Magic (MA-jik): the act of effecting change by means not yet understood or recognized by the majority of respected and/or scientific society.

Obviously, my definition is a little ambiguous, depending on what percentage constitutes a majority and which part of society one really respects anyway. But if everyone was getting what they wanted done by means of telepathy, witchcraft, and ritual -- and doing it with a straight face -- I doubt we'd still call it "magic."

     Instead, we'd call it telepathy, witchcraft, and ritual. Why waste perfectly good words?

     And speaking of perfectly good words, I don't spell magic with a "k," "j," or any other kind of trendy variation. If illusionists and sleight-of-hand artists don't use the honest words "illusion" and "sleight-of-hand" to describe their art, that's no reason for a witch to screw up her vocabulary.

     Anyway, enough about spellings and definitions. Here are some types of magic you may have already encountered.

My specialty, I suppose, might be catagorized under "shamanism," but that word's been so abused that I'm reluctant to try to own it. Better to say I practice the dreaming arts: interpretation, precognition, lucid and mutual dreaming, and astral travel.

     Of course, I only practice this stuff -- no one said I was an expert! For me, practice involves faithful dream recall and recording, the reading of umpteen-million books, and a certain amount of hard work while I'm falling asleep. I've found that if I set aside time each day for study, my brain just opens up and spontaneous things just happen. It's like something in the subconscious gets the message that it's all right to shine.

     At times like these, I dream of snakebite. Sometimes my husband and I dream the same dream.

I  also dabble in garden-variety kitchen-witchcraft. Come to think of it, home-churned butter is an art which has just about finished its time as technology. Since barely anyone knows how to do it anymore, it's almost devolved back into magic...

Witch-Bottle Butter:
For protection, purification, and accomplishment. Pour cream into a spacious glass jar. Add a small quantity of bent paperclips that are neither sharp nor toxic. With quiet authority, say, "Those who would harm me and mine, I pin you back and I pin you down." Repeat this as you shake the jar. Continue to shake it until it will no longer be shaken. Now add a half-teaspoon or so of salt as though you were casting a ritual circle. You may have already done so. Whisper into the jar's mouth your wishes. Now shake the jar again until your wishes take form. Pour off the buttermilk and use it to make pancakes. Serve them with the butter. Put the safety pins in a special place as they are revealed. When your spell manifests itself to your satisfaction among those who shared the meal, thank the paper clips and dispose of them according to their nature, perhaps by sending them away attached to outgoing mail.

Lastly, I like to think of myself as a word-witch. The extent to which these words have changed your reality will be a measure of my proficiency in that art.


Last updated December 1, 1999
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