What is Magic?

In the process of writing my caravan story, I remember how easily and magically life unfolded. I have written how there were so many fortunate coincidences and manifestations that, despite myself, I had to believe there were underlying forces in play. I wrote that either “we were tuned into the future or we were creating it.” I wondered how to make sense of this and began to read Carl Gustav Jung, who introduced me to the idea of synchronicity. My sense now is that we can tune in to the patterns that are unfolding and so align with them in the best possible way. That is how tarot reading works, the cards reflect the moment.

How do we attune ourselves to these magical forces? How do we get on the same wavelength? They seemed freely available when I was travelling, whether because of the nature of the times or because I had become more available to them after leaving my designated path through university and jumping into the unknown. In recent times, I find they have grown more accessible again. Before the advent of Covid, the common belief was that the future was more or less predictable. That belief system has in many ways been shattered and, when the reality we live in is experienced as unstable, it is easier for the unseen to become manifest.

Sometimes it feels as though we are creating our reality and sometimes it feels as though reality has the reins and we are being inexorably drawn into new ways of doing things and looking at the world. Things unfold as we would like them to when there are not too many forces pulling in the opposite direction. For example, you want to buy a new dress or a pair of fancy trousers. You can run around ten shops before you find the right thing. Or you can relax before you go out, imagine exactly what you are looking for and tune in a little. You may ‘see’ the shop you need to visit, go straight there and save a lot of time. But if ten other people are after that same item you had better step on the gas.

In so many circumstances, we imagine what we want and find it as a reality in the world. Many of us have experienced that when we need a spot to park we find it much more easily when we imagine it a few minutes before we arrive. Some of us have a close relationship with our parking angel! At its simplest, it may be that the desire to find a job is followed by the act of looking for a job in the newspaper, calling the employer and getting the job. We do not ordinarily conceive of this as magic, yet how happy we are when we get the job. For a moment, we feel the magic of it.

A more subtle and esoteric way to practice magic is to find a high place or a sacred site in the physical world: the top of a hill or an empty beach. This sacred place may also be inside you. For one person it is found by sitting silently, for another in a moment of intensity or love. The art is in relaxing inwardly and becoming aware of one’s direction, one’s intention. Perhaps it is to find a beautiful home, a perfect place to live, or to find a beautiful lover. It may be to bring peace to all beings, or to bring healing to oneself or to friends.
In any case, the art of magic is twofold. One aspect is taking the practical steps. The other is to become clear on one’s intention, at once focused and relaxed, inviting it in, inviting it towards you. Seeing what is wanted and allowing it to fill you. When it appears, you know you were in tune.

There is one pitfall in this approach to life, the same one we fall into again and again. Just as we always have been, we are caught up in the wanting. When I was travelling I did not know what to want. I knew very little about life with a horse and caravan and I was certainly naive. I was not trying to manifest anything. In that innocent state, life was free to take care and it did.

But that is not the norm. Usually we want something and whatever that something is, it is bound to be something you don’t have at the moment. That is the pitfall. Once you have it, you start wanting something new. This experience is familiar to all of us. No sooner do we get the beautiful new car than we want a holiday to drive around and enjoy it, instead of all the extra work it takes to pay off the car loan.
Not only that, worse is to come. Whatever we wish for, its opposite is already implied. When we invite a beautiful lover into our lives, we risk inviting all the ties and difficulties of relationship. When we invite a wonderful new house, we also invite all the responsibilities that entails. We may limit our freedom to travel, for example. Despite our best attempts at creative visualisation, when we invite world peace we acknowledge the reality of a world at war and powers that are stronger than we are.

Transformation begins when we relax, when we are content with the moment as it is. Not that we can’t have the things we want, but we are not caught up in the wanting. We are just enjoying life as it comes, at peace with what we receive moment to moment. If you can simply be, relax and be happy, that is all there is to it. The beloved comes and everything follows. That is real magic.

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