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Alethea & Athena
Checking out Pottermore 
5th-Jan-2018 09:41 pm
I feel like I had things to talk about today, but then we watched the rest of Kantaro and I forgot everything. That show is still really weird, but in a good way. And each episode features a shop where the person who started it is super passionate about something, and wants to share it with the world, and that's something we always like to see.

I think I sort of remember the other stuff now, but maybe it's not that interesting after all. We were chatting on Facebook, and to kill time while we waited for our friend to type (we tend to get into discussions that require lengthy responses), we went to Pottermore to check some stuff out. We've been there before, but never for very long because we're so easily distracted. So we'd been sorted into our Ilvermorny house, which we did way back when it was first a thing, before people started pointing out how problematic it is. Which is not to say that we wouldn't have wanted to be sorted anyway, because as people who grew up in America, we really do want to have some affiliation with the school of witchcraft and wizardry here in the States...

Anyway, since we went to Universal Studios, our interest in Harry Potter has been rekindled, so we went back to Pottermore to poke around some more. We finally did a Hogwarts sorting, and were not surprised at all to be sorted into Ravenclaw. When it first became a thing, we always said we would be in Gryffindor because we wanted to be and the Sorting Hat does take that into consideration, but then a bunch of other self-proclaimed Gryffindors came along and said, "No, there's no way you would ever be in Gryffindor; you're not brave enough. You're absolutely 100% a Ravenclaw. Now go talk to that cast member because I'm too afraid of what they'd think of me." So we got fed up with Gryffindor and decided we wanted to be in Hufflepuff because that's the house where they actual value, like, being nice to people and stuff. But then we were at Universal Studios, and I was thinking about it, and while I do think Hufflepuffs have some admirable qualities, if you take my own preferences out of it, we're just too cold and dead on the inside to be in Hufflepuff, so we would probably be in Ravenclaw after all.

So I'm actually really glad we did the sorting, though, because after reading the letter from the Ravenclaw prefect and how it talks about Ravenclaw being where all the eccentrics and people who are really passionate about their weird hobbies go, I think we would fit right in. And now we know what sparkly t-shirt to buy next time we go to Universal Studios (assuming we're feeling like we can afford it).

But the other important thing I wanted to mention was that we read up on MACUSA, the magical governing body for North America, and we realized that all of the problematic stuff about how J.K. Rowling didn't properly research the Native Americans doesn't seem to only apply to Native America. I mean, yeah, the essay knew when the Salem Witch Trials were, but that's a big enough thing, even Japanese people know when those were. And to be fair, it's not like we're experts. But the main thing is this: MACUSA (the MAgical Congress of the United States of America) was formed decades before the name "United States of America" was really a thing. Maybe there was some divination involved? I don't know. But since the American magical society is so separate from its No-Maj society, it just seems like they wouldn't even want to go there. On the other hand, maybe they just came up with it first? I don't know. But don't even get us started on Mahoutokoro.

Anyway. There is an incredible amount of world-building that went into Hogwarts alone, so I definitely admire the whole series, and as someone who is way too lazy to research things, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that Rowling probably has done more research than I would have (this is a large part of why I don't write stories). And I already sound way too self-important, so I should really just shut up. The point is, it's fun to go get sorted and see what your wand is and everything. But I do wish I knew why the MACUSA headquarters looks so Egyptian-inspired. (Maybe it's not; it's not like I know anything about Egypt.)

Today I'm thankful for getting to watch all of Kantaro, today's assignment indeed not being doomful, having time to work on other assignments, getting to chat with our friend, and getting to sleep in tomorrow.
6th-Jan-2018 11:44 am (UTC)
Hello, fellow Ravenclaws! 🦅

Ooh! Now we’re firmly in my turf, LOL The reason why the MACUSA is Egyptian inspired is because that’s how most real esoteric and ceremonial magic societies are- I’ve been involved in a few. (yep- proper Ravenclaw. A background in comparative theology/ancient philosophy is what you’ve been smelling over here) Particularly there’s heavy visual inspiration from Hermetics and Rosicrucianism (check out the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or AMORC in a Google image search for some interesting and very familiar Egyptian stylings). It’s hardcore symbology. If they use it correctly or just Hollywood it remains to be seen. LOL

Yeah, that’s how I knew the Tibetan Buddhism. I’m initiated from time studying at a Tibetan Gelug Buddhist lineage gompa.
6th-Jan-2018 08:48 pm (UTC)

That makes sense now that you mention it. My level of Egyptian knowledge is "she's read a few books and thinks she knows everything," and those few books centered on the theory that the Egyptian religion was derivative of Abraham and Noah's religion, so when I think of Egyptian stuff, my thoughts go in a more Judeo-Christian direction than in a mysticism one.

Anyway, this of course leads to the follow-up question of, "Then why does only the American magic HQ look Egyptian?"
6th-Jan-2018 09:58 pm (UTC)

Ooh! Again, answerable.

Most mysticIsms - all those esoteric mystery schools etc that we’re familiar with over here- actually are Judeo Christian in origin. You’d be stunned. A lot of it is quite lovely and profound... it’s the search for a deeper walk into That-ness.

The difference between MACUSA and The Ministry Of Magic is based upon cultural differences. America is deeply rooted in the Judeo Christian which leans us towards Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry stylings, and the UK (ironically though part of the source of all that) has the more familiar magical mythology of the peoples there- Irish, Scottish, and so on, which are the whole broomsticks and cauldrons thing. It’s going to have a more rustic folklore-ish witchy Halloween feel. Alchemy is where both can touch, but UK will lean heavily into it, the USA not so much. Physical alchemy has never been our thing here.

Germany, Austria, Prague, France, and certain other regions in Europe would likely have a unique alliance-affinity towards the MACUSA and less to the Ministry though, because our side is rooted in the Hermetics which were birthed there in those European regions. I’d definitely play in that if I were crafting the ideological underpinnings of the Fantastic Beasts world.

The difference in goals and motivators are very distinct too: if they’re more historically accurate making the movies (time will tell) our passion here esoterically is very internal, reaching towards Enlightenment, the Holy Profound Oneness, and the Hogwartsy Ministry Of Magic (MOM??) side are more nature based and physical world action magic. There’s tension between both sides of that fence that would make for interesting plot flourishes if they dabbled in it.

Likely they’re going to ease back on the Americans chase after spiritual development angle, and focus on that cool looking Art Deco Egyptian look which was also trendy in his era, to not go too overt on the esoteric side of it and risk problems with the consuming public.

~On the side, I hope that we get to see more of Jacob the baker as the Fantastic Beasts series progresses, he was my favorite.~


If you’ve noticed that I hadn’t included Wicca in the American side, it’s because Wicca qualifies as a religion and was founded in England in the 50s... conveniently post Fantastic Beasts.

Edited at 2018-01-07 02:01 am (UTC)
7th-Jan-2018 01:45 am (UTC)
The first part wasn't a question. It makes perfect sense to me that most mysticism originated from Judeo-Christian sources; I just don't usually think of the two things together. Like how a lot of Japanese stuff comes from China, but I don't really think of those things together, either.

Your explanation of why MACUSA would be Egyptian-inspired and the Ministry of Magic would be Celtic-inspired makes sense, but the Ministry of Magic looks much more Greco-Roman to me than Celtic. Not to mention that all of the American wizards' spells are the same as the Brits', and those are generally Latin-inspired.

I seriously doubt that Jacob will be absent from future Fantastic Beasts films. He seemed like way too big of a character, especially with Queenie being in love with him.
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