The picture you see above is the outside of the American location of Gringot’s Ban… Err, I mean Higgins Armory in Worcester, MA. USA. In it’s heyday, this modern monolith which rests on the eastern outskirts of the city was an educational museum displaying coats of arms, armor and other references to historical warfare from long begotten times.
Due to various complications and low visitor numbers, the Armory eventually closed. Several years ago however, it was bought by an entrepreneur who rents the space for various events such as weddings, parties, corporate events and etc.
One particularly interesting event, is the New England Witchcraft and Wizardry School.
I am a hugely unashamed Harry Potter nerd and when my lovely wife brought this event to my attention, I was instantly on board.
Today we attended the event in full regalia as pictured below.
That is me and my wife in the black robes and a jolly fellow we met at this event in the blue…
While I was quite certain the event would have all the trappings of an independent “Harry Potter-Con” as I would describe it, I was rather surprised to find that there was in fact, a lot actual magicians and practitioners selling their wares along side non-magicians doing the same.
One table would be selling fake potions, hand made film prop replicas and the like while the next may be selling very real occult wares such as tarot decks, incense, skeleton keys, herbs, and etc.
My father, a devout Christian and quasi-conservative has always been worried that Harry Potter books and films would someday blur the lines between Hollywood magic and the real occult.
Well, based on my experience at this event, I would have to say his fears are warranted…
So. Wonderfully. Warranted.
Of course, as a practicing magician and former Christian, I can understand my fathers lament and at the same time, revel within it.
The great hall of the Armory is very evocative of the great hall from the films, this effect is particularly enchanting considering the looping soundtrack from the first film wafting from the speakers on all four floors of this wonderful complex.
Walking around I was very excited by the fact that both fans dressed as wizards, actual wizards, muggles and non-potter fans mingled together with jovial spirits. It was really something to watch an event that had multiple levels of magic and magick interweaving.
To see pop culture intermingle with pop culture magic and traditional occultism, all reflecting through the crowed of people which was composed of actual practitioners, cos-players and muggles (in both the fictional and non-fictional respect) was a thing of beauty.
The absolute best part of the whole thing was that everyone was respectful, friendly, caring and kind. This was the atmosphere you would expect at a grateful dead show sans drugs and alcohol.
For a long time now, I have been moving closer and closer to the psychological model of magic, not because I do not believe in the spirit realm (because I do), but because I believe that it is through the psychological realm that we touch the spiritual.
I know that I was not the only person in this place with a “real” conjure hand or hoodoo supplies, nor was I the only person who had cast “real” enchantments. That being said, I cannot deny that some children so utterly enraptured with the joy this place, were not in fact also accomplishing very real magical ends to their own desires via this mythological universe that we all (the “adults” included) mutually adored.
I am not the type person to dress in robes when doing real magic, but I can understand why some people get such a rush or altered state/appropriate mindset from dressing up. I cannot deny that I felt that to some extent while dressed in my Halloween costume which was in fact a very non-magical item made in China…
One of my biggest insights from this event is that Alan Moore is 100% absolutely right in his convictions that there are truly no differences between magic and art. Yes, there are many different types of magic and art, each with their own vast set of dynamics and rules however, at the end of the day, if you managing mischief and causing change in the universe successfully, who is to tell you that you are doing it wrong?
I am personally of the opinion that Greek mythology was simply the Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings of that particular time and why should that mean anything derogatory? Egregores are spirits and they are created by men in the same way that spirits are created by “God(es)’s”.
Fuck the details or make love to them, either way, your belief’s are just that.
YOUR. BELIEFS. And they do contain power.
You can argue till you are blue in the face about psychology versus spirit versus energy. You can say this and/or that, but honestly, until science catches up with magic, you can’t prove a goddamn thing outside of personal revelation/experience.
IE: I am just as enamored by the work of Jake Stratton Kent that I am by Taylor Ellwood and they could not possibly be on further opposite sides of the coin. But I love both of these magicians and their work and I absolutely believe that each of them have something very valuable to teach us about magic. What it is, how it works and why.
NOTE: I chose these two great fellows mentioned above simply to illustrate a point about my own perspectives on art and magic, please do check out both of their work, ideas, books, etc. if you have not already.
Case in point; mischief managed; hail chaos.