Magical Realism – an example

Readers of my novels Conjure Woman’s Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman know those stories are magical realism. This afternoon, I’ve been looking for examples of magical realism to post here to dispel the misguided notion that magical realism is a subset of fantasy (as Amazon, among others categorize it). I couldn’t find what I wanted, partly because showing you enough to illustrate my point here that the magic in magical realism is just as real as the realism, would have forced me to show you passages long enough to be considered copyright infringement.

So, even though I guess it’s shameless promotion, I’ll show you a passage from my Kindle novel Mountain Song. The passage first appeared in print in a complex novel called Garden of Heaven self-published in 2010. My previous publisher suggested I make it easier for readers to attempt by splitting it into three novels. I was never happy with the resulting books published in 2013.

The problem was basically that the publisher wanted me to edit and re-configure the books as fantasy. I said they weren’t fantasy, they were magical realism. The publisher’s response to that was dismissive, that I was full of myself and thought my work was good enough to be considered “literary fiction” because that’s what magic realism was: a fru-fru synonym for fantasy.  We had many heated arguments about this, all of which I lost since I was under contract. I had to complete the trilogy. When it didn’t sell, the publisher and I agreed to pull it from the market.

The following excerpt is part of the main character’s vision quest on a mountain at the edge of the plains. While he’s standing on the mountain top, an eagle (Píta) picks him up and throws him down onto the plains where a black horse (Sikimí) appears with ideas of his own.

Excerpt

Píta dropped him like a frail aspen leaf upon a flat rock in the center of the prairie. A shroud of rain obscured the mountains and moved east. He stood, confused, favoring his left foot. When he saw Eagle suspended midway between the unnatural yellow sky and the unnatural yellow earth, he heard a faint call, high-pitched and strung tight across the chasm between clouds and prairie, then suddenly brilliant, enveloping and histaminic. What he heard in this wide lonely place was the clear, unmistakable voice of his grandmother, raised to the heavens in laughter on that long-ago day when Jayee shouted “holy shit” at a cow in the road in the great mountain’s shadow.

If he could walk west, if he could walk west to the highway, following the laugh his grandmother laughed when the world intruded, (laughter is sanity’s last defense, she told him so often) the laugh he heard now like a true beacon due west and ten years back, the laugh for which she was rightfully proud, her great opus written for flute crying, coyote yapping, bulls rutting, if he could follow this laugh west, then to the highway, then south to the crossroads store and the phone on the far side of the storm, great cauldron of probabilities and worlds, then he would survive this, all of this, this, this. He took stock of himself and laughed. The burnished steel puddle at his feet flung back a tiny caricature of a man, half drawn, beneath the immenseness of all else. He was cold. He smelled bad, too, reminiscent of dog shit and goat piss. If this was shock, then he would make the most of it. In the stinging spray of the first rain drops, he leapt forward, laughing, onto his left foot, and it felt good, damn good.

With each step, he pulled strength out of the soil. He began to run, and in spite of his heavy climbing boots, he felt light and fine. This was effortless; he was in his prime. He danced around the edge of a dry gully; he was smiling and thinking he had it in him to run past the telephone at the crossroads store, past Babb and St. Mary, of course, that would be easy, and then over the continental divide at Marias Pass, after which it would be downhill all the way home to Alder Street and the buff-colored house with the white picket fence.

And then it was the horse.

Sikimí burst out of the rain. He was a terror, a daemon, that one, pulling storms. David’s strength rushed back into the stony earth like water from a flushed toilet. Those eyes—deep sweet rage—rose and fell, rose and fell, in ecstasy, in pain, synchronized with breath and muscled strides. There was no cover. He flung off his shirt, focused his tumbling thoughts with the pure tones of vowels, climbed naked bedrock between forks of a creek, felt a clean tension in his hands and forearms, felt Earth’s heat climb his legs, forced breath and a strident growl from his burning throat, and exploded into silver fire in the shape of a man.

The horse came on, without pause.

“Aiá, Kyáiopokà, Stookatsis.” Eagle streamed out of the pale overcast east of the rain and dropped the lariat vine into David’s waiting hands.

He made a large loop, wrapped the loose end around a knob of rock like a climber’s belay, and let gravity take his weight down into the pain of his left ankle. This was good. This was his new anchor. Sikimí was twenty yards away when the storm swept around from the north and swallowed the prairie whole. All sounds were rain, and grey.

Then, screams, hooves pawing scree, Sikimí’s head shooting up out of boiling shadows, striking into the pain of his broken ankle like a snake and sliding away into the depths, except for the eyes which hung for great moments like molten saucers of gold on a black table. David dropped to his knees, the vine in front of him puny and limp on the stone. Before he could think, or spit rain and curses, those eyes rose up like the birth of fire and Sikimí’s breath seared his face.

When all was lost, he jumped forward with the Stookatsis noose in his hands, fell into the center of an ocean of rain, and grabbed Sikimí’s neck. The mane blew into his mouth. He gagged on seaweed. Salt scraped his eyes blind. His hands pulled a raw cry from the horse’s throat. For just moments, the vine around the rock restrained the thrashing beast and David was able to swing up onto his back. Then hell hit with no mercy.

Sikimí spun, twisted, tore the air, shook the prairie with his rage, slid through rocks and mud into the creek, transforming the rising torrent into high foam. David coiled the flapping loose end of the vine around his right hand and arm and clawed the mane with his left. His thighs and calves ached against the horse’s flanks. In the rain and the dark, those eyes spawned lighting, followed by belched thunder across the rank grass. Those teeth were into his legs again and again, until he jammed his heavy climbing boots against the side of the horse’s head. He was breaking Sikimí’s jaw, shattering the huge mandible into elemental powder, screaming forbidden words with each kick, again and again, until he saw what he had done, and slumped down against the hot neck and whispered, “There boy, there boy, you goddamn son of a bitch.”

Thwarted, Sikimí ran. He ran and the rain cut into David’s face like old knives. He ran and the contour lines rose and fell in a grey blur beneath his feet. He ran and David felt an uncommon exhilaration. Irreverent of the land, he ran west into the deeper storm where rain and cloud coalesced into a palpable sea. The dulled colors of a spilt rainbow, elongated like taffy pulled to the breaking point, swirled past on a cold tide. Shimmering schools of light darted and feinted in great unisons between the shadows of hill and dale.

When Black Horse ran, he ran with long, graceful strides and the passion of lovers. When Black Horse ran with long, graceful strides and the passion of lovers, his movements created a dance choreographed to the music of drums deep in the earth. David heard the music between his legs as uncommon heat and released his grip on Sikimí’s neck. He heard shrill notes and dissonant chords burn upward along his spine like fire on a short fuse and he released the noose and saw it float away into the blue grass. Now then, he was pain personified. Now then, in the overwhelming face of it all, he, David Ward, was dancer and dance; now then, he was a woman straining in tears and blood to give birth, he was a dark haired child straining in sunshine to pull his playground swing above the tree tops; now then, he was a man in his prime breathing hard beneath weights; now then, he was Eagle traversing the hyacinthine blue where air and sight are pure; now then, he was Black Horse leaping the western horizon; now then, when he could see and he could feel, there appeared in his path dreams, first as curtains of light, then with depth and breadth and movement where Sikimí tore them apart in dance.

(Copyright (c) 2010 by Malcolm R. Campbell)

If this were fantasy, it wouldn’t be happening in the very real world of Montana. If this were figurative, I would say, “it was as if the eagle dropped him on the plains” and “it was as though the black horse leapt out of the rain.” I don’t say such things because the scene is just as real as the mountain trails I use in the novel.

Malcolm

My new magical realism novel, “Lena,” will be release August 1 by Thomas-Jacob Publishing, a company that knows the difference between fantasy and magical realism.

 

 

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Release Date for ‘Lena’

After a bit of back and forth with the printer and several proof copies, we finally have the cover for Lena coming out in good shape. We were starting to wonder if it had gotten hexed. We plan to release this final novel in the Florida Folk Magic Trilogy on August 1. As a Leo, I approve.

You can see the book’s trailer on my website and also on YouTube. As usual, Thomas-Jacob Publishing has done a great trailer and a wonderful cover. The artist who did the covers for the first two books in the series was unavailable. We are pleased that Fajar Rizki created cover art in the spirit of the art used for Conjure Woman’s Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman.

Book Description: When police chief Alton Gravely and officer Carothers escalate the feud between “Torreya’s finest” and conjure woman Eulalie Jenkins by running her off the road into a north Florida swamp a long way from town, the borrowed pickup truck is salvaged but Eulalie is missing and presumed dead. Her cat Lena survives. Lena could provide an accurate account of the crime—the tanker truck, the dead man in the trunk of the squad car, and the fire—but the county sheriff is unlikely to interview a pet. Lena doesn’t think Eulalie is dead, but the conjure woman’s family and friends don’t believe her.

Eulalie’s daughter Adelaide wants to stir things up. The church deacon wants everyone to stay out of sight: he fears reprisals since it’s hard to tell the difference between the police, city fathers, and the KKK. Lena teaches Adelaide rudimentary spell work—how to hex the chief of police and how to read the possum bones to find Eulalie’s fiancé Willie Tate who’s working down on the coast and tell him to come home. There’s talk of an eye witness, but either Adelaide made that up to worry the police or s/he is too scared to come forward.

Then the feared Black Robes of the Klan attack the first responder who believes the wreck might have been staged and Lena is the only one who can help him try to fight them off. After that, all hope is gone because if Eulalie is alive and if she finds her way back to Torreya, there are plenty of people waiting to kill her and make sure she stays dead.

A Facebook friend asked why this is the final novel in the series. My answer is simply that I don’t want to push my luck.  Another Facebook friend grumbled about having to wait until August 1. Sorry about that, but it’s nice to have prospective readers chomping at the bit.

Malcolm

 

 

 

Coming this year: ‘Lena,’ the third novel in my Florida Folk Magic Series

We hear that books in series tend to sell better than standalone books. But, we also hear that if the first book in a series is well liked, the author might have trouble keeping readers’ interests in subsequent books.

Early reviewers who liked “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” said they though book two, “Eulalie and Washer Woman” was even better. The readers were happy and I was relieved that I hadn’t botched up the whole thing by writing a sequel.

The odd thing is, the sequel has sold fewer copies than the original and has a fraction of the reviews. Go figure.

So, I had mixed feelings writing a third book. On one hand, I thought that with the declining interest shown for book two, it was kind of silly to write book three. However, I had a few things left to say. Or, perhaps, the characters did. Book three was harder to write than the previous books. So, it took longer.

But finally, Lena is almost ready to send to my publisher. We’ve already been having conversations about the cover. As far as the cover goes, our artist for books one and two has moved onto other things. So, we’ll need somebody new.

What’s left to do? Well, this is the polishing the manuscript phase. That means going through the story page by page to get rid of any inconsistencies, typos, continuity problems, or stupid mistakes I can find before sending the DOC file to Thomas-Jacob Publishing. Fortunately, we have a great editor who will catch 99 and 44/100 percent of the mistakes I miss.

I have no idea how long it will take to get everything squared away. Several months, perhaps. Like most authors who get to know their characters throughout a series of books, I will miss these people. But, I suspect it’s time to move on to other themes and other stories. (I reserve the right to change my mind.)

For years, I wondered if I would ever find the characters and story lines to write about the racism in Florida during the years when I was growing up. For prospective readers, I hope I did.

Malcolm

Click on my name for my website.

Magic: Thoughts about healing

Healing is difficult to discuss because many people associate it only with the forms prayer takes within their chosen religion. Also, it’s often associated with quackery, whether it’s the traveling preacher who plants supposed sick people in his audiences who come forward for a healing and then appear to get well on the spot, to the claims and counter claims made by people about various over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplements. Also, it is very easy to run afoul of various laws about practicing medicine without a license to prohibitions about advertising oneself as a psychic or healer.

I don’t really see healing as magic, but I place it here because–other than prayer–most people tend to see generic healing methods as paranormal in some way.

I do believe in the power of prayer within the context of an organized religion, other than to note that (in my view) the Christian Science Church has the most comprehensive approach to healing and the way the world is constructed than most other Protestant denominations.

Having said that, I also want to mention that the Silva Method and the Rosicrucian Order, both of which I’ve mentioned before, teach methods of absent healing (healing at a distance). The Silva Method provides a much faster introduction to healing and other intuitive technqiues than the Rosicrucian order due to their short seminars and courses.

Reiki

Reiki, as it tends to be taught in the United States, provides both laying on of hands and absent healing methods. Personally, I have found its methods to be very effective and to mesh well with my spiritual views. As the website says, The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”

While its origins are different, Reiki is very compatible–in my view–with Silva and Rosicrucian Order techniques. Among other things, all of these methods teach that the energy does not come from the person acting as a so-called healer, but from Creator. These methods also stress that the healer does not instruct the energy on what or how to do to accomplish its purposes. Reiki, which is taught by certified instructors, can also be researched in books. Instructors are better, I think; also finding the best books–outside of any recommended by an instructor is problematic since some of the more popular ones are criticized for either being inaccurate or otherwise outside of standard Reiki teachings.

Fools Crow

Years ago, Fools Crow, the Teton Sioux healer and medicine man who died in 1989, said that in order to heal another person, me thought of himself as a hollow bone through which the energy flowed.The better he was as a person, the cleaner that bone was. (I am speaking of the Fools Crow in Thomas E. Mails’ book based on interviews and not the novel about a Blackfeet medicine man written about by James Welch.)

Fools Crow’s hollow bone is another way of looking at the fact that the healing systems I’m most familiar with teach that the “healer” is a channel through which the Creator’s healing energy flows. Part of being a good channel is having a positive attitude, generally acknowledging your connection to “all that is” (God/Creator/Cosmic) and living in accordance with the highest precepts such a connection entails.

If you want to help people as a “healer” in addition to or instead of traditional prayer, you might have positive results with the be generic method below if you don’t have the resources to become involved with Reiki, Silva, or the Rosicrucians. Also, if you are not part of the culture in which conjure/hoodoo or shamanistic practices are used, I think going onto conjure/root doctor or shaman websites for healing methods is a mistake. If you grew up in these cultures, then I suggest finding a practitioner to train you rather than trying to learn a rather complex system out of a book.

Generic Technique

In a strictly generic sense, one can attempt absent healing by doing the following:

  1. Whether you use counting down with numbers (self-hypnosis related) biofeedback, a recorded guided medication, or meditate through another method, the process begins by calming the mind and entering a condition where your intuition is enhanced and not focused on concerns and projects of the day. To use Silva’s terminology, you are slowing your brainwaves from beta to alpha.
  2. Various people use the term “mind’s eye” in a variety of ways. When I use it, I consider it to be like a movie or TV screen that I imagine I’m looking at when my eyes are closed. So, when I say visualize something in your mind’s eye, I mean that you are imagining seeing something with, say, the same clarity you might visualize a memory. In this case, you’re imaging seeing the person who is ill. If you know them or have seen a picture of them, then you already can recall their likeness in the same way you’d do that if you were simply thinking about them. If you don’t know what they look like, then you will probably have a name and maybe the town where they live. Pretend that you are seeing this person.
  3. I should mention that if you do this a lot, you will discover over time that the person in your mind’s eye has become more of a psychic impression than your imagination. You’ll know this is happening when you accurately see image of people you don’t know.
  4. “Healers” have various methods for acknowledging at this point that the energy comes from outside themselves. Many of us “say” something like “I am offering myself as a connection and a channel of attunement for the healing energy now flowing to [person’s name].”
  5. If you know the person’s ailment, your mind’s eye impression of them may show them as somewhat translucent with the ailment highlighted in red.
  6. Outside the specific methods taught by Reiki, Silva, and the Rosicrucians, some “healers” simply visualize white or blue-white or even golden light flowing into the image in their mind’s eye and, in the process, seeing the red disappear. It’s best to avoid saying/think something like, “This energy is fixing Bob’s heart” because when you do that, you’re telling the energy (which is smarter than you) what it ought to do.
  7. Healers tend to remain passive at this point while maintaining their visualization of the person and/or while imaging the energy flowing unimpeded through themselves. Really, they need to get out of the way rather than thinking about the person, the ailment, or the process of serving as a channel. As I see it, once you’ve started the process, there’s no particular length of time you need to spend. Five or ten minutes, perhaps.
  8. Then you close out your “session,” thank the Creator for using you as a channel for healing [name of person] and then conclude your meditation in a way that works for you. Many will count numbers upward as a “code” (so to speak) for coming “up” from deep levels of mind to the level of mind used for everyday things.
  9. It’s important to consider–as many disciplines teach–that a physical ailment might be caused by many things. That is, it may result from an imbalance within the person’s life and thoughts. So, one never wants to focus on removing pain because the pain is a signal that something is wrong. And, it’s quite possible that the physical ailment can be healed only to return later because the imbalance that caused it was never addressed.
  10. Basically, if somebody online or in person asks me to pray for somebody who is sick, this is what I’m going to do. Directing energy to those in need doesn’t conflict with what their doctors are doing: if the person or the doctors notice anything, it might be that the person got well sooner than expected.

Malcolm

 

 

 

We have been speaking of magic

It’s almost impossible to make a list of magical techniques that could possibly serve as a recipe or a how-to manual for those wanting to learn. The techniques are varied, usually arise out of one’s belief system and/or life’s path, and depend upon the seriousness of those approaching the art and craft of the methods that resonate with them.

Personally, I think we can produce “magical results” without the need of rituals, candles, wands, athames, Tarot cards, and other paraphernalia. The power is within us, not the equipment. If the equipment, crutches as I view them, helps, then there is not need to avoid it. We all use what facilitates our intentions.

For many, the “equipment” helps because society in general tends to discount magic, so it’s often difficult to practice it in a negative environment of science and logic. I have found Tarot cards to be helpful as well as readings from the I Ching.  When I have used candles, it was for focusing my gaze more than for their color or for the herbs that hoodoo uses to “dress” them.

If spells and paraphernalia help you achieve results. there’s no need to get rid of them.  Altars and herbs and candles don’t fit my lifestyle, so I don’t use them. However, they may work for you.

Your mind’s focus is the important thing whether your embrace traditional witchcraft, Wicca, Transcendental Mediation, the Seth Materials, Rosicrucian techniques, various Lightworker approaches, or a mystic attunement based on your religion or spiritual outlook.

In the final analysis, we create our own realities whether we use spells, meditation, various forms of biofeedback and self-hypnosis, dreams, or a positive-thinking approach to life. Such things seem more important to our success than the spells and rituals of one system or another.

It takes courage and perseverance, I think, to approach the world from a mystic’s or psychic’s point of view, and to suggest to family and friends that there’s more to reality than logic or the inputs produced by the five senses. Perhaps it’s best to remain quiet about such thing rather than to be labeled by society as a crazy person.

An author can hide behind his stories by using magic in them that s/he doesn’t mention in every day life. What one says about one’s beliefs is a difficult choice to make,

–Malcolm

 

Magic: The Rosicrucians

“In the end mysticism isn’t a belief. It is simply an art of knowing. The mystical experience transcends nature. Often the person will receive a feeling that far surpasses anything which could be conveyed by words. Furthermore, this insight, devoid of ego, is thoroughly comprehended as truthful.” – The Rosicrucian Order (AMORC)

Strictly speaking, mysticism isn’t magic any more than the self-improvement techniques taught by The Silva Method are considered magic. However, I am considering them in this series of blogs about magic because some of the skills/techniques/results of some mystics and some personal growth practitioners appear to be magic to those outside the teachings of either group.

Wikipedia graphic

The Rosicrucians are secular mystics with a strong emphasis on ritual who focus on hermetic teachings, alchemy, the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the so-called greater and lesser mysteries, and the development of knowledge that is often referred to as western mysticism. The Silva Method was created by Rosicrucian Jose Silva and focuses more on the development of an individual’s latent mental abilities including intuition than on a direct connection with nature and/or the Creator (referred to generically by Rosicrucians as “the Cosmic”).

The Rosicrucians’ Rosy Cross, which predates the Christian use of the cross, refers to the unfolding consciousness (the rose) in physical matter, that is, the body, which is represented by the cross. Rosicrucian studies are a lifelong process of transformation. The information is presented in monthly monographs in a logical fashion and includes experiments students can use to develop the techniques in the lessons. Students/members who live near the group’s lodges in major cities will benefit from the fellowship as well as the rituals available there.

You can see from this that Rosicrucian teachings have a basis in long-time concepts. Wikipedia illustration.

I have been a Rosicrucian, as well as a Silva Method graduate, for almost a half a century. The teachings, in my view, complement each other. Typical students probably develop their psychic and healing abilities must faster through the Silva Method, while the Rosicrucian teachings provide, over time, a solid grounding in esoteric traditions and principles. Neither group has the high-profile approach and publicity associated with such books as The Secret or such approaches as the Law of Attraction or the newer approaches/terminologies such as “Twin Flames” and “Lightworkers.”

As always, I look for consensus and wish the newer approaches to magic, self-development, and mysticism would state how their beliefs and techniques compare and contrast to methods that have been around for years. My personal belief system–which is probably neither “bad” nor “good”–is that mysticism and magic are primarily for serving others and transforming oneself rather than for attracting power and wealth.

I’m including these ideas as an example of a “world view” that serves as the basis for what one accepts or does not accept when it comes to magic. One starts with a world view, I think, and then adds or subtracts other ideas and philosophies from it. When I read about something new, I tend to see how it meshes with what I have already found to be true for myself.  Personally, I like the idea of foundation beliefs. Mine are Silva and Rosicrucian, with strong influences from the Seth materials (written by Jane Roberts) and from Hawai’ian mysticism (Huna). I am comfortable with this. You may need or want something completely different.

That’s fine. There are numerous approaches to magic, mysticism, personal transformation, and self improvement. I like the idea that there are many paths and that each of us walks along those we like best.

Malcolm

As an author, I base the magic in my contemporary fantasies and magic realism novels on my understanding of actual systems of magic to make the stories as accurate and realistic as possible.

 

 

 

Magic: what should I do first?

“Alpha waves are one type of brain waves detected either by electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography(MEG) and predominantly originate from the occipital lobe during wakeful relaxation with closed eyes. Alpha waves are reduced with open eyes, drowsiness and sleep. Historically, they were thought to represent the activity of the visual cortex in an idle state. More recent papers have argued that they inhibit areas of the cortex not in use, or alternatively that they play an active role in network coordination and communication.[2] Occipital alpha waves during periods of eyes closed are the strongest EEG brain signals.” – Wikipedia

I have included a quotation here about alpha waves because they represent the level of relaxed brain activity used for intuition. As the Silva Method teaches, your intuition works best at the alpha level–as opposed to the beta level of our usual waking world functioning. I can’t reproduce their technique here other than to say that when you count down from ten to one (or something similar) and visualize yourself becoming more and more relaxed, you will tend to be producing alpha waves.

So, in many ways, what one does first is enter into a state of relaxation conducive to visualization and intuition. That’s a given. Many people have found that recorded guided visualizations help them reach an alpha level.

Assuming you can relax, take a step away from your worries and goals, and silence the ever-chattering voice inside your head, the first step is belief.

Some people see belief as a catch-22 trick foisted on the rest of us by those who write books about magic. The so-called “trick” is, if you don’t believe, the magic won’t work, though until you’ve seen evidence of it working, you have no basis for belief. I suggest approaching this issue in a spirit of play. Pretend you’re playing with the techniques rather than trying to prove anything one way or another the first time out. In time, you’ll begin to think, “hmm, this seems to be working.”

Some people, especially those whose focus is ancient ritual magic, say will power comes first. This is not altogether wrong, though I shy away from saying that because in today’s world, I think will power suggests a brute-force, logical approach. I’d rather use the term “intention.” For magic–however you define it–to work, your intention cannot be scattered with distracting thoughts about daily concerns. Your intention should also be highly focused, that is, on a specific result rather than a vague, open-ended result.

Those of us who believe in magic also believe that belief and intention play a large role in the reality we experience, and that includes the results that we see from our goals, hopes, and dreams. That is, your are already using intention and belief subconsciously, so why not use it “properly” for better results.

A generic approach to self improvement

“Properly” means not only using relaxation techniques and focusing your process, but avoiding second-guessing it later. A lot of people “undo” their best of intentions by thinking negative thoughts about them the rest of the day. Stop doing that.

Magic also works better when you can imagine the end result. All of us can see things in our mind’s eye. That’s what we do when we remember people we’ve known and places we used to live. We can see all that quite clearly. In the same way, we can imagine what things will be like when our goals–and our magic–come to pass. If you have visualized yourself moving into a better home, think of that place in your idle time: imagine the yard, the gardens, the front door, the entry hall, and the other rooms. Pretend you are there fixing a meal or watching television. What is is like?

Workable magic is usually very dependent on a relaxed level of mind, a belief in what you’re doing, a well-focused intention, and on the ability to imagine what you are creating.

Malcolm

 

 

Magic: 4 Myths about Faeries and How to Avoid Them 

“There’s a lot of curiosity out there about the beings known as Faeries. And so many of you are feeling a call in your hearts to know, understand and work with them on a REALLY deep level at this time.But you’re still struggling to really tap into this realm and access its transformative magic and healing power for yourself. It’s a kind of novelty that sits on the shelf of your consciousness, waiting for a bit of air time. And when you really stop to consider it, you might even admit you find these these beings downright baffling and elusive.So what gives? If you’re not making the Faery connection it’s probably because you’re going about it all wrong. But not to worry. Because in my experience, I’ve found four myths about the Faeries are to blame.”

 

Source: 4 Myths about Faeries and How to Avoid Them – Faery Light

From time to time, I plan to post other people’s ideas about magic. You may find them variously absurd, interesting, your cup of tea, just plain crazy, or worth wondering about. I thought I’d start with the world of faerie since, for most people (including me), it’s a difficult possibility to consider.

On the other hand, if you go outside on a quiet day, sit down and lean back against a favorite tree, and just listen imaginatively, you may be surprised at what your impressions. Or, you’ll fall asleep until your spouse comes out and wakes you up. Either way, who knows what might happen.

–Malcolm

 

Magic: Guided Visualizations and Meditations

If you search Google for either “Guided Visualization” or “Guided Meditation,” you’ll get a lot of hits. I first encountered these mental field trips in the 1970s when I was taking a relaxation/intuition seminar.

Briefly, a leader–in person or in a recording–leads individuals and groups through an imaginative (or recalled from memory) landscape, sets of affirmations, suggested visualizations, and other relaxing audio experiences that, faith-based or secular, are intended to help you experience deep relaxation and self-affirming statements/goals that are often accompanied by music.

In a group, people often lie on mats on the floor while the l leader reads from a prepared or spontaneous script; leaders also use pre-recorded visualizations or meditations. One beauty of the pre-recorded format is that it’s often available for purchase, so you can use it at home when it presents an experience that resonates with you.

Many visualizations begin with a relaxation method that’s akin to self-hypnosis. Some have you count down numbers, affirming that while you are doing this you are becoming more and more relaxed. Others ask you to pretend that you are doing down a stairway or an escalator or a trail to the valley floor.

While you are there, you might repeat scripted affirmations, imagine that you are meeting gurus or totem animals with messages for you, or simply listening to the music while pretending you are in a relaxing place. Leaders often give you a chance to say your own affirmations or think about your own psychological/spiritual journey.

(Note: Many experts say that affirmations–which often sound like New Year’s resolutions–are most effective when you do more than repeat them while relaxed or meditating. You need to do things in your waking world that support them. For example, if your affirmation is that you are getting more and more healthy every day, you need to tie this to doing healthy things–exercise, nutritious foods, etc.)

At the end of the visualization, the leader will usually end with a phrase such as, “Now I’m going to count from one to three. Then I say ‘three,’ you will be wide awake, feeling much better than before.”

If you use this process often, you will find that in time you can instantly “go” to your imagined relaxation status without having to count down. You know what it feels like to “be there,” so simply intend to feel that way as easily as you decide to raise your hand or sing a song.

The beauty of these visualizations/meditations is that you can listen to them often, learn how to replicate them, and–while you’re learning new skills–you’re having an enjoyable experience akin to listening to a favorite piece of music. If you listen to one at home, you’ll discover that you’ll often fall asleep. So, make sure you won’t be disturbed and that you really have time to fall asleep.

I haven’t listened to a guided meditation or visualization for a long time because I heard so many of them, that I can make up my own and/or reach the desired level of relaxation or active imagination without needing a series of steps. For most of us, this is the end result we want–a way to relax without medication, a way to handle stressful days, a way to discover the benefits of meditation, and a way of developing the so-called intuitive abilities that are latent in all of us.

–Malcolm

P.S. My thanks to Melinda for mentioning this subject in a comment in an earlier post. That reminded me it might be helpful to others.

Magic: Your Favorite Place of Relaxation

Whether you’re meditating, using affirmations to improve your outlook on life, beginning a shamanic journey, visualizing a friend’s health needs, or listening to the promptings of your inner self (AKA conscience, subconscious mind), many “systems” will suggest that you begin by going to your favorite place of relaxation.

This place can be either real or imagined. Many people choose places associated with quiet and beauty–a mountain meadow, a shimmering pool,a moonlit lake, or even an easy chair in a room filled with books and perhaps a stone fireplace. The idea here, is that over time, you will be able to imagine/visualize this setting as a place of peace and serenity.

I use an imagined mountain cabin in a real place. Once I close my eyes and pretend to be there, my blood pressure goes down, my brainwaves slow, and I find myself in a state of mind where it’s easier to “do” magic.

At the beginning, you may need to monitor your breathing as you slow yourself down and think of this place. You may find that it takes you a while to fully believe you are “in” that visualized spot where you are at one with yourself. With practice, you’ll be able to simply think of it and find yourself in a state of relaxation that facilitates meditation.

It’s difficult to focus on magic, psychic visualizations, and healing yourself and others if you are in a logical frame of mind, worse yet, worried or uptight or feeling driven. Being able to silence our mind’s constant chattering and “go” (mentally) to a real of imagined relaxing place is a signal–almost like a post-hypnotic suggestion–that you are operating at a deeper level of mind than the one you use most of the time in your waking moments.

With practice, many people can slow down their brainwaves and breathing without having to (or visualizing) a relaxing scene. For others, the relaxing scene helps. For those it helps, the place becomes something of a place of power. That is to say, while one is imagining s/he is in this place, s/he can “see” the world in a different way than we do when we’re commuting to work or sitting at a computer. At first, what we “see” may appear to be imaginary, but in time, we discover that it is a mystical connection with “the big picture” and/or psychic impressions about the problem or issue on our minds.

When I began doing magic, I found it easier to start in my imagined favorite place of relaxation. I would spend time there in idleness before doing anything else. Later, I found that I no longer needed that place, that I could feel my relaxation and attunement with my intended plans without stopping by that place.

The place we select, though, is always available to us, as a retreat from the world, as a sanctuary, and as a place of mental power. It’s a powerful spot.

Malcolm

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