Given its release in Canada this month, like so many of my readers, I’ve
been caught up in the Pokémon GO craze, even though the original game was after my time. One of my acquaintances on Facebook recently joked about
“when your coven goes to meet in a park and wind up playing Pokémon GO...” ,
and I quickly realized that there’s a
profound truth hidden in that. I think
the game encourages magickal thinking, and so makes a nice fit (or distraction?)
for anyone on the Pagan path.
A word on maps. Think about GPS
(Global Positioning System) applications such as Google Earth, and the maps we
carry in our own heads. These are comprised of layers consisting of
topography, borders, lakes and rivers, roads, buildings, parks, etc., etc. Add
to these the layers that are more personal to each of us, but of which others may not be aware. Depression-era hobos used
tagging to indicate which houses gave good handouts, and which would run you
off with a shotgun. Criminal gangs have their territories, as do panhandlers, buskers,
and bottle-pickers. And I’m sure each of
us has their own mental map of destinations and the routes to them. Skirmishes, wars and global conflicts begin when the boundaries on these mental
maps don’t agree.
As Pagans, every time we create sacred space, we add another layer to
that map, and by doing so, alter our consciousness. The steps of a Wiccan
circle-casting - banishing, purifying, and cutting the circle, inviting in the
Elemental powers, and the Goddess and God – are done with our minds, so that we
“enter” that map, and “leave” it when our work is done and the circle opened. The more experienced of us can do it without all those steps, but the mind-work is similar.
Niantic, the makers of Pokémon GO, used map-layering based on an earlier
product in the creation of the game. As you probably know by now, Pokéstops and Gyms in the game are real-world
locations – parks, churches, sculptures, signs, and other points of interest -- but with the additional augmentation of
being landmarks in, okay, call it PokéWorld or PokéLife. In Pagan terms, every time we play the game,
we access a spirit world, a parallel of the land of Faerie with its own landmarks, populated by strange
elemental creatures. But without the ritual of creating a circle, the simple
opening and closing of an app on a cell phone can suddenly throw us into and out
of a parallel and magickal world, and if we’re not properly grounded, that can
cause real-world problems.
The first thing I discovered playing the game is how easy it is to
trance out if you’re focused on the PokéWorld in the screen rather than your
own surroundings. Hence the warning
displayed every time the app loads to be
alert and stay aware. As has been well-reported, people have been
injured or worse walking into traffic following the trail of an elusive
Pokémon; even if you’re driving to locate a Pokéstop to load up on Pokéballs,
it helps to have a navigator in case you forget to shoulder-check, or to access
a Pokéstop on the corner of a busy intersection (assuming the GPS has caught up
The three teams – Instinct, Mystic, and Valor -- seem to be elementally
based, which may be a factor for those reaching Level 5 and trying to choose a team, although the relationship is a bit fuzzy. Valor (Red) suggests Fire
to me, perhaps similar to Gryffindor in Harry
Potter. The description of Mystic (Blue) as careful and analytical suggests Air or perhaps Earth
to me, even though the colour is indicative of Water; I think of Hufflepuff in the
Potterverse. To me, Instinct (Yellow) suggests
Water, or perhaps aspects of Fire, and reminds me of Ravenclaw, but its
alignment is “Electric”. Interpretations may vary; this will undoubtedly be a
good topic for discussion.
Pokémon GO is certainly the phenomenon of the summer (we’ll see how it
fares in a Calgary winter), and I can see it as a launching point for long-term
technological GPS applications. But it’s
also a psychological phenomenon, and for those of us in Pagan communities, a
Note these events are listed for information purposes only. Dates and
locations may be subject to change; see the source for details. If I’ve missed
anyone and you’d like to add to this listing, please contact me. All times
Mountain Daylight Time.
7:00 pm: Paranormal Pub Night
Kensington, sponsored by Ghost Hunt Alberta.
Aug 1: Heritage Day (Alberta). Traditional Lughnasadh, or Lammas.
2:46 pm: New Moon. Tinne/Holly lunar
7:30 pm: COGCOA Coffee Cauldron. See
Aug 12: Perseid Meteor Shower peaks before dawn.
10:00 am: New Age Market at
Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Hall.
7:30 pm: Calgary Witches' Meetup. Info
3:29 am: Full (Sturgeon, Bear, or Corn) Moon.
7:30 pm: Calgary Witches’ Full Moon
Circle, in SE Calgary.
1:00 pm: Calgary Heathen Meet & Greet. Info: Calgary Heathens on Facebook.
4:00 pm: Psychics, Henna and Fashion Show Fundraiser. Info: Gaia Gathering on
7:04 am: Mercury Retrograde to Sep. 22.
Labels: Pokémon GO