We belong to the universe. It has a vast story that encompasses every living process and every non-living one. They are all part of the strong undying spell, and they are, and we are, all connected through historical and everyday magic. We are bound by polar forces, and yet free to move.
Through science and religion we seek answers and have found much that makes the world bright and beautiful, and yet sciences and religions barely scratch at the surfaces of the depths of our existence in the great weave of all things, and in the depths of time and space, and as we drill and dig and play with molecules and genes, as we release energy without balancing our books, as we sometimes treat each other as criminals rather than friends, as we lay waste without care, as we look at the heavens and sigh at the beauty and wonder of the messengers who have brought us great Words, and then turn and shoot each other for not sharing our realities, we walk out onto the branch that is our part of the tree of life and a true, but tentative part of the world, and hold our hands out in rapture saying, "Look how incredible we are!" and all the while we walk there are cracking sounds beneath us. We continue to split and branch outward at breakneck speed rather than slowing, and strengthening ourselves with improvement and good intent towards one another and a redefined, reinvigorated concept of what our purpose is. We should retrofit ourselves closer to the powerful trunk of our great tree of life, rooted in the earth and all things, and in all knowledge, and closer to its heart, so that together we will always be able to support the weight of our own process. Instead we always wait until great branches collapse and then try to recover.
Science is the struggle to understand magic. Nothing--not one thing--science has ever explained changes natural magic into anything but the observable--it is still magic. At its core science is plagiarism. By "discovering" things we then lay claim to them as if they are ours, but they don't belong to us--never did, and they never will. Being magical creatures ourselves, we CAN learn to use the power of the magic in the world around us, but we must follow the rules of balance, and we have largely forgotten. Balance is the default apex of any universal system. It is polarity, and even if the system eventually fails in its greater purpose or collides with another, the energies move from there on into some other dynamic. They don't just disappear, although they may seem to, or seem to become negligible. What is the purpose of science, though, if it fails to create balance in the most important (to us) system of all--the human one? Birds don't care for explanations; fish don't; starving children don't; does anyone, if failure is still the trajectory? Science helps us because it feeds threads of truth into the fabric of our reality, but it is largely self-absorbed. It doesn't give us all the answers as to what measure of reality we will weave with them or whether, in the end, we will adapt our reality to conveniently fit our blissful imaginings, instead of actually adjusting our comfort levels to fit the truths we are discovering. Other ideas it sells outright. Science envisions a truth that is somewhat in focus so that both the danger and the wonder which surrounds us becomes apparent, but only incrementally enough for us to not really want to change. Science is famous for warning us of dangers which we studiously ignore. Danger is part of the strong undying spell of the universe, creation, destruction, and all life. We even assign faces to it. Danger doesn't WANT to harm us, unless it is created directly by us or some other conscious creature, but we allow it to evolve and grow its chances until it DOES harm us, and we allow ourselves to grow and spread until we can't get out of its way. In effect we ask for cataclysm in order to judge whether we are worthy to survive it--because we think preemptive change would be harder.
Religion is our quest to understand magic. It has never changed magic into anything but faith in the non-observable--the origin of all magic and our spiritual consciousness and connection to it. Being magical creatures ourselves, we CAN learn to have faith in powers greater than ourselves, but we must follow the rules of balance set forth by the world, and we have largely forgotten. We have forgotten--in the face of pride in our messengers, who are, were, and always will be part of the strong undying spell--that if one system fails, the energies move into some other dynamic. No god is created or destroyed, we only readapt our interpretations over thousands of years, and the messengers are created and guided by the universal magic of their spiritual visions. It has always been this way and will always continue to be this way. Time waits for no one's interpretation to become valid. The messenger is not god, god is within the message, and always, always has been. All of god, all of the gods, are part of the fabric, the magic, polarity, and divinity which we feel in our hearts, and is as real as our own name, and we see it all around us, and throughout the universe, and describe it in our great number of ways. Religious realities may try to break from truth at any moment when human change or revolution is deemed necessary, but they are always reabsorbed at a later time by the spell, whether in a hundred years or a hundred thousand. It is happening all around us all of the time. God is universal--our concepts are not.
We amaze ourselves with our scientific knowledge and our religious enlightenment, and yet every time we envision the ideal world we forget to include someone, or something, or we deliberately don't because we are tribal at our cores. We forget to look back far enough or forward far enough to find our connections to one another rather than our separations, and can think only in terms of dozens or hundreds or maybe thousands of people. We can't really conceptualise more than that. We can say the names of the numbers, we can call each other brother and sister, but we could never remember such a large number of peoples' names in order to greet them and share a meal, so we don't, and since we don't, we believe them to be separate from us. Yet we belong to a timeline and an order of magnitude of BILLIONS and the universe holds far more voluminous figures. Could we remember the names of all those stars and planets and moons? No we can't, so we let god do it for us, and, my friends, remember this: WE belong to the universe--IT IS NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND! That simple, impossible, arrogant mistake often dooms us to the grave of the avaricious, the narcissistic. Its ramification isn't hell in the afterlife, it is hell NOW, for hundreds of thousands who suffer alienation on their own planet, and forevermore those who live within our plight are damned by our collective ignorance, bickering and slinging missiles at one another, because we can't recognise that we are so infinitesimal that we could disappear so easily in another few breaths, and don't know how to be humble in the scheme of things. We inflate our egos to think that each of us is a giant, whether we all understand faith or science, whether we choose to focus on it or we don't. Until then we are all drawn into this meaningless fight over words, not the grace of our intermediary place within the pattern of all things. We are all perfectly placed and yet--we are at war(!?) We forget our place.
I am with those who say, "Please, just leave us alone--we all have our own view." But there are suffering souls all around us as we blissfully graze at our stolen and coerced goods, and we think if we are strong, we dominate, and we think that in domination we are closer to god, and then we kill each other over those beliefs. It is astonishing that we can twist beauty, light and the wonder and knowledge and the magic of all things into such ignorance, hatred and death. If we don't recognize ourselves doing that then we are doomed to repeat this behaviour forever. Why is it so hard to agree that faith is amazing no matter from what angle we approach it, ESPECIALLY, especially if we include everyone's point of view. We just have to be willing to understand how OUR view fits with everyone else's--and it does. That is the only reason I call attention to it, and many will be relieved to know I am about done. I am not so special that I think I can be the one to fix us. I can only tell what I know.
Gross generalisations aside (and I admit those as well as that I am simplifying), I think we can all see the degrees to which this is the reality for many, and even if we ourselves are part of the solution rather than the problems, MOST people are not, and go about their daily plunder of the world with multi-institutional leave to do so, tipping the scales towards eventual chaos and a weakening of our heretofore strong and integrated focus and purpose, a dimming of the colour of our potential patterns within the the tapestry of the world either heedlessly or on purpose, as we spread ourselves too thickly and our resources and spiritual connections to the world and beyond too thin. By weakening the weave of the world around us, the part that is our very own loses cohesion. This is polar energy at work whether there is any intention or guidance or not.
We are guided by all of the beauty that the world has ever had to offer and still does, yet we so often fall far below our potential because we don't recognize the magic around us when we see it. What is more beautiful than life? Look at the variation and amazing style of the creatures around you. Can you see the wonder of all creation and evolution within them? What is more intricate and wonderful than nature? What is more artistic and amazing than what we, our natural selves, can create with our hands and minds if we do it within the realm of both fantasy AND reason? We can create the seven wonders of the world and many more besides if we use our spiritual wills in conjunction with our technical ones. Why must we always look for a signature as if by some cosmic graffiti artist? "God was here," or "Math made this," or "Descartes thinks, therefore..." Magic isn't just some kind of witchcraft, it is proof of everything. Magic IS, and we ARE because of it, and we can do the things we do because of it. And we can believe what we believe because of it. It is our gift, but it belongs to everything, not just us, and certainly not to one person. Science has no claim, and neither does religion. Do you think god/nature/the universe(s) cares if we guess intentions or even try to document them? Do you think all of creation wags its tail like a puppy when we pat it on the head? No, it doesn't. But we DO feel something bright (and dark) in our hearts when we are close to being centered with all things, and recognize it when it happens, and religion can do that by focusing our attention, and so can science, and they are both our attempt at following the threads of magic back to their divine origins, as is this, philosophy.
Everything is a part of the order of magic, creation of mass and energy, molecular binding, chemical reaction, conception--human and otherwise, spiritual awakening, scientific discovery, art--there is nothing that isn't some form of magic, and even if we sit down and document each part as it happens, in multifaceted detail, with diagrams and charts and formulae and symbols, we KNOW we can never explain it all, all of the Hows or the Whys--it is too great. We only see a few dimensions. The magics are too varied and far-reaching for us to ever claim to hold. Surely we can try, and maybe should, but let's be reasonable about it: all it takes is to keep an open mind as we travel outwards into the exploration of things and we consistently fail at that. FAIL. Constantly. It is magic that lets you read this, magic that you are cognizant, magic that for a moment in time I MIGHT not be slaughtered for saying these words because I had a vision of a beautiful scene, and we were ALL part of it, ALL of us. All beings and all of the far reaches of the universe are happening in wonderful symmetry right now. YOUR conceptualisation just noticed that your existence is larger than that for which you usually give it daily credit. That is all I am asking. Your beliefs are your own, but the tapestry is larger than each of us and its magnitude is so far beyond the thoughts and actions, however miraculous, of one man in time that it is proof of our incapacity to understand. ALL of the consciousness of EVERY human being in space and time has not plumbed the depths of the magic of the universe, but we are each and all of us, along with every living being and process, part of its fabric.
There is danger, you feel it in your heart. You fear change. You fear magic, but it has always been there in everything we have done from the birth of our being. It is only because we attach fear to the unknown that it frightens us, and because western society and sometimes eastern makes magic a dirty word, associated with witchcraft, because religion converts everything magic into god, and makes it seem as if those outside religion are sorcerers rather than people who simply understand the spiritual energy in all things as well as they do, possibly better, but don't need to filter it through a human figurehead. Magic is in everything we DO know, so it is as much our own as our part in the universe can be. It is also ALL that we can't even begin to claim and yet which we do. We do try. Do you want to go into each and every process? The history of language and thought? The evolution of our bodies and brains? The history of freedom of speech and how it is a threat to INequality? How humankind is indisputably intertwined with spirituality? The politics of independence? Theology and physics? Systems of ecology? Quantum theory and the probability of time travel? You name it and we can take magic to the nth power, and still it operates within us and without us in ways that we can never hope to really know the reasons for. But we are on a quest, and these quests do not stop, they do not stop evolving, they cannot be contained in a book or a book of books or a string of supercomputers, and yet that doesn't preclude attempts at knowledge or faith. That is why science and religion are more alike than different.
Fairy tale magic is with us for a reason. These tales are bred in stories that come from as far back as the CAVES during the icy years and beyond. We were not imbecilic and mute then, or at least not any more so than some of us are today, and we were facing great challenges: ice ages, climate swings, giant bears and dire wolves and the biggest saber-fanged cats. BOO!!! Taken as a whole, each in their own time and at the same deliberate speeds at which epochs unfold today we rolled with the changes--there was no mad rush, but life was hard. There was ample subject matter, and ample time by flickering firelight as wind and snow howled, and under rain-washed shelters, and in bright sunlit glades for fertile mother figures and great hunter/warrior heroes, and tales of magical energies imbuing them with super-human strength and preternatural senses and creative abilities with which we could identify. We STILL do that. Talk to a hunter today and you will see the origins of what are destined to be great family and watering-hole tales. If there is anything universal about humans, it is our propensity for a story and for fodder for our imaginations--in fact, no religion IS one without that propensity--it is as divine as our own origin in the world and full of mighty heroes and magical feats. These are not new. They are special, but every tale of magnitude is, and we are not beholden to any one of them unless you want to live in a smaller world than you are capable of. It is not unusual that we worship the tale AND the story-teller--there is still magic there, but it is far, far, far older than we generally give credit to the world for--What children we are, but we always will be children, and love our tales and see the magic and wonder in them, because they reflect our magical and fantastic world, and our great feats within it. We know that we were using magic consciously then, because it is on the cave walls. Caves figure in some of the great religions don't they? Inhabited by angels, and places of resurrection, these are not new places for magic and imagination. And before that we were in the WOODLANDS, and fire lit our dance-halls, and we acted out our tales as well as told them, and before that the GRASSLANDS and fire and drums were there, too, and flames were our friend and worst enemy, and before that the tops of the TREES, where we sang the dreams of the days. In your heart and deepest memories you are there. Our stories come from everywhere we have truly LIVED, from the beginnings of language, and together far outstrip in time and depth anything in the last couple of thousand years by being woven within our fabric and our deepest limbic memory, they are THERE in time and we know it, because we feel we have ALWAYS been part of the world from the beginnings of our consciousness.
Our knowledge of this will never be perfect or completely accurate, but we can follow back in time the bread crumbs of art, language, physical remains, and our deep, deep, inner resonances of collective consciousness. There are natural wonders throughout the world, in every country, the sight of which make our recent forays into world politics and religion look as though we are still rubbing sticks together to make fire. Some of us still are. We haven't become trapped by wires and walls. We can look into an animal's eyes and see a life before we even evolved, a glance a few million years old. There are substances which alter consciousness enough that we realize we have had our own eyes closed for thousands of years. Consider drums. They tap a spiritual rhythm that we know better than we know god and this barely crosses our minds. Sit in front of a fire, and smell its tang and acrid warm comfort. It takes us back in time past the deserts so fast our heads nearly spin. Not one prophet DIDN'T stare into a fire and muse and realize the spirit in all things, and that we are one of the most magical creatures ever to live. No wonder they saw the light! All the secrets of the world are right there, and we have only to look into the smoke and flames. They call forth the dreamtime of our entire human lifespan. Species who came BEFORE us were using fire--that is how deep our familiarity, and it is magical energy found throughout the universe and our sun pours it through our windows every day, and the trees soak it up and they release its stored magic when we release their souls. Too metaphysical? Sure we can explain it physically, or sure we can mythologise and tell tales of Prometheus, but can we explain how we FEEL about fire? It is part of us and part of the cycle of our being. It is at the other end of your heating ducts, but you had forgotten it.
These things are tied into the collective memory of living things that we are free to tap into at any moment of any day. We do, and we don't even know we are doing it, that is how far away from magic we have let ourselves get--are there houseplants in your house? Pets? Heating and air-conditioning? Electricity? TV? Internet? ALL are a direct result of our ability to harness magic. But mostly we don't think about it, because we have trained our realities away from universal thought into individual ones, into small monetary circles and cycles of labor and pay, and as we have become myriad, we choose to turn our spiritual consciousnesses over to others to hold in trust. How well are they doing?
Cinderella predates Jesus by a good five hundred years that we know of. Before there was law there was taboo, and there were cautionary tales and little people overcoming great odds. WE SEE THAT WE ARE THOSE PEOPLE and we do walk with gods and faeries and prophets and fire. Yes we do. EVERY civilisation has been built on these stories. EVERY religion pours out of them. These are the tales we carry in the depths of our hearts, great gods and goddesses form out of their aethers and shine in the nights and dark winters and wars and famines and rein in demons and then sink back into the mists of forests and mountain dales and time only to rise again as spirits and saints and Santa Claus and that is why we still see faerie creatures in the woods, and can recognize them, and love tales of warriors and adventurers, and spirit creatures with fangs in dark forests and dark hallways, and the reanimated dead. These are STILL cautionary tales:
"Let's split up and search the creepy old house for that awful noise we just heard. We can cover more ground that way," say the horror movie teens or twenty-somethings about to meet the monster. "NO TEENS, DON'T SPLIT UP!!" we say, but they do, and most of them die, one by one, but in watching, there is a small part of us that is preparing for a day when WE should have to meet a bogie man, and our mind is gauging our own reactions and formulating a plan. So these modern, REinvented tales are important too, and based on the earlier ones--because LIFE is never reinvented in a sudden revelation except on an individual level, and even then the full measure may take years of preparatory development before the soil of our consciousness is READY for that spark, that seed of understanding or that epiphany, and if we never look for it, or give away our will, we will probably never see it. Life goes on in cycle with our own stories about life, and our own energies within it, and in cycle with our spirits, our bodies, our discoveries. Life IS our fabric of consciousness. We are often tempted to look at separate parts, but they are all us, and we are all part of a larger picture of magic--all day.
Nothing suddenly stops or starts in some great revelation anywhere in history EXCEPT our own individual enlightenment, except when ONE person, by trying or by chance, tunes in to that great channel of the tapestry's music being made on the loom of the universe and finally understands. When we hear or see or otherwise sense something that changes us, in some epiphany, even that is woven from what came before and is incorporated into what comes after. In that moment time seems to stand still and our inner consciousness stretches out in all directions, through time and into the heart of the sun and beyond, and in that moment we know we are ONE with all things, great and small, good and bad, old and new, living and inanimate, past and future, on Earth and in the heavens and by that we are granted knowledge that WE are part of all things. It only SEEMS like some great thing has suddenly happened. In truth, we are ALWAYS one with the universe, and what many call God, Magic, Nature, The Spell, is the energy of which we are part. Something beautiful does happen, to be sure, a new bright pattern of our consciousness, a surprising and delicate texture, a new thread of the tale begins with our personal discovery, but it is NOT separate from the overall weave of human invention and then forgetfulness, it is NOT a new garment unless someone takes a scissors to the fabric and tries to cut out a garment and then tries to claim that garment as their own. So be it, but already the tapestry begins to heal itself as others take up the threads, the old ones, the strong ones, the weavers whose thread is spun directly from the earth. Sometimes it only takes someone to remind us in a story that ALL spirituality in ALL stories comes from our human interweaving with the Strong Undying Spell of the ages. That is the wonder of all things, part of which we have carried with us, in never-ending time in a folded and unfolded tapestry of tales that remind us who we are, always now, always then, and who we always will be. All stories are bright tales within its rich textures and colours. Even language is a vagrant tale among us yet firmly welcome, if often distracting. It is imperative to realize that this same tapestry we carry with us ALL things are a part of, even water and stone and sunlight and air, and NO tale is separate from another, but has a character, or setting, or theme, or pattern, or weave, or SOME thread which flows into another part of another tale and is part of the whole. WE ONLY WEAVE OUR OWN PARTS, the rest is woven in the way that life does and which stitches we can never completely learn. It is as large as the mega-universe, and as small as nothing we can see.
In these times we suffer from the Disneyfication of all of our old stories, and that's ok. They are still imbued with the magic inherent in their construction and their history if not their utter gravity, as well as that imbued by today's storytellers, like Walter Disney himself, but we adults must remember the seriousness behind them, the darker days when these morality plays inspired fear in all of us as well as hope. Why? Because a misstep now can still mean life or death. They are, in part, meant to be warnings. We don't HAVE to believe word for word the miracles of transformation that the characters undergo. After all we are talking about magic. It can be science, or faith, or mystery as long as we recognize it as something comprehensible. Transformation is a metaphor for the transformations of thinking we ourselves must undergo daily that have gotten us through all our countless struggles. That is why we can have faith in their meanings. But who is the interpreter--the storyteller or the audience? It is both, and the beauty of art and the purpose of illusion from time immemorial is that it mirrors the wonder and magic in our hearts--both artist and viewer. It is a ritual in and of itself. On another hand when you try to lock illusion down or standardize it, you damage its power to be universally appealing, and therefore dilute it. I don't mean that art doesn't capture the magic in the world and in our imaginations--it does exactly that--I mean that when we try to standardise a tale it loses something, and so we shouldn't. The variety of art is as beautiful as the people who make it. The story SHOULD change with the artist or storyteller or it becomes static and brittle. Even Ancient Egyptian art, famous for its static stylisation of artistic forms faded over time, and at what loss during that time to the public was art reserved for divine kings? We'll never really know. Spirituality is NOT politics, although the two may be woven around each other. Dangerously, as we surely have seen, everywhere they are intertwined corruption is there too, everywhere the two smile and shake hands abuse is not far behind. Spirituality is ONLY between an individual and magic, or on occasion, even more power can be felt by believing together, and so some stories DO become favourites, and some artwork IS more popular, but the variety and evolution of style tells a greater tale of undominated human spirit than ANY religion or political appropriation of art and thinking and freedom EVER has. And the spirituality and magic in living continue to walk with us and guide our hands when we draw, paint, sculpt, fashion our world and weave words into stories. Nothing is stronger and no tower or tome has ever reached the heights of our very own deep connections to the spirit of magic in all things for all creatures everywhere. It is a pipe-dream to think it ever will. Magic is not contained by any being nor any idea a human has ever had. It is free throughout the universe.
If we involve the two, spiritual, magical tales and politics, and begin to MANDATE collective belief, then it is vital to understand the dual nature of magic. It is polar in its operation. Because there is as much potential for dark magic in all of us as light, and because we are PERSONALLY responsible for our own relationship with it, ironically there is as much danger in our brightest ideologies being subverted as in our being mugged when walking down the street. It may seem unlikely, but every day it happens to SOMEBODY, and at its worst subversion occurs to millions of people at a time with DIRECT slavery a result. This is why I talk. This is the nature of shaman, and this is the danger to the tribe.
Politics craves power, and if group spirituality generates power then of course politics will try to subvert that feeling of power into its own, and enfold the power of numbers who share that feeling for its own purposes. Politics and power are not to be trusted. LOOK TO YOUR OWN and you will find that corruption. It CAN'T NOT be there. Politics and power are the polar opposite of free will and spiritual oneness with magic. They bind together so suddenly that anything that is not for them becomes polarized against them just like a magnet draws or repulses. Even in democracy all sides will court the same group spirituality for opposing purposes. It thinks it has to, but if spirituality operates as an organization, instead of as each individual's free will, then the entire thing can become corrupted and diseased by the lure of power which ALWAYS dominates the weak, ALWAYS tries to subvert the strong towards some polarizing force or political ideal, just as politics can become corrupted in the other direction and diseased by the lure of spiritual power. A regime which controls the hearts and minds of its people completely will have no option but to tell them what to do and how to act. There is a name for it: slavery. Democracies are strong by INDIVIDUAL AGREEMENT not by conglomeration. Party politics will tell us differently, but DON'T believe them. WE are strong by INDIVIDUAL will towards the most productive process. Parties only highlight differences in order to shed light on them. If they become too SELF serving, then they are as dangerous and detrimental as an external force. We are pulled apart from within. No, a democracy is for EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN. It is our place to make right decisions regardless of affiliation. THE SAME is true of spirituality. We must always be on guard, and secure in our personal dealings with the way of things--so that if there is ANYBODY doing the work of a relationship with the world and its wonders and darknesses FOR us, we are sure of their link and yet we are still fully capable of our own active part if we need or want to be. Each step towards light or dark is OUR choice and we are not beholden to group will--not if we are free.
We are NEVER safe from the inherent balance of magic if we step too far to one side of the scale or the other and yet by its nature sometimes we must walk through dark pathways in order to appreciate the light. Balance will draw us back towards stasis, but like musical chairs, if we get caught standing in the dark when the music happens to stop--we are consumed. We are never safe from balance or cycles, from the ecocycles of nature, from what we, as moral creatures, call positive and negative forces, from our place within the interwoven circles of all things. We are never exempt from the workings of magic by whatever name we call it, even when we attach morality to its meaning, or even when we don't, and ESPECIALLY when we assign power to people rather than to magic itself. We risk too great a strain on our relationship to magic if too many of us place our faith in any one connection rather than tapping directly into it by our own means. Shall we ask a priest to light our furnace? Shall we pray before running a bath? In actuality we SHOULD give thanks to the world for those things, because they are not ours, but we can do that directly. We take from the earth and the heavens with every energy that we use, and having separated ourselves from the conscious appreciation of these things we disrespect their origins. Does magic care that we don't? Hard to say, but it WILL come back to stasis in spite of us and our arrogance. Like an electrical grid set up for wide distribution, we can tax the lines of spiritual communication by relying on circuits that we can't test ourselves, and circuits are fallible. Yes, spirituality works that way, like electricity, like polarity, BUT understanding the way of things and how we fit into the magic all around us makes us more grounded to the world directly and we don't need spindly connections that run elsewhere than where we need them to. It makes it less surprising if some part of the spiritual world, some part we thought god or our spiritual leader was paying attention to, that we had faith in, short-circuits. It makes it less damaging, less likely to spawn the blind rages or absolute sadness that can happen among ALL peoples of the world that builds when we realize that some part of our spiritual network has failed. Discontentment CAN perpetuate itself in the same way that contentment does. Rage is dark energy. Learn to ground it to Earth. Learn to have that direct relationship. Why carry that charge around with you? Earth can handle it--we can't always. We walk around cut loose from the sources of our own magic and wonder why things fail.
An intimate relationship with weaving ourselves into the fabric of the world gives us no cause for despair. It is an understanding of both dark and light, and the relationship of that balance. We are part of the strongest magic there is, and our forces are as important to the entire system as ANY creature's who has lived in all of time. On the other hand, this knowledge has made us the most arrogant creature ever to have lived. WE are not the most important creature, and we abuse and overrun the earth by thinking that we are, to our detriment, and to our demise unless we remember the lessons of balance, of polarity, of systems, of cycles, of spirituality, of knowledge of our place. Look at the world. Is it the same as the one of your youth? Is it better or worse? How do we save ourselves from ourselves? It is not through ignorance and blissful acceptance, although that seems comforting, it is instead by understanding our place and how we fit and are part and parcel of our own journeys and our own stories within the greater tale. Magic gives us the strength to occasionally change or adjust our trajectories within the overall patterns that we DON'T control, so we are set with the task of what to do with ourselves. We forget that the end is incomprehensible and formed entirely of our illusions, so believing promises about it is risky. I have seen much and have had many visions about the afterlife and what it is and means and there is STILL no promise made. The result is that the wise choice is to practice responsibility and accountability to the things that WE DO KNOW in our own lifetimes, and in that way our afterlife will be, at the very least, the ripples of our positive energy that was once part of us, an essence left to echo within the world.
In the woods of old, fairy creatures were our gods, our atmosphere, and nature's incarnations, our brothers and sisters, our friends and enemies, our imaginations given form and the characters in our morality plays. Their shadows and echoes today continue to help speak for the spirits of the world that we have forgotten. If we try to grow out of the magic into which we are born we begin to be something less than we were meant to be, a figment of a story, instead of the storytellers ourselves. We forget the danger of disrespecting nature and wiping out the spirits of all things in the natural world, and damn our children to unpreparedness and ignorance and disrespect for the very world in which we have been nurtured for AEONS. This is completely our own faults. The universe grants us magic. It is part of everything, but it is already in operation in every single thing we do, or touch, or make or destroy, and it is so interconnected that if we damage one part of the whole, we damage many parts. We can't just "forget" about magic in the cycles of things until we need the idea of it. We can't just paste a different face on it every few hundred years and expect it be anything different than it is. Magic is not just a fairy tale for children to believe in, to make us feel warm and fuzzy, or to scare us into doing our chores and being good little ones. It is not just something that suddenly someone in sandals found out about and miraculously enlightened us with and started giving us meanings for things. Magic DOES conveniently serve these functions, do miraculous things, inspire deep and beautiful thinking, inform us of our history, give us the tools for balancing good and evil, it does do all those things. It is the basis of all science and religion, and no philosophy is true without it. Every molecular structure is a magical energy born of some process begun billions of years ago; every thought in our heads is the process of electrochemical pulses across neurons, the end result of a huge amount of magical biological energy in motion since our conception, and our parents' before us, etc., but is in tune with all of the frequencies of the world that we have only scratched the surface of in all our millenia. We can do whatever we want with it that we think we understand and it is still an independent force that ultimately will help us or help destroy us. We think of atomic energy as something that WE do.[!] Everything on earth exists as atomic energy. We only get credit when we DAMAGE that process and use the resulting release of energy as we are breaking things. Indeed we are MADE of the stuff and can only alter or coax it. A slip of our greedy (albeit magical) fingers could accidentally spread darkness across the globe that would not rest until balance was satisfied. This is another danger. Every stone in every altar, every lump of coal or giant redwood tree, every great river and living being is held together, grows, exists and then is chemically transformed back into the earth by the strong undying spell that we describe with chemistry and physics and ecology and theology and every "ology", as well as witchcraft, and as well as the most sacred of religious beliefs, but which ultimately we sense with our spirits. If we didn't interfere, it would all happen quite seamlessly ALL BY ITSELF. Magic does not need us or our concepts of what it is all about. That is why we ourselves can never pretend to be god, and only grasp at visions.
We NEVER outgrow the balance of power of which we ourselves are but a part. Science doesn't shield us from it, and neither does religion--it only makes us complacent, it only makes us compliant. It only makes us forget. Absolution blinds us. We are VERY MUCH responsible for our everyday use of magic, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. YOU hold magic in whatever you hold in your hands at this moment--and yet it doesn't make you a god--more like an angel, or a demon in the moment--because we are those creatures who assign value to our actions. ALL living things are magical, which carry the spark of life, whether we think they are good or evil, And we ALL carry messages. Animals use a different language, as do plants, but they are alive and speaking. What is yours? Angelic or demonic? Remember that you are part of the stars first, and that our polar energies can shift from one to the other, positive or negative, that is why we are so threatening to each other, and so attractive--but we are granted that choice, and that is why we teach morality through our stories, our tales, our religions, our art, and through the lessons of science. Angels or demons, saints or sinners, faeries, witches or dark creatures may be visitations of conscience based upon our learning and spirituality, whether they truly exist or that we should emulate them is part of our own journey and our own story.
Your choice--which course of magic do you follow? Will we make humankind a force of balance in the world, one of bright creations and wonderful medicines and public works and values, or one of careless, disrespecting destruction? Will we realize our interconnectedness with the ENTIRE world we live in, or will we walk around in a dreamworld where we are not responsible for anything that happens until the last day of our lives, only to realize that by then we may well have squandered every last chance to be a conscious part of the magical world that we ever had? Will we continue our headlong rush into what can so easily one day be a worldwide wasteland, bogged down in our own filth, festering in our used up ideologies which kept us from joining together and which separated us from the truth of the world by offering us comfortable recessed stories in which to live and which seemed so much like home that we were willing to kill and enslave others outside of our comprehension rather than to truly see, while the future was being played out on the fringes where children starved and disease that we could have prevented were still rampant? Or will we finally feel the strength of our true place within the fabric of things and strive for harmony rather than domination, doomed to fall from the heights of our overreaching, disconnected, overbalanced, ignorant, arrogant glory? We would have to be both stronger and more understanding of our own ancient and modern humanity than we EVER have been--and more humble--before we are able to collectively make those hard decisions, and yet our morals are spread thin. We are still woefully divided. We puff up our breasts with pride at how we are masters of our earthly, and industrial, and spiritual domain, unprepared for the sucker punch that is bound to be coming. It always does. History shows it again and again and again, and yet we forget, we don't study, don't remember how or why. We choose negligence rather than thankfulness for all we have. But the seers among us still slip back into dreamy illusions, and there we find our faeries and messengers waiting, our personal spirit guides formed out of the collective consciousness, who warned us all along throughout time, and still do.
Those in tuning with the earth's magics have no illusions that retribution for our pride and ignorance is coming, and it will hit us in our weakest places, our flawed institutions that stand on the basis of magics as old as time and yet pay it little further conscious heed or respect. Science, religion, industry, politics: all have within them people who understand the ways of the world, but who are tasked with the never-ending struggle to influence the bulk of the ignorance within our society perpetuated by no other reason than that we don't live very long and live hectic, busy lives where study is sometimes a luxury, and combined with that is the struggle against those who would manipulate that ignorance by corruption which has grown within each of those institutions, those institution which have tried for hundreds of years to separate themselves from the very source of their own energy and strength: magic. They are like great vines soon to be cut off at the earth, still groping and grasping, and eking out a little water in cracks here and there, but if the wellspring from the nurturing earth is gone the whole thing will wither. Religions do the same. They recharge as if from a generator that has to be cranked every day and all attention is on this machine which seems to illuminate the world. God is more than that and not separate from all things.
Can we afford to cut ourselves off from the one wellspring that has never deserted us in all our years? What power can exist without the earth? There isn't a life form that can. In the end all truth in the form of magic, matter, and universal energy will balance itself, but at what cost to us? Only in our coming to our senses and respecting the ENTIRE Spell, our own magics within it, and our own harmony within that of all things will all life be strengthened. We NEED all life on earth because we DON'T know what combination of extinction will end up being fatal to humans. We are bound to separate spirituality from our politics, but both science AND religion must not separate spirituality fully from learning and respect for life while maintaining an individual's right to their own relationship and understanding of magic. It is complicated, but possible. Religion must embrace magic and learning must as well. Nowhere can a religion be taught in full truth until we incorporate ALL religions into our learning--ALL of them, and all of our brothers and sisters who follow faith in their own spiritual ways. Alternately any faith that rejects all others is just as doomed. The message is that magic is equal across the universe. Make THAT leap of true faith and we won't settle into a lesser place in history, and be remembered as a footnote, if anyone remembers us at all. We can skip the next World War. We are truly in that much danger of destroying ourselves that we must seriously reconsider what modern humankind is. Most certainly if we remembered magic it has always saved us. As all gods are today whose followers tried and failed to make religion into slavery by law rather than by understanding magic and spiritual connectedness and feeling, we weaken ourselves by losing touch with the meaning of magic and worship and balance. It's right there in all of the stories. Why do you separate yours?
In our disrespect, in hard-nosed closed-mindedness and separationism from each other and from the earth, we are like a child pushing away a bowl of porridge when the next meal is days away. In our general divided belief that we can't or shouldn't advance above and beyond current accepted theory, or cycle back to our deep rooted ones--that there is somehow nowhere further to go--that we've reached our pinnacle, OR by placing TOO much hope in our ability to outstrip our own sheer weight of illusion by our confidence that we will advance by leaps and bounds, our magic is weakened. There is honour in magic. There is predictability. Where is it in our hearts? It is as though we only prepare our slate to be wiped clean by remorseless consumptive entropy in favour of the next dynamic, the magic of which may not even include us. Ask yourself whether you have been trained to believe this. Science AND religion teach us cataclysm, but then spend so much wasted energy trying to counter each other that centuries are lost in the struggle to prevent it. Why do we think we're safe? Remind me why you are safe. I'll tell you why: because it is soothing for us to tell our children stories, and thus we soothe ourselves. Yet today we take both the fear and the magic out of the tales so that they fall on blissfully ignorant ears with no sense of moral and natural balance. We put all our hopes into one of a few major books and hope that will suffice when it so obviously does not, because dogma is as likely to alienate as it is to inspire and so spirituality drains away and we become insipid and derelict, and lost. We try to take away the variety that allows us to choose our favourite tale with which to identify our own obvious feelings of personal oneness and order with the world by trying to make spirituality into law, and magic into a person. And the universe goes on, waiting for us to sort it out.
If we are already magical, do we need god or the universe to reassure us? We live within a magical world, what more reassurance do we need? Oh, we DO need reassurance? That is what I thought, too. Look for the truth in all that surrounds you. Look for it in the affirmation of nature and art and creation and our evolution within it. Listen to your stories then, the way they were intended, not by the craven who crave power, and hold the message in lieu of something, your labour or your soul, your vote or your womb, your number in the quota, your tithe within the pot, or anything at all, but in the way that stories are meant to be told: freely and with variation. For the greater good of our personalities and safety as we try to navigate some of the same paths as those described. If we love something we will give to it of ourselves freely. We tell stories in order to identify with each other. What is the purpose in telling them if we don't? You owe it to yourself to listen to AS MANY stories from all corners of the world as you can until you can see how wonderful the magic spread throughout all of them is, the humanity and nature in ALL three dimensions, Truth, Reality, Illusion. That variation instills the richness in life itself and THAT is the truth of stories. They are ALL our own story and that of the world. Being magical creatures ourselves, we are all brothers and sisters with each other and our world. We are not deafened, dumbed, and blinded by our gods unless we let those who guide us tell us so, who do not truly understand the full scope of their own ignorance. You are not done studying if you stopped at one message. Period. The BEST minds of the devout and the scientific and philosophical communities will all tell you the same. Ask them.
The modern era is a time to reawaken our love and respect for the Spell that is the magic inherent in our universe and ALL of our tales about its wonder and its hardships, and to be the beautiful creatures that we are, whether inside of, or outside of, whatever is our chosen institution, and be a true man, be a true woman, a true human being, a true part of the cycle of life as beautiful and strong as any tall sapling or any bent, scarred, windblown treeline pine, and believe in ourselves and the world again. When our children see our strength rather than fear they will not be afraid. The strongest thing we can do is to be honest. Any ignorant fool can hate. Any corrupt undignified soul can laugh as he steals from the poor and weak, but the balance of magic will wrap around them and squeeze. It just does. It is the way of magic as it is true that it doesn't always individualize, but operates in a greater pattern than we can sometimes see. Sometimes we will ALL feel the squeeze of each others' mistakes in character or judgement. Our job as individuals is to respect our own and each other's place within the microcosm in all things and that respect is always rewarded by a natural balance--eventually. There is some beautiful magical theme in EVERY day's story, and we miss them constantly because we plod around in the haze of surety that we won't learn something new today that we didn't already know, or that we have to be taught in order to learn, or that we don't want to learn--it is too hard, we don't have time, or we are afraid it will be something bad, or god will be mad. God isn't mad, god is magic. There is a knowledge shared time and again by a few souls unlucky or lucky enough to have come too close to the other side not to have brushed against something fearful--it is our own ignorance. We don't know what that darkness holds, and we realize in that moment of clarity that we don't know even a fraction of what is going on--only the illusions of our stories, beautiful and magical though they are, but in that moment we remember what our lives have been, and we see the tally. The beauty and wonder of it all and the pain and hurt we have survived, and we realize that that IS life. Don't wait until that moment to discover magic. By then you are nearly too late to enjoy how wonderful it is in this lifetime, only that a new form awaits.
There IS hope in the charismatic gesticulations of our species, but it is not on all of the paths we are on. I do not fear death, nor recrimination from those without vision, but I fear for the children who suffer for our mistakes. It is cowards who leave a worse world than we found. I was a child once and I was lied to, not always on purpose, but repeatedly, and by people who should have known better, yet always there were people who did know better and who could guide me, both spiritual and not, religious and secular, and both alive and ghostly creatures in the woods, the remnants of the old guides. Our institutions are full of holes and we know it, and yet we gloss, spit and polish. By opening our minds again, the way we did when we were young, they become glaringly apparent. Ask any child what questions they have and you will soon feel the lies trying to spill out of your mouth: the things you have never bothered to check on, the answers you knew were bogus the first time YOU asked the questions and heard those same answers. Solutions are an uphill battle for anyone, but they are easier when armed with the truth. Make it a point to seek the truth in all things and you will soon see all the worms in the apple, for good or ill, AND how to eat around them, or how to encourage them to be elsewhere, and not make us sick.
I see the world becoming one of punishment, because it is easier to lay blame and to hate and to punish than to study, study, study, and study some more ALL of the world around you in order to FIND the answers from a million different sources, so that you are sure you KNOW they are true and faith becomes even more meaningful because you have to apply it to fewer and fewer things, and more and more of those pieces fall into place and the whole picture starts to reveal, which things take on greater significance. I am thankful for every piece of the puzzle, every thread of the tapestry, and when times are hard I STILL find magic where others see dread. We can offer that truth as hope to each other. By offering both the stark truths and beautiful illusions of a million stories so that our realities are strong and layered, and yet are flexible, and redundant, and full and related in brother and sisterhood to one another, not wan and brittle, divided things, blown away by the hard winds of disagreement or scrutiny and corrupted by the first passerby with a club or gun or tank or megaton TNT equivalent bomb, we ALL become the richness that is our history, the wonder that is our array of beliefs, the arbiters of strength now, and in the future of all our endeavours. We know those theories that separate us have no permanent place, and yet they exist because we are easily hoodwinked by our own realities instead of exploring truth ourselves, instead of setting aside our pre-packaged pre-conceptions, we ourselves allow for the rape of magic throughout the world by our disassociation from its existence, or by claiming to own it.
Enlightenment comes in your own eventual understanding of YOUR connection to the magic of the world. Reward yourself and others with knowledge and hope and love for one another in all our forms and all of the world's beautiful energies and it weaves bright threads into the tapestry of the world. THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. There has never been a living thing that has been without it for long. There will always be resistance to change, there will always be a dragging of feet until something natural happens to start us running along productive lines again, whether it is something good or ill. THERE IS ALWAYS MAGIC whatever name we give to it. There has never been anything that wasn't made of it and by it. It is woven into all things. Whether or not you choose to notice doesn't prevent it from being there. The entire universe is full of its energies, and it rains down every day and every night to recharge our dreams.
--J. Shidler, July-Sept., 2012