UnOccult Secrets

Matt Larkin (author of some rather spiffing riffs on Nordic mythology) posted an article recently suggesting fantasy novels can benefit from the lack of systematized magic. While I find his arguments engaging, for me the best answer lies in what is revealed rather than what is systematized. Larkin's thesis is that magic—at least magic that … Continue reading UnOccult Secrets

Disco Fever as Post-Modern Initiation

One of my acquaintances on social media posited the idea that the current situation in the United States is the moment before the traumatic shift in a spiritual awakening, that Donald Trump is a horror but also the pus that draws together psychic disease in one place so the world-body might isolate and expel it. … Continue reading Disco Fever as Post-Modern Initiation

Adequate Representation

Many folk magic traditions use representations of people as place-holders for the real thing. While science and anthropology sometimes suggest that this works purely through the power of suggestion, I will present today startling evidence that a representation of a person can display that person's traits. Several years ago I adapted a teddy-bear to look … Continue reading Adequate Representation

Fantasy Magic III – The Masks We Wear

My previous posts on magic and religion, and magic and science show my starting point for building a magical system for a fantasy world. However - except in certain circumstances - we want to write a story, about people, some of who use or face magic, not a textbook on how the magic functions. Just … Continue reading Fantasy Magic III – The Masks We Wear

Fantasy Magic II – Lacking in Chemistry

Following on from last week's discussion of the possible boundaries between religion and magic and the impact it might have on a fantasy world, I am moving on to the boundaries between magic and science. A distinction both more immediately obvious and harder than that with religion. Just as a cleric and a spirit magician … Continue reading Fantasy Magic II – Lacking in Chemistry

Fantasy Magic I – Coming Out of the Cloister

One of the most common tropes in fantasy is that of functional magic. Reading through a selection of classic fantasy I could probably recognise it when I saw it. However, I found when trying to create my own fantasy worlds that it is much harder to invent than recognise, and risk becoming inconsistent. Obviously acts … Continue reading Fantasy Magic I – Coming Out of the Cloister