Saturday, June 30, 2012

M is for Music

This post is for the Pagan Blog Project.

Music possesses its own special magic. I can prove this, and I can prove this easily. Here's what you do:

Find a bunch of drunk people.
Put Journey on the stereo.
Watch all the drunk people stop what they're doing to wail, "just a small town girl... livin in a looooooooonely woooooooooooooorld..."


Music can take a person back in time - I think everyone has a song or two that reminds them powerfully of an event, or a person, or even just a period in their life.

On a personal note, there are certainly certain albums that remind me of certain times in my life. A few of these are inextricably tied to magic for me. Probably the most amusing of these is Halo 19: the NIN album With Teeth.  This album's release coincided with my first forays into Chaos Magic and some more Ceremonial elements. I used to practice doing the Qabalistic Cross to Beside You In Time. I remember, too, walking along the railroad tracks by my then apartment and finding someone had scrawled the lyrics to "Right Where It Belongs" along the side of the tracks themselves:

What if all the world's inside of your head,
Just creations of your own?
Your devils and your Gods, all the living and the dead
And you're really all alone?

Nothing, really. Kind of adolescent. Except when you're learning exactly how fragile reality really is, it seems like the universe is sending you secret messages... and even song lyrics act as a decoder ring.

Music can lift you up or make you cry. It invigorates the soul.

I'm not going to discuss 'pagan' music, mostly because it's not a genre I would even know how to classify. Celtic music? Metal? New Age shit with dolphins? Chanting? Pan pipes? I have no idea. So rather than dissect that, I am going to instead address various ways I myself have used music as magic, and a few ideas I plan to try.

Club Trance

When I was in my twenties, I was a pretty dedicated club goer. Just about every week, you could catch me out at the Best of British night when it still existed, or at our local goth night, Skank. The latter especially was good for working magic, because industrial music it must be said is rather repetitious. The beat is heavy, the words don't matter, and you can marathon boogie until you're sweating balls and your brain shuts up. This is the perfect environment to fire sigils in. You can even make them up on the back of bar napkins or club flyers.

iPod Tarot

I've only done this once, and I'd love to do it again: you assign every card a song, and put them together in a playlist. When I did it, I only assigned the Major Arcana as that felt like a big enough project to start. Then instead of doing a traditional reading, I'd hit shuffle, ask a question, and hit play.

This is not only fun to do, but it forces you to consider the card meanings a little more closely.

Elemental Classification

Voodoo and I actually ran across this one in Gothcraft, which we were reading and mocking while looking after my mom's shop. Credit where credit is due - the idea is cool. Basically, the author suggested taking your favourite bands and classifying them by element, or taking each element and trying to find bands that seem to represent it.

If you classified a song for each element, you could have a musical quarter call.

Dance, Magic Dance

Dance as devotional seems obvious, at least to me. There are deities associated with both music and dance, and others beside who seem to appreciate the gesture. I've heard of people 'dancing their totems' - working themselves into an ecstatic state and then channelling the spirits of animals. I've both seen and tried myself aspecting deities the same way. (Aspecting being sort of like possession-lite.)

One thing I've yet to try, but plan to, is working an actual spell into a performance. If you could direct the energy of the crowd into your goal, it would be pretty spectacular. Maybe with a sigil, or a symbolic act. It's something I need to think on more.

And on that note...

1 comment:

  1. "Nothing, really. Kind of adolescent. Except when you're learning exactly how fragile reality really is, it seems like the universe is sending you secret messages... and even song lyrics act as a decoder ring."

    Hell, I still see music that way. ;) Nothing adolescent about it at all.