Dark Academia Teaching Mood

Today’s October teaching mood: Dark Academia! (Which it turns out is a whole TikTok subculture…)

Including a Pratchett-witches-themed pendant, made by Laurie Toby Edison. That’s an ‘egg’ in that shamble…


A shamble (also called a shambles) is a handmade device used by witches to detect or amplify magic. It can even be used for protection or to send a spell. The device itself is not magical. Shambles are like spectacles, they help you see, but don’t see for you. A conversant witch can assemble a shamble in a matter of seconds using stuff like strings, twigs, leaves, feathers, beads, coloured paper, an egg or even a beetle. The whole thing looks like a “cat’s cradle”, or some sort of nest made of rubbish. The ingredients are not really important, although the centre should contain a live ingredient (e.g. an egg or a beetle.

The magic lies in its assembly and use, which is to catch the moment. “The way you tie the knots,” said Miss Level, who was a Research Witch, “the way the string runs – the freshness of the egg, perhaps, and the moisture in the air – the tension of the twigs and the kind of things that you just happen to have in your pocket at that moment – even the way the wind is blowing. All these things make a kind of… of picture of the here-and-now when you move them right.”


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