Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Fantasy Magic and Works of Fiction

Artwork by Alexander Liptak -

In one of my groups, there seems to be a weekly rinse and repeat cycle of someone new asking about the Necronomicon.

There immediately follows someone pointing out that it's fiction, someone disputing that and saying it's really ancient and inspired the fiction and someone claiming the Simon Necronomicon is the real one. Shoddy history, butthurt and fluffy OMG it's so evil reactions abound until it dies down, drops down the page and then starts again next week.

The useful part of the discussion that came this week though was about inspiration from fiction and works of fantasy.  This also extended into Sir Terry Pratchett's Pagan credentials and Harry Potter.

As you should know by now, I'm always pushing that you should write your own spells, that your magic should come from the heart and be an outward expression of you.  To me, these discussions highlighted that in many ways.

Where you find the inspiration for your magic doesn't necessarily have to be the Pagan books or the Spell books or all the experts you might find online.  It might come from a line in a fictional work, it might come from a Harry Potter spell or it might come from something seemingly small on your favourite sitcom.  The only thing that is required is that this inspiration works for you.

I have used something similar to the Ridikulous charm from Harry Potter.  Even before I'd read the series.  When my children had nightmares they'd tell me about the giant spiders chasing them or clowns or something.  I'd listen, hug them and then we'd make whatever had frightened them into something ridiculous and silly.  Their spiders would be wearing sequined top hats, fishnet stockings and tap dance around the kitchen sink, the clowns became cute little shelf ornaments and tigers were suddenly fat spoiled lap-cats with big shiny bows around their necks.  While it may not have been magic as such, it was still headology and Granny Weatherwax would approve.

I found myself inspired by the system of magic slowly revealed in Kate Elliot's Crown of Stars series, I spent months working on building my City of Memory but I could never quite manage to use it as a filing system the way Liath does.  I found the Mage's Ladder very similar to the system of Gates I've found in some witchcraft books.

I know I'm not the only person inspired by Terry Pratchett's liminal half-moons.  In one book (I don't recall which one) he goes into the way witches stand in the liminal places, the boundaries, doors and portals, the places that are between two states being both and neither and how the half moon is all the more special for being liminal although it's terribly overlooked.  A good friend makes an effort to have a special half moon ritual twice a month.  She sees them as points of balance where the positive and the negative have equal value.

Many years ago, I had a challenging staff member who was the master of the sidetrack when you were telling him off.  Before you knew it, he'd taken you down so many tangents you'd just walk away feeling confused and not quite sure what just happened.  To deal with him, I created my Seven of Nine glamour.  I'm sure the Trekkies will get it, but for the others, Seven of Nine was a character from Star Trek:Voyager, she was half human and half Borg - rescued from the Borg and she became a member of the crew.  As a half-Borg, she would be extremely emotionless and cut through any crap with clarity and precision.

Before I had to deal with this staff member, I'd take a moment to feel I was channeling Seven of Nine, I'd lay a glamour of her over me.  When he started off on his tangents I found I was able to simply say "That's irrelevant" and repeat my previous statement.  When I didn't get distracted by his rubbish, he tried to wind me up and make me angry instead.  Seven of Nine also helped there.

Any inspiration, anything that works is useful in magic.  You could be visualising your protection as prowling centaurs, the Wall from Game of Thrones or the Bog of Eternal Stench from Labyrinth, if it works for you then it's valid.  If you think it will draw ridicule, don't share it.  You do not owe anyone an explanation about your methodology. 

Now, while I am saying that your inspiration could come from fiction and be valid, I am not saying that it is valid to make that fantasy or fiction into your reality.  That is something altogether different.  You cannot summon the demons from Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches or from Charmed.  Whatever you get will not be what you may think it is and is unlikely to behave in the manner you expect.  I have yet to meet anyone who was genuinely a were-anything despite hearing many claims. I am not going to enable anyone's beliefs that "Everything is true (or could be) and has value" because I'm too old to play those games.  I have too much hard experience under my belt and I have spent too much time cleaning up other people's messes when they've tried to make this stuff work.

So, with that grump over with, go out and be inspired.  If something moves you or works as a way to picture something then use it.  Use it without embarrassment, use it consciously and make it yours.



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