Friday, May 4, 2012

Clothes Make the Mage

Virginia Postrel: On Glamour

I want to talk about a tool with the potential for influence that is often overlooked in conversation on sorcery, that being personal style and presentation. I recently discovered an older lecture on "Ted Talks" by Virginia Postrel about Glamour. I would like to touch upon a few of the points that she made and expand upon them here. First let’s look at her definition of glamour:

"Any calculated, carefully polished imaged designed to impress and persuade."
Many magical operations are designed to impress and persuade. I some cases the spell has been directed at an individual that the worker is attempting to persuade or influence in some way. Attention given to personal glamour can be a deciding factor in the outcome of that working. Studies have shown that most people make a decision about a new acquaintance within the first thirty second to two minutes of interaction. It is within your power to influence that decision not only with magical action, but with a carefully crafted image, as well as communication skills.  This naturally applies to interactions of both a personal and professional nature.

When I was in New Orleans this past fall at the Folk Magic Festival, one of female attendees of the festival approached me and commented on how I was "The most elegantly dressed man there". I don't say this to brag, because trust me when I say that I won't be featured in a Calvin Klein ad anytime soon. After she made the comment I began to try and explain to her that I consider personal image another tool of sorcery. She nodded her head in agreement, but it seemed clear that it had never occurred to her to utilize it as such. Some magicians will dismiss the notion of mastering glamour as an art. They feel that if a working is powerful enough than that is all that matters. More experienced workers know that magic works better on a path of least resistance. Proper glamour application can provide just that. No point in creating a mojo hand to command respect and power, when your entire wardrobe comes from Hot Topic. I was once guilty of that myself. Unless of course the circle that you are attempting to influence and image you are attempting to project is of a gothic nature. 

What many tend to forget in regards to glamour, which Postrel pointed out in her presentation is that glamour was once thought of as being rooted in magical practice and witchcraft. Consider the etymology of the word itself:

Glamour (n.) Look up glamour at Dictionary.com1720, Scottish, "magic, enchantment" (especially in phrase to cast the glamor), a variant of Scottish gramarye "magic, enchantment, spell," alteration of English grammar (q.v.) with a medieval sense of "any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning." Popularized by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Sense of "magical beauty, alluring charm" first recorded 1840. As a verb, by 1830s, from the noun. Via.
The way that is applied may have been changed, but the intent has not. Your chosen look can project an air of enchantment, magical beauty, or alluring charm if you craft if that way. As Postrel states, "Glamour is all about transcending the everyday". People are rarely drawn in, attracted to, or impressed by the average or every day. Be it mystery, beauty, power, success, or sex, people are attracted to and long for the things that they do not encounter on a usual basis. If you can successfully embody and project one or a combination of these things, than you can influence and persuade a great many of people. 

Two things to remember when crafting your image which Postrel also points out are that glamour is an illusion and should appear effortless. This is the balance that has to be understood and mastered. As an illusion it is essentially a deception, or misdirection, like a stage magician performing a sleight of hand. Also much like a sleight of hand maneuver it should be practiced and honed until it seems as if no effort is needed to pull it off, until appears to the target to be magic. Practice in front of a mirror, work on your mannerisms, walk, body language, posture, etc. Do t his so that nothing about you ever comes off as unauthentic, forced, or awkward. Glamour is enchanting and elegant; you should strive to be as well. People will often ask, "why not just be yourself"? You are being yourself, just cultivating, practicing, and projected a beneficial aspect of yourself that few take the time to do. There is a part of everyone that is sexy, mysterious, powerful, and so on. You are merely tapping into that with your image ad when done successfully those that are attracted to such things will respond. Look around you, glamour is used all around you to influence and persuade, and marketing, and the like. Shouldn't you tap into that power?

I have never seen glamour mentioned in connection with conjure practice. However if you look into the old lore, and descriptions of many conjure men and woman, you will see that they created images for themselves that projected power and mystery to attract and persuade clients. Actually being able to project that onto a client is one of the secrets to being able to help them. I will let you all ponder that for a while. I know that I learned to importance and of image presentation early on from my mother before I ever learned any conjure. I remember asking her once, why she was going through the trouble of doing her hair, makeup, and the rest just to run to the store. She replied with the old phrase, “you never get another chance to make a first impression". I have heard people exclaim, "I ain't trying to impress anybody". Well the fact is no matter what,   you are leaving an impression, as a sorcerer you should be in control of that that impression is at all times. 

Also we all know that feeling that washes over us we know that we look good. Look good and you feel good. Feel good and you begin to attract good, in whatever way you perceive it. Looking good effects us and thus those around us on a metaphysical level. 

"You will like the way you look. I guarantee it."