Aesthetic & Mechanics
In this post, I’m defining aesthetic as the what of my practice and mechanics as the why and how.
In other words: Aesthetic is what it looks like and Mechanics are why and how it works.
For a very long time, I was a witch and a pagan with a strong set of mechanics, but I was weak on aesthetic. I chose not to have a consistent aesthetic because it felt stifling to me.
(It can go the other way too, for the record. I could just as easily have had a very strong aesthetic without much sense of mechanics. For example, if I’d been a green witch who knew what herbs to use for which purposes, knew how to combine them into certain formulas, but didn’t know why those herbs are effective or how they work once they’re deployed.)
The thing is, aesthetic and mechanics can and do inform one other.
I do have a very strong aesthetic now, and it evolved directly from the way I thought about myself as a witch and the way I thought about magic and the way it worked.
For me, these things were representations of the way the universe was created and how I fit into it, so naturally, a space aesthetic started to develop. Water and the ocean followed suit, bringing their influence to my aesthetic based on the way they fit into the mechanics of my practice. Finish that with a layer of the underworld (or otherworld, if you prefer) and now everything is tied together.
They coalesced into an aesthetic I generally refer to as “Queen of the Void” which is, simply put, star maiden meets evil queen.
You can see the Queen of the Void aesthetic at play on my tumblr @glowingnowhere
It works the other way around as well. Aesthetic began to create practices and mechanics once they were put into play in my life.
My Queen of the Void aesthetic is actually slightly more complicated than star maiden and evil queen. I turned several aspects of my beliefs and practices into “characters” that allowed me to easily codify their aesthetic.
So when I say “Evil Queen” what I really mean is, this is magic, this is cursing, this fear, this is rage, these are wounds.
When I say “Star Maiden” what I’m getting at is, this is hope, this is a piece of the whole, this is a seeker, this is a calling, these are wishes granted.
Of course I’m also saying the same thing each time.
“This is power. This is power. This is power.”
I knew that all these pieces I had made fit together, and I understood they were all just different facets of the same whole practice, the same whole worldview, simply broken down into the media that best expressed their individual function.
I didn’t realize how connected they were to each other and to me until I realized that I was playing out the same cycle in my own life that I had put into theirs.
Each part of my aesthetic filled a slot on a wheel and then I realized, oh. I’m on that wheel. I’m in that cycle.
I suppose my aesthetic actually created a kind of personal mythology for me, and that allowed me to see where I was in my life and what role I was playing, and where I needed to go.
Not only did this give me a deeper understanding of my own aesthetic, but relating to it in that way gave me the tools and the steps that I needed in order to begin healing myself.
In other words, my aesthetic directly led to the creation of new mechanics in my practice and my life.
This is power.