The Practice of Magic
What, why, how, who, and even when are all good questions when thinking about magic.
Real magic, I mean.
So here are some answers.
What is magic?
... a practice for changing the world according to your needs and desires, using "unseen" forces. We kinda do this all the time, unconsciously shaping our lives with our language, our intentions, our instinctive choices. The witch or magician chooses to make this process deliberate, conscious. It can take a lot of work to make the process more conscious than unconscious, but this is, at it's heart, what spells and rituals are for. Choosing to shape our world and our selves.
... also an "energy" or feeling. "Magic" can be used as a noun, to describe the power that we use to conjure our desires.
... and a card game. Ok, I jest, but "magic" is a term used for games, fantasies, and stage trickery. It does suggest something outside of the everyday, and thus, in a materialist mindset, something fake. Do not be fooled though, if you approach the practice of magic with an open mind, strange things will come your way...
Why do magic?
... because you need something. Witchcraft and other so called "low magic" grows out of need. If you need something and you're struggling to get it, you can do magic for it to help it make its way to you.
... because it makes you better at being you. Some magical practices are really good for strengthening your self, for plumbing the depths of who you are and pushing you to grow.
... because it brings you home. Some magic is about finding connection and building relationship with the otherworlds and spirits. It can remind us that we are connected, a part of the world rather than somehow separate from it.
How do we do magic?
Well that's rather a huge question as there are many different ways including... divination to listen to the spirit realm for guidance, candles and prayers, charm bags, spoken spells, runes and symbols, petitioning gods, dancing with trees, herbalism, crystals, singing to the sea... whichever methods sing to your spirit, they are tangible ways of directing energy and shifting our psychology towards our goals.
Who can do magic?
Anyone can, but not everyone wants or needs to. And not every method works for every person, nor is every path open to everyone. Specific religious and cultural practices are sacred to their people and are best left alone if you are not part of that lineage. Others are open to anyone who approaches with respect, such as Druidry, neo-paganism, most public witchcraft traditions, and heathenry. If you want to work magic then be prepared to explore the options until you find the path (or paths) that work for you and your life, and to put in the time and effort to hone the skills required for that path.
Honestly, if your path is one of magic you can practice every day. Or once a month. Or only when the need is strong. Some traditions and skills require daily practice to build those skills, and it is easier the more often you engage those muscles, but magic itself has so many forms that you can build it into your life in the way that works best for you and your spirits. As you learn more you can adapt and become better at sensing when it is appropriate to do particular magical practices, but there is always some way you can engage magically, even if it is only to connect with the earth, breathe deep, and listen to your magical self.
There are as many answers to these questions as there are people who ask them, but perhaps these will serve as a starting point for discussion. There are plenty of people who would disagree, or elaborate, or have answers based on their path, but I'll leave them to share in the comments.
So, dear hearts, what are your thoughts?
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