I recently posted some selections from The Wiccan Web, a wonderfully ridiculous 2001 tome by authors Sirona Knight and Patricia Telesco that told us how to increase the magickal power of our cybersurfing by appealing to ancient gods and rubbing various herbs on our monitors. Many readers asked for more information about this important intersection of technology and utter lunacy, and I'm pleased to report that the well goes much deeper.
The year after The Wiccan Web was published, the same authors teamed up for another manual of new-age advice: The Cyber Spellbook: Magick in the Virtual World. This book continues the good work started by The Wiccan Web: to add spiritual depth to your life by coating it in a thick lather of preposterous magickal horseshit and obsessive-compulsive spellcraft-- oh shit, did you remember to banish the negative energy from that XXL Garfield shirt before you placed it in the sacred dryer shrine?
The Cyber Spellbook is a much more slapdash effort, and quite often fails to uphold the rigorous scientific standards set by their earlier work. In fact, despite billing itself a work of techno-pagan advice, it quite often fails to have anything whatsoever to do with computers. Nonetheless, it's an important manual for any aspiring witch. And now, some brief excerpts:
Early in the book, the authors present a humorous list of signs that you just might be a Cyber Witch. This is a great way to introduce the concept of Cyber Witchery-- and since you may have already gained some inspiration from my earlier Wiccan Web article, I'm sure some of these already fit you.
Just for Fun
In our intense field studies of the customs, characteristics, and habits of the Cyber Witch in his or her favorite habitat, we've discovered some interesting similitude. Compare yourself to this tell-tale list, for you too might by a Cyber Witch if:
* Windows2000 to the Gods is installed on your operating system.
* You divine by Iconology.
* Your broom (unlike your computer) never crashes.
* You use the recycle bin on your computer as a banishing spell.
* When a spell or ritual isn't working right, you reboot it.
* You've found candle wax on your cell phone.
* Your totem animal is a mouse.
* McAffee is part of your regular warding process.
* You bless your computer regularly with a defrag ritual.
* Your mouse pads have pentagrams or other sigils that can be traced to evoke the magick.
* Your chalice is a non-spillable sports bottle or travel mug..
* Your three-finger lunar salute is Ctrl, Alt, Del.
* You have "nuked" your spell components.
* Casting a spell includes pushing a "send" key.
* You check to see if the surge protector is turned on before casing a spell.
* You use a computer or TV screen as a scrying surface.
* Your domain name is your Circle name.
* You check www.witchvox.com more than once a week for information.
* Your Book of Shadows is burned on a CD (complete with online manual).
* Your favorite coven is a chat room.
* Your curses have real byte.
* Cakes are fine, but only virtual wine is allowed near keyboards.
* If it's broken your first thought is either reboot, reformat, unplug and plug back in, or "get the duct tape."
* You have gods with names such as Bit and Rom.
* The Threefold Law says: Everything shall be backed up in three places.
* Your Rede says: Do as you will, but spam none.
While The Cyber Spellbook doesn't always deal with cyber stuff, it does try to keep some relationship to technology. For example, the mod cons of a 21st-century household don't just make chores easier... they're also useful for performing sinister death voodoo on your enemies! From a section on Banishing, pages 130-131:
Garbage Disposal Banishing
The use of poppets is very old. For this spell, use a small piece of potato. Shape it to represent the negative person or situation that requires banishing. Focus intently on that individual or situation and all the specifics of it. Hold the finished symbol in your power hand (right hand if you are right handed). Say,
No longer harm, and keep away,
As this potato disappears,
So too keep _________ at bay.
Fill in the blank with the name of who or what you are banishing and then put the symbolic potato in the disposal. turn on your magick!
If you're wondering if you just read the words, "put the symbolic potato in the disposal," let me save you the effort of glancing back up and confirm that yes, you did. And that's not all-- for circumstances unworthy of clogging your disposal (or too difficult to render as potato statuary), there's an even more ignominious banishment in store:
The toilet is one of my favorite techno-tools for getting rid of the proverbial crap in my life.
Hold up, gotta interrupt for a minute: first, calling a toilet a "techno-tool" may be a bit of a stretch, but sure, let's just allow it in the canon of cyberspace-related plumbing. Second, I very much hope she also uses the toilet to get rid of the non-proverbial crap in her life. Or do web witches go in the woods? OK, we proceed:
The spell is quite simple. On a sturdy (two-ply) piece of toilet paper write down whatever you wish to banish. Visualize that situation or energy in as much detail as possible. Then toss it in the toilet and flush it away. Turn away and don't look back (to look back accepts the energy back into your life). The water dissolves the paper and washes away the negative energy. Note: this method is not recommended for those with septic systems.
Yeah, so cyber magick is powerful enough to eliminate your problems, unless your problems are related to sensitive plumbing. I think this advice is equally useful for regular bathroom usage: after you do a number two, remember not to look back after you flush, lest you let the number two back into your life.
While the toilet is a powerful techno-tool in its own right, I know you guys came for the cyber stuff. Luckily, there's a fair amount of actual web witching thrown in; this next spell is guaranteed to multiply the potency of your e-cards!
Go to your favorite search engine and look for e-card shops (there are tons of free ones). Now, think of a person in your life with whom you'd like to build a stronger friendship. Look for an e-card that will brighten his or her day or one that expresses how you feel. When you find the perfect card, fill out all the information requested on that Web site but do not send it yet. Hold the index finger of your strong hand over the send key and recite this incantation:
From me to you,
From you to me,
I open the lines
A friend to have,
A friend to hold,
By my will, this spell unfolds!
As you say "unfolds," hit the send option so it conveys your magick with the e-card.
For a more tangible effect, it's often necessary to sacrifice your electronic components in the service of magick.
Cyber Dream Catcher
Native American-styled dream catchers have become popular decorative items, but what about something suited to the Cyber Witch? Gather together a metallic hoop, a speaker wire, a memory chip from the computer (used), and a magnet any time during a waxing to full moon. This timing accentuates the intuitive and spiritual nature. The magnet attracts spiritual dreams, and the memory chip helps you recall them! Use the speaker wire to make a web inside the hoop attaching the magnet and memory chip wherever you'd like them to go.
This spell brings up an interesting concept: won't our web witching be all the more potent if we just yank our computers apart and turn the components into ghastly wiccan trinkets? Let's try it!
One lengthy section of The Cyber Spellbook details all the various magickal properties and spiritual allegiances of common home appliances. Here are a few favorites:
Representing the Fire Element, this is a modern athame of the deadliest kind. It's the Cyber Magick tool of the Celtic hunter God Esus, the woodcutter.
(An athame is a ceremonial dagger. Take that chainsaw advice as you will.)
Representing Fire and Earth, the electric drill (and pneumatic hammer) has replaced the hammer.
(It kinda seems like it replaced the drill, but OK.)
Associated with Air and Fire (heat), it can be used to blow that lover right into your hair, and heat things up, too!
(No further elaboration is given regarding the erotic utility of the hairdryer.)
The caludron of the Goddess-- well, at least for those two Cyber Witches! Perfect for skyclad Moon Magick with your lover!
This is what you get if you search Google Images for "Skyclad." I recommend you don't ever do that.
("Skyclad" is Wiccan for "naked." More specifically, it's Wiccan for "naked and probably fat.")
Oven (conventional or microwave)
A cyber tool that represents Fire and the South. Use your oven to heat your magick up and get things cooking! Keep in mind that a microwave oven does take some of the power out of your potion of Cyber Magick foods.
(Ugh, this microwaved Cyber Magick pizza is limp and rubbery!)
While there's plenty more useful information in The Cyber Spellbook, I've got to end this thing somewhere-- you'll just have to buy a copy for yourself to get the full magick within, and I highly recommend the purchase. I'll leave you with this piece of advice, which has helped me greatly as a Something Awful writer:
Joke URL Jollies
There are a lot of great Web sites dedicated to jokes (and specific types of jokes at that). When you find yourself down in the dumps, take a few moments to go surfing. Just before you try finding a site, hold your hands toward the computer, visualizing a pink-white light pouring out from them towards it (so you'll be "in the pink"). Try an incantation such as:
Humor be quick,
Humor be kind,
Banish the blues
And my sorrowful mind.
Now go and see what gives you a good giggle. Internalize that happiness.
Do what you will and spam none, my fellow web witches! For more of this divine insanity, order the book from Amazon. Oh, and if you haven't already, be sure to get a copy of The Wiccan Web as well. So mote it be!
What movies other than Rat Race could be improved by the surprising entrance of Smash Mouth?
How do employees stay safe at Alien Goop Storage Facility, The House of Unstable Floors and Vases Containing Fireballs, and (INARTICULATE PANICKED SCREAM)?
day 2: still working on the car
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.