M is for… Magic

I don’t believe in it.

I sort of believe in it.

Sometimes I practice it, but I lean strongly towards psychological explanations, and that affects the kinds of magic which I do.

I once heard a story about a women who advertised their local pagan group with the catchphrase “get rich, get laid, get back, join [us]”.

Perhaps it’s just that I know I don’t really want any of those things (well, I wouldn’t mind getting laid, but I’d rather be loved), but I don’t think that’s what magic is for. Later, when I heard that woman talk about her ethics, I decided never to speak to her again. I don’t need that kind of attitude in my life.

To me, magical workings are the outwards forms of things which are happening anyway, inwardly. Just as formal membership of the Religious Society of Friends is simply the outward acknowledgement of a fact which would be otherwise invisible but no less factual – I am a Quaker – so a ritual act of magic uses symbols, drama, and outward action to ‘demonstrate’ what is happening spiritually. In my first semester at university, I collected a conker every Thursday morning on my way to lectures. The first week it was just a whim, because I walked past the tree and saw one there, shining. By the end of term, when they were lined up on my windowsill as I sat revising, they were a tangible symbol of the knowledge I had gathered, and I found their presence very supportive.

I think that a lot of the best magic happens, like that, by accident.

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