finished (or periodically if it’s ongoing) it is important to properly thank your protector.  If you work with the character regularly it may be as simple as just saying “thanks.”  Just as mundane friends don’t often require elaborate thanks due to the constant exchange of gratitude and affection, neither do many pop culture entity friends.  The less well you know the entity the more thanks are required, as they’ve come and done you a favor either in exchange for a promise of some sort or on faith that you’d be gracious about it.  Once thanks are given and any promises made are fulfilled you may dismiss the entity however you usually do so. 

While I have several characters that I work with as protectors, most commonly it’s the Winter Soldier.  We have a long and regular working history; I probably do something with him weekly at the least.  I have him accompany me as a protector whenever I’m feeling particularly threatened or vulnerable - particularly when I’m riding transit alone or crossing dark parking lots.  He’s functions a lot like a combination of bodyguard and security blanket and it’s such a relief to have him around.  I highly recommend cultivating a good relationship with at least one solid protector. 
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Pop Culture Spell for Happiness

Into every life a little rain must fall.  Unfortunately, sometimes that little bit of rain becomes a deluge or tsunami.  Some of us aren’t exactly chipper little rays of sunshine to begin with, so life’s little stumbles can make things more challenging than they really need to be.  I’ve battled functional depression for as long as I can remember and there are few things that I take more refuge and comfort in than my pop culture fandoms.  For people like me fandom is a lot more than a fun way to spend your time; it’s an escape from the pressures of the mundane and a protected retreat.  It’s the ultimate safe space where you are free to let all your weirdness hang out and just enjoy yourself.  The power of pop culture magick is to allow us to literally bottle a bit of that joy and take it with us.

For this spell you will need to choose a favorite fandom or two.  There are an amazing number of pop culture fandoms out there, so choosing just one or two to work with can be a bit daunting.  Think about what is resonating with you right now.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a favorite fandom for the past decade - what book, movie, music, tv show, series, comic, manga, etc., really resonates with you right now.  What bit of pop culture brings you joy today

Think of a character, scenario, episode, song, etc., from your chosen fandom that really makes you happy.  For example, I’m doing my version of this spell using Firefly, particularly the character of Kaylee.  In a cast of misfits and anti-heroes Kaylee stands out as being not only a kick-ass mechanic, but as being genuinely sweet and happy more often than not.  I greatly admire her ability to look on the bright side of things and enjoy what she has while she has it - something I’m not great at. 

Ingredients:

  • One candle (in your favorite color) - pure beeswax is best, as the honey in the wax adds a bit of sweetening to the spell.  If you choose a large candle you should repeat the incantation each time you burn it.  If you cannot burn a candle for whatever reason, choose a tealight or small chime candle that you can carry with you.
  • One wearable/carryable object representing your bit of pop culture - if you have something overt like a fandom t-shirt great, if not something as simple as a sigil drawn on a piece of paper will do.
  • One small bottle of drinkable liquid - This can be tap water or anything else, just be sure the bottle seals well enough for you to carry it in a pocket without worrying about leakage.

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Ground, center, and set your sacred space however you usually do.  (If you don’t usually do those things that’s ok too!)

Set your candle on your altar or whatever prepared space you have.  Set your wearable object (a leather bracelet for me) and your bottle of liquid next to the candle.  If your bit of pop culture has a video or audio form, play it in the background.  Meditate for a few minutes on your bit of fandom and what about it brings you joy. 

Light your candle (or not) and speak an incantation like the following, with the specifics changed for your fandom and your personal needs:

Light of flame bring me joy, allow me the happiness and good nature of Kaylee.
I will overcome my obstacles with a smile, as she does.
I will enjoy the good that flows into my life, as she does.
I will find solace and comfort in hard times and emerge the stronger for it.
I will shed bitterness and resentment, as she does.
I release negativity and depression.
I find joy in everyday life and dance with joy.

Let the essence of happiness flow into my bracelet and my tonic. 
In times of sorrow, stress, anxiety, or fear I will wear my bracelet, sip my tonic, and find happiness. 
I embrace joy.
So must it be.

Let the candle burn down, then close your sacred space as you usually do.  Carry/wear your charged object and sip your charged liquid when you need a boost.  Feel free to repeat the spell as often as necessary. 

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  • Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
    Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker says #
    Terrific spell! My mind is considering options.

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Ghostbusters Magick

A few weeks ago I, and a lot of other people, saw the new Ghostbusters movie.  As a child of the 80s I was a wee bit skeptical at first but ended up loving it.  To quote one of my dearest friends, “I didn’t know women wielding proton packs was what was missing from my life.”  Of course me being me, my first thought coming out of the movie was that I just have to work with these characters in my magick - they’re just too awesome not to.  Let’s take a look at the four main characters and explore some of the many ways they can be worked with in pop culture magick.

***spoiler alert - this post will contain spoilers for the new Ghostbusters movie***

Erin Gilbert

Erin is a mainstream academic with a thirst to prove herself, to gain acceptance, and have her work and value acknowledged by those around her.  As a professor, Erin would be an excellent ally to call on for matters of scholarship (study, exams, learning, etc.) as well as navigating bureaucracy (there are few establishments as political and overwrought as higher education) .  Her struggle for recognition also makes her an excellent ally in workings designed to help one gain legitimacy, to be valued for your work, and to overcome obstacles.  I would argue that Erin would also be extremely helpful in workings of self-acceptance and self-esteem.  Throughout the movie Erin struggles with the conflict between being what’s expected of her and what she truly is.  She progresses from hiding her thoughts and values in order to be accepted by the establishment to expressing her true beliefs and taking the risk of really standing up for herself.  Though she can be a little timid at times, Erin is an excellent ally for anyone who has to work in mainstream culture.

Abby Yates

Abby is a significantly less mainstream academic who is willing to take risks and buck authority in order to achieve her goals.  She is bold, passionate, and unapologetic in her approach to life while also being a fiercely loyal friend.  Abby is a fantastic ally for any work that involves going around authority or otherwise subverting the establishment.  She can also be called upon for help standing up for oneself and holding onto the courage of your convictions in the face of adversity.  An unapologetic approach and unhesitant embracing of her own weirdness also make her a good ally in workings of self-esteem and empowerment.  The strong commitment she shows both in pursuit of following her dreams and in support of her friends makes her an asset for workings of endurance, loyalty, and determination.  Abby isn’t afraid to take risks, which can cause problems when caution is needed.  Call on her wisely.

Patty Tolan

Patty is a municipal historian, blue collar worker, and possibly the human embodiment of common sense.  Where many of the other ghostbusters live in a world of theory and academics, Patty’s feet are firmly grounded in the practicalities of everyday life.  Patty is an ideal ally in matters of practical problem solving, creative resource acquisition, and working with people.  Her practicality and resourcefulness also make her an excellent ally in matters of project planning, divining hidden difficulties, and general preparedness.  Her grounding and connections to place also make her helpful as an intermediary in workings to bond with the spirit of place for a given locale.  Her courage and willingness to try new things are well tempered by common sense, making her a very wise helper in determining whether to take a given risk.  Patty may not be as flash as some of the others, but she is the rock that can help you with everyday life.

Jillian Holtzmann

Jillian is the mad scientist of this bunch.  She’s a brilliant combination of Marie Curie, Tony Stark, and Victor Frankenstein; a fearless scientist,  a brilliant engineer, and a mad genius with little respect for safety or the laws of nature.  Jillian is an excellent ally in workings for inspiration, creation, anything involving the manipulation of science or technology, as well as workings to bend the laws of physics.  Where Abby is unafraid to go around authority or bend the rules, Jillian acts as if authority and rules are utterly meaningless and simply does as her brilliant mind tells her.  Call on her when there are no f**ks to be given.  Keep in mind that, while totally awesome, this blindness to caution or safety does make her a bit dangerous and more than bit reckless.

...
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Spell Against Indifference

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller 1946

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a while now you’ve probably noticed that the world doesn’t seem so friendly these days.  Honestly, it kinda seems like the nice, comfortable world I’ve always known has caught fire.  Between shootings, bombings, hate, fear, greed fueled politicians, and absurd (to me) infighting in my local communities I’m pretty much overwhelmed with just how insane things have gotten.  At this point I’m virtually paralyzed by just how far down the path to hell our collective handbasket has gotten. 

Right now I’m angry about a lot of things, but the thing that bothers me the most is the complacency and indifference of many of those around me.  If I’m really honest I’m also utterly ashamed of my own complacency.  While magick is no substitute for actually standing up and taking action, it can help by making it a little easier and perhaps a little safer to do so.  Pop culture magick is for a lot more than just fun and games. I decided to take my cue from The Boondock Saints, one of my favorite movies, and create the following spell for ending indifference. 

Boondock Saints Spell Against Indifference

This spell can be done anywhere, at any time. In a pinch just recite the incantation without any of the other trappings.

If the purpose of the spell is to motivate yourself, change all of the “you”s in the incantation to “me”s.  If you want to target a particular person, change the “you”s to that person’s name (take care because there’s some ethical ambiguity as this could be considered coercive - be sure you’re willing to accept the consequences of your actions).

If you can, first take a minute or two to reflect on the state of the world and allow yourself to get angry.  If you don’t have a minute to spare, then chances are you’re already good and mad.  Allow your anger and outrage to fuel this spell.  If you need some help getting angry I suggest spending about 30 seconds on any mainstream news site, listening to some Rage Against the Machine, and/or watching the following clip from The Boondock Saints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to5eOs8VRuY

If you can have some properly anti-establishment music or The Boondock Saints running in the background do so. 

If you can, burn a red candle and dragon’s blood incense.

Recite the following incantation:

Open your eyes to the state of your world.  See the hate, the fear, the injustice.  See the open violations of self perpetrated on those around you.  See the insidious, doubtful, aggressions that are written off again and again. See and know the truth.

It is time to stand up.  No more shall this rampant fear and hate be allowed to rule our lives.  Have courage.  Take heart.  Allow the fire of outrage to fuel right action.

Let the burning heart of truth incinerate those that would impede right action.  Let the power of justice protect those that stand up for those that cannot.  The strong arm of righteousness will strengthen and protect you.

We must all fear evil men.  But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men. 

By my will that indifference is cracked, broken, and ground to dust.  What has been seen can never be unseen.  What has been seen must be acted upon.  Destroy that which is evil so that which is good may flourish.  As I do will, so must it be.

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An Accidental Pop Culture Beltane

While I had no plans to incorporate pop culture magick into my Beltane celebrations this year, the powers that be had other plans.  Apparently, when you get a group of Seattle Pagans together and ask them how to come up with a way to clear blocks to abundance and build foundations of prosperity what they come up with is magickal scrubbing bubbles and the nanobots from Big Hero Six.  How you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

For those of you who don’t know, I am part of a duo of facilitators that puts on public rituals in Seattle.  We call ourselves Illustris and do most of our rituals at Edge of the Circle Books near the University of Washington.  Instead of having a large team performing scripted rituals, we co-create our ritual with the participants just minutes before performing it.  This means we never really know what our rituals are going to look like until we’re in the middle of them.  It’s quite exciting and our attendees come up amazing things sometimes. 

For each ritual we establish a magickal purpose for the working to be designed.  This time around we had two: 1) working with the energies of Mercury retrograde to remove blocks to wealth and abundance (whatever that looked like for each participant), and 2) building a sturdy foundation to grow true prosperity.  My brain was totally fogged by allergy medicine, so I was utterly dependent on attendees coming up with good ideas because I had nothing.  I looked around the room and saw one of our regulars snort and say, “Well, the image that immediately comes to mind is a foaming toilet cleaner bomb.  It gets rid of anything.”  Immediately everyone in the room smiled and knew exactly what she was talking about.  Oh yes, we would clear energetic blocks with magickal scrubbing bubbles!  Whoever said commercials were useless?  They get stuck in our heads so well that they make shockingly good common imagery and vocabulary.  We decided we would collectively create an energy ball that we would essentially detonate in the middle of the group to foam away blocking energies.  It worked shockingly well.

For the second part of the ritual one of our new participants suggested using the energetic equivalent of the nanobots in Big Hero Six to build a foundation for prosperity.  I loved the idea and about half the room immediately nodded their heads in agreement.  The other half of the room went, “What’s Big Hero Six and what do the nanobots do in it?”  So, we spent a few minutes explaining the reference and got sidetracked talking about carbon nanotubes (it was awesome!).  Then a gal brought up the issue that she’d only seen nanobots portrayed negatively in sci-fi and asked for an example of nanobots doing something positive.  Thankfully she was a Doctor Who fan so all I had to say was, “just this once Rose Tyler, just this once everybody lives,” and we were good to go.  (If you have no idea what that means watch the episodes “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” from the 2005 run of Doctor Who - some of the best television ever made. This clip shows the scene:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhklrve5xmw

The whole situation really highlighted one of the most common problems in doing group pop culture magick - common culture.  People of different demographics have different things in their pop culture baskets.  Hell, people of the exact same demographic are likely to have different things in their lexicons.  We all like different things and thus remember and attach importance to different bits and pieces of pop culture.  The more diverse a group of people is the less likely they are to have a lot of common pop culture (though there’s almost always something there - think blockbuster fandoms like Star Wars or Mad Max).  I don’t generally bring pop culture magick into big public rituals for just this reason, but this time it happened organically and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.  A little explanation to make sure we were all on the same page and we created the common imagery we need to make the magick work.

Through no intention of my own, I ended up having a Beltane ritual that was filled to the brim with pop culture magick.  The ubiquity of commercials gave us our first working and a combination of Disney and Doctor Who gave us our second working.  What a great time to be a pop culture practitioner!

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for sharing. I got the scrubbing bubbles reference and I have both the Big Hero 6 DVD and the Manga so I got that refer
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    We did have a lot of fun Unfortunately, since our rituals are created on the spot there's no script to share. I would if I could

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Using Fictional Magic in Real Magick

Lately I’ve seen a lot of questions online about using fictional spells and magical techniques in real magick.  Things like trying to use “expecto patronum” from Harry Potter or “forzare” from the Dresden Files in actual protection spells.  While this type of pop culture magick seems like a no brainer, there’s actually a lot you need to think about before trying to twist fictional magick into your real magick.

The best argument (in my opinion at least) for using fictional spells and magical techniques in your actual magick is that it allows you to build off of ideas that already exist both in your own mind and in the minds of others.  Why reinvent the metaphysical wheel if there’s already something suitable at hand?  Magick is all about delivering energy charged with intention to an intended target in order to manifest a desired result.  Our spells and rituals are the mechanisms we use to raise energy, charge it, and deliver it to its intended target.  We can do that most efficiently, and thus get the best results, when our minds have clear, easy paths to do so.  Forging those smooth paths takes practice, lots of practice.  However, we can shortcut things a bit by using spells that lots of other people use (getting the advantage of some of their energetic work) or by using words and techniques our brain already associates with the results we’re working towards - this is where fictional spells come in.

To get the most energetic benefit from using a fictional spell or technique it has to be something you know really well.  The fiction we know and love, that we see or read over and over again, has a special place in our hearts and minds.  The fiction we truly love becomes a part of our very being; there is no mental path smoother than those which flow to the things we love.  I’m confident that I can recite the entirety of The Princess Bride at any given moment, plus a good chunk of Harry Potter, and probably several seasons worth of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  These mental paths aren’t just smooth, they’re greased to almost frictionless.  Using the magic from the fiction that you love allows you take advantage of these frictionless paths and send all your energy directly where you intend it, none wasted forging the path.  Sure, you can use that amazing spell you saw once in that one episode of whatever, but unless it made an indelible mark on your very being it won’t be anymore effective than that really well written spell you found on the internet.  While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, you won’t be getting the best bang for your energetic buck.

There are some downsides to using fictional magic as part of real magick.  No matter how much you love it something that your mind identifies as fiction will take some time and effort to switch to non-fiction, though the benefit is usually worth the small energetic cost.  Let’s look at the “alohamora” spell from Harry Potter.  This is a spell used numerous times in the books and movies to unlock doors.  In the Harry Potter ‘verse you just wave your wand, say “alohamora” with conviction, and the previously locked door pops right open.  Sadly, our reality doesn’t work that way so we have to look at intent of the fictional spell to figure out how to translate it into something that works here.  A real spell based on this fictional one might be to inscribe the word “alohamora” onto a candle, charge it with the intent of unlocking a particular path or removing an obstacle to a goal, and then burning the candle to release the energy into the world.  Alternatively, a locksmith who happens to be a practitioner might use the word “alohamora” as a mantra to recite while picking an actual lock to help focus their will and guide their hands.  Both of these real spells use the fictional spell to enhance the real energetic work being done.  I personally prefer to add a few objects or techniques with magickal correspondence to my goal to help add a little “oomph” to my spellwork whenever possible.  However, one could simply focus on their intent and say the word “alohamora” while projecting their intent towards their target, just as the characters in Harry Potter do and it would be a valid spell as long as you truly believe it to be. 

Another hurdle in making fictional magic effective real magick it that the real results will never match up with the fictional results.  One of the most commonly used spells in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series (which I cannot recommend highly enough) is “fuego.”  As you might imagine if you speak spanish or any other latin based language, the fuego spell conjures a large fireball that hurls itself at the caster’s target.  This spell is used multiple times in many books; it’s probably used over 100 times in the series so far.  Both I and everyone else who’s read these books has a very clear picture cemented in their minds of what this spell looks like when it’s cast.  Unless your spellwork includes some pretty impressive professional pyrotechnics, your execution of a “fuego” spell is not going match the picture your head wants that spell to create.  That’s a problem.  Let’s say you wanted to use “fuego” to conjure a protective circle of energetic fire by visualizing the circle of fire while reciting “fuego” as an incantation.  In order to accomplish your goal your spell needs to energetically overcome the your cognitive dissonance of the results not looking the way your mind expects plus the energetic dissonance that every other reader’s idea of what the spell should be in order to manifest itself.  That really limits the ways that fictional spells with firm visual results can be used effectively in real magick.  To use “fuego” in real magick you’d really want to have some actual flame present to help mitigate the dissonance.  For this reason I really wouldn’t recommend using fictional magick with a really strong visual component unless it’s part of a big ritual that can recreate at least part of the expected visuals.

On a similar note, a good chunk of fictional magic tends to be overly theatrical, especially magic from television and movies.  Fictional magic is supposed to be entertaining and it can’t be entertaining in a visual medium unless the person casting it is doing something that we the audience can see.  In the movies witches and wizards are always doing big arm movements, gesturing with oversized tools, and shouting into the wind.  As fun as that is, it’s pretty wasteful energetically speaking unless you’re facilitating ritual for a large group that needs those visual cues.  Yes, I can hear you saying “but repeated physical movements help focus energy and smooth pathways.”  Of course they do.  Things like banishing and invoking pentagrams are particular physical movements that serve a particular energetic purpose and can enhance a magickal working in many ways.  However, there’s a line between movement used to focus energy and giant theatrical absurdities that look great and serve no purpose.  It’s a lot like the difference between martial arts in the movies and martial arts in real life.  I’d advise you to choose fictional spells that don’t expend as much energy in casting them as you’re trying to project out to your goal.

Fictional magics can be used in real magick to enhance spellwork and rituals by tapping into the pathways they’ve already forged in our minds.  To get the best results it’s important to be mindful of what shape those fictional spells and techniques already have in our minds and the minds of others.  By working with those ingrained images we can ensure that the energy we raise gets to its goal rather than being wasted forging the path to that goal.  Be mindful of what expectations a fictional spell raises both in how it’s supposed to look as its cast and its end result; be sure that really works with what you want to accomplish.  Choose the fictional magic you want to work with carefully and make sure it’s something that deeply resonates with you in order to get the best possible results.

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