Welcome back to Airy Monday, our weekly foray into pop culture as it relates to religion and magic. Join us as we take note of the upcoming Xena: Warrior Princess remake, an adaptation of the Norse apocalyptic myth of Ragnarok, and Marvel's plans for Hercules in their new comic universe. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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When the phrase pop culture magic (or magick) is thrown around, what comes to mind for you? Do you imagine doing a magical working with your favorite pop culture icon or character? Or do you think of developing a magical technique based off a TV show or book? Or do you think of pop culture magic as something else? What I've noticed is that the majority of people who practice pop culture magic tend to approach it in terms of working with pop culture characters and the mythologies around those characters. There's certainly nothing wrong with perceiving pop culture magic in that way, but I think pop culture magic can be much more than just working with your favorite pop culture character (although that can be a lot of fun!)
In Pop Culture Magick, I defined pop culture magic in terms of its resistance to mainstream culture, arguing that the reason to work with pop culture magic was as a means of subversively resisting mainstream culture. I also argued that you needed to work with whatever was popular at the time. In Pop Culture Magic 2.0 (now available for pre-order!) I've revised my definition of pop culture magic substantially, arguing that pop culture is an expression and extension of mainstream culture (as opposed to it) and that a person's pop culture interest doesn't have to be popular in order to be worked with as pop culture magic. However, I don't think pop culture is just about the characters you can work with or the mythologies created around those characters....
Yesterday Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party dropped the writ to announce the beginning of an eleven-week election campaign. It will be one of the longest campaigns in Canadian history. Without getting into a very long litany of what I believe to be the sins of the Canadian federal Conservative Party, I will say that for the first time in my life, I am working as a volunteer in a political campaign. I have given my support to the party most likely to defeat the Conservative party in my riding. I have volunteered to cold-call people on the phone; something I have to work up considerable courage to do. I have volunteered to write press releases. I have folded little paper fans as promotional materials. I am doing this because I am angry and because I believe that supporting the party I've chosen to is our best chance for change.
In the meantime, I have also pleaded with Athena for the victory of my chosen party, and I am lending my magickal skills to the task....
Exposing the soil is, in temperate climates, something people do when farming or gardening. Drier lands that do not support many plants can have much barer earth. Mountains and deserts can be something else again. I’ve seen small islands where the winter grazing of birds will take out all vegetation and bare the ground. There are all kinds of possible seasonal variations that might expose the soil. Where and when and why this happens is well worth a thought.
Left to its own devices, England is a green sort of place and manages this most of the year round. We lose the leaves from the trees in the winter, but not the green from the fields. Even in the hottest summers, we stay green rather than fading to the yellows and browns of hotter climates. If we don’t dig the soil, then the soil seldom stays bare for long....
We can be virtually certain that the Hwicce, the Anglo-Saxon tribe said (by some) to have given its name and lore to historic witchcraft, knew and used the runes.
They, of course, would have named them in the Mercian dialect of Old English, the language that they spoke every day. It is worth asking what those names might have become had the runes remained in continuous use into our day.
Certainly they would have modernized along with the rest of the language; many of the Anglo-Saxon rune-names have remained part of the living language and are entirely recognizable today. We would expect the names to have retained a certain amount of archaic vocabulary, and also to reflect a certain degree of semantic and phonetic “drift” as well: i.e. to include words whose meanings have changed over the centuries, and whose pronunciations no longer reflect those of Old English.
Since some of my family come from the old Hwiccan tribal territories, I figure I have as much right to the runes as anybody. My entirely personal decision to base this version on the Elder, rather than the Anglo-Saxon, furthorc may offend some rune purists. Oh, well. In my experience (I wrestle with it myself), purism is usually its own punishment.