Glamourbombing as an Intersection of Spiritual, Magical, and Artistic Practices

May 3, 2021
by  Dver

A glamourbomb ... is an anonymous act that causes people to feel brushed by the divine, the supernatural, or the realm of faerie, and plants in their minds the sense that maybe there is more to the universe than meets the eye. The purpose of glamourbombing on a larger scale is to help lift the veil of illusion that causes most people to see the world (and themselves) as limited and ordinary. Every time a sense of wonder is evoked the gates are opened and the veil is lifted just that much more. Magic flows more freely and is more accessible to all.

Livejournal Glamourbombing community profile

I stumbled upon the practice of glamourbombing independently and only later discovered there was a term and indeed entire philosophy behind it. One day, I was walking through a patch of woods that I had been forming a relationship with, and where I could feel the presence of my spirits particularly strongly, when I got the urge to leave a small object – I can’t remember what exactly, probably something like a crystal or beaded trinket, something that to my mind represented Their nature – hanging from one of the trees in a way which might go unseen by many folks but would probably catch the eye of someone observant, eventually. It wasn’t quite an offering – because I would have left an offering in a more concealed place where it wouldn’t be taken. But it wasn’t just a bit of whimsy either, intended only to delight the finder – because I had the distinct impression that, regardless of who found it or what they thought of it, the act of doing this was somehow opening a tiny crack in a doorway that would let in the breeze from the otherworld, so to speak.

A form of poetic terrorism, glamourbombing involves acts of random beauty, magic or wonder whose purpose is to raise ambient levels of glamour in the area; glamour being the unique magic of the fae. A glamourbomb is any public act or work that aims to inspire genuine curiosity and childlike befuddlement, a change of thought process, belief in magic, belief in the fae, and/or a sense of wonder in the recipient.

Urban Dictionary

Over the years, I incorporated these small acts of door-opening all over my city as well as in many of the special places I travelled to. Most of the time I was acting on behalf of my particular group of spirits, in one of the many manifestations of my primary job, which is to provide Them access to our world. But sometimes I would just get a strong intuition to leave a particular object in a particular place. Or I would get the sense that leaving an offering in the open somewhere would serve a double function as both offering to the god intended, and meaningful message to the person who stumbled upon it. I began carrying small all-purpose glamourbombs with me all the time just in case an opportunity presented itself. (My current favorite is to write cryptic messages on polaroid photos I’ve taken.) And occasionally I would make much more elaborate pieces tailor made for a certain time, place and/or purpose.

Glamourbombing is a term for a magical practice originating in the otherkin community which attempts to convince sleeping humans of the reality of magic, the supernatural, the divine, faerie, and similar subjects and in so doing weaken The Veil which separates this world from other worlds and prevents physical magic from working here. The term and general concept originated on the Darkfae-L mailing list sometime in or around 1997 and was in part inspired by Hakim Bey's essay on Poetic Terrorism.

An Other Wiki

Eventually I came across the term “glamourbomb” and found entire communities of people online devoted to these little magical acts. Some of them were relatively shallow and way too cutesy for me – lots of glitter and tiny fairy wings and things of that nature, and left with the intention of merely adding a bit of whimsy to the mundane world, making a stranger smile and wonder a little. Nothing wrong with that of course, but I was sure that it could be much more. That it could have real, magical results, both for myself, for the viewer, and for the spirits Themselves. Apparently I was not alone in this. There were indeed others out there taking this very seriously.

Glamourbombing was, at heart, an idealist who wanted to believe that if mankind could be convinced of the reality of magic, of glamour, that it would help to breach the veil between worlds. To this end she left glitter-encrusted messages for the mundanes touting that their wings were real.…The one thing she didn’t try very often? Magic. But now, rising from the ashes of the old, we find a new glamourbombing taking her place. One no longer afraid of the power of magic, nor afraid to wield it. This glamourbombing is a true creature of Dream. A will-worker. A weaver of wonders. The tools of this new glamourbombing have changed as well. Glitter has been set aside in favor of the simple tools of chalk and marker. And sites are tagged not with cheap inspirational phrases but with empowered sigils. Sigils to link them together in a network of magic. Sigils to invoke spirits, angels, gods and demons. Sigils to stich the physical and the astral together like Peter Pan and his Shadow. Sigils to infect the mind, or to warp reality itself. This new glamourbombing creates fresh variations on prayer wheels, using them to spread fey energies and create new thin places. She attunes others to otherworldly energies and condenses such energies into objects of power. She invokes the otherworlds themselves, calling them into alignment with our own.

The Death and Rebirth of Glamourbombing

Now, one can make a glamourbomb out of anything – as in the quote above, it can be as simple as a chalked symbol. But obviously there is also a lot of potential for artistic creation as well. And with that comes certain benefits to the artist that I think are not only important from a personal development perspective but especially so for someone attempting to use their art solely or primarily as a spiritual practice. The first thing I discovered was that making a piece of art with the intention of leaving it out as a glamourbomb immediately helped me to loosen up in my process. It did not have to be perfect. It did not have to be camera-ready. I did not have to hold up to careful scrutiny. It did not have to last forever. In fact, it was deliberately ephemeral. When you leave a piece of art hanging from a tree or propped up in an alley, it may not even survive to be seen by a single person. It may be destroyed by the weather or thrown out. And if someone does find it and feels drawn to it, they may remove it and be the only ones who ever saw it. You can’t control the audience, or even ensure there will be one – at least, not a human one. And whatever happens, you won’t know about it. You’ll never know how many, if any, people saw it, or appreciated it. You won’t receive any feedback or validation the way you would if it hung in a gallery or was posted on Instagram. (I only take photos of some of my most special glamourbomb art, and then only for my own records; I never share them publicly, as that would take away from the magical impact.) In that way, it becomes a very pure act. Art for art, art for the spirits, art for the world, but not art for your ego. 

We are simply conduits for this kind of magic. The artifacts we leave in the enactment of a glamourbomb are gifts from the realm of faerie, and are as ephemeral as a sandcastle. They don't have to last or be recorded. We shouldn't be perceived as an actor in this spell. It isn't about ego. It's all about effect. Usually, the most effective glamourbombs are anonymous and often we don't even stick around to observe reactions... One must be ubiquitous but unseen…. It's also not about convincing people that the glamourbomber is magical. It's about causing others to think *they* have just experienced something magical. The underlying point is to reconnect ourselves and others to the parallel realm of existence (also known as faerie) that is fluid and transformative. It's all about the magic.”

Livejournal Glamourbombing community profile

Glamourbombing also provides a way to make art that is deeply and intrinsically spiritual, not only tied to your own gods and spirits but the spiritual landscape you inhabit, and the spiritual lives of the people within it, whatever form that may take. As in the movement called Land Art, you can utilize and engage with elements of the site, even (perhaps especially) an urban one. At its simplest this might involve drawing chalk doorways on the wall of an alley. Or painting eyes on the stones along a park path. I once left a technicolored shamanic headdress adorning the statue of a famous counterculture figure in my city. You can respond to the tangible world, and transform it at the same time.

Often, other forms of spiritual expression and activity can be mixed with glamourbombing; there’s no reason things can’t have more than one purpose or result. You can leave offerings or even build shrines in at least semi-public places which also function to open the minds of passersby, as long as you (and the gods involved) accept that the items might be destroyed or taken. You can also perform a sort of divination at a distance – as someone with a longstanding and significant oracular practice, I have taken to leaving some glamourbombs out as deliberate oracles for whoever finds them. I not only create them in an altered state of consciousness, in order to channel the correct words or symbolism, but also choose where and when to deposit them while in an open state, so that I can best become a tool for whatever gods or spirits might wish to deliver a message.

Of course, I almost never know if those messages have reached the right recipient, or if my art has opened the right mind, but that demands a certain trust in my divine accomplices as well as in my own abilities, which I think has strengthened me as a spirit-worker and an artist. (Though occasionally there is a visible response. Once I tacked a postcard written in code to a phone pole, and the next week found a new postcard there with a return message written in a different code which took me an hour to decipher. It was fantastic!)

The weirder consensus reality gets, the more possible implausible things become, which has the added side effect of making magical acts tend to work better because fewer people believe that it’s utter rubbish. It’s a neat idea, and directly ties into chaos magic notions of belief as power: the more people believer or are willing to believe in something, the more that thing is realized….Glamourbombing, by leaving around bits and pieces of magic around the place where they can come in ready and blatant contact with people that jars them out of their normal routine, can shake things up just enough to get a foot in the door and make the world a weirder, if not more magical, place. I mean, half of the occult is art, anyway, and much of art is symbolic enough to be magical as it is without any occult ritual; it’s not hard to slide in a glamourbomb into a public space or the public mind.”

The Digital Ambler

A glamourbomb can serve so many purposes, sometimes all at once. It can be a sacrifice – like when I make a piece I particularly love and feel attached to, and yet relinquish it anyway in order to open the door for Them. It can be the end of life for a piece – for instance, something I made and kept and which had meaning but no longer reflects my understanding of the forces involved, and so finds a final use as perhaps the gateway for someone else’s understanding. It can be a creative and radically magical way to participate in the life of my community. It can knock me out of the artistic doldrums or get me out of my head when I’m too focused on my ego. It can be a way to meditate on death and the ephemerality of everything, and practice letting go. It can honor my gods and serve my spirits. It can create sacred space and enhance liminal places. It can be a sign for someone who might really need one.

After a decade, this practice has interwoven my spiritual, magical and artistic worlds so tightly that I can no longer delineate the boundaries between them, and that’s exactly how I think it should be.