So many of us experience a world where a belief in magic keeps us outside of the “real world.” Sometimes that’s due to job discrimination, nasty family dynamics, or folks assuming that we can’t possibly have any grasp on reality.
However, when I went to school for religious studies, I went to study ALL religion. The magic comfortably condoned by the Catholic church is mind boggling. The acts of energy healing, speaking the divine language, and angelic intervention assumed in evangelical religions is both exciting and overwhelming. That is only the tip of the iceberg – hermeticism has worn many cloaks, and miracles speak all languages! How can these people so clearly believe in magic – yet look down at US for simply learning it without any delusions?
The fact is, the Us v Them world of the Middle Ages became very entrenched. It involved very little logic, and while it might sound absurd, the more someone is trained to take something against all evidence, the harder they will hold onto it. While we can uncomfortably use this to describe faith as a whole, I’m more referring to the lies used to control the masses and convince them that they are helpless, reliant, and without options. And it isn’t necessarily the masses of detractors I’m talking about here. This isn’t an easy conversation to have, but it’s an important one. We, as pagans, have gotten so used to fighting an uphill battle that we often enforce it.
I recently realized that the biggest single battle I’ve fought as a teacher and a priestess is against apathy. “Yeah, my boyfriend doesn’t actually care about my needs or wants, but I love him. I’m self-sufficient enough – I don’t need his support.” So they live lonely and without a real equal on their path through life. “I have no money to live on my own right now – my parents are demeaning and controlling, but I’m taken care of!” And the mind games erode self-confidence, while the comfort removes necessity. They never get a job and keep it, making them unhireable. Enforced helplessness, anyone? “He beats me, but I’m too scared to be on my own” – so they stay even more terrified. “The alcohol is the only thing that keeps me going” – so they slowly destroy any incentive to sober up. “It’s not my job to clean up every mess around here” – so it becomes unmanageable before they get started. Many heartbroken stories, but without resolution.
I wrote before about finding your purpose in life, not by seeking purpose but by finding how you can best affect the world around you. This takes it a step further. What makes your life feel good, just by the act of doing it? Sometimes it’s numbers, or art, sewing, organizing…whatever it is, just acknowledge it. Now – what would you do with it, in a perfect world, if you could? How can it benefit you? What could you enjoy doing, daily and for profit, and what do you need the rest of your life to look like in order to get there? What do you really, truly want, deep in your heart guts? We’ve been taught not to want too much, as primarily female, primarily rebellious people. It’s even worse if you are aren’t porcelain white, or if you have a physical handicap. We are not supposed to reasonably expect what we want out of life, right?
I warned you this wasn’t an easy topic. I meant it. If we want magic to really change our life, we have to be willing to let it change! How many of us are ready to truly, completely shed our skin like Damballah? Who do you ever see rejoice at seeing The Tower in a tarot reading? Yet the pain we experience in life is often something we’re taught that we deserve. We learn that we should expect to hurt over and over, because at least then we aren’t disappointed.
But if we’re too used to it, we forget to say, “That’s enough. No more. I deserve better. I want more.”
We forget to believe, “I can get there, from here.”
Image credit: https://delawer-omar.deviantart.com/art/rebirth-456016421