Making the Fantasy Fiction Connection

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

"No, I can't cast Fireball, a**hole. I do magick with a k."  Cue scowl and hair toss.

What I'm about to say might shock you:

I don't side with this kind of attitude.

In fact, I'm against most of such snarky remarks that are designed to separate us.

We can't deny the correlation between fantasy and reality in what we do, and we should really stop trying.  Not only is it a never ceasing task that renews every time a magic-centered book or movie rises to fame, but it also works against our best interests as casters. 

We can refrain from describing ourselves as wizards so that no one mistakes us for overzealous Harry Potter fans, but we can't ever forget the thrill we felt following him into Hogwarts for the first time and imagining ourselves amid an entire society of magic users.

We can insist on alternate spellings (magick, majick, magik), but since no one can hear the difference in our meaning--ya know, being the same dang word and all--it means very little except in print. This might seem like enough of a distinction since, of course, the occult is a scholarly pursuit for many of us, but it is certainly not enough in practice. In the coven, at the festivals, in the spell, and in our heads and hearts we still use the shared language of the fantastic.

Belief in Magic is Beneficial, Even to Non-Spellcasters

And what's so wrong with that? Scientists have already proven that there is a genuine benefit in superstition and other forms of what is known as "magical thinking." The numbers aren't small, either.  Even though this information is often presented in the context of magic being make-believe and a mild form of delusion, the fact remains that everyone from athletes to exam-takers, small children just exploring their new world to adults with life-altering anxiety gain a huge advantage by trusting in luck, magic, and their own ability to control circumstances.

Fantasy literature can help us be more creative, as well.  Those who embrace it understand concepts that make navigating life much easier: how heroes feel and act, compassion for wildly different types of people, respect for experiences we perceive as ordinary, and finding commonality in a diverse world.  This leads to better problem-solving and decreased stress.  Sounds pretty good to me.

So what does this all mean for those of us practicing the genuine art of magic? Well, first we must put aside the concern that our magic is accepted only on the condition that it's fake. We've seen that it has real world merit, even before we start casting genuine spells. The personal opinion of others, especially those outside of our community, don't have a strong enough bearing on what we do to require our attention.  In other words--don't sweat it. Live well on that shared respect for the supernatural and don't bother to speculate on what exactly it means to the other person.

This Witch's Story

When my husband and I first met, I was still "in the broom closet." I had not, at the time, yet told anyone about my interest in magic outside of a few brief exchanges with my mother and sister, both of whom were firm disbelievers and scoffers. It's worth noting, though, that they both held similar attitudes towards other aspirational concepts like true love, so take that however you like.

When talking to this wonderful new person in my life, however, I found someone who was not only accepting of the possibility of the unshakable and meaningful connection of true love, but also a believer in a hidden side of the world. He has always been an intellectual and we had many conversations that swept quickly between philosophy to pop culture, sociology to the supernatural. We got there mainly through a shared love of literature. We talked a lot about books then and his love of fantasy-fiction quickly came up. I was intrigued; not having read anything of the genre myself, I saw through his eyes a sense of excitement and wonder at the possibility of the occult that I myself experienced with my first spellbooks.

When I finally told him that I was a witch, I prepared for any reaction from disgust to disinterest. Instead, he was fascinated and said what have become sweet and immortal words to me, "I'd always hoped it was real."

That, in truth, is what lies on the other side of fantasy. Yes, society makes sure that children grow up having clearly defined lines between reality and pretend (mostly, I believe, to stave off the possibility  of raising schizophrenics), but no one can really crush that universal small, inner wish to see it happen in real life.

Touching on this spot in our collective minds can make discussing our interest in non-fiction magic much easier. Fantasy opens up and explores out human thrill at the hidden, the beautiful, the mysterious. In that sense, we have a lot in common and that mutual curiosity can bring you closer to others.

What Fantasy Does to Spellcasting

So we know what fantasy does to the rest of our lives, but what does it do specifically to our magic? I've come to find that it does impressive things. Books, movies, video games, and other entertainment like RPGs offer fuel for your witchcraft by showing clear images of what magic looks like. This can help strengthen your visualizations and concentration while casting. Reading or watching examples of evocative spells and rituals can also influence you to up your game and insert more theatrics and beauty into your work, stimulating the senses and gathering a more impressive store of power. 

The other boon of engaging in fantasy forms of the occult is one that meant a lot to the 16 year old me who was just taking her first steps into the magical world--you're not alone. I watched "Bell, Book and Candle" and relished in the idea that there might really be other people in the world who did what I did. I may not have been ready to talk to them yet but I wanted to know that they were there.

This is a useful building block to your magical self-esteem. We talk a lot as spellcasters about the power of belief and there is no belief as strong as that in oneself. If you go into a spell knowing that results are imminent not only because the work is strong but because you are strong, you cannot fail.

Acceptance Will Bring You More Than Intolerance

In the end, we'll never rid ourselves of all the many ways that we are tied to fantasy, nor should we want to. It's only that instinctive desire to be taken seriously that gets in the way of us truly enjoying all the benefits of those ties. The best thing we can do as a community is to embrace it openly (not just among ourselves, as we already constantly do!), use it as a tool to help others understand us, and find our inspiration in that parallel world.

Images from: (King Arthur II)

About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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