The Ethics of Glamour

posted in: glamour | 0

It’s tax season which is every bit as wretched as you expect it to be.  I’m on my feet for over nine hours a day in the goddamn copy room which is both a safe haven and a prison, depending on the day.  My book doesn’t come out until August which feels even farther away the closer we get to it somehow, probably because I could have had a baby and a half in the time I’m sitting on my hands waiting for it to come out.  I mean, I’m trying to get launch events together for when it comes out but I’m like Ali Sheedy in The Breakfast Club dumping her giant purse out all over the table and no one wants to sit by me.  No.  One.

I very nearly had, like, the awesomest event ever put together but we had irreconcilable differences over how the bar tab would be handled.

It’s depressing, Charmers.  I worry that no one will buy my book, no one will care about it and there will be no event to mark, oh I don’t know, only everything I’ve been working for my whole f*cking life.  

And all I keep thinking is you have to f*cking blog so people will remember you exist!  Say new things!  BE INTERESTING.

Who wouldn’t be sparkling and amazing with enough internal pressure to create a diamond?  I mean, that’s where magic happens right?

So let’s talk glamour.   At the end of the day, you can look at glamour two ways:

  1. You are leveling the playing field in an unfair world so you can manifest all the wonder you are working to manifest.


2. You are manipulating those around you to get what you want, which is the purpose of Witchcraft.

Um, you can imagine how much my publisher liked #2.  It’s not exactly love ‘n light sisters!!!!!1111!!!  

Obviously, if you want to feel really justified in everything you do ever, you should think #1.  If you like feeling like the dangerous type and the implication that you are a bottom feeder, you should think #2.  If you actually want to get somewhere with glamour, you should think both.

Manipulation is such a harsh word.  It makes everyone feel mad.  As someone who “reads” as feminine in some way especially, it’s one of the worst things that can be said about you because in society’s view, it separates you from all your soft, squishy maternal instincts that we all supposedly have.  That makes you a user.  That makes you a gold digger.  That makes you a climber.  That makes you self centered.  And my god, what is worse than being called that when you are supposed to put everyone else’s needs before yours if you want to be a Good Girl?

Which is why, if we’re being completely honest here, if you are good at glamour it’s because you are manipulating others without them noticing.  That’s the feminine part of the Arte, the subtlety.  Because oh lordess, if you get caught out for trying to manipulate those around you, the stakes are really high.  Possibly because you might be getting burnt at one (metaphorically now, less so even two hundred years ago).

So, let’s pretend everyone has common sense here because that’s a fun game.  You should, like, totally have a moral compass.  Because if you can’t sleep at night because you did something crazy?  Guess whose fault that is?  I mean, you can blame Godzilla all you want for your ramen stand problems but he ain’t gonna be the one starving to death because your ramen stand went out of business.  All your actions (and inactions) have consequences which is really tedious but a trufax.

The thing is, just about all of us, even the more introverted side of the spectrum, chose to have lives intertwined with others in some fashion.  We do things we don’t want to do all the time for each other for all sorts of reasons – as a sacrifice on the altar of love, to curry favor, to right a wrong we’ve committed, to even an uneven internal score card, because it makes the other person happy which makes your life easier, lots of reasons.  And we don’t think much about it because . . .if you have to worry about being a manipulative soap opera villianess every time you talk your spouse into getting milk for you at an inconvenient time, how would you ever get anything done?

And that’s the point of glamour, really.  To get things done so you can further your ambitions. But (but).  You are also forming connections with others.  Maybe some of those connections are self serving, sure.  But some connections that start as self serving can develop into sincere affection and some connections that start as sincere affection can quickly become a quid quo pro Hannibal/Clarice situation.  You just don’t know.  Go in with an open heart.  Remember no one’s hands are spotless (including yours) but also remember that Lady MacBeth couldn’t sleep at night until she was so sleep deprived that jumping off a parapet sounded like a fine idea. Remember that Witchcraft is used by the disempowered and life isn’t fair, glamour isn’t required to be either.

What do you Want?  How badly do you Want it?  What are you willing to do to get it?  What pacts and geas will you whisper to your goddesses and spirits?  What promises will you make?  What will you tear out of yourself?  What will you suffer?

Draw your line.  Take no quarter.

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.  


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