I’ve been strangely reluctant to even start writing this article. It seems such a huge task to try and explain magic! It’s something literally ‘out of this world’, since our world nowadays is dominated by laboratories that deliver ‘proof’ of reality in experiments. Anything that doesn’t fit into the laboratories, or refuses to be measured by the means of science, gets discarded. And yet, even within the sacred halls of rational science, the results of these experiments point towards insights that have been around for centuries or millennia – like the spiral dance of energies that is the basis of all life, the DNA. The atom was discovered in the 20eth century, and lo and behold, it turned out that solid matter isn’t solid at all, its smallest particles are all whirling energies! So ‘everything is energy, everything basically consists of the same matter’ isn’t esoteric at all, it’s a scientifically proven truth.
These energies are what you deal with when you work magic. How do you deal with them? Well, there are ways to fine-tune your perception, to re-learn to listen to the voice of intuition. Energy work isn’t a talent you were either born with or not, it’s a knack that can be learned and constantly improved. This article is not a manual for beginners, but I will say this much: You won’t learn it from reading books, or this article for that matter. You will have to go out and train. I recommend doing things that are considered ridiculous, and see whether you actually do die of embarrassment as you thought you would (clue: you won’t!). Practice to shut up, be silent for a whole day, and use the time to lie in the grass by a brook or walk in the forest at night. Stay outside in nature for a couple of days, alone. Dance naked in the rain. Roll in the mud. Listen to the wind, the river, the tree. After a while, you’ll discover that that’s not a pretty metaphor, that there really is something to listen to.
Of course, the way you will start to perceive energy – like the energy of the man sitting next to you on the train, or the energy of the tree in your back garden – might not be the scientifically accepted way of dealing with energies. There are things that may never get the stamp of approval from the authorities, but honestly, who cares? Throughout history, the things that were the most fun were usually forbidden or considered bad or crazy, be it sensuality and sex, uttering new ideas, or challenging the status quo of how the world is seen. Earth was supposed to be flat, people who said otherwise tortured and killed as heretics – until the rulers of the time had to accept that the planet really is round. To this day, scientific “truths” are proven wrong and replaced by new insights. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s the way progress works.
Magic is about having the confidence not to wait for approval from science, religion, or government, but to take responsibility and believe one’s own senses. Of course, sensual impressions can be very misleading. If you disregard all science per se and refuse to look beyond the limited sphere of your sensory perceptions, you could turn out to be a bigger fool than someone who follows science in blind faith. Inconvenient, isn’t it? That’s magic for you. It’s neither black nor white, it doesn’t fit in the handy dualistic oppositions, like heaven and earth, black and white, good and bad… With magic, you move in the quicksand, you are forever looking for the middle ground: to be open-minded without being gullible, childlike without being naive, wary without being intimidated, brave but not foolhardy… – the list goes on. Magic is the challenge of constantly balancing on the edge of the knife. Reality changes all the time, energies are in motion, so you cannot hope to align yourself with them or even perceive them as long as you are static or operate from preconceived ideas. You have to let go of your programming, look at the world from a fresh perspective, again and again.
Actually, this sharpened perception and the refusal to accept truths as final might be the most important ingredients of magic. You train your senses and you begin to see, feel, hear, taste, and smell things you wouldn’t have noticed before. You will never be able to influence reality if you don’t get to know it first. The more you get to know the nature of energy, the more you’ll learn how to focus your own energy, and how to cause the changes you wish to cause. You will learn responsibility – the now famous butterfly effect wasn’t invented with the 2004 movie, it’s been true since the beginning of time, and it is particularly momentous with magic. Think back to the atom, the way everything is energy. You really are connected with everything, so whatever you do will influence everything else and ultimately yourself as well. When I hear someone say they’ll only practice “good” or “white” magic, it makes me want to cry in exasperation. There’s no such thing as black and white magic! You can say the intention counts, to which I’ll reply with a German saying that goes along the lines of: “Good is the opposite of well-meant”. What you perceive as positive might be catastrophic to the evolvement of the next person. Nobody can see all consequences to any action. That’s why highly evolved magicians think well before they work magic; not because they’re too noble or detached to care. It’s because you care that you are ‘care-ful’.
You’ve probably heard the definition that magic is “to change one’s consciousness or perception at will”. I have to say I disagree with this statement. Since I’ve been training to sharpen my senses and develop a different and more sensitive perception, my consciousness has changed for good. The ‘magical mindset’, as you might call it, is not some alternative reality that I switch into when I have need of it, just as little as my religion is limited to my rituals. I live my spirituality, and magic is simply a way of looking at, and interacting with, the world around me. It’s not mutually exclusive with an alleged ‘normal’ way of living; rather, it complements it, thereby making life more whole. Not using the perception and conscious influence of energy is like not using a limb of my body; I would be incomplete without it.
So my own definition of magic – which is a work in progress and will probably change sooner than you have finished reading this article – is to perceive the energies that are underlying reality and to consciously use them to create and manifest your life. ‘Consciously’ being the operative word here, because you can’t escape energy, everything is made of it, and whatever you do creates your life anyway. Now the ways in which to improve your creative powers are as manifold as they are fascinating. You can watch The Secret and use its teachings every day. You can enlist the help of your ancestors and of natural entities and spirits or deities (energetic whirls of higher density than the surrounding areas). You can observe and learn from nature, which is an excellent way of getting to know your limits at the same time. Life, manifested in nature, is so powerful, it is far beyond our powers to ‘command’ it, so all we get to do is play, be like children, say please and be pleasant, sing, dance, and ask for what we want as a favour. It’s very healthy to experience both our unlimited possibilities and the boundaries, so I recommend a combination of all of the above.
If all else fails: laugh. A sense of humour is essential if you want to practise magic successfully. Things don’t work, fall apart, go wrong, and look plain ridiculous, and so do you! It’s ok. Luisa Francia never tires of emphasising the importance of a playful attitude so you won’t take yourself too seriously and stay flexible and open to ever new ways and insights. Ever heard the proverb: “Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious”? -Keep that in mind, and you’ll be off to a good start.
Written in 2006