What is cosplay? It is the act of dressing up and acting like a character other than your everyday self. Often, the character is a popular character from mass media such as Deadpool, Pikachu, or the Easter Bunny. This also includes creative spins on said pop culture icons such as character mash ups such as Disney princess versions of the Sailor Scouts, gender bending such as a masculine Princess Peach / feminine Maro, and such, but cosplay can also be an original character that the cosplayer made up, such as a rennessance fair persona, D&D character, or custom fur suits. Cosplay is largely done at big sci-fi based gatherings such as conventions, themed festivals, costume parties, photo shoots, and for the production oYouTube. media content such as tiktok and youtube. So what does this culture phenomenon have to do with magic and spiritual practice?
I am going to start with the concept of invocation, which is a magic technique in which a person calls in a spirit/entity to aid them in their endeavors. The most famous example of which in modern paganism being the Drawing down the Moon ritual, in which a person calls on the Goddess into themselves. The person that invoked the Goddess then goes on to dispense her wisdom, perform divinations, blessings, and other such magical works while aspecting as said goddess. What are the benefits to this technique? Well, asking a spirit, whether it be a goddess or a comicbook character to come with in you, adds a good deal of extra energy / power to the ritual and spell work.
Shape-shifting is very old magic practiced since humans started developing a spirtal life. It is the act of gaining wisdom and power of spirit by mimicking it / shifting into it. You may be familiar with the idea of working with animal spirits to gain their traits such as speed, strength, or cunning. Well, cosplay is no different, you can dress as / shift into the character and use it to gain the associated qualities. Instead of shape shifting into a bear for strength, why not Superman? Or why not Captain Picarrd instead of an owl for wisdom? The only limitation is your imagination.
Alchemy, the heart of this form of magic, is the transformation process. Most people assume it’s about turning lead into gold, and it’s not. It’s about transforming yourself from person driven by base wants into more enlightened mindset. Cosplay and Alchemy are intertwined in the creation process. It’s journey from picking / designing a character to the physical creation of the costume to working on the performance you’ll put on. You really learn a lot about yourself in the process. Glue gun burns, the fustrations of trying to put in a zipper for the first time, the quest to find the perfect shade fabric. It really is a journey that will test your patience, skill, determination, and resourcefulness, and there is growth in the process.
And if you are still not convinced that it is a powerful tool consider this, it is common practice for modern pagans to have a special ritual attire, whether it be skyclade, a special t-shirt, or fancy robes. The whole reason for doing so is because it helps them step out of their mundane lives into a spiritual mindset, thus transforming into their magical personas / characters. Cosplay can and does the exact same thing.
Ultimately, that’s what magic is all about. It is changing how you interact with the world in a way that benefits you and those around you.