Video: Spirit-Based and Sympathetic Magic

New on YouTube. When people talk about “magic,” they mean a lot of different things. In this video, I talk through what I see as a fundamental cleavage in magical practices: Between models of magic that rely on intercessory spirits and those that rely on sympathetic or symbolic connections.

Read more "Video: Spirit-Based and Sympathetic Magic"

Tarot From the Ground Up

I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, but I do like to have a project for the year. Every year, around this time, I think about a new skill I’d like to learn or a topic I’d like to study in the coming year. My project for 2022 was to acquire a decent working […]

Read more "Tarot From the Ground Up"

Video: The Gods of Right Here

We’re often used to thinking about religion as imposing a top-down cohesion in theology, myth, and ritual: A religion has a fixed pantheon of gods, shared myths, and certain beliefs and practices that all of its adherents adopt. In reality, this is a very narrow idea of religion that doesn’t map onto the ancient world–nor […]

Read more "Video: The Gods of Right Here"

Choosing the Tower

It’s 3:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. The reason I can’t sleep is that I’m on the academic job market, applying for jobs as a professor to start next academic year. So far, I’ve applied to 22 tenure-track jobs and one postdoctoral fellowship; I have three more postdoc applications to submit in the […]

Read more "Choosing the Tower"

Parting Ways with Baba Yaga

For a little over three years now, I have had a devotional relationship with Baba Yaga. It’s been an intense, complicated, sometimes harrowing relationship; Baba Yaga is neither kind nor loving, and devotion to her has not been like a parent-child relationship nor even like the relationship between close friends. The message, rather has been, […]

Read more "Parting Ways with Baba Yaga"