All is Fair in Glamour Warfare
Are you ready to revolutionize your magical practice by learning to use
your glamour? Glamour is the perfect tool for a revolution bec-ause a revolution is started by a whisper, not a gunshot. Your glamour. Your whisper. Not into the deepest well in the forest, but into the right ear. You must tug on the heartstrings of modern-day queens and warlords who have power over you so that you can obtain whatever you desire most. This whisper could unlock windows, open doors, and slide through secret passages for your Great Work. You must be brave because you may only have one chance to ask for your most sacred wish from this powerful person. Your words will act as a straight shot of potent elixir that has been torn from your still-beating heart. It will hurt as it is ripped out of you. It will be terrifying once the whisper leaves your mouth. It risks everything. You risk everything.
Do you dare?
Your heart’s desire always comes at a cost. If it were easily obtained, you would not want it so badly. There is always the dark of the dreamlike woods you must force yourself to walk. Here the wicked things hide and your great and small battles reside. Bits of you must be taken by your goddesses and spirits; friends will become enemies and then friends again; you’ll see unexpected mercy shown from harsh rivals; hollow victories and cordial defeats; lost causes will be won; sure bets will be lost; high roads and low roads must be walked. You must be willing to have your face down in the mud with everything that ever mattered to you snatched up by the impassive Moirai and then equally ready to seize opportunity when they have inexplicably begun to favor you again. You must be cunning, you must be sly, you must be willing to employ tactics that aren’t considered fair.
What Is Glamour, Anyway?
The word glamour has two definitions:
1. 1. What makes you exciting and interesting to others.
2. 2. An illusionary spell.
The second definition is useless to us. It encourages dismissal from the actual community of Witches because it’s easy to get swept up in the Hollywood special effects aspect of it. Magic doesn’t work like that, our elders scold us. And that’s a wasteful use of it anyway, even if it could work like that. It is quickly dismissed as a bad sleight-of-hand trick. You could change the color of your eyes a lot faster with contacts than concentrating large swaths of your magical practice dedicated to it. And so, glamour is dismissed as a not-terribly-realistic party trick instead of an earthshaking subtle magic that utilizes what makes you exciting and interesting to others.
It’s no coincidence that glamour is also associated with female beauty, especially if this beauty dares to be tarted up by cosmetics or clothing. We have been taught that women “who try too hard” were never actually pretty, it was just their deceptive lipstick, their Spanx full of lies, their deceitfully glittering Manolo Blahniks. The lesson has been that if anyone dares to attempt to own their power, not with sheer dominance but by embracing all that is in them that is fascinating and charming to others—if they dared to try to make themselves into something that they wanted or actually reach for their heart’s desire especially by using magic, their appearance, cunning, or bravery—they must be smacked down and shamed. Society relentlessly tells us that a real person of substance would never become involved in actually using glamour (definition one or two) of any kind to improve their lot in life. That sort of behavior is reserved for strippers, social climbers, those without means, drag kings and queens, people of dubious gender and sexual identity, drifters, grifters—and you. Yes, you.
Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?
Witch. Occultist. Mage. Whatever word you have pressed into your own forehead and sealed in with blood, spit, or myrrh oil, we are Other. We have more in common with spies, assassins, pirates, and highwaymen than with the general modern populace. We may not live at the edge of the thick forest glen where we are given sacred offerings for our services anymore, but times change and so do we. Glamour isn’t a magic of landscapes that never really existed—it’s everything interesting and exciting about you that you already have residing inside you. If it’s already there, lying dormant and sleeping in the bottom of your brainpan, in the slope of your stomach, in the crook of your nethers, what can’t you accomplish once you know how to use it? We are used to being denied as Other. We have become accustomed to accepting less and apologizing for everything we are that is not easily accepted (yes, even now). We apologetically ask our goddesses, spirits, and ancestors for only what we feel like we actually deserve, and then just a little less to be sure. We must never be seen by anyone ever as someone who overreached, as someone who grasped, as someone who is acquisitive. Not by our families, not by our friends, not by our communities, not even by the universe herself.
Think of faery tales, think of reality television shows, think of operas. Who’s the cautionary tale? It’s the Bad Girl. The one who took more than she should have, the one who asked for retribution, the one who forgot her place, the one who didn’t need to be liked by others if she could further her cause. She is the one who must be destroyed, she is the one who must cry at the bottom of a well for her misdeeds, she is the one who must be thrown down at all costs. No matter what your gender, you may identify with the Bad Girl archetype if you have ever been made to feel “less than,” if you have ever been scapegoated or berated simply for standing up for yourself when it wasn’t convenient for others, if you’ve ever solved a problem with a strategy others wouldn’t dare.
Nice Girls are the ones who are rewarded. They must be patient, obedient, and kind, not for the sake of any of these virtues themselves, but so they will be rescued and rewarded. So we force ourselves to be Nice Girls, because we shiver at the consequences we’ve seen through cultural narratives and in the satisfaction we’ve seen others take when a real-life Bad Girl is dethroned. No matter how much this role chafes us, we will grit our teeth because this is how our narrative will move forward. It is the only way to ask for something—politely—and just a little bit less than we want. It’s the only way to receive anything for ourselves without shuddering about our enemies. If we are righteous, we will be worthy. We wait, we do what we are supposed to do, and we keep hoping until we are bitter that our virtue was not rewarded nor was it enough of a reward in and of itself. Whatever your gender identity, you may find yourself relating to being a Good Girl if you would rather go along to get along even if it puts your personal ambition at stake, if you are courteous even when the time for courtesy has long since passed, or if you follow an intricate set of rules to be well-liked by others. We all have something in common here as Nice Girls: being nice didn’t make our most illicit wishes manifest.
What if it were possible to be Bad while still being Good?
You can be both of those things. You can be Bad enough to work to get your aspiration fulfilled using mundane work, glamour, and magic while still being Good enough to have a personal code of ethics that keeps your head held up high.
It starts right here, right now with your Great Work.
Your Great Work Is Fueled by Your Desire
In alchemy, your Great Work would refer to your creation of a Philosopher’s Stone, which would go through four stages of development and be used to make you a more powerful alchemist and possibly immortal. Colors, birds, and other symbols would assist you through the Work, but your Philosopher’s Stone would be created by you for your personal enlightenment. Your power, the materials you have selected, your interpretation of the texts, and your ambitions for yourself would greatly affect the Stone’s creation.
When I refer to your Great Work, I am referring to your innermost transmutation, which begins when you are able to pinpoint what you want. Yes. Want—the real heart of the dark in your everyday life faery story. Witchcraft is meant to be used for those who want something as much as a faery tale’s heroine or villain. If you didn’t have a blaze of unfulfilled need within you, why would you go on a journey that will have unknown and terrifying consequences? You won’t be able to map out every step of this path, you won’t know what will be asked of you to feed that fire, and you don’t know if you will succeed. What will it bring into your life? What will it take away? No sensible person would travel down murky, unknown corridors unless … they wanted something fiercely in the dark of their heart. Before we make our first step on this journey, however, we require …
A Syllabus for Our Ritual Esoteric Experiments
A ritual can be as simple or as elaborate as you make it. You are captain of your own ship. You can decide for yourself what works best for yourself in the Esoteric Experiments you’ll find throughout this book. That being said, I encourage you to step outside of your most comfortable Witchcraft habits and investigate practicing in different ways. Comfort often does not guarantee success. For example, I personally have a reality television habit I have recently (mostly) broken. It’s comfortable and makes me feel invested but prevents me from using my time to practice Witchcraft, read, write, practice yoga, actively engage with others, or watch plot-driven television. So I must (mostly, at least) break this deliciously comfortable habit if I want to see real change in other aspects of my life.
If you generally cast a circle, don’t. Use another method of protection. If you usually refrain from asking your goddesses and spirits for small favors, ask and see what happens. If you are usually carefully choreographed, see how your Work works when you are more improvisational. Keep notes as to what you’ve done that is different than what you usually do and what results you see from your altered Work. It’s very difficult to change habits that bring us comfort, but Witchcraft was never designed to make us safe or comfortable. Witchcraft was created to shake up the world both externally and internally. It’s a primal scream that demands to be heard.
The rites (Esoteric Experiments) in this book are meant to be accomplished in the order they are presented. Each experiment’s design is meant to spark your own creativity; they are not meant to be used as an exact format but as a compass rose to point you in the correct direction in finding the intended objective. However you choose to find that objective is up to you, the important aspect is finding it. You can disregard all of my suggestions in the Esoteric Experiments or follow them as closely as you wish, it’s up to you.
If you choose to go out of order or choose to skip any, there will not be generational curses laid on your head, spirits will not hunt you in your sleep, nor any of those exciting things. That said, if you would like to actually manifest your glamour and leverage it into accomplishing your Great Work, it would behoove you to carefully and thoughtfully do each ritual in the order it’s presented.
Much like your DNA, fingerprints, and personality, no one’s Great Works are going to be exactly alike. Your Great Work needs to be something that takes effort for you to accomplish, it should be something that is deeply meaningful to you, and it should be something that needs both practical work and magical work to complete. Potential Great Works can be anything from Having a regular spiritual practice to Finding a mate to marry to Discovering my career path to Accomplishing a specific creative endeavor to Buying a house so I can put down roots. This first Esoteric Experiment will help you discover what your Great Work is, and throughout the book you will be given opportunities to use your glamour magic to give you more opportunities to obtain your Great Work.
Esoteric Experiment No. 1
Objective: Discover your first Great Work.
Pack your bag with things you may need and can carry. A leather journal gifted to you that you’ve never used and a good pen. A curated playlist for your phone. A vintage blanket. A travel carafe filled with kava tea. A scone you baked with carefully chosen herbs. Battered tarot cards. Well-worn mala beads. A compass that belonged to your grandmother. Drawing pencils and heavy paper. A scent that evokes a particular memory. Sturdy boots. A well-worn sweater. A small packet of salt. A second small packet of unadulterated tobacco. A protective amulet. Pomegranate seeds. A lipstick as red as the rose. A compact mirror etched with clandestine sigils. A sacred text. An enchanted salve.
Go into the woods. No, not there. Not your forest with the tree that cradles you within its limbs and the blackbirds that sing back to you. It must be an unfamiliar grove that has no memory of you. Follow the trails laid out for you by helpful strangers until you are deeply enmeshed in this foreign copse. Walk until you find trees that croon to you, walk until you find a place that feels a part of your kismet. Step off the trail while being mindful of how to get back to it. Amble until you find a place that is clandestine. Place your blanket down. First, offer your tobacco to the forest. Say words that are simple and natural to you. Lay your offering down at the base of a tree. Demarcate your working space and create a protection for yourself by arranging a ring of salt around your blanket. Turn a piece of your clothing inside out. Arrange the objects from your carrier on your blanket until you are satisfied. Set your intention. Word your desire to find your Great Work carefully and concisely. Employ your chosen objects to assist you. Freewrite. Draw. Alter your headspace. Trance out to your playlist. Draw cards until a path is clear. Eat pomegranate seeds until your spirits manifest. Mantra: Sooo (inhale) Hummm (exhale). I am that. Look for signs and omens in the birds, the trees, the squirrels, the deer. Stay until you have a concise, one-sentence Great Work. Remain there, past the boredom, past the frustration, past the anger, past the existential angst, past the chattering in your brain. Persist until you have your answer. This is your quest. This is the beginning of your journey.
Write down your heart’s desire in one sentence. The thrill of fear that runs through you after writing it down so boldly is real. But if you are careful, if you are cunning, if you use the sorcery that pulses within you, you may just live to tell the tale. If it doesn’t burn you alive like a powdery white moth first, of course. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Glamour isn’t just a flame, it’s a bonfire.
Now That You Know What
You Want, How Will You Get It?
Now that you’ve discovered your Great Work, do you find yourself surprised by what you found it to be? Is it something you always knew you had burning inside you? Take a breath and take a little time to start to plan the mundane work needed to accomplish it. Use whatever method works for you: sketching, writing, using an organizer, collecting photos, or whatever is organic to your process. Starting to brainstorm about how to practically accomplish your Great Work will put you in the right mindset to do the glamour magic to attain it.
Once you’ve brainstormed a bit, here are some practical tools to break down your Great Work:
1. 1. Start telling people about your Great Work. Nothing motivates someone like the shame of being too lazy to accomplish what you set out to achieve. Telling other people also gives you the advantage of having cheerleaders to encourage you when you fail and give you praise when you succeed.
2. 2. Break it down. Let’s say you want to start your own business. That’s a long process, as I know from experience. It’s too big in that form; you will get distracted by Facebook. What’s a good starting point for that Great Work? Looking into what kind of business, then looking into what you need to succeed in that kind of business. Start it as side-hustle with social media and a website, and then see if it’s everything you wanted it to be. Perform glamour magic to bring in the right influences. Consider how you would want to present yourself in your business. Make a mission statement. Figure out what you would need accomplish with this business for you to quit your day job, save some more money as a cushion, and so on and so on. You need to break it down into reasonable steps while still allowing for failure and unforeseen circumstances, both positive and negative.
3. 3. Be disciplined, be committed. If you have a deadline for aspects of your Great Work, you need to hit them. Even without deadlines, the best way to accomplish your Great Work is through … well, work. Makes sense, no? You need to be hustling and grinding both in your glamour and practical work. If you aren’t constantly working on your Great Work, it won’t be accomplished. It will just be another lost dream. You may be wondering, what does constant work mean? If someone asked you what you’ve done recently to move forward with your Great Work, do you immediately have an answer? Are you sick of your Great Work? Have you started to secretly hate it? If you said yes to all of those questions, then you’re in the right place.