| The art of sensing and shaping the subtle, unseen forces that flow through the world, of awakening deeper levels of consciousness beyond the rational.
Starhawk, The Spiral Dance
n Starhawk's groundbreaking book, "magic" is also defined as "the art of changing consciousness at will" by Dion Fortune. These definitions put an emphasis on the state of one's mind, the level of one's awareness -- as easily changed by a magic mushroom as by magic itself. Is that all the Art is -- a change of the interior landscape? Drug experimentation and dreams?
To have their books displayed in the non-fiction section of your local library, Pagan authors will tend to put magic on that esoteric shelf. No one levitates or changes shape; no one does anything so threatening as hexing their neighbors. No, we're all just harmless meditators, Zen Buddhists floating towards enlightenment. We're not nuts and we couldn't affect you, Joe Q. Public.
But you know that just ain't true.
ose for whom such books are written know better. And if everyone else did, we might witness a repeat of the burning times, the book-burning times, when anyone's aunt or daughter might be a witch and was therefore dangerous. When what Goody Themper saw didn't have to be what Goodman Williams saw, and G. Williams was ready to take G. Themper's word that young Mary was sending evil spirits to her bedside. When young Mary's life was ruined, possible ended, by Williams's belief.
And in 1999 the Witches know that young Mary could well be casting spells on her Aunt Themper, although most of them wouldn't approve. Most of them would come to Themper's aid. They know it falls within the reams of possibility. What if the Supreme Court knew it, too? What kind of evidence would today's courts accept for "black magic"? What kind of witnesses could reasonably be expected to share Themper's subjective reality, or Mary's?
How easy would it be for innocents to get convicted at the current turn of the century? Maybe it's better to hide ourselves in plain sight and not be taken seriously by Joe Q. Public.
agic is real. It is not supernatural; it is an ability we each naturally have. It's built into our capacity for will and free-will (regardless of whether this capacity is uniquely human -- another argument entirely). And we come closer to understanding how to use it when we realize that when we change consciousness, we change reality.
1. Visualize a colorless sphere enveloping you. It bends light waves such that those looking at you, look right past you, and might as well be looking through you.
2. Remove yourself from your own thinking. You are aware of everything but yourself. So is everyone else.
4/8/98: The Author's Magical Practices; Witch-Bottle Butter
Last updated December 1, 1999
"Love Is the Law, Love Under Will"
Who's Will and why is he sitting on Cupid?!?