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Pop Culture Kitchen Witchery

I cook and I know things.  I love being in the kitchen as much as I love watching my favorite movies, reading my favorite books, and making magick.  However, as a busy person what I love best is finding clever ways to combine those things into a single action in order to save time and energy.  Oh yes, I do pop culture kitchen witchery.  Let me share with you how I make fun and nourishing treats infused with pop culture magick.

There are nearly limitless ways to infuse magick into cookery.  One can choose foods with inherently magickal ingredients; many common herbs and spices have powerful magickal correspondences.  Think of the basil, garlic, and fennel in many traditional pasta sauces and their inherently protective qualities.  Once can also compose a meal based on the color correspondences of the ingredients; perhaps an all green meal for prosperity.  Add baking to your repertoire and you have the option of shaping cookies and breads into magickal symbols that are charge when baking and released when eaten.  Of course one can, and should, always add their intent as they create their food; better still if it’s something like bread where intent can be literally kneaded into the dough.  These are just a few of the wondrous ways to add magick in the kitchen and there are plenty of resources out there for diving into the rabbit hole that is kitchen witchery.  Of course, being the inveterate nerd that I am I take things a step further.

I like to get as much bang for my magickal buck as possible and much of my stand-alone magickal workings involve pop culture magick, so I decided to bring my kitchen witchery and pop culture magick together to supercharge them.  One of the easiest ways to add pop culture magick to kitchen witchery is to make foods that appear in your favorite pop culture media, such as lembas bread from the Lord of the Rings, butterbeer from Harry Potter, or fish fingers and custard from Doctor Who.  Lembas bread is a great example; it’s already a magickal food, giving the consumer hours of energy from a single bite.  By baking a high-energy bread or energy bar and infusing it with the magickal energy of lembas bread you can create an amazing spell for stamina energy that you can take along on a hike, a long drive, or any day where you know you’ll need a boost.  Pop culture is filled with enchanted provisions and iconic foodstuffs from Alice’s tea cakes to wizarding chocolate.  Take a moment to think about the iconic foods in your favorite pop culture media and the many ways they could potentially be used in magick.  Kind of amazing isn’t it?

You can also create an infinite variety of foods themed for and inspired by pop culture media.  Kitchen Overlord has a wonderful recipe for a pasta dish where the end product looks like Tony Stark’s arc reactor that would be a fantastic base for a prosperity spell.  As you stir your pasta add your intent, let the golden color of the wheat pasta symbolize prosperity, and link to the dish to the energy of Tony Stark’s wealth; take it further by adding a few herbs that both taste great and correspond appropriately like thyme and basil.  In doing so you’re using the color and magickal correspondences of your ingredients, adding intent directly through the cooking process, and taking advantage of the prosperity energy associated with the character - that’s a triple charged spell and dinner in one!  Similarly, you could make Super Mario Brothers stuffed 1-UP mushrooms infused with energy to ace a test or job interview.  Get a few crimini mushrooms, stuff them with ingredients that align with your goals (Google stuffed mushrooms, there are hundreds of recipes for inspiration), charge them as they cook, and consume to seal the spell.  The possibilities for this type of magick are limited only by your imagination and what ingredients are available.

Beyond crafting edible spells, you can also create foods as offerings to pop culture entities.  Like any other metaphysical entity, pop culture entities often require an offering in exchange for their magickal assistance and what better offering than a food they're known to enjoy?  If you were doing a working with Dean from Supernatural it would be a no-brainer to bake him a pie.  If, for whatever reason, you wanted to do a working with Deadpool what better offering than chimichangas?  Taking the time and effort to make a food offering from scratch adds a tremendous amount of personal energy that many other offerings lack and it allows you to add specific energies into that offering.  You can add even more energy by mindfully sourcing your ingredients: making extra effort to get the highest quality ingredients, buying from merchants the character would support, etc.  If you have a special working that requires a little more “oomph” for your offering, or you just enjoy cooking, try making something appropriate from scratch. 

If you want to try your hand at some pop culture kitchen witchery I suggest starting with simple rolled sugar cookies.  If you like to cook you can make the dough from scratch; if you don’t like to cook you can buy pre-made dough at any grocery store.  You can find some amazing pop culture themed cookie cutters online or you can cut custom shapes freehand.  Try D20 shaped cookies for luck, tardis shaped cookies for adventurous travel, or R2-D2 shaped cookies for computer skills, etc. As you roll out and shape your dough allow your intent to flow into the dough itself.  Bake the cookies per your recipe and then continue to infuse magick into the cookies as you decorate.  Add icing, sprinkles, or crystal sugars in the colors and designs that correspond to your intent.  If you’re more of an advanced baker try making emoji macarons.  Infuse your macarons with positive emotions to create an edible energetic boost.  In general, cookies are easy, quick, and versatile, making them a fabulous starting point for pop culture kitchen witchery.

Whether you’re making Game of Thrones kidney pie or Welcome to Night Vale’s not-so-invisible corn, pop culture kitchen witchery can enhance your magick and put dinner on the plate to boot.  Combining pop culture magick with more traditional kitchen witchery you get all the benefits of traditional practice while layering more intent and meaning into your working, giving it extra power with very little extra time and energy.  Make the results of that magick dinner and you’ve made the most efficient possible use your your limited time and energy.  If you enjoy cooking or baking and love pop culture then give pop culture kitchen witchery a try. 

There are many websites and cookbooks dedicated to recipes from and inspired by pop culture.  Here are a few resources:

http://www.geekychef.com/
https://theniftynerd.com/category/recipes/
http://www.geekyhostess.com/
http://rosannapansino.com/
http://watch.geniuskitchen.com/show/GKPCB/Pop-Culture-Baking-Class/

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Review: Pop Culture Systems

Over the last few years the use of pop culture in magickal practices has grown by leaps and bounds.  As pop culture magick practices grow, becoming more widely accepted and practiced, so does the the need for more cohesive systems for sharing and deepening those practices.  In Pop Culture Systems: How to Create Your Own Pop Culture Magic System, Taylor Ellwood outlines some of the many ways that a practitioner can draw upon pop culture to create a coherent and powerful magickal system. 

Pop Culture Systems aims to help the experienced practitioner take disparate one-off pop culture practices in a particular pop culture universe and combine them to create a fully developed system of magick.  Ellwood defines a system of magic as: “a series of processes and techniques developed by a magician for the purposes of connecting with the divine (in whatever form the divine shows up) and for turning possibilities into reality.  The system is used to organize these processes and techniques so that they can be shared with other people, either through books (such as this one) or through classes or in-person transmission.” (p. 19)  The beginning of the book covers how to choose the pop culture universe you want to work with and the various elements within that universe that would be specifically incorporated into magick.  For example, if a practitioner felt pulled to work with the Firefly universe they would need to examine what resonated with them and why, and how that might harmonize with magickal practices, as well as ways canon behaviors and ideologies might clash with magickal goals. 

The middle of the book goes into the details of creating your own system.  This is done largely by mapping characters, tools, symbols, locations, and other elements of the chosen pop culture, to magickal correspondences or mechanisms in existing magickal systems.  For example a practitioner wanting to work with the Harry Potter universe might map the four Hogwarts houses to the four elements, or someone wanting to work with the Dresden Files universe might map the main characters onto the traditional eight sabbats.  This part of the book also touches on ways to create a system based on systems of magic in fiction and gaming mechanics.  Ellwood emphasizes that once correspondences have been mapped the practitioner must do meditations, pathworkings, and small magickal tests to make sure the correspondences hold true in practice. 

The end of the book examines some of the reasons and ways a practitioner might choose to share their system.  Some of the reasons cited include being able to solicit outside feedback, deepening practices collaboratively, and having a way for your system to live on beyond the practitioner’s own personal practice.  Ellwood suggests reaching out to mundane fandoms, beyond known magickal practitioners, as a way of sharing a system.  The book concludes with a few essays from other pop culture practitioners giving their take on pop culture systems.

Pop Culture Systems gives the reader a quick and easily understandable overview of how to create a system of magick based on a pop culture universe.  One of the book’s strengths is its use of a wide variety of fandoms in concrete examples to illustrate the core concepts.  With example taken from everything from Lord of the Rings to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there is something to resonate with almost everyone.  Further, while most of the methods discussed seem fairly common sense once read, they’re not necessarily things that would occur to the average practitioner on their own.  Ellwood effectively addresses a lot of the complications and stumbling blocks a practitioner can face developing their own magickal system, saving the reader a lot of unnecessary trial and error.  While solidly aimed at the experienced practitioner, this book can be enjoyed by newer folks with an eye to prioritizing what they learn and how to begin putting together some of the foundational pieces of a pop culture practice. 

For me, there were two main drawbacks to this work.  First, the writing style is somewhat repetitive.  Ellwood goes over the main concepts many times, and while some repetition is helpful for memory retention it does grow stale.  Second, Pop Culture Systems focuses exclusively on systems based on a single pop culture universe.  Most of the pop culture practitioners I know work across multiple fandoms, and while the core concepts of the book can be applied to a multi-fandom practice with a little tweaking it’s never addressed.  These drawbacks are fairly minor and don’t take away from the validity of the core content.

Overall I would recommend Pop Culture Systems for experienced pop culture practitioners looking to deepen their practices within a specific fandom/universe or those wishing to include others in their practice.  The book is a quick and easy read that gets the reader thinking and asking the questions they’ll need to answer to create their own magickal system.  If you’re looking to create a system of magick that is all your own and includes the pop culture you love, this is a great place to start.

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Create Your Own Pop Culture Oracle

I am a freak for divination. I love tarot decks, oracles, pendulums, runes, and talking boards of all sorts. While there are a fair number of pop culture themed tarot decks available, they never seem to be for the fandoms I want. My particular combination of fandoms and magickal practices made me realized that I needed to create my own pop culture divination tool. Here’s how I made an effective and personalized oracle using my favorite pop culture characters.

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Using Quotes in Spellwork

I tend to use a fair number of pop culture quotes in my spellwork.  “Make him an offer he can’t refuse,” “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it,” “I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.”  Why? Because the people whose profession it is to come up with powerful words that stick in your head forever are better at doing so than I am.  Well crafted quotes can trigger deep emotions and connect to deep energies in ways no words I could come up with would ever do.  The story context, emotional cues, and place in popular thought can make the right quote become the best set of “magick words” imaginable.

A spell is, more or less, any deliberate action designed to focus your intent and project it out into the world in order to manifest that intent.  The actions you take in the process of casting your spell are designed to: 1)  focus and energize your intent, 2) direct the intent to your target, and 3) send the intent and energy to the target to manifest.  Arm the missile, target the missile, send the missile.  There are almost limitless forms that spellwork can take and almost all of them use either written or spoken words.

Although words are not a requirement, most spells do involve words in some form or another.  The majority of the world uses words as their primary form of communication; our brains expect words to narrate and explain what we do.  This makes words the natural choice for defining our intent in magickal workings.  In spellwork this is most often done via incantation - the words spoken during a spell; quite literally your “magick words.”  We use words to define and focus our intent, to describe where we want our energies to go, and often as a trigger for sending that energy out into the world.  Quotes can be used in any of these steps if they're appropriate.  For some practitioners, particularly the writers and speakers among us, the incantation can be seen as the magick itself.  Incantations often use archaic language, rhyming, and specific mental imagery to best connect to our core being.  The right quote can do all of those things automatically.  The more points of connection in our minds between the words and actions in the spell and what we want that spell to actually do, the greater the volume of energy we transmit to our working and more easily to boot.  

Using an appropriate pop culture quote can increase the success rate of spellwork without any extra energy from the caster.  A movie quote, song lyric, book passage, etc., can have a lot of power beyond the mere words spoken.  Of course, in terms of using quotes in spellwork, the words are the primary basis of power.  It’s critical that the words of your quote mesh completely with your intent.  It’s better to modify the quote slightly than to use it verbatim and risk it pushing your intent off track.  For example if I wanted to use the quote “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope,” while petitioning a specific deity I might exchange “Obi Wan Kenobi” for the name of the deity in question.  Further, I wouldn’t want to use a quote spoken in a negative context, no matter how beloved or appropriate the mere words seem, in a success spell (i.e. just about any line from season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  Be certain the words of your quote totally and completely mean what you intend. 

Beyond the words of the quote is their context and the emotional weight they carry with you.  Movie, television, and video game quotes are particularly potent when it comes to the weight they carry within individuals and in popular consciousness.  When supported by music, imagery, or movement words become even more powerful as we engage with them more fully.  A pivotal line spoken against the backdrop of striking imagery and powerful music becomes iconic and striking (think “‘Till the end of the line”, “As you wish”, or “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you”).  Then one must examine the personal context for the quote.  Did you see the movie once and kinda like it; does the song lyric get stuck in your head; have you recited these lines more times than you can count since childhood; are they so important to you that you’ve literally tattooed them on your body?  While it might not work as well for someone else, as someone with a deep love of the Iron Man movies in general and Phil Coulson in particular I might use the following quote in a binding spell: "If you try to escape, or play any sort of games with me, I will taze you and watch ‘Supernanny’ while you drool into the carpet."  The emotional power of the movie you watched over and over during the best summer of childhood or the album that was the soundtrack for your first love taps deep into our souls and personal power, making their words that much more potent. 

To the immense well of a quote’s personal meaning, you can also add popular weight.  The beauty of pop culture magick is that you can add the power of everyone else who knows and loves your bit of pop culture to its intrinsic power.  How well known are the words of you quote?  Is your quote a bit obscure, but perfect?  Is it from something mildly popular or are the words so ubiquitous that everyone and their grandmothers know them (think “may the force be with you” or “live long and prosper”)?  The qualities of appropriateness, personal weight, and popular weight of a quote can give your incantation a lot more bang for your buck than you might think.

Keep in mind that there can be too much of a good thing.  Using one or two mindful quotes will serve as powerful exclamation points in your spell.  Using too many quotes may have the effects of either diluting their power or muddling your intent as you get wrapped up in your own cleverness.  Better to use just a few quotes as attention grabbing flourishes.  Is it possible to do a potent and effective spell with a ton of quotes?  Of course it is, but it would have to be extremely carefully crafted and probably wouldn’t end up being any more effective than a spell consisting mainly of original language with one carefully curated quote.  Then again, a spell or ritual made up of tons and tons of quotes and references could be a fun experiment if you’re willing to do the work to get it right.  My personal preference is for just one or two quotes because I want my spells to feel like they’re mine: my words, my emotions, my energies.  Using too many words written by others makes me feel like my energy gets diluted.  Be mindful of quote density and be sure that your intent is being expressed as fully and powerfully as it needs to be.

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Say your right words and you can enhance the power of your spellwork with the weight of popular stories, their emotional cues, and their place in the popular mind.  The right quote has built-in connections to immense reserves of power both through individual significance and their place in the greater currents.  Used mindfully, pop culture quotes can give your spells an instant and effortless boost in potency and joyfully take your magick to the next level.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    That line "I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you" sounds wonderful. What movie is that from? I think it would be eve
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    That is from the TV show Firefly, the episode was "Our Mrs. Reynolds."

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A New Hope: Star Wars Magick

Like most anyone under the age of 50, I grew up with Star Wars As an integral part of my childhood.  Through movies, video games, pen and paper RPGs, cartoons, books, toys, and more, tales of Jedi, rebels, rogues, and the empire have permeated almost every level pop culture.  One of the most powerful and enduring themes in all Star Wars stories is the promise of hope in the darkest of places.  As the new year dawns that message of hope is needed more than ever.  In this post I will explore some of the many ways we can use Star Wars to bring hope and light to dark times.

***Note - This post will be discussing the use of Star Wars in generic pop culture magick.  While I am aware of the Jedi religion, I don’t really know any of the details.  If you’re looking for information on the Jedi religion or Jedism in Paganism you’ll need to look elsewhere.***

The music of the Star Wars universe is some of the most evocative and easily recognizable in the public consciousness.  I think I first heard the opening fanfare of John William’s Star Wars Theme when I was about four years old and from that first time I have always known that hearing that music meant I was about to embark on a journey of hope, heroism, and adventure.  Magickally, the song has a powerful energizing effect.  It can be used as a catalyst for taking action, inspiration, or charging objects with energy for hope and rebellion against tyranny.  On par with the opening theme, for its place is the public mind, is the Imperial March.  If you want to charge a spell or object with the power of intimidation or an ability to exert control then this is the piece of music for you.  It can also be used to powerfully identify “the enemy.”  There’s so much music to choose from across the (currently) eight films and numerous cartoons and video games, there’s a perfect piece of Star Wars music to enhance or empower just about any magickal act.

Star Wars has also provided us with many classic lines and catchphrases that can be used as incantations or mantras.  Some of the classic lines that can be used in magick for hope and making a difference include: “Do or do not, there is no try”, “May the force be with you”, “Never tell me the odds”, and “I am one with the force and the force is with me.”  These are all phrases that are deep in the currents of pop culture and draw on tremendous power.  “May the force be with you” is as powerful as any traditional blessing and resonates across cultural lines without engaging the triggers of potentially antagonistic religions.  Using any of these lines in magick immediately taps into the emotion and resonance of the scenes in which they were uttered, giving them the potential to tap into far more power than something more traditional. 

The characters of the Star Wars franchise include some of the most easily recognizable and iconic in existence; I challenge you to find anyone who does not immediately recognize Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, or Han Solo - to name a very few.  If you need to work with a character to help you with believing in yourself, taking action in the face of overwhelming odds, doing the right thing in spite of immediate self interest, or to feel connected with others in similar situations then there is a Star Wars character just waiting to help you.  For example, you could invoke Yoda to gain the wisdom to determine the correct actions to take in a given situations or call on Princess Leia to help you bring people together in a common cause.  In the Star Wars universe everyone from smugglers, farm boys, and urchins to engineers, soldiers, and politicians have something they can do to help make their worlds better.  They show us that there is always something we can do, no matter our circumstances, and they give us courage to do it. 

*** Here be Rogue One spoilers ***

Sometimes one must be willing to put oneself in danger and make sacrifices to stand up for what one believes in.  Something as simple as standing up against cyberbullying can put one in danger of being doxxed, harassed, or assaulted.  In dangerous political climates doing the right thing can get you arrested or worse.  In Rogue One we see a small group of courageous people make the ultimate sacrifice in a stand against tyranny in order to give hope to the rebellion.  Each individual makes small but irreplaceable actions that, in the end, make ultimate victory possible.  Call upon these heroes when you need the courage and strength to put yourself at risk for what you believe in or to shine light on how the smallest act can make all the difference.

*** End Rogue One spoilers ***

As the first movie franchise to truly embrace merchandising, Star Wars presents the pop culture practitioner with a near endless array of options for tools, talismans, and enchanting.  You can get action figure or bobble heads of pretty much every character in the Star Wars universe, making creating a spirit house for a character you want to work with absolutely effortless.  You can get everything from t-shirts to underwear with symbols of the rebel alliance as camouflaged talismans.  You can even get fine watches and jewelry of lightsabers, droids, or emblems to enchant and wear in even the most formal of situations.  Further, the amount of fan made art and crafts available are staggering.  (As of 12/26/2016 an etsy search of “Star Wars” yields almost 100,000 items including everything from sculptures to knitting patterns.)  Any object you could possibly want to enhance your magick is available to you. 

In its many forms, the Star Wars universe gives us all the opportunity to embrace our own inner hero and stand up in the face of evil.  It brings us a message of hope and resistance that we all need to endure and overcome dark times.  Further, it gives us such a diverse number of heroes, great and small, that each one of us can find someone who seems just like us doing something incredible.  Remember, rebellions are built on hope.  May the force be with you.

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Shortly after beginning to write this post I heard that Carrie Fisher had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.  As of publishing she is in stable condition, but still in intensive care.  May the gods watch over her. Update 12/27/2016 - RIP Carrie Fisher.  I have no words.

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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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