N is for Nostalgia

Rainbow Brite and Krys listen to advice from O...
Rainbow Brite and Krys listen to advice from Orin the sprite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, not for the good ol’ days when goddess-powered matriarchies ruled over whatever. I mean nostalgia for your childhood.

My childhood wasn’t perfect, but there are a lot of things that meant a lot to me as a kid. Some of them are the TV shows and movies and books that shaped my conception of magic long before I discovered Scott Cunningham and Amber K in the mall bookstore. The things that still make your breath catch to think of them…

I had a moment like that today, when I saw the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful. I’ve written a bit about my relationship with the Wizard of Oz before and I will again (possibly even next week!) but it reminded me of the power of the symbols we have as children.

These are things whose meaning is buried deep in your psyche. If you know what they represent to you, you can use them as a shorthand for those things in a style almost similar to sigils.

It requires some brainstorming, but it can produce some very powerful, personal results. For example, I just finished a year of color-based work based loosely on the Temple of the Twelve but drawing on the Color Kids from Rainbow Brite as the spirits I was invoking. Does it sound a little ridiculous when I say it out loud? Well, sure.

But it meant something to me. Every one of those kids had layers of meaning already built in, circled around, petted and lovingly stored in my subconscious for twenty five years. What’s important is not whether or not it sounds silly to other people, but whether it works for you.

“Pop culture magic” has fallen out of favor the last few years along with a lot of other flavors of chaos magic. While I do think it got kind of silly at its zenith, however, I think there’s still a lot of truth in the idea that we respond to things, even pop culture things, even silly TV shows for kids, because there’s something true at the core of it.

Once upon a time, presumably, these things worked for you. They often can again, if you let them.

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