The Three Magic Powers You May Never Possess

 

The Three Magic Powers You May Never Possess
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Author: R.D. Robbins

Magical powers exist in the world of the imagination. Of course, some magical powers spill over into the real world, but you probably don’t have enough imagination to use them. Sorry.

It’s time to face facts: There are mysteries in this world that are beyond understanding, but some mysteries are just beyond your understanding. Now, don’t start crying like I broke your favorite holly and dragon heart string wand. I’m not saying you are a muggle, exactly, or a squib; but frankly, if you aren’t regularly using the powers of transfiguration, Time Turning and charms then you may be a little lacking in the imagination department. Now, to be fair, I come from a sort of wizarding family so this stuff is easier for me. Maybe you just don’t know the magic words yet, but I’ve got to tell you, when you can learn to harness and use these three powers, they will transform your life!

TRANSFIGURATION

“Shape Shifting” has been a mythological staple in cultures all over the world: An Indian medicine man “becomes” a bison to find the heard; Zeus becomes a beggar to test the hospitality of a mortal king. I have yet to see a real person who could physically change their shape and become an animal, or another human being. However, it can be a profoundly moving experience to use your imagination to project yourself inside the mind of someone else, to see an issue from their perspective, to get inside their skin and ask what motivates them.

In real life, detectives and criminal profilers try to get inside the minds of serial killers and arsonists as a tool to understand what drives the criminal’s emotional states, what mistakes they are apt to make and where to find them. The rest of us can use our transfiguration skills to help us understand a teenager’s dark mood, a spouse’s secret Yule time wishes, and how we look in our boss’s eyes. The magic words here are, “I wonder how they feel,” and “I wonder what they think.”

Is this kind of imaginary-mind-reading? Yup. Is it apt to be wrong? Yup. Is it useful anyway? Sure! When our own suffering and pain or joy and happiness allows us to look into the eyes of another person and make a connection, we are using transfiguration to become one with them, to gain compassion for them and for us; and to know better how to care for each other.

Of course, if you don’t have the imaginative chops or skills to project yourself into someone else’s life, well, I’m sorry. Maybe you can learn to be happy dressing up as a Witch or Wizard. Buying some midnight blue robes with little stars and moons inside will probably help.

TIME TURNING

H. G. Wells wrote about time travel in “The Time Machine.” Hermione Granger used a Time Turner pendent in J. K. Rowling’s wonderful novel, “The Prisoner of Azakaban.” Physicist Albert Einstein claimed time travel was theoretically possible. I have yet to meet a single person who can physically travel backward through time, although I have met lots and lots of people who spend almost every moment of their here-and-now time mentally projected into the past or future. I know from personal experience that almost all that time is a desperate waste of imagination!

The question isn’t, “Can you use your imagination to travel through time?” We can all remember favorite childhood friends, horrible job interviews and almost forgotten smells. We can all imagine future conversations, plan vacations and just about taste an ice cream brownie Sunday as they make it. We can all do it. The question is, “Can you stop?” and “Can you do anything useful with your time travels?”

Before you can tell if your mind is in the here and now, you will need some awareness of what’s happening inside your head. For the gifted few, a moment of quiet reflection will immediately reveal your mental state. It’s not like we can get away from our thoughts, but we hear this mental chatter so much that we tune it almost completely out of our awareness. If you try to breath and count mentally from one to ten and keep “waking up” on the number 15, 32 or 63 (!), that is a clear indication that you weren’t mentally present during the counting. You were thinking of something else while you are supposed to be counting. Keep trying. You’ll get it. If you find you can’t count at all because of the constant mental chatter, start naming the thoughts: “Arguing with my mom,” or “Asking for a raise–again.” This is sometimes called Demon Taming because those pesky little thoughts can cause so much trouble in our heads.

When your mind is calm, you can begin to use your imagination to intentionally project into the future and examine the potential consequences of your actions, or reach into the past and hold onto your life with more love and compassion than you were able to muster the first time through.

Unless, of course, counting to ten is just too tough for you! Yeah, it probably is. You are probably afraid that if you stop dwelling on the past or focusing on the future, your whole world will fall apart–talk about superstitious! I’ll bet you don’t even have what it takes to sit quietly in the moment for, oh, say, one minute every day for a week! Best you just get used to drifting aimlessly through the jumbled moments of your life and leave Time Turning to the real Witches and Wizards!

CHARMS

If you still have any sense of humor left, it’ll probably be gone after we talk about charms. By charms I don’t mean pretty jewelry reported to possess a bit of magical power, like pentacles, rune stones or a rabbit’s foot. I mean charms more like enchantments: Those little things we say or do that make other people more inclined to do our bidding. What’s that? You are a “Good Witch” and would never do a spell to make someone “do your bidding?” Ha. Double ha-ha! Let’s see, guy buys girl flowers because he wants…what? Girl bakes cake for guy because she wants…what? Salesman offers basketball tickets to potential clients because he wants…what? Something! We all want something!

The problem is, we often are not willing to take the smallest step toward getting what we want. We want friends, but we never buy anyone at work a soda or cup of joe. We want good marital relations, but we refuse to bring home flowers. We want a new car loan, but we are too good to dress nicely when we go to the bank, to proud to make small talk and to shy to complement the loan officer. There are such things as magic words folks. Here are a few that work like a charm: please, thank you, I love you, well done, I’m sorry, can we try again, just called so you wouldn’t worry, that was the greatest, and let’s do that again tomorrow night!

There is magic in being charming. I would think that if goblin bankers could do it, you could too, but I’m probably wrong.

SUMMARY

I want to thank you for reading this far, but there is just not much hope for some of you poor squibs, er, readers. You’ll never have enough imagination to get inside anyone else’s head and begin to feel the power of compassion or sympathetic joy. You probably can’t count to ten without moving your lips, so you are doomed to sail aimlessly through time instead of harnessing your imagination as a tool for inner peace and self discovery. As for charms, well, a good charm starts with toothpaste and deodorant and I can smell a few of you from here, so there is little chance you will ever build a loving team of companions to help you through life. On the other hand, maybe you are one of the Chosen Ones, a magical thinker, a Modern Magi or a Techno Druid. Maybe all you needed today was a light hearted reminder of the magic power of your imagination. I hope you found what you needed, dear reader.

How Much is That Witch in the Window?

How Much is That Witch in the Window?

Author: Sage Runepaw

We’ve maybe even written an essay to someone telling them that witches are real, that they live, breathe, and look like normal people and don’t have sallow, waxy skin with pointy black hats on, that they don’t fly on broomsticks or sacrifice babies or spew dark Words of Evil to the Devil or even that they cackle, “I’ll get you… and your little dog too!” We’ve even probably surprised someone by telling them we even (gasp!) had children of our own who play among all the other children.

We may have become enlightened through our personal beliefs and practices, and we may have taken offense at one point or another at the stereotypical ‘witchy’ image- but at what cost?

The cost of a part of our childhood?

Just think about it a moment, if you will. We all celebrated Halloween at some point or another (unless of course, we were forbidden by our parents for some reason that likely at the time seemed horrible and cruel to us). We all dressed up- put on some flimsy store-bought costume or something we thought was the best we could make at the time, or painted our faces or done -something- to get dressed up and raid the local streets in search of a free sugar overdose.

And it was great, wasn’t it? In fact you maybe even bounced off the walls until 3 in the next morning.

But hey, we were kids then, right? Now we’re Witches! – and we have to take Halloween seriously and point our fingers at the stereotypical witchy images we see every October, don’t we? Samhain is a death-energy time, not a time where children should be dressing up in some image that was used to persecute probably innocent people centuries ago, right?

I admit, this sounds a bit harsh, and perhaps it is- but isn’t there someone out there who’s every bit as sick of people pointing and taking offense to the stereotypes? Sure, they might go away if we wail and stomp our feet loud enough, but seriously- just take a look around any city or even on the Internet, and you’ll see that stereotypes don’t go away.

If anything, they just get ignored and outdated, but they’re there. If we take offense to them and work to combat them, power to you- but- and maybe this is just me- I’m tired of the fighting.

Get your robes back in proper order; don’t let the stereotyping phase you. As I hinted about above, we too once played dress up and might have dressed up as a witch years ago. Sure- what’s wrong with that? As it may have fooled the spirits once upon somewhen, didn’t you feel free, feel -alive- then?

Where then, along the path of your life, did that suddenly get traded out for taking offense to the stereotypical witchy image?

As a child, I never did dress up as a witch, I admit- I personally favored black cats for years on end, and a few times, something else which is now forgotten- but my grandmother, who raised me (and is Catholic, though it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this essay) always had this one Halloween decoration we would put up year after year.

Apparently, I’d dubbed it “Witchypoo” when I was a toddler, and the name stuck. It was this black bead-eyed, stuffed witch with black and orange felt for robes and none of the green-skinned stereotyping. And she sat on this little round wooden dowel broom. I wish I could show you it; it was very cute. Amazingly cute. But you get the point- I took childlike, innocent glee at this witchy figure that took to dangling underneath the kitchen light every October.

And just last October, my grandmother bought a stuffed mantle decoration of three green-faced witches smiling crookedly and brightly out at the world, with purple and black robes and stuffed witchy hats and a pumpkin at their feet. All of October thus far, I’ve worked retail and sold many such stereotypical things: hundreds of pounds of candies, spooky costumes- and witchy ones, too.

Should I be offended by my grandmother’s decoration? No, not really- I could choose to if I wanted. She knew by that point what my practice was, that it wasn’t Satanic (though she expressed her worries and I allayed them as best I knew how at the time) and was something I was serious about.

Should I be offended by working retail and selling these things for a large chain store? I could.

Would the same things offend someone else who’s witchy? Maybe; everyone’s different. But if I chose to be offended and started fighting against the stereotypes, who knows who I could impact?

What if there was a child just down the street telling her mother that she wanted to be a witch for Halloween? Or that she wanted to be a smart witch like Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies? – Or something along those lines.

Now, let’s take it a bit further. Supposing I stuck that stereotypical image on my living room windowsill for everyone to look at whenever they walk by my suburban home this month, or on Halloween eve next to a glowing carved pumpkin? Supposing some youth dressed up in a Witch outfit this Halloween saw it, and after some time had passed, found out about ‘real’ witches and that Halloween became a catalyst for him or her- a catalyst that spurred the youth on to become a real witch and transform their lives through their spirituality?

I’m tired of the fighting over stereotypes in a bid to be recognized as legitimate- aren’t you? We already -know- we are legitimate. We know that, and we know also that with time comes acceptance. We work our butts off year round at our jobs and taking care of our children, and fight for our rights.

Why can’t we just recover that moment of our childhood where we took glee at these figures again, if even for a little while? Sure, they might be meant to offend us- but we have the choice to -let- it affect us. Those stereotypes are images of the past. Yes, let’s change it- but let us not lose a part of ourselves by becoming too jaded to smile.

Even the best warriors need to smile and laugh on occasion, after all.

I, for one, see those witch decorations on tree trunks and bushes that portray the witch as having run into a tree face first as an amusing reminder not to get too “hung up” on things in life.

So let us make our celebrations for Samhain and honor the ancestors- but times are a’ changing. Even though there may still be witch-hunts and witch wars somewhere, we cannot fight all the time.

Let us laugh for once, regain a bit of the child within, and see this coming Samhain with newer eyes. Let us release feeling as if we must fight for our rights all the time- just for a bit- and relax. While we can educate our children (if we have them) about those stereotypical images, we can still take time to let our inner child take a breather. Our ancestors, after being oppressed for so long, would want to take a breather from being persecuted.

We have the choice this time- but it is we who are doing the fighting. Perhaps it’s rightfully so- but no warrior can fight all the time.

Even though it’s the dark half of the year, let the light inside you grow brighter. Give yourself a much-deserved respite from the fighting- and smile. Maybe those decorations will help some young one down the road become a priest or priestess of the Craft. After all, you never really know how the universe works. Let us restore our own inner children by taking a brief break. The gods know we work hard enough all the time as it is.

Someday, we’ll achieve what we desire. But we must be careful of those who could be affected- and we must be careful not to let the price of that achievement be our own inner children. We must not become jaded.

Balance in all things, after all.