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Pop Culture Magick: An Exploration of Modern Magik

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2005

    Magickal stagnation, begone!

    Okay. I admit it. I¿m a little bit of a culture snob. Maybe two bits a culture snob. I have the tendency to eschew television and movies in lieu of books and the internet for entertainment and information, so I¿ll admit that the idea of pop culture as a magickal paradigm wasn¿t an appealing one at first. But a slew of good reviews and recent familiarity with the author both convinced me to think again, pick up Pop Culture Magick (PCM)¿and I¿m glad I did. This book, in large part, may as well be subtitled ¿Magick for Geeks.¿ Media like anime, comic books, and sci-fi/fantasy are prime examples of pop culture useful for magickal purposes. In PCM Taylor not only explains the energies behind these subcultural phenomena but details how to work with them to great success. PCM is worth its weight in Tribbles solely for the first three chapters. Those who are a bit mystified as to the exact definition of what pop culture is will have this dilemma quickly and thoroughly solved. Following that enlightenment is an entire chapter that not only summarizes previous exercises in breaking your brain (ie, escaping tunnel reality) but further explores this process¿I particularly enjoyed the ¿How are these two objects the same/different and how many ways can I view them¿ exercise in Chapter 2. And the third chapter deals with the joys of the Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) as well as how it pertains to pop culture and how, in many manifestations, pop culture is a series of TAZs. I was particularly glad to see the discussion of how mainstream culture appropriate and assimilates pop culture over time. It¿s important to remember this when working with pop culture because this shift of focus alters the power of each pop paradigm to some extent, if not draining it of all potency. The lesson therein, in fact, applies to magick in general¿oftentimes it is the blade¿s edge of magick that cuts best, and not the handle that everyone else has a grip on. Another point that is repeatedly stressed is the power of group belief. Remember that episode of The Simpsons where all the giant advertising icons come to life? The Springfield version of the Big Boy with his giant donut, and the neon Laramie Man rampaged all across the town. They were all defeated when our protagonists managed to draw the crowd¿s attention away from the icons until they lost all their power and were destroyed. It¿s like that. Pop culture icons have power because so many people feed them with the energy of attention. Taylor shows the reader how to get the most out of that source of magickal potential. The chapters that discuss specific areas of pop culture such as comic and sci-fi/fantasy books, anime and video games offer a wealth of ideas for prospective pop magicians. Geeks will find it an easy transition (if they haven¿t already) from mundane to magick. Taylor demonstrates a number of ideas ranging from invocation through cosplay to taking all those nifty bits of memorabilia and making them into a functional altar. Not only are his suggestions valuable in and of themselves but they also serve as an excellent springboard for further innovation, an effect that is hardly accidental. The general feel of the book is ¿This is magick made *fun*--go out, enjoy it, play with it and see what you can do with it yourself!¿ It builds on the foundation created by Chaos magick until there¿s an entire new world to explore, largely untapped by today¿s magick-workers. Taylor has quite obviously practiced the paradigm he describes extensively. Not only does he speak with authority on the matter, but he provides numerous examples from his own experiences. One clarification I found particularly enlightening is the difference between invoking an energy into yourself, and invoking yourself into that energy. I¿d never really thought that the former was all that risky, until he brought up the concept of letting the energy take you over¿in others words, ¿getting too into it.¿ Fortunately he explains t

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