One of the oldest magical practices that is known, and that occurs in most forms of shamanism, is that of atavisms.
We can describe atavism as a return to a primitive way of functioning of the brain, a way of thinking and acting that mimics the animalistic traces left by the gradual evolution from unicellular microorganisms to homo sapiens.
Atavisms can also promote the retrieval of a past or future instinct or feeling - you can feel as if you have already gained something, in order to attract the gain of that something.
Animal atavisms, which are best known in this branch of magical practices, can be awakened by dance, clothing, music or sounds.
A shaman wearing the skin of a jaguar becomes the jaguar itself, and a shaman who uses a flute mimicking the sound of a bird can fly across the astral plane. A mask makes the magician incarnate that demon, and no one can say that the two are not one. In a Yoga class, doing the dove position or asana brings the peace associated with the animal.
Likewise, various peoples throughout history have used ceremonial clothing and artistic makeup to attract aspects of a particular deity or to get desired qualities in a rite. According to the Book of Enoch, Azazel would have taught humans the power of makeup, and with that, they could become gods. Obviously, this earned him the expulsion from paradise.
In "Heterotopias", Foucault describes how some specific spaces (theaters, temples, nightclubs) create an atmosphere where the imaginary transpires to the physical plane, and where atavisms surface indistinguishably from what each individual was before incarnating such an aspect.
When the Drag Queen puts on makeup in a specific way and makes a special costume, she is wearing an atavism that is communicated to the outside public in the form of her face and her clothes and her movements.
There starts a game where the Drag Queen dresses and behaves the way she wants. The audience perceives her way of dressing and acting, transmits this perception to her as interaction, and this feeds back into the performance.
In medicine, the term coined for this change in behavior based on the clothing is “clothing cognition”.
Thus, it's clear that Drag art has great transforming power and even the potential to balance (or unbalance?) the personality.
A person who is sad can assume, even for one night, a more cheerful and outgoing persona, and feed on interactions that they would not have in their everyday life.
This experience can transfer some aspects to the “out-of-Drag” psyche, and help resolve psychic issues that were previously dormant, and that needed an incentive to start re-balancing.
Within Drag art, the epithet of atavism is shown in the practice of “Tranimal”, which comprises adopting a trans-human persona who is neither completely human nor animal. Here, there is an unconscious or even purposeful return to shamanic practices, where the priest dressed as the animal becomes the animal itself.
Even if the person doesn't know what it's like to act like a lion, his unconscious keeps this memory (whether from the lions he saw on movies and videos during his life or the remnants of a leonine brain in his cortex), and when dressed like the animal he will unconsciously get leonine qualities.
Makeup allows a person to become whoever and whatever they want. And at a drag queen party, people are willing to treat them as they wanted to look. Hercules kills the lion of Nemea and wears the lion's skin. Thus, he becomes the lion himself.
References: FOUCAULT, Michel. História da Sexualidade I: a vontade do saber; FOUCAULT, Michel. Microfísica do poder; FOUCAULT, Michel. Os anormais: curso no College de France (1974-1975); GRANT, Kenneth. O Renascer da Magia; GRANT, Kenneth. Aleister Crowley e o Deus Oculto.