Friday, April 27, 2012

We're Moving

You're cordially invited to join us at our new digs over at Typepad. From here on, that's where we're posting magic words and symbols spotted in the wild:

We'll allow this spot at Blogger to lie fallow.

(Photo by Bruce Harlick)


"And the magic word is ...?"
"Zodiac, sir. It was the only word I could think of offhand that starts with Z."
—Roger Keevil, Feted to Die: An Inspector Constable Murder Mystery (2012)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reading Shifts Reality

We've been constructing a series of tests (the first of their kind) for proving that the act of reading shifts reality. Perhaps appropriately (given the whimsies of quantum physics), the test results are proving to be simultaneously mind-blowing and funny. We'll share this project as it nears completion.

Meanwhile, here's the latest review of our companion to magic's greatest magazine, and please note that while people are selling used copies of our book for $195, Amazon still offers it new for a mere $18.

[Jinx Companion] might be the book that starts you on a vibrant path toward new and more creative magic. ... The authors have done a herculean task in researching every word of The Jinx to mine the best material; they sorted carefully through it and pulled out the best of the best for you. ... I applaud their intense research. It is the kind of investigation and mind-expansion that we all should be doing. ... It is not for everybody, but for those of you who have the time and inclination to see why what is old is often new again, this is a nice journey at a very reasonable price. —Jim Kleefeld, M-U-M Magazine

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You Do The Math

"I believe in the magic of words, in the magic of books, in the magic of being a Reader. There are three kinds of people in the world, those who are a Reader, and those who are not. You may think that this only adds up to two types of people. But that is only if you are one of those people who indeed can count."
—Max G. Bernard, "The Reader Suffers the Theft of Dostoyevsky"

(Dedicated to Jeff Hawkins)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Magic as Reassurance

A magician begins “doing incredible things with big silver hoops” for no less a purpose that to REASSURE a spectator. (This we learn in an intriguing illustration in The Saturday Evening Post, Nov. 12, 1904.) We don’t typically associate reassurance — the restoration of confidence — to tricksters; we all know that a “confidence man” is ironically named.

How exactly does the demonstration of a mystery serve to put a spectator’s mind at rest? See our article in Secret Art Journal:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rosewood Mysteries

A friend writes:

The first writing I ever did -- I was about 7 or 8 -- was to make up 'magic' words -- some kind of incantation about rosewood (which I thought literarily meant the wood of a rose..which I harvested from the garden) which I then wrote on cue cards and recited from time to time, and hid in a little grey box. We are always in search of ourselves in words, in the world, in mystery and confusion.

Beautiful, eh?

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Colour Element of Thought and Imagination

A cross-posting with our Abecedarian blog:

In a letter to historian and mocker of superstition William Harnett Blanch, the illumined Oscar Wilde wrote, "I love superstitions. They are the colour element of thought and imagination They are the opponents of common sense. Common sense is the enemy of romance. The aim of your society [a club serving 13 courses, with ladders to walk under, mirrors to break, black cats, and so forth] seems to be dreadful. Leave us some unreality" (qtd. in Phil Baker's biography of Austin Osman Spare).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's in a Name?

We're often asked about our latest research. The following description isn't a sales pitch — the only profit we'll see is other folks putting our ingenuity to use and sparking insights in others.

Our latest project, a few years in development, is a system for decoding Egyptian echoes within the letters in one's name. It's technically a system for magicians to use, but there's nothing "tricky" or insincere about the system; the symbolism is genuinely there and deeply meaningful. Most vitally, we offer instruction on how to be a spontaneous poet, using the letters in someone's name to trigger original Egyptian poetry, instantly and effortlessly.

Here's a link to a fuller description, if you're interested in the idea of awakening Egyptian poetry from a name:

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Sigil Puzzle

Here's a sigil puzzle from -- of all things -- a children's magazine from 1873. The sigils communicate a well-known aphorism with celestial inclinations.


Reading from top to bottom, then left to right: "To err is human; to forgive, divine." From Our Boys and Girls Monthly, February 1873, p. 138.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Which Ones are Word Magic?

"We have words for 'potato' and 'mermaid' and 'luck.' Which ones are word magic and which are not?" —W. Ward Fearnside, About Thinking (1996)

[The mermaid plaque is from our favorite magical village, Portmeirion.]