Theory for Magicians: Genre and Magical Practices

I was doing what you do: listening to a podcast episode to see if I should add the whole thing to my feed. The podcast was What Magic is This and the specific episode was with Nicholas Chapel and focused on The Kybalion. Now, I have no real horse in the race of whether The Kybalion is hermetic or not, but every expert in the field agrees it is not. But the conversation about that topic got me to think of something. Here’s how it went:  Chapel said that, while he certainly knows it’s not Hermetic, and can absolutely tell you why, it’s still a difficult task to do, because the field of Hermeticism is so big and wide open now. Historically, there have been a lot of innovations and changes in Hermeticism, and so it is perfectly reasonable to call Agrippa, the Golden Dawn, and the Corpus Hermeticum “Hermetic” even though in some ways none of them look anything like the others. The thing this made me think of is that magicians need to learn something about genre. So here we are, with an entry in my Literature for Magicians series sub-classed as Theory for Magicians: genre theory and the horizons of expectations.

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On Polyvalent Meaning and Magic

I’m here to tell you something you already know: symbols mean more than one thing. No, that’s not the whole post! Come back! In the practice of magic, mysticism, and the occult, a pattern is played out that is far broader than those admittedly broad fields. Humans have a tendency to think symbols are simpler than they are. So, for example, you might think the 7 of Pentacles means “be patient,” while your friend thinks it means “suffer.” And it means both! And we know that, really. But it gets lost in practice a lot of the time. So this post is specifically about importing theory and techniques from the formal study of symbols and art – my actual specialty, for once – into occult studies generally.

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Daggerfall in the Cards pt. 3

When we last left our intrepid hero, she was staring at a door that looks like a sconce devoted to memento mori. I have, seeking to be merciful to you, the dear reader, gone on ahead to Daggerfall. So you can take it as read that I wandered the countryside in the fast travel menu, made it to town, remembered to sheathe my, uh, flail, and entered the town. I failed to screenshot a moment when citizens eerily appeared from nowhere and began to wander aimlessly. Sorry about that. I’ve also sold all that useless armor and bought a better hammer. That’s about it. Let’s find some work!

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Daggerfall in the Cards, pt. 1

Here’s a god-awful idea. Let’s play Daggerfall, making every decision by drawing a tarot card! Nothing could possibly go wrong! I will draw a tarot card for every major decision, and possibly a lot of the minor decisions. I predict nothing but smooth sailing.

In this episode, mostly character creation probably.

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Daggerfall, a Frightened Boy’s Story

Did you know someone was re-making Daggerfall, the second Elder Scrolls game, in the Unity engine? No? So you probably didn’t also know it’s hit a major milestone. I just found out. That’s super-cool. To celebrate that, I thought I’d tell you my goofy story with the game, back in high school. It’s weird and, like most of my gaming stories, ends with me never finishing it.

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What even???

Life as the Nuzlocke Challenge

Do you know what the Nuzlocke challenge is? If you’re interested, here’s a link (source of the above image, as well). Basically, though, it’s “hard mode” for Pokemon, something players impose on themselves to make the game harder. At its core is a rule simulating the death of Pokemon — if a pokemon faints, you have to release it. Why do we do this?

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