I would love to find a book on magic and walking, but I don’t think anyone has written one yet. There’s ample material for it, and not just in the more occult fringes of psychogeography. Some of the things that might go in such a book:
- My favourite example is Werner Herzog who kept someone alive by crossing Germany in Winter to visit them. He talks about this in his book Of Walking in Ice, which I wrote about last year.
- Pilgrimage is obviously important, and a huge topic, deserving a whole set of posts of its own.
- The second time I met Cat Vincent was at the Spirits of Place event, where he was giving a talk Where the Buddleia Grows: “as an urban magician, I’ve understood that you can’t truly grasp the magic and mythology of a place without walking it”. Cat has spoken recently about the importance of ‘knowing your patch’, which has resonance for me with the idea of beating the bounds.
- There are links between magic and landscape, connecting to earth magic. There are also links to ways of mapping and telling landscape, such as ley lines and songlines.
- Travelling particular patterns in cities occurs in psychogeography, with obvious examples being the letters walked in Sinclair’s Lights Out for the Territory or the pattern of the Hawksmoor churches in Alan Moore’s From Hell.
- During his time in London, the magic-obsessed writer William Burroughs carried out a campaign to drive the Moka Café Bar into closure. He combined patrols of the area near the cafe with the use of sound magic.
- William Seabrook tells a story about Crowley performing magic with gait (a tale I first encountered in Warren Ellis’s Hellblazer run). Crowley followed a man, synchronising his footsteps with theirs. Seabrook writes: “A.C., in taking a step forward, let both knees buckle suddenly under him, so that he dropped, caught himself on his haunches, and was immediately erect again, strolling. The man in front of us fell as if his legs had been shot out from under him.“
- Walking can be used for cursing, such as writing the name of the victim on the soles of the feet.
- One of the most powerful aspects of walking magic is The Moving of Stones (with cairns being one obvious aspect of this).
There is a magic to walking, to travelling, and a good walk is a spell.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list