As a performing magician with a medieval flair, I have become expert in period appropriate effects, garb and setting for various pre-1700 cultures. This includes, of course, fine separation between acceptable ‘performance magics’, and arcane practices – especially those proscribed by religious fear or superstition. Yet, when a traveling performer combined music, magic, skit and story; the impact on both audience and performer may have been magickal, allowing each to touch on mystery and knowledge beyond the edge of reason.

I use pouches to this end! For one thing, cloths in that period had no pockets, nor ready tables, nor ideal performing conditions of light and angle. Thus, as I wander from camp to camp I must be prepared for any situation – including the troublesome one in which many views have already seen some effects. I have sorted my magic paraphernalia into carrying pouches and satchels of leather and cloth – each containing a dozen possible effects to blend with story and situation. The items needed for a particular effect (not trick) are likewise contained in their own smallish pouch, bag or box for easy retrieval by touch.

A pouch for me then may serve as pocket, table, storage cabinet, organizer, ‘servant’, etc. – but for all a source of wonderment and excitement. As I reach inside, all eyes follow in expectation of miracle or surprise – none watching my other hand where the deed is done! I perform many effect with objects found at the audience table or person and have no need of the pouch at all – but its presence – its bottomless source of awe and wonder is most magickal – as if I am reaching into the depths of soul …

and perhaps I am.