According to Wikipedia,
A glamourbomb is an act aimed at challenging or altering perceptions—in particular, expanding the target’s view of reality, with the hope of encouraging belief in magic, and/or magical beings such as fairies, nature spirits, etc.…The word glamour is used in its older sense, as a reference to magic (based on the archaic word grammarye), particularly magic focussed on altering perceptions, which is also commonly associated with fairies. The bomb reference was meant to suggesting a style of ambush, a half-jesting resemblance to terrorism: “Something dropped unexpectedly in one’s midst, rapid disassembly…in this case, disassembly of assumptions, habits, pretensions, and rigid attitudes.” However, similar acts had been taking place long before the word was coined.
Most glamourbombing is performed anonymously or in disguise, so as to keep the focus on the act itself, and not the actor. In many cases, the effect of the act would also be lessened if its origin were known. The intent is to cause people to believe they have experienced something magical, to cause them to question the boundaries of their concept of reality, not to impress them with one’s own creativity. The intent can be to inspire feelings of awe and wonder, happiness, or fear, as long as it in some way challenges the boundaries of the real and the ordinary.
My friend and fellow magical-geekery associate Jarandhel, noted in the Otherkin community, told me about glamourbombing and how it has potential for being a pretty awesome tool for anyone interested or involved with the occult. It’s basically a way to directly affect consensus reality, the generally agreed-upon rules about how reality is supposed to work (“you can’t fly, you can’t eat fire, you can’t summon spirits, you can’t affect probability”, etc.). The weirder consensus reality gets, the more possible implausible things become, which has the added side effect of making magical acts tend to work better because fewer people believe that it’s utter rubbish. It’s a neat idea, and directly ties into chaos magic notions of belief as power: the more people believer or are willing to believe in something, the more that thing is realized.
To that end, glamourbombing is effected by a kind of guerilla art, “random and senseless acts of beauty”, or artistic occult-motivated flashmob. I mean, though I’d like it to not be the case, a lot of people don’t believe in magic, especially those in authority who decide what the world is and should be. Glamourbombing, by leaving around bits and pieces of magic around the place where they can come in ready and blatant contact with people that jars them out of their normal routine, can shake things up just enough to get a foot in the door and make the world a weirder, if not more magical, place. I mean, half of the occult is art, anyway, and much of art is symbolic enough to be magical as it is without any occult ritual; it’s not hard to slide in a glamourbomb into a public space or the public mind.
That said, Jarandhel was telling me this because most people who do glamourbombing utterly suck at it. Glamourbombing needs to have artistic merit as well as occult meaning, and a lot of glamourbombs are neither. Some people he’s heard of do nothing but leave a few dozen pinwheels in a schoolyard, or leave behind “magic potions” of colored water on a park bench. While cute, these things aren’t anything more than glittery litter, which doesn’t really do much. They barely catch the eye and don’t do much more than annoy a groundskeeper or something. No, claimeth Jarandhel, glamourbombing needs to be more, much more. So, over a hearty lunch as we tend to get with another of our fantastic friends Orthaevelve, we came up with a few ideas for how to do proper glamourbombing and what some things might actually be.
First off, glamourbombs should be transient and not permament. This means no permanent spraypaint, no permanent graffiti, no destruction or permanent erection of structures, and the like. This assumes, of course, that you don’t have permission to alter some structure, place, or layout that currently exists; if you own or have permission to tag something, then go all out. Things should be inconvenient at best to remove or wash away, otherwise. Second, make sure things actually have some magical oomph or meaning to them: legit sigils of spirits or intents, such as the LS Sigil of the Marauders Underground, are cool, as is splashing an area with enchanted or consecrated waters (peace water, sex washes, whatever). Third, be covert, anonymous, and secret about your actions except to the people you’re glamourbombing with. Fourth, don’t be stupid in this day of post-9/11 overbearing surveillance; don’t leave mysterious packages with blinking lights or vibrating mechanisms inside to spook people. Beyond these rules, go all out.
Some of the things I thought might be interesting to try out as a ceremonial magician would be:
- With chalk, doodle out an entire planetary temple on a park pavilion, inscribing different planetary symbols and godnames on the pillars supporting the roof and moving the benches to act as an altar or pew, similarly doodled upon with patterns and symbols to make the place look holy.
- Tag the concrete tiles of a bridge or train overpass with the seals of the goetic demons from the Lemegeton. Alternatively, write out the long string-like sigils of the planetary angels on overpass pillars.
- Write out creation myths on park sidewalks of the Gnostic angels, heavens, aeons, and the like. Alternatively, write out a whole conjuration or blessing word by word around the wall of some park or field.
- Impromptu public rituals calling on Bacchus or Jupiter in a bar or outdoor party.
- Consecrate a mass of carved pewter tokens (low-effort, easy to do) with sigils under the forces of Mercury and Jupiter and dump them into fountains or around public monuments.
- Buy a lot of candles, flowers, and statues/icons and set up a shrine on the side of the road to some saint or deity or other; setting this on a wagon or sled and pulling it around town might be an interesting exercise, or moving it around town from day to day secretly.
Keeping in mind the rules of glamourbombing above, what kinds of things might you try out?
That’s me! With my porno-tarot act. Which has gotten way better than my first day. But I don’t recommend you watch Sam. Really. Don’t.
Is this something more risque than your “decoy panties”? :P
Random street corners breaking out in shrines, charms strewn about a fountain, intricate knotwork spiraling up the pillars of the gazebo in the park…. the possibilities are endless! I recall an impromptu hail to Dionysus while at the bar with a few friends. So many odd looks- but the party really took off after that so it must have worked.
Glamourbombing is for real, we just have to get better at it.
I don’t think glamourbombing for the sake of glamourbombing is exactly a good thing since people may not consent to having their reality messed with nor might they be on the same spiritual page as you. On the other hand, I think the idea applied as a genius loci is great! Imagine putting it in your cube at work, or a meeting room to accomplish a specific goal.
That’s exactly the point: the point is exactly to shake up their consensual reality. It’s like an alarm clock: nobody wants to get up in the morning, but they’re woken up all the same to a new day. I’m making a point of this to be non-harmful and transient, so people can remove things as they will, but the point is to wake them up and make them alert to the fact that their consensual reality is not the only one that they can or have to live by. I’m not trying to convert them to anything but “magic is a thing”.
You may not agree with the tactics employed, but The Harlequinade has been at this for a while:
Awesome post, though.
Oooo… thank you for posting this. Do you know of any other groups doing work in this vein?
It’s not that I don’t agree with the tactics; some people just need the basic rules explicitly laid out for them, and bend/tweak/twist/burst them as necessary. This stuff is beautiful and fantastic in so many ways!
Just a note: the “rules” were mostly Raven, and I don’t actually agree with all of them. My only real concern (besides common sense like not getting arrested) is this: is it magically effective? If it is, then it’s achieved its purpose. If not, it hasn’t and is, as you put it, just glittery litter. As for specifics… well, I’m working on my own post. :)
Ah, then my memory got muddled between Mexican menus and meandering on Pennsylvania roads. Agreed on the primary factor being efficacy and effectiveness, though. I’m looking forward to your write-up!
No worries. :) And I should get to working on that some more this morning…
Btw, I know I promised this a while ago but I thought I’d mention that I’ve finally worked out the kinks in the essay I was writing on this subject and have posted it: http://dreamhart.org/2013/04/the-death-and-rebirth-of-glamourbombing/
My local council has constructed faces out of dead trees, which looks impressive. People need creativity and an idea of what they wish to place in the mind of the beholder.
Pingback: Heheh, you said “herm”. « The Digital Ambler
Pingback: Proper Spelling | The Digital Ambler
Pingback: Glamourbombing Resources + Links | Kiki Wanderer
Pingback: Glamourbombing Bibliography – Doctor Sidrat