Sky Imps

This is a strange post for me because I'm writing it just after midnight on Friday night (morning? whatever), just hours before I'll post it. That's why this is likely late showing up for you. Usually the posts that aren't directly related to something happening in the world of magic are things I've considered for quite a while. But in this case, about 5 minutes ago I thought to myself, "Oh, I should write a post on that." And when I was figuring out when I should write it, I realized it pretty much had to be for today's post to be of most use.

On Monday, in much of North America, people will see a total eclipse, or a significant partial eclipse, of the sun. (Or so they say. (I'm a flat-earther.))

This is an excellent opportunity to do something.

Now, look, if you're with someone who is already psyched about the eclipse, then maybe you don't need to interject yourself and your nonsense into their experience. But the nice thing about an eclipse is that it goes on for hours, so even with a real eclipse-nut, you're bound to have some downtime where you might be able to squeeze something in.

But in these types of situations I actually prefer to perform for people who are only casually interested in what's happening. That way you can elevate something that might not have had much meaning to them into a more interesting experience. 

Cosmic, celestial, sky-based imps (see the glossary if you're new here) are some of my favorite ways to get into tricks. The sky, in all its vastness, is already a kind magical/mysterious entity. It's where Jesus and the Jetsons live. And space just stretches on and on in a way we can't wrap our heads around. So it feels almost natural that these things might lead to some strange or magical experiences.

Here are some of the Sky Imps I've used:

  • Full moons
  • New moons
  • Blue moons
  • Solstices
  • Equinoxes
  • When planets reach their greatest eastern elongation (when they're at the highest point the reach in the night sky)
  • Supermoons
  • Manhattanhenge
  • When the moon occults a planet (that is, the planet gets blocked from view by the moon)

Essentially anything that happens in the sky I can co-opt as the impetus behind some magic trick.

Just google skywatching events and you'll find plenty of opportunities. Obviously the rarer the event is, the more "weight" it will have as a magical impetus. And that's why the eclipse is such a great opportunity. The last full eclipse we had in the US was almost 40 years ago. 

But it doesn't have to be Halley's comet or something to be interesting to people. 

You get a full moon every month. But there's only one October full moon a year (usually). So maybe it's just the October full moon that possesses the trait you need (hence it's more rare than just any full moon). "Native Americans used to call this the Full Hunter's Moon. They also called it the Blood Moon. And there's this old ceremony they used to conduct...." People eat this up. I eat it up too. I love the Native American names for the full moons. Or anything else named in the sky. Spend an hour of your life learning some constellations and star names. I find people are more interested in these things than you or they would think they'd be. 

That's maybe another post for another day.

So what tricks do I tie these Imps to?

Well, you have to be smart about it. You want some ethereal connection to make sense. You don't want to be like, "You know, every time there's a blue moon... I can do a perfect center deal!" 

I have something planned for the eclipse, but it's a more personal sort of thing. I may write it up after it happens, but it all depends.

In general, though, these are the types of tricks I like to connect to the skies above.

1. Levitations - The idea that there might be some gravitational or energy weirdness during some celestial event makes sense. ("Makes sense" in the storybook world of magic, I mean.)

2. Extreme Balance - Something like Patrick Snowden's Tensegrity, Joshua Jay's Balance, or Eric Ross' Balanced. You may have heard the idea that on the equinoxes you can balance an egg on its end. This is just taking that idea to the extreme.

3. Spectator as magician - For example, "There are people who believe that when Mercury is at its peak, people have stronger intuitive abilities than usual."

4. Tricks with a fortune telling element - Lots of dumb people already think that the stars have some effect on their life so to imply that during some star/planet configurations you can get some extra insight into someone's life, I think that makes sense. One of my favorite things to do is the Spectator Cuts Their Future effect from JV1. This is one of the effects that uses the book itself as a prop. It's especially fun for me because I wrote the damn book and my friends have no clue about that (or that this site even exists, for that matter).

A couple final tips about Sky Imps. 

First, I like to give the person or people I'm performing for a heads-up a week or two in advance. So I'll be like, "Hey, I want to stop by next Monday. There's something I want to try." I may even mention the event in advance. ("There's a new moon on Monday. And a fire dance through the night. Just like Duran Duran predicted!") Establishing you want to try something well in advance gives credence to the idea it had to be done during that specific event. Or else why would you have waited?

Second, it's a good idea to have it fail once. So, if you're trying to balance something, give it a shot and have it fail and then be like, "Hmm... l'll try again in 20 minutes or so. The alignment between earth and Jupiter might be more symmetrical then." (Or whatever BS you're peddling.)

These are both basic Smear Technique type things to push the experience of the effect beyond the boundaries of the trick itself.

It's well past my bedtime. Lights out.

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