I have a big speech to write to present on Friday in front of the entire faculty which will be many of their first introduction to me and determine how they see me ever more, and am stressed out about it. So of course, I’m going to blog instead!
I’ve found myself wondering lately what would happen to magic should a true global apocalypse happen. Lets not go with the zombies this time, how about something more like what happened in The Stand or perhaps a global EMP pulse that ruins all of our technology (I forget the name that series of books). Billions of humans die out. We are forced into tribal groups once more, possibly nomadic. I would bet any money we would see the rise of the magician shaman, people turning to him/her once more to get things done.
After a few generations this person would have access to bits of lore surviving from the previous civilization. What little literacy remained he would probably learn, seeking out scraps of magical lore. I think more likely is that popular forms of magic that are able to be passed down verbally would evolve and survive. I’m thinking here that Wicca would probably be prevalent. And not the traditional oath bound stuff, I’m taking Llewellyn based stuff here. Something that is practiced by thousands of Pagans before the fall and firmly entrenched in the praxis of it’s practitioners.
Also sigil tech seems pretty ubiquitous, even non-chaos practitioners use them. I know of very few magical folk who haven’t at least tried them. So lets put that in there as well. How about Hoodoo? A primarily verbal tradition to begin with, it would probably revert back to being so again, and the emphasis on roots and regionally available plants would help it to be practical for the post-apocalyptic magician.
Perhaps in his tribes travels he interacts and compares notes with another tribes mage, who has an ancient weathered print out of RO’s Angelic Grimiore, which has been handed down as a cherished relic from parent to child throughout the generations, each parent teaching their child Angelic Conjuration via Trithemius, making them memorize each conjuration before their coming of age ceremony (you know, those things we don’t have in our society any more). So our post-apocalyptic mage learns some of this and incorporates this into his repitiore.
So here you have this tribal magician who casts Wiccan circles and calls upon the 4 Greek elements, charges and empowers sigils, and likes to work with commonly found roots and plants to achieve his magic, and now calls on the ancients old benefactors in the form of archangels. Just eclectic as all hell.
You know what? I bet his magic would not only still work, but probably kick ass. You know what else I would bet? That the spirits would answer his call and adapt to his patch worked magical quilt. It would also evolve, he would learn of new spirits, new ways of doing things. Over even more generations his replacements would develop their own threads of magic, as would others from other tribes. Magic would continue to work, be somewhat based on what we know now and probably look similar to what we practice only superficially.
Eventually humanity would get their act together and civilization would rebuild itself, and someone would write down his own ancestors patchwork magical system and call it “tradition” and make an argument that that’s the ways it’s always been done and we should never do anything different. At that time people would probably argue about it on the newest post-apocalyptic version of the internet. eventually people would be telling each other how they are all doing it wrong and how only their ancestral tribes derivative is “correct”. Thus magical dogma will be born anew.
Now I should go write that speech. Thanks for indulging me.