Saturday Natterings: Yard work, Diagon Alley, NPR poetry, and Melinda

A selection of stuff for the blog today because my bad cold makes me too tired to write an exciting post. However, we will be speaking of magic again soon.

  1. Parked in the garage this week.

    The yard is out of control. If you have a yard, you know what this means. My wife and I planned to rein in the unruly grass and encroaching weeds even though we hadn’t yet recovered from our one-week trip with family to Disney World and Universal Studios. But then it rained. Dang, we had to postpone our yard work. Several days ago, somebody didn’t secure the pasture gate and we found our yard full of cattle. Not the first time this has happened. They ate some of the grass before we chased them back into the pasture.

  2. While in the Orlando area, I was lucky to finally meet

    Melinda Clayton of Thomas-Jacob Publishing.

    my publisher whom I’d worked with on line for quite a while but had never met in real life. Great times at a cool restaurant in Sanford. Her husband, my wife, my brother and my brother’s wife were there as well.

  3. Speaking of my publisher, Melinda will be happy to know that I finally ran out of excuses and have added new scenes to Lena, the upcoming third book in my Florida Folk Magic Series. The series begins with Conjure Woman’s Cat.
  4. NPR wants you to fill Twitter with “your haikus, tankas, limericks and the nonsensical, and we’ll feature some of our favorite bite-sized verses online and on the air.” Learn more here.
  5. FROM MY FACEBOOK AUTHOR’S PAGE: Napoleon Hill’s statement that “Whatever The Mind Can Conceive And Believe, The Mind Can Achieve” separates, I think, those who succeed from those

    Original cover. The 1902 book is still in print.

    who don’t–this depends on how one defines “succeed.” Or, as James Allen wrote many hears ago, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” Everything I know about magic can be based upon these and similar statements. Whether one is talking about magic or the processes of daily living, many people limit these statements because they either don’t see that people are more powerful than they know or because both statements force a person to acknowledge his/her responsibility for his/her “lot in life.”

  6. Photo from the trip: Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. There were long lines, of course, but it was fun seeing this re-creation as well as my two granddaughters’ reaction to it. They each bought an interactive wand which, if you used it just right, made things happen in many of the store windows.

Have a good week.

–Malcolm

Try Magic: What have you got to lose?

If you’ve read this blog and/or my books for a while, you know that I don’t doubt the reality of magic. Magic is–or should be–an optional subset of mysticism, that is to say, a direct communion with the god of your heart. I have always thought magic worked better within the context of one’s belief system rather than as an end in itself.

When some people read books filled with promises–like “The Secret” they are often inspired to try what they otherwise might not try. Sometimes they succeed. They’re more likely to succeed right after reading the book because they are attuned to the idea that all things are possible. So, before doubts enter into their thoughts, they often see things happen that they might never have expected prior to reading the book.

Magic, and by that, I don’t mean the sleight of hand and illusions of stage magicians, is always part of a larger system of thought, a way of looking at the world that isn’t confined to the limitations of every-day logic. For example, the hoodoo practices I talk about in my Florida Folk Magic novels are part of the culture in which they thrive. One can’t extract the spells and modes of thinking from the culture and expect them to work.

The same could be said about magic within the “old religion” (true witchcraft rather than Wicca), Hawai’ian mysticism (Huna), the practices of shamans in multiple cultures, Celtic (Druid) worldviews, and others. The first problem many people have after they finish a book or a weekend retreat or a class on magic and/or psychic techniques is merging their new knowledge into their own culture.

If you live in, say, Orlando, Florida, it’s difficult to merge, for example, Huna practices into your daily life because Hawai’ian mysticism is not the world view of most people living in Orlando. So, whatever you have learned, you will be at a disadvantage unless you can shield yourself from the mainstream worldview where you live and work.

Magic need to be culturally dependent, that is, it can be eclectic and not an integral part of a specific culture. While the tenants of this magic don’t synchronize well with what most of one’s friends and colleagues believe in, they are easier to pursue than those that are part of a minority group or culture. Nonetheless, the magic is still part of an altered way of looking at truth and the world and the “big picture” and cannot be separated from it. I have found this an easier route than, say, following hoodoo or Huna or Native American belief systems. There is nothing wrong with those systems other than the fact that (for me) I’m not attuned to those cultures. So, my approach is based on my own culture instead of somebody else’s culture.

You can find magic and mysticism at The Rosicrucian Order and The Silva Method that aren’t based on the cultures and rituals of marginalized groups. These are, so to speak, somewhat generic. Or, if you’re looking for inspiration, perhaps you’ll find if at Duirweigh Studios or in the books by Joseph Campbell. These are all routes to magic.

One of the best books–which you can find free on the Internet–about magic is James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh. Really, this old book says it all. For magic to work in your life, your worldview–whether “generic” or based on a particular culture–must accept the tenants and practices of the magic. Seriously, the magic and everything that surrounds it must be part of your life.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty, magic won’t work if you don’t think it will work, or if you have doubts about it. That’s a tall order because we’re expected to believe before we have any proof. I know, that’s not logical, so you must set logic aside before you practice magic. And don’t rush it.

–Malcolm