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scolman
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Cape Town, South Africa
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I started performing bizarre magick a very short time ago. Being a bit of an obsessive personality sort, I've literally thrown myself into learning as much as I can about the craft. I have accumulated some bizarre artefacts and props. The thing is, all of a sudden I find myself the subject of much suspicious gossip about my sudden interest in Black Magic and possibly even Satanism.
I find myself in an awkward position where the rumours etc. suit my performances but not necessarily my underlying personality.
I have two small children and I worry about the effect this could have on them - can anyone volunteer any comments or advice on the matter? I get the feeling that if we still lived in the middle ages, I'd have been burned by now. All I want to do is entertain people, not possess or curse them (not all of them anyway!)
Hope this is the right forum for this...
Simon
Jonathan Townsend
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What did you expect to happen when you started advertising your interest in dark/occult items, ritual magic and strange gods?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
scolman
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Cape Town, South Africa
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I've kept it pretty quiet actually. I am starting to think that I must adopt some kind of theatrical persona when performing the bizarre effects, rather than just presenting Simon.
That way maybe some distinction will be drawn.
Jonathan Townsend
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If you goal is to become a magician... become one.

If your goal is to perform a certain style of entertainments, you might want to leave the personae and costume at the theater.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
dpe666
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I guess it all depends on your kids. I have two small kids as well. For me, there is very little difference in my performing persona and my real-self. So, my kids do not see some evil, demonic, weirdo dressed all in black (which I am 24/7) performing strange rituals. They see Daddy doing magic. Of course, MY kids make The Addams' Family's kids look normal. My 8 year old son sleeps with an Ozzy Osbourne doll, and my 2 year old daughter can't sleep without her Nightmare Before Christmas dolls. She also loves to look at her Daddy's skull collection. My house is full of skulls, gargoyles, and other "creepy" things, so to them it is all a normal part of life. Smile
scolman
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Cape Town, South Africa
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I hear what everyone says.
Dpe666, I am pleased to see that bizarrists have families too. My kids are used to seeing me perform the standard stuff and they're only 6 and 5 years old.
I guess my problem is I haven't yet figured out how this stuff fits into my own life and routine yet. Not sure where this will take me but I'm pretty sure the ride will be unforgettable.
One thing I do know is that I've found my niche with bizarre magick.
Clifford the Red
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I know what you mean about being burned by now, I barely escaped when I wandered into the Gospel Forum Smile

The trappings really help you to tap into underlying and primal feelings. There are people that take it seriously and play along, people that know it is schtick and play along for fun, and people that take it seriously and fear it based on their beliefs. There is nothing you can do about the latter without changing their beliefs.

I personally enjoy the atmosphere and the schtick and as a performer, my goals are to be accurate for the serious shuteye so my claims and stories would be agreed to by an expert. I agree that the personna should be more "you" than not. I blur the line between magic and magick.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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It's all a question of "can you live with it"; something that applies to ANY form of show-biz.

In the case of my wife and myself, we ARE Morticia and Gomez incaranate, and everyone perceives us as such. We are not only comfortable with that, we encourage people to be a little 'spooked' by us, in an amiable way.

We even named our family dog, "Belladona."

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Laughing Otter
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Quote:
On 2004-10-09 16:37, scolman wrote:
...The thing is, all of a sudden I find myself the subject of much suspicious gossip about...

In my experience, those who spread rumors and gossip tend to back right down when finding themselves face to face with the subject of their whispers.
Oh, how foolish some of these people have felt when they answered a knock at the door to find "that creepy, evil witch down the block" bearing a box of chocolates and a big smile.
"I understand there are some rumors going around, and I just want to put your mind at ease. May I come in?"
Unnerving for them, fun for me, and it usually puts them on my side, or at least closer to it. If it doesn't, at least I know I did the right thing.
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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Good show, Otter.
Ever offer them a bag of Bertie Botts?

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Osiris
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Since the late 1970s I've lived with a "dark" image... very much inspired by the late Vincent Price. At the same time, what I do is very tongue-n-cheek and thus, negates much of the rumor-mill issue. That said, I've still encountered numerous situations in which parents have pulled their kids waaaaay to the side, when I showed up in a store, for an example, following a show. The fact that I was in head to toe black (a very nice, tailored suit) and sporting a nice 1 1/2" dia. pentacle may have had something to do with it... on the other hand, such antics are merely manifestations of people's ignorance and the fact that they buy into the tons of misinformation spread by evangelists, the media and hollywood alike.

In my younger years and even as recently as six years ago, I have lost jobs and quite literally been chased out of town by the so-called "Born Again"... you know the ones I mean, the people that see the bible as a supository for one and all -- a book of "rules" that everyone but they, are supposed to live by. But, as one retired country minister explained to his grandson, who had come into our store one day to "save our souls"... "Folks like this know far more about the bible and religious history than most ministers. It is best to keep your mouth shut when you're around them rather than show your ass." The elder gent likewise pointed out to the lad, that he'd known many "Pagans" in the course of his career and never knew a one of them to be overt or dangerous. Needless to say, it did my heart a lot of good to hear such testimony.

Getting back to the issue however... it does depend on your attitude as a parent, if or not this kind of public image is going to affect your children in a negative manner. If you encourage your children to learn about the facts and ignore the BS these fear-filled sheep promote, you will end up with kids that are far better rounded and appreciative of others beliefs. Chances are, they will find their own spiritual path and live with an attitude that's far less bigoted and more accepting of others that are "different." Last I checked, that was a goal many people in the world actually share.

BTW... what I say here stems from experience. I've raised 10 kids over the past few decades and with but one exception, each of them have turned out to be pretty good apples. Young people that are giving back to their community, who live with genuinely opened minds and reasonable intellect. So it's something to be considered.

The "Dark" image so many people, especially those moving into Bizarre styled performance, is not practical nor commercial. It appeals to but a very small faction of the commercial market and that group rarely has the kind of money (let alone the willingness) to pay for what it is we offer. Outside the Halloween/Fright season, our ability to garnar a steady income are quite mute.

Rick Maue, Docc Hilford, myself and others have been pointing out to folks, especially of late, that to dress "normal" and offer just a subtle touch of "novelty" about yourself, is far more powerful when it comes to performance. It is likewise more practical when it comes to getting work and being "appealing" to teh broader work situation. In other words the drag associated with Bizarre Magick is more of a roadblock when it comes to career building than taking a limited approach to "conformity."

There are numerous ways we can use our drag image as "thespians" rather than "magicians" but I haven't the time nor space to go into that here. I just hope some of you will find it within yourself to give the idea some thought.

Later!
scolman
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Wise words Osiris,
At the risk of getting into too much personal detail - I share your sentiments about giving children the opportunity to formulate their own opinion but in my case my children come from a broken home (not uncommon these days)and my former wife would love to get hold of these rumours and use them to her advantage. She'd give Lilith a run for her money let me tell you.
I know I would never introduce my kids to any concepts that could be damaging to them, my ex however would see this as me drafting them into some kind of evil witches' coven or satanic cult.
The way you finish off your entry above gives me great hope however for I am developing a strong passion for this area of Magick, and I would like to incorporate it into my life without appearing to be the Prince of Darkness himself.
I am a management consultant by trade during the day so I am a black pin-stripe man most of the time with perhaps nothing more than a bizarre set of cuff links to keep the mystery going. To my kids, I am just dad, the crazy guy who can do neat things with coins, cards and cups etc.
Thanks for everyone's comments,
Simon
Phil Thomas
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I beg to differ here. I come from a Christian family, as was stated above a "born again" family. I am firm in my beliefs, but I don't see bizarre magick as being "evil". Not all christians are like this. Stereotyping is really getting out of hand. I look at it like this. In music, there are different genres. Pop, rock, classical, country, blues etc.
The same could be said of magic. Bizarre, close-up, stage, parlour.

I have been involved with magic for several years and I love it. I even do some "bizarre" effects and own some what might be considered "occult" items. My family and friends know this is all for show and they don't think any different of me. But alas, some people just can't understand it is all theatre and show. Some people just like to find evil in just about everything.
"If we lose the sense of the mysterious, life is no more than a snuffed out candle."

Albert Einstein
Lee Darrow
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Phil, as someone who has been called to testify in court (but the case was settled before I actually had to take the stand), involvement in a non-traditional religious tradition, such as any of the Wiccan or Dianic traditions can be used against someone in child custody hearings - and the bias is almost always towards the Judeo-Christian-Muslim faiths.

Overcoming such a bias is not something to be dealt with lightly and, as we are all aware, divorces can get REALLY nasty (been there, done that, got the hat, the bumper sticker, the T-shirt and almost got the tattoo!).

My own divorce was in litigation for over 2 years and then, afterwards, was in litigation over related problems for another three years, so I believe that I can speak from some experience.

Handling our specialties as bizarrist entertainers, especially when one has children to think about, is something that has to be handled with great care and making sure that caregivers, school teachers and administrators and even local clergy know that what you do is theater and harmless - or one runs a serious risk of major problems down the line should the marriage/relationship hit a rough spot.

Just my personal take, your mileage may vary, of course. All views are my own, too and do not reflect on any organization that I might belong to. Smile

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Reis O'Brien
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Let's not forget that you can still be a bizarrist magician without looking like Anton LeVey. There is no rule that says just because your magic is a little creepy you now must wear penticles and flowing black robes with a "Crowley For President" bumper sticker on the family hearse.

These trappings are just that... it's a costume, a fashion statement. If you've got the sand to keep up the image, then good for you. If you're starting to feel the heat from your peer group or community, then maybe you should consider saving the black velvet cloak for your performances.

This reminds me of the punker kids in high school that would shave a twelve-inch, neon green mohawk into their heads and then shout, "What are you lookin' at?!"

So, if you're going for the creepy chic look, be prepared to get gawked at, even whispered about. If your man enough to wear black lipstick and ruffled cuffs, you should be man enough to ignore a few neighborhood gossips.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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Jonathan Townsend
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Just tell them you're a Cure fan, or a Robert Smith groupie. Smile
...to all the coins I've dropped here
dpe666
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Quote:
On 2004-10-13 04:02, Phil Thomas wrote:
Stereotyping is really getting out of hand.



Sterotypes are born out of a reality. Smile
Eight Spades
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I think the stereotypes tend to go both ways. Most Christians are the kind that dpe666 presented, and many bizarre magicians are not of the caliber that we tend to visualize. I grew up in a Christian family, and I still am a firm believer in it. That being said, there is no reason why I cannot perform bizarre effects and have any kind of character I want, so long as it does not conflict with my beliefs.

You're not alone, middle-of-the-roaders.

-Christian (actual name - not just in religion form)
"Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained." -S.H. Sharpe
Laughing Otter
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Quote:
On 2004-10-13 04:02, Phil Thomas wrote:
... I am firm in my beliefs, but I don't see bizarre magick as being "evil". Not all christians are like this. Stereotyping is really getting out of hand...

We're all grown-ups here, and I'm sure we do not intend to paint all the members of a religious group with a single brush.
That said, I have never had the type of trouble we're talking about from anyone who did *not* profess to be a born-again Christian.
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Magi:

The 'bias' that's been alleged to the account of Christians is neither a uniquely Christian nor even a religious dynamic.

In America, Christianity is the predominant (if nominal, or "in name only") affirmed faith of political power; that's not to say that American politics are essentially Christian in nature, but that politics -- no less than the Crusades, the Inquisition, or the "divine right of kings" -- uses religion as a pretext for power. Although one could reasonably argue that this is a vestige of the theistic rationale of our Nation's founding, the same religo-political bias was previously encountered by Socrates (accused by Athens of being an atheist) and early Christians (accused by the Empire of being atheists).

The ruling party is called that for a reason; if paganism, Buddhism, Tao, Socialism, or "________" was the principal world view of America, professing Christians would be subject to the same bias.

As Jonathan Townsend alluded to in his post about "...ritual magic and strange gods," Christians often see bizarre Magic (or Magic in general) as a violation of God's Law. The First Commandment, for example, is a prohibiton against idolatry; divination, mediumship, witchcraft, et al, are explicitly prohibited by Mosaic Law. "Covert juggling" presented as 'communion with the spirits' or 'a manifestation of the power of the dark lords' isn't going to ingratiate the performer to the typical Christian (though it might result in a gig at the local PCA or Episcopalian church...).

Most Christians, myself included, are fortunately and correctly not of the "stake and flames" variety when it comes to interacting with those of other views (haven't been since Switzerland, c. 1790). However, just as I wouldn't invite my PETA friends to a barbeque, neither would I perform my favourite "Haunted Key" routine at church -- even though my kid thinks it hilariously ridiculous that dad makes like he can "conjure up a spirit."

Sincerely,
Leland Edward Stone
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