H is for Hubris

posted in: alphabet | 3

Hubris is something that I contemplate a lot in post-apocalyptic living.   Like, why does Kanye West irritate the crap out of me but Jay-Z does not?  Why does Tim Ferris make me want to punch him in the junk and Penelope Trunk seem reasonable, if not all that great on personal life matters?   Why do I agree with the post-apocalyptic ideal of being quick, clever and a liar with some black hat magic thrown in like a Molotov cocktail but grimoire work makes me aggravated?

I’ve really been thinking about this because it’s an important issue in our new normal where we are most certainly not guaranteed to do better than our parents and no one is going to call us, Generation X/Y, known for slacking in coffeehouses and having helicopter parents the Greatest Generation any time soon.

What’s the difference?  Why does it matter?

Hubris makes it difficult to adapt.  When all you can hear is your own echo chamber, you’re in dangerous lands, kittens.  And it’s always possible.  No one has ever really been mean to me about any of my WitchVox articles or blog posts.  Result?  Obv, everything I say is awesome.  Um, no.  It’s just that no one has been motivated enough to either get mean about my personal beliefs or go for the humdrum usual of I’m a fat chick who doesn’t know anything about anything, perhaps with a dash of fluffy bunny blahblahblah thrown in.  When you get to the point where you have an echo chamber and no one understands you (a la your sixteen year old self), you get complacent.  Complacency leads to a lack of openness to new ideas and before you know it, even Ke$ha’s singing about how you’re a useless dinosaurFix: Learn a new magic hack for your personal life in a tradition that isn’t part of your “home” tradition.  Ask an adult (i.e.  someone who practices this tradition who you trust) for help.

Hubris makes you sloppy.  Look at Tim Ferris, he’s eager to brag about beating down some underpaid TAs to get the grades he wanted and that he became a one trick pony to beat a record.  Is that admirable?  Not really.  Having the most straight white guy privilege in the room isn’t really a panty dropper.  Not to me at least.  Kanye’s so busy telling us he’s awesome that I stopped thinking he’s awesome because clearly he’s got it under control.    This kind of sloppiness makes you a crappy magic user.  I may think that people like that are classless and they can not care and continue acting like trashy socialites until the money runs out.  Shit gets real when magic gets involved.  Like, I would not suggest bragging about whatever black hat tricks you’re doing to keep your family afloat, gets you ahead and keeps your enemies in check.  Why?  You lose your edge.  If people know what you’re doing, it’s much easier to counter it both magically and mundanely.  Fix: Get your black hat magic practice going and make sure your work is tight and for goddess’ sake don’t talk about magic fight club.  Talk about theory, keep your mouth shut about what you’re personally doing.  Don’t have any?  Ask an adult.

Hubris is a sign of privilege.  Privilege is a touchy issue on the best of days.  On one hand, I think it’s okay to use the privilege you have to get ahead in your life.  I always think of Deborah in the Book of Judges and how she used what she and Jael had to work with (notably, cunning and Jael shaking what her mama gave her) to win their battle.  On the other hand, building a Versailles in Florida when most people are trying to figure out how to survive is gauche at best, super gross and possibly dangerous for the couple personally at worst.  Fix: Figure out where you’re privileged in life and figure out how to use it subtly.  You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the Guillotine.

The opposite of hubris is subtlety, in case that’s not obvious.     Now is actually a perfect time to get ahead. . .in everything.    The wheel is spinning, everyone’s freaking out and worried that the season opener of Warehouse 13 is going to happen for real economically and magically tomorrow.   If you use this time wisely to pull your shit together (and that’s what the Experiment is all about, n’est-ce pas?), you should be well on your way doing exactly what you want to be doing (magically and mundanely) in the economic status you want.  Fix: In case it’s also not obvious, it’s time to be part of Team Honey Badger .  Be quick, cunning and fearless.  Know, dare and be silent about it.  In other words, Manolo Blahniks, not Christian Louboutins*.

It’s been a hell of a year.  Better start figuring out what where you’ll be for New Year’s and what you’ll be wearing.

* Christian Louboutins have the tell tale red soles.  It’s why many middle class women buy them. They want people to know that they spent a lot of money on them.  Once you know about this, you’ll see them every where.

Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


3 Responses

  1. Good post. Also: it’s so refreshing to see other magicians talking about privilege.
    Satyr Magos recently posted..Talisman Bearing the Beneficial SignMy Profile

  2. I prefer Team Wolverine, myself. Also, shoes which allow me to leave quickly, as needs be. 😉

  3. The first rule of Magick Fight Club is…? WE DON’T TALK ABOUT MAGICK FIGHT CLUB!
    Shivian Balaris recently posted..Batman: the Puppet Master – a great short fan-flick that…My Profile

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