Most of us in the infinitely varies Pagan community have some sort of lineage we are trained in – even if it’s just one person. Our source material is from older traditions, and even the new ones get their start in an older foundation. So, the idea that we can look to the current – MUNDANE – culture for source material feels very odd. But Taylor Ellwood has done his research, thought it through, and given us the eminently practical Pop Culture Magick.


Like Barbara Ardinger in her Finding New Goddesses, Ellwood sees popular culture as inspiration for finding new god-forms to work with. Which only makes sense – someone, sometime, created all the deities we work with: Artemis was the popular culture deity of ancient times, as was Mercury, Inanna . . . Is it so hard to imagine Madonna in one of her many facets as a new god-form? She is constantly and consistently re-inventing herself while telling the same story, there must be one facet that produces the result you want.  (Although, I admit, it’s a bit squicky to Work with the energy of a living being.)


Pop Culture Magick is a dense book and one that will open your perception to profoundly different ways of thinking about your magickal practice. This is NOT a beginner’s book; it requires an intimate knowledge of a personal magickal system that involves active energy workings. If you still think that spells are like recipes, but you can substitute ingredients, then you are not ready for this book.


At its core, Ellwood provides the reader with a way to update their magick using a personal pantheon of icons taken from popular culture – icons that are already infused with energy because masses of people believe in them. Need a wise mentor? How about Gandalf – or Dumbledore? Looking for a deeper connection to difficult material to be learned? Perhaps Gil Grissom is an icon to work with. This is not a celebration of consumerism, it’s a guidebook to tapping the wellsprings of energy stored within modern icons.


Using popular icons in one’s magickal practice is not for everyone. In fact, it may actively clash with a number of traditions and magickal perspectives. But for the eclectic seeker, one who is always looking for new ideas to explore, assimilate, and manifest, Pop Culture Magick is an excellent choice.


~review by Lisa Mc Sherry


Author: Taylor Ellwood

Immanion/Megalithica, 2007 (2nd edition)

pp. 142, $19.99


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