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Narrative and Identity

By Taylor Ellwood

In The Functions of Role Playing Games by Sarah Bowman, the author brings up an interesting point about narratives in relationship to identity when she explains how people use narratives to define their conscious sense of self, as a way of highlighting key moments of significance and linking those moments together to create a causal logic that in turn shapes the identity of the person by describing both who the person is and how that person is changing because of the narrative they’ve created. While her focus is on role playing games (RPGs), you can see how narrative is used as a tool in a number of different disciplines including magic, as well as how it reinforces aspects of identity related to narrative.’

In magic, narrative shows up in the form of ritual and spells, but also in pathworking and even to some extent in meditation. I’d argue that any process of magic is essentially a narrative which is structured to express the identity of the magician in particular way that enables the magician to establish his/her identity, both before and after the narrative. The purpose of the narrative is to describe the change in identity and what type of journey the magician goes on to make that change.

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