What is Magic?

A Pantheacon Discussion

This discussion opened up with a deceivingly simple question: “Why bother?” Why bother to do ritual and make spells and practice this idea of magic in the first place? What do we, as human individuals get out of the experience and what do we hope to obtain from it? Always one to edge the philosophical, I found a dark humor in this questioning. Most depressives know that this can be THE question that leads us to spiral and question our existence and reality. This discussion held a lot of promise from the get-go to dig into previously held definitions and notions about how the world works and our motivations within it.

Throughout the discussion, we defined many different  terms, both in the denotative and connotative senses. It was truly an intellectual experience, and somewhat therapeutic for me personally. The gentleman leading the discussion is well known in the community for his eloquence and powerful connection to the spirit. He discussed his personal experience with the fae, his partner’s agnosticism opening him up to new perspectives and explanations, and dug into what I would like to call a spiritual psychology.

I describe it as spiritual psychology for several reasons. First and foremost would be the separation of self, much like with Freud. In this case, there is the Underworld, a place of tradition, instinct, and ancestral knowledge. There is the higher self, called the Celestial, that connects everything in existence, strives for meaning and purpose, and produces traits like forgiveness. In the center is the Ego, which above all else, want to maintain survival and control the physical world around it. How you personally define these places, their emotional energy, and how you consciously or subconsciously relate to these planes defines our personal relationship with existence. So, as we try to manipulate those inner worlds and understandings, our intention and action create inorganic change; magic.

I personal struggle with intention. I lack a fundamental trust of the worlds within and external to have my best interest at the forefront. I worry about being overly selfish, or too broad, not knowing enough before devoting myself to an idea or practice. Setting an intention is itself a practice. Make sure you know what you are asking for. Make sure you know why you are asking for it. Attend to the emotion, the expectation, the knowledge available to inform and guide you. Embrace the sensory information from the entirety of your existence, like a child, embracing things outside our conscious senses. Take responsibility, be compassionate, and see yourself in the perceived flaws of others. Knowledge then, the learning and acceptance of what is, makes us powerful. It allows us to truly know what we want, ask for it, act effectively, and be thankful for when it manifests.

What I loved most about this philosophy was that it was catered to be unique to the individual interpretation. What is important to the spiritual experience is not the how or the structure, but why you want what you want and having wisdom. Religion is a container for spirituality, a way of doing things as a community and a structure to hold yourself accountable to. And as intellectual as learning this process might be, the experience is one that is instinctual, learned through senses rather than words and choreography alone. A narrative is a construct of the ego to hold us back, where as an experience is just that. Personal truth is malleable, and changes with new sensory experiences. Finding this bend is how the speaker found his empowerment, and encouraged us to find ours. 

The truth that we fear is the very thing we need to seek. Not necessarily create a narrative, but allow new sensory information in about the process, why we fear it, and how we can grow from it. Spirituality and religious practice made humans what they are today. Our inquisitive nature and natural symbolize helped us evolve the cities and technologies that engulf the planet. It has been a relatively short evolution period for all of the constructs we have built around us. We are spiritually still drawing animals in caves and doing our best to make sense of the world around us. This process of ingenuity, empowerment, compassion and higher connection to the world around us, is the magic. Magic is the action that we experience to manifest.

Awareness of spirit, increasing sensory input to find your flexible truth, expressing need, and gratefulness. This is the practice to make your magic happen. Your truth and experience is unique to you, so practice the steps of your practice. It is a growth that reflects our inner growth, and is so powerful in allowing you to accept and demand your rights as a physical and spiritual human being.

I can only express, in my own way, my experience of Fairywolf’s words and guidance. As much fantasy is involved with the Pagan path, I feel empowered to practice this magic without expecting, say, lightning bolts from my fingertips. Metaphor and practicing intuition are things I can do every day. I can compartmentalize with the Celestial, Underworld, and Ego self. I am empowered and, in a way, have found the universe giving me permission to be my most authentic self by following these steps.

Thank You, and Blessed Be.

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