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Authenticity of Magickal Ingredients

For some reason, Gordon White's blog post about authenticity reminds me of some of my Swedish friends and how they use quotes from English-language movies. We'll be having a normal conversation in Swedish and all of a sudden they'll throw in a sentence in English. "I'll call you tomorrow" or "Could you pass the salt, please" or something as ordinary as that.

So I look at them with wonderment and ask them why they said that in another language. They'll say "Oh, it's a quote from the Christmas cross-over of ER, Friends and Battlestar Galactica last year. I can lend you the DVD if you haven't seen it."

For a while I actually tried to explain at this point that for a line from a movie or TV show to be a bona fide quote there should be at least a whiff of originality about it. It's not enough that it's in a language other than your native one and you first heard it in a movie or TV show.

It's not a quote if it's something that normal people say in conversation all the time. Phrases such as "Where is the restroom" or "Happy birthday!" aren't quotes per se. At the very least the line has to be said at a pivotal point in a movie that had some impact on pop culture at the time. That's why "I'll be back" and "I'm having what she's having" are quotes but "Are you tired?" isn't. Even if Phoebe said it in a Friends episode before the dawn of time.

I'm not sure if that makes sense to people outside my head. But it's the reason why when a spell recipe calls for rusty nails, I take some nails bought at Home/Depot/Base and let them rust in a jam jar of salty water rather than buy 3 pre-rusted, certified-authentic nails for $5 at Ye Olde Magickal Shoppe. It saves money, yes but it's also about being resourceful and not being fleeced. Those are values in themselves. Gullible people make poor magicians. The rusty nails fill a specific function in the spell and that function should ideally be one that I'm physically familiar with rather than something I read in a book.

That's also why I'd rather buy some of my magickal supplies at Waitrose/Whole Foods rather than Walmart/Tesco. Because as both middle class and middle aged, Whole Foods is as pedestrian to me as the medieval spice markets were for actual medieval sorcerers. It's about a connection between me and the way I perceive the world. Then again, I also noticed that Gordon stopped at semi-working class Tesco, rather than full on working class Asda (or, the horror!, Lidl).

I feel that I'm not making myself very clear here but I think that it's about taking the exoticism and expense out of shopping for magick. Under normal circumstances shopping for supplies shouldn't be an adventure in itself. It shouldn't act as a source of distraction from what I really want to achieve. Because in the end it's not about the shopping.


"Because in the end it's not about the shopping."

Exactly this! Right now contemplating the writing of Supermarket Santeria. There is a need for a common-sense treatise on botanica bondage.
Kudos to you!
Yep, it's also not about excluding people who can't afford the shopping.
Have you read Gordon's Supermarket Spell Sweep series? Lots of inspiration.
You have turned me into a Gordon White fan. It's magick!