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There is a tendency within us all to make sense of our world and our place in it. This urge to explain things however, can sometimes prevent us from perceiving the truth, particularly when we don't have all the information. And despite our growing power to explain the world, there is still much that occurs in our lives and in the world around us, that is beyond explanation. Sometimes that which is beyond explanation has a powerful ability to profoundly touch us and to inspire us to seek more in our own lives. We call this magic...

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It's Magic Time (November 1998)
October 31st, in much of the Western World Halloween is celebrated as a time of magic. Perhaps though, an openness to magic should be a normal part of daily life.

It's Magic Time (November 1998)

October 31st, in much of the Western World Halloween is celebrated as a time of magic. Perhaps though, an openness to magic should be a normal part of daily life.

With the arrival of Halloween, once again images of ghosts, witches and goblins are thrust before us whichever way we turn. And with the imagery of witches our attention is also turned to all that is associated with the role of the witch; spells, rituals and magic. Interestingly the coming of Halloween tends to highlight the place that magic has been relegated to in conservative society. Essentially magic has become the domain of the trickster, banished to the realms of myth and every October 31st, to reside alongside the frivolous indulgence in images of fear and horror. Children are encouraged to join in the fantasy and to make the same fearful associations for the sake of the fun of the event. It is certainly no time to lose our sense of humor over this, considering that despite its serious origins in early seasonal rituals, Halloween has essentially become a bit of harmless fun and a ready excuse to have a party. However it is interesting to note the perception of magic in the eyes of popular society and to examine the somewhat deeper fear of the existence of magic in a modern world.

In a historical sense magic used to be more common place and much more accepted as a normal part of daily life. In fact, it could be supposed that it was more common because it was more accepted, nevertheless history supports the belief in and the acknowledgment of magic and of things magical from the earliest beginnings. It is supposed in today's terms that people in historical times probably believed in magic because they were more superstitious due to the absence or limitation of scientific knowledge. But is this really the case or did people of earlier times have an advantage in that they were less likely to refute the existence of magic, the absence of science or not, and therefore lived richer and more fulfilling spiritual lives?

Generally in society today magic is considered to be falsehood, either performed by an illusionist or magician or its existence goes unacknowledged due to the agreed acceptance of science as a basis for interpreting the world. We cannot for a moment dismiss the scientific evidence where it is valid, it would be foolish to deny the scientific facts that currently define our world; the earth is undoubtedly spherical, slightly pear-shaped in actual fact and it orbits the sun. However, science can only comment on or prove what it can perceive and measure and generally what it can repeat.

Within the realms of everyday life all manner of experiences, events and occurrences take place that are perceived by individuals and sometimes even groups of people that are beyond explanation and beyond repeating but that bring mystery and wonderment to the lives of those who witness them. The kind of magic that describes the unexplained, sometimes deeply personal, sometimes more literal in its manifestation, magic is much maligned in our modern world and because of its reputation its inspirational qualities fail to have impact. There's nothing like a mystery to capture our imagination. In fact many great discoveries can be attributed to the power of mystery and the desire to understand it. It is this sense of mystery inherent in magical occurrences that is at the heart of magic's ability to inspire and indeed in its use a tool for advancement.

It is important to distinguish magic from its popular misinterpretation, superstition. Early man may well have regarded fire as some kind of magic or god, an example of simple ignorance. Superstition differs from magic in that its very definition determines that ignorance and irrationality are prime components and in some sense seeks an explanation, even if only implied. Magic however, is distinct from superstition because it does not seek to explain itself, rather it just is. The perception or awareness of magic demands that the individual seek not to explain what occurs but indeed simply remains open to any possibility. Logically this is the only way to truly perceive the world. Science will readily admit it cannot explain everything. For the scientifically minded, regarding the world through the eyes of certainty, defies the very science it professes to uphold. To be truly scientific is to be open to any possibility, a fact that few people in common usage seem to equate with what it is to be scientific. It is more commonly imagined that to be scientific is to explain our world in terms of certainty or in terms that we know of and to dismiss what cannot be explained or that which has no apparent reason for existence.

Perhaps it would be arrogant to imagine that we can explain our world in our own terms and to imagine that the world must really be as it appears to be. In the time of Hippocrates for example, it was thought that the veins carried air around the body to the brain and limbs. Obviously, later research proved this to be untrue. And thankfully it did. Imagine the volume of ancient knowledge that has been revised by the advancement of the growing ability of science to perceive and understand what occurs in the world and in the body. Perhaps scientific and medical reality would have been considered to be equally as preposterous to ancient scientists as the possible explanation of much of what is currently unexplained today appears to modern practitioners. But then, what is scientific and medical reality? Which brings us back to magic.

Magic defies our perception of reality. Magic exists as long as we are able to perceive it, it exists independent of an explanation or even perhaps a perceived reason for existing and most significantly magic exists when it impacts on us. No impact, no magic. The nature of this magic is such that its immensity is so imposing it cannot be denied but the acknowledgment of it so subtle that it may easily be ignored. Indeed such is the nature of much of life. But also in the way of life, for the individual who is open to it the rewards are infinite. The individual does this not by believing in magic, for belief has no merit, but by a genuine expectation that all is not as it can seem to be. The presence of magic in the individual's life signifies the acknowledgment that life holds much more than one can know and understand. Such an implication opens doors that knowing keeps firmly closed and it is this spirit of true openness that an awareness of things magical both endorses and propagates.

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