Pagan Studies

PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

How to Build a Pop Culture System of Magic Part 3

In part one and two of this series I covered how spaces and characters could be used to create a pop culture magic system. In this part of the series, we'll explore the role of symbols in the creation of a pop culture magic system. What I find fascinating is how symbols are interwoven into characters, in such a way that sometimes characters are simultaneously personalities and symbols that represent something else. For example, in comics, the color schemes of a character's outfit make the character a symbol, as well as the ore overt display of a specific. The character is an extension of the overt character, automatically associated with the meanings attached to a symbol. Red, Blue, and Yellow call Superman to mind, along with the S in the geometrical figure. Black, Gray, Yellow, and a Bat symbol call to mind Batman, as much as the bat symbol itself. The symbol embodies a connection to the character, much like a goetic sigil embodies a connection to a Goetic Daimon. But the symbol is also evocative of what the character stands for and the values and skills the character embodies (again not different from the Goetic demon).

This melding of symbol with character doesn't just occur with comics. It also occurs with Fantasy and SF books and other forms of media. For example, the lightning bolt scar is a symbol associated with Harry Potter, and the Chaostar is as much associated with the character of Elric as it is with chaos magic. The melding of symbols with characters is a way to make those characters impressionable to the people who are into. The symbols evoke the characters.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

I just read the greatest commentary by Nimue Brown, on her Druid Life blog.  Since I don't know whether it will also show up here on Pagan Square, I wanted to share it with as many people as possible.  

Of course, these are things I've been preaching myself for many years; but she expresses them in a wonderfully clear and pertinent way.  Thank you, Nimue!  Let those who have eyes to see, see this!   

Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Burchard's Corrector

This week in my Women as Witches, Saints & Healers course, we read the Corrector of Buchard of Worms. This early 11th century handbook guided priests with questions they ought to ask their confessing parishioners in order to root out bad behaviour -- and a lot of the bad behaviour was pre-Christian practices that persisted. The insight these questions offer is rather magical, but the style of his rhetoric makes this much more fun to read than the usual sort of penitential.

Here are a few snippets to entertain you:

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    I'm glad to see I'm not the only person interested in these sorts of texts as source material for modern Heathenism or Paganism. I
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    That's very good to hear!
How to Create Pop Culture Magic Systems part 2

In my previous post, I discussed how spaces in a pop culture mythology could be worked with as astral temples, and used to help develop a pop culture magic system. Another way that you develop a pop culture system of magic involves working with the characters of the pop culture mythology. Whether you consider these characters to be archetypes or actual spirits is up to you, but I consider them to be actual spirits that have been brought into existence by the creation of the pop culture mythology and the interest and belief of the fans. While I don't think a system of pop culture magic automatically needs characters/entities to interact with, you'll find it's a very rare system that doesn't have some type of character that people interact with.

With a pop culture system of magic, you aren't doing a one-off working, so you need to make sure that the pop culture you choose actually fits your interests. Additionally, its useful if you already have some type of relationship with the characters. What that means is that you may not have worked with them magically, but you identify with them already on an emotional and spiritual level and enjoy the mythology they are part of and are invested in exploring that mythology further as well as possibly expanding it. If you already have a connection to those characters it makes it easier for you to develop your pop culture magic system. However, you shouldn't take that connection for granted. Part of developing your system involves getting to know your characters.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Already Enchanted


I'm a witch; it's one of the many terms I use to describe my religious and spiritual nature. For me being a witch is inextricably connected to being a practitioner of magick and communing with spirits both great and small. I also identify as Pagan, a Polytheist, a Wiccan, a magician, and a whole list of other terms that is longer than is needed for the purpose of this blog. I'd like to talk about the reality of magick and of nonphysical beings. Rather than engage in debate about the terms, the tenets, or the tribulations of the various communities that are wrestling with these topics, I will speak from my direct experience of them. I've had many spiritual and overtly supernatural experiences. I have selected a few of them, that from my perspective, are all the proof that I need for myself.  These vignettes are brief but I hope that they contain enough detail for you to understand why I considered them a confirmation of my sense of the universe.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    The Swan! I am grateful for your enchantment, dear man--and how it helps enchant us all. Much love to you.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Role of Belief in Magic

Belief is a powerful tool in magic, and in spirituality in general. Belief is a funnel for attention and intention. Whether you believe in something because you genuinely believe in it or believe in it for the sake of something you are trying to achieve, belief has a purpose in magical work. I find the following passage to be illustrative of the importance of belief in magical work:

Be it noted that we do not have to believe or disbelieve in the actuality of such inner agencies per se. what we must believe in is the possibility they exist in their own state of being, yet are capable of interaction with ours by unspecified means or degrees...We need not believe in 'spirit' unless we want to, but we positively must believe in our capability of living and behaving as if the energies available to such entities might be employed on our behalf. From Exorcizing the Tree of Evil by William G. Gray

Last modified on

Most of us are familiar with the lovely quote by Graham Greene's wife, Vivien: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."  That's a wonderful aphorism, but as I'm sure she herself would have admitted, there are times in life when a person has to do both.  Sometimes you have to stay in your cellar until the tornado has passed overhead; then you can come out and dance in gratitude for still being alive, in the gentle drizzle that follows.  Life encompasses every situation; the two statements are not mutually exclusive.  Over an entire human lifetime, they are equally true. 

Here's another similar saying, attributed to choreographer Vicki Corona: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."  Again, a great pithy aphorism.  But of course she was referencing a particular situation under certain specific conditions.  In reality - ask any Yogi - our life is measured, quite literally, by the number of breaths we take!  And yet, at the same time, how boring would life be without those miraculous moments that take our breath away?  Again, the two statements are not mutually exclusive.  

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, lovely, deep, sincere, as always. Thank you. As someone who's always talking about bringing together polar opposites and livi
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    I always appreciate your wise words.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Lizann. And I appreciated learning what Poison Oak teaches.

Additional information