Once again, Facebook has provided me with a topic for a blog post. A few months ago, I came across a rather interesting post in a Wiccan group. Someone had asked the question, “Can you worship the Justice League as gods?” and if anyone had any experience in doing so. As a D.C. fan, I was interested in the comments and how people responded to this. Which at first the comments were supportive, then turned to “trolling” doubt, and then they became down right rude. Another reason I paid close attention to the question, is that this very idea is something I am currently writing about in the manuscript for “The Little Witches”. Whereas, I discuss children and the use of fictional characters and toys, such as superhero and dinosaurs on their altars. Although, in the book there are multiple reasons for them to do so, using them as a representation of a deity is also discussed. What made the Facebook post even more intriguing, was that this was coming from an adult. I was not in any way questioning the posters sanity, as some in the feed might have suggested, but rather the ideals of someone who had posted for an intellectual discussion of spiritual beliefs. It was one passive aggressive comment that held my interest. On one hand it gave opposition and yet provided good information on the other. It was this added link that really sparked my desire to write about the topic of “Pop Culture Paganism”.
I had actually started writing this at the time the question was posted on Facebook, but never got around to finishing it, until now. It popped back in mind after watching the new Justice League trailer (squeeee!!) and thought it would be a perfect time to finish and post it. What started, as a one-time post has now become a three part series of posts. Part one will consist of an introduction to Pop Culture Paganism, part two will host an interview with the author of Pop Culture Magick, Taylor Ellwood, and part three will discuss using Pop Culture Paganism concepts with children.
What is Pop Culture Paganism?
Simply, Pop Culture Paganism is a unique and modern way of looking at the traditional gods and beliefs. It is the use of pop culture characters and stories as either an approachable face for traditional Pagan deities and/or as a substitute for their traditional mythologies. For an easy understandable example, if you work with the Goddess, Athena you may want to use the image of Wonder Woman, rather than the traditional image. Pop Culture Paganism is all about working with the attributes of fictional characters that are relatable to traditional pantheon archetypes. One common example of the use of Pop Culture in modern paganism is the use of the Arthurian legends, whereas many people connect with the myth of Merlin and Excalibur. We can also see another use of Pop Culture in the various tools used in the magickal community. From the images found on tarot cards to movie replicas of wands, these have seemed to be more widely accepted than the idea of using comic book heroes in place of deities.
Pop Culture Paganism may also be reflected in ritual practices (such as using Hogwarts Houses or the Voltron lions in calling the quarters). Many Pop Culture Pagans also practice what is known as Pop Culture Magick (discussed later in this post). Although, just as with Wicca, not all Pop Culture Pagans practice this or any form of Magick or vise versa. As you can see Pop Culture Paganism is rather diverse and even already apparent in modern Paganism.
Why Pop Culture Paganism?
Despite the conventional Pagans eye rolling at its practice, there are many reasons one may choose this path. Taylor Ellwood, author of Pop Culture Magick states in his video “I resonate more with pop culture than I do with some of the older cultures”. After reading many personal blogs and articles on Pop Culture Paganism, it seems to me that this is one of the main factors in its draw. Although, I do not incorporate these ideals into my personal practice, I can completely understand the connections one can find in its systems of belief and how they resonate with some. For many there is an emotional attachment to certain characters. How many times a day do you think of a certain fictional character? A lot of times characters from books or films leave a lasting impression and we connect to them emotionally and sometimes even morally.
When you think about it everyone already kind of does a form of it anyway. When you put up a poster or speak to a favorite toy as if they were living or try to be like a favorite character or celebrity, such as in Cosplay.
Another thought that I found interesting was the idea that the “old gods” are just connecting with us through our modern culture. What if this is true? What if this is their way of communicating with people on a large scale? Throughout the years, I have seen the re-emergence of mythologies within our Pop Culture over and over again. From Marvel’s Thor to the new release of Assassins Creed Origins, the ancient myths always seem to be a focus and find their way into our modern times. Although, many of the stories surrounding the characters are new or reinvented, they can act as a gateway to the original myths to those who connect with them. Just recently I was asked to fill out a questionnaire for the Covenant of Hekate and one of the questions was “When did you first hear about Hekate?” After some thought, I realized that I had first heard her name in the opening scene of “ Midnight Offerings” a movie back in the early eighty’s. This second of a mention caused me to pull out the good old family encyclopedia set (just dated myself) to investigate who this person was. Could that have been her leading me to her all those years ago?
Why question how the Gods manifest in our lives or in others lives or if the stories are old or modern, just accept that they are there.
Yet another interesting thought is that these characters, images, and personas were created and manifested in their constructs mind through the deities to reach the masses. Do I think Bob Cane channeled Anubis when first creating Batman? Sure why not, anything is possible, plus that would be awesome. However, it could also be that I see aspects of Anubis in the character of Batman. Either way it’s not about how we personally connect to the Gods, it’s what we do with that connection and the relationship we have with them. No matter the personified embodiment we use as an image.
Now that I have learned more about Pop Culture Paganism, I could answer the Facebook posted question, “Can you worship the Justice League as gods?” Sure, why not. They are just modern images and concepts of the older gods. Whereas, Wonder Women can be seen as the Greek Goddess, Athena, Flash as the Roman God, Mercury, and Aquaman as Poseidon or Neptune.
If you are interested in learning more about Pop Culture Paganism and Magick I recommend checking these out for more information: