In 2001, Citadel Press published one of the most important documents of the information age: The Wiccan Web: Surfing the Magic on the Internet, by Patricia Telesco and Sirona Knight. "With over 70 million U.S. households online, the Internet provides the perfect global forum for communication among Pagans," the back cover tells us."This is the first book to combine computer savvy with magical practices and embrace the potential of cyberspace as it relates to Pagan spirituality."
This thing is incredible. There's so much useful Web Witching info buried in this tome that I'd love to type out the entire book and throw it up here, but that's illegal and I'm too lazy. I think I'll just have to throw down some quick excerpts and let the book speak for itself. But first, I'll make one thing clear: this shit is real. This is all from an actual book that exists; these quotes are not altered or embellished in any way. I, in the immortal spirit of Dave Barry, am not making this up.
To the Web Witch, a computer is not a machine built of logic and running on code; it is a sacred instrument that runs on some inscrutable mixture of technology and superstition. Actually, mostly just superstition. They do start out with a brief overview on the basic functions of a computer, but, uh:
Your computer processor is the main part of the computer that runs everything else. Processors are rated by how fast the processor can move bits of information to different parts of the system. A 133MHz processor moves those bits at 133 megahertz, and a 200MHz processor moves at 200 megahertz.
An enormous assortment of mouse pads are available to suit even the most finicky pagan!
Things start picking up when the authors get into the proper flowers to select for optimal Web Witching. From the chapter "Techno-Spells," some useful examples:
- African Violet - protection of system and cyber spellwork
- Daffodil - ease of logging on to the Internet, sun and cyber spring magic, brightening chat room sessions
- Iris - sacred to the cyber Goddess, longevity of hard drive, printer, scanner and software
- Jasmine - sacred cyber love spells, cyber divination
- Lily - protection while uploading and downloading to or from the Web or while trashing e-mail
- Marigold -to induce prophetic and lucid cyber dreams, attract cyber faeries or spirits
- Orchid -cyber inspiration, mastery, sacred cyber love, for a little cyber elegance during special chants or rituals.
- Sunflower -inspiration, cyber sun magic, installing software
Herbs, too! From the same chapter:
The number of ways you can use herbs in spells is nearly limitless. Trish, for example, uses bay leaves as part of a spell for smooth computer operation (the leaves get left under the base of the computer to keep the magic where it's most needed). She also hangs a garlic bulb whenever it seems like there's a "ghost in the machine" as a way of banishing that persnickety energy. Sirona likes to crush fresh bay leaves in her hands and then rub her hands over the keyboard to clear her mind just before writing.
And, naturally, a rundown of which herbs are best for which things. Dang! All this time I've been trying to fix computer problems with screwdrivers and software patches and whatnot, but all I needed was some mint:
- Basil -Exorcising bad vibes and spirits from your machine
- Catnip - Attracts positive cyberspace energies and connections
- Cayenne -Increases your system's magical power
- Echinacea - Strengthens all cyber magic and cyber healing
- Lemon rind - Encourages a good rapport with your system
- Lavender -Promotes positive and peaceful Web Witching
- Mint -Heals hardware or software problems
- Rosemary -Keeps things running smoothly (a maintenance herb)
- Sage - To extend the lives of disks and drives
For a little more info on how we can actually use these things, let's turn to the "Techno Spells" chapter. The Message Spell on page 56 ought to come in handy for all of us:
This spell is designed to add a specific energy signature to a message you're sending on the Net so the recipient doesn't misunderstand or misconstrue your meaning. Before getting online, make a tincture of rosemary (mental power) and basil (harmony). Keep this in a sealed container near the computer screen. Get online and type your message. Then put a little of the tincture on your fingertip (remember to close the container) and trace an invoking pentagram on the screen. If you wish, add an invocation at this point. When you're done drawing the image, click on "send" to literally send the energy you just illustrated!
Wait a minute! I'm all for rubbing an oily pentagram right onto my computer monitor, but those properties of basil and rosemary contradict the ones in the earlier list! This really calls into question the scientific rigor of Web Witching, but let's put this minor objection aside and check out this useful "File Transfer Spell," which I'm going to start using for all of my most critical music piracy:
When transferring files say aloud, "Web Witching Wards and Watchtowers that be, stand guard while I surf the cyber sea. Transfer all Web files with speed and ease, with the blessings of the Cyber Gods, so mote it be."
You can also use various components of your computer in spells; there's long, wonderful list of them, but here are a few particularly useful ones:
- Memory spell - Use an old memory chip as portable magic to help you remember important things.
- Shapeshifting - Use the disable and enable mouse option to help visualize yourself shapeshifting into a mouse and to shapeshift back to a human.
- Spellcheck divination - When you perform a spellcheck on a document, pay attention to the different word options that come up, and especially any personal associations you may have with these words. It's sort of like a Wiccan word association. Make a note of any magical or uncanny congruencies.
From the "Cyber Rituals" chapter, in a section called "Virtual Toasting":
When surfing on the Wiccan Web and doing Sabbat and Esbat cyber rituals, you can also use graphics to create a virtual toasting environment on your desktop. Search for graphics of elegant or funky chalices that you like and import them into an appropriate program.
And here are some important "Virtual Feasting" tips:
Virtual feasting, like virtual toasting, can be done with virtual foods, which is a great way to keep those extra pounds off! Sirona prefers real foods over virtual foods because of the sensual pleasure of eating, but in a pinch, virtual feasting may fit your needs.
This is perhaps the most directly useful passage for your every day Web Witching, be it on IM or Twitter or your favorite cyberpagan message board: the authors were kind enough to include a whole list of "Wicca Speak Acronyms" on page 125. I'll list some of the most useful:
- AWW - advanced Web Witch
- A! - Ayea!
- BWW - beginning Web Witch
- BB! - blessed be!
- CYCIR - cyber circle
- CYRIT - cyber ritual
- IWW - intermediate Web Witch
- MC - Master of the Craft
- MM - merry meet
- MMA - merry meet again
- MP - merry part
- PL - perfect love
- PP - perfect peace
- SBI! - So be it!
- SMB - So mote it be!
- WWb - Wiccan wannabe
- WWEB - Wiccan Web
Of course, there are also several pages of Wiccan emoticons, in case you want to express the meaning of "sex magic" in a ridiculously more difficult way:
~~~~>< Banishing negativity
:-) D------- Drinking from the chalice
888---888---888--- A grove (of trees)
S---D :-) Burning incense
:-) @* (-: Merging with the God/Goddess
:-) *#/ (-: Sex magic
W:o:W Wiccan Webring
Ever wonder which goddess to consult when birthing your Webring? In the "Computer Wizardry" chapter, there's a massive index of various gods and goddesses to call upon for Web Witching support. "Anytime you call upon a power such as one of these beings, please do so with respect," we are warned. "Make an effort to learn something about that deity, his or her culture, personality, legends, attributes and how to correctly pronounce his or her name before invoking that presence into your sacred cyber space." A few samples:
- Angus mac Og - A god who can help heal glitches in your system, and help in Web romances and cyber courting rituals.
- Arawn - An ancestral god who can help during times of transition when upgrading to a new system or selling, giving away, or dismantling your old system. Assists in cyber shape-shifting adventures.
- Badb - A goddess who can neutralize Internet enemies and Web attacks. Hand those that send you spam over to her.
- Cordemanon - Patron god of Web Witching. Associated with the Great Database of Knowledge.
- Coventina - A goddess who helps in the creation (the birthing) of your Web page, domain, or Webring. Invoke her on the Spring Equinox.
- Gwalchmei - A god to call upon when adding audio clips to your page or when surfing audio sites. Invoke him when sending virtual greeting cards that include sound.
- Medb - A powerful warrior queen and goddess who can be called upon when engaging in cyber sex magic and sensual surfing.
Blessed be, dudes. Do as you will, but spam none. MP!
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
Republicans announce that all legislation must be voted on at 2am in a secret chamber, with no one but the lobbyists who write the bills seeing a single line of text. Democrats' Response: Stumbling around a field stepping on rakes, handles smashing them directly in their faces every single time.
For fans of meaningless awards, these awards are extra meaningless.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.