Can I interest any of you in a little…Hocus Pocus? Below is a list of 6 things I’m claiming to know about magic this Halloween. I’m not talking about spells and cauldrons, but simply an idea of the amazing way our world works within itself and within us to create something that feels akin to something greater than the cut and dry expectations of reality. Something that, for lack of a better term, I choose to believe in as MAGIC.
So here’s what I think:
It just comes natural.
Look up at the stars – because they’re magic. How can they not be? The feel of summer grass between your toes, the way the leaves change overnight, the effect on the sounds of the world when the sun rises and falls. Yes, it’s “just nature”. Yes, it’s all part of a series of scientific occurrences that interact with one another to make things grow and flourish and shed and be reborn. But the root of it, I believe, is some kind of magic.
Over the last week, I’ve seen some fantastical things – dark clouds that can’t be discerned from the mountains around them, vibrant sunsets after raining downpours, and leaves whirling in circles that are loud enough to keep you up at night. And maybe I’m more sensitive because it’s October and I want to see something that blows my mind. But whether we believe it or not, nature has always been a key force in magic. Isn’t that why witches always call on the winds?
It’s only as real as you make it.
I heard once that any stone or rock can serve as a crystal if you only imbue the right power into it. Yes, this could also be the perfect argument for a placebo effect. But isn’t it nicer to think that certain things – things of the earth – can alter our moods and spirits, can offer us comfort and hope, can make us feel secure and grounded? And if it works for you, then why not?
It shouldn’t have to contradict Christianity.
In fact, it should complement it. I’ll be honest, I’m not really a church-going Christian. I prefer not to associate with religious institutions and traditional practices of The Church. But I do believe in God. And with that, I believe in taking in every ounce of creation and attributing it to a certain moment in our history in which everything simply appeared and learned to grow and procreate and flourish. Some, again, might just call that the scientific theory of evolution. But sometimes it feels better not to know, exactly.
Sometimes it feels better to believe in fate – to look up at the constellations standing out against a dark country sky and wonder about our own stories, how we got here and where we might be going. And, to me, fate – despised as it may be for its fantastical, overly romantic sensibilities – is both Godly and magical. Because we never know where life will take us, but we must trust that it’s all for the best – that there’s some sort of plan, purpose, and intention behind it. Plus, Jesus performed some miracles, ammiright?
The definition (and its acceptance) has changed over time.
Approaching this Halloween season, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the Salem Witch Trials. It blows my mind how people who purported themselves to be good and godly could so eagerly deny another human their life simply because their way of being didn’t measure up to the status quo.
As I’ve leaned into learning more about these practices of “witchcraft” and grown even more interested in what defines a witch and why someone might claim that title, I’ve realized how quickly we put demonized labels on innocent things: Herbalism, Astrology, Crystals – Essential Oils, even – are all looped into books about modern witchery and spells. Yet, today we accept these things as New Age, Spiritual, Healthy, Trendy, and Natural. So where is the line drawn? And at what point does it become acceptable to keep a book of “spells” on your coffee table?
It only appears when we tune in to our deepest selves.
Have you ever felt an inexplicable lightness? A sensation of pure happiness or oneness with the world? I felt this last week as I left a really good yoga class. My body felt strong, my mind felt open, my spirits were up, and everything I saw around me felt special – like I really needed to soak up every moment of my commute home and treasure it for all it was worth. When we breathe deep, and when we connect with our thoughts in silence and banish all the worries, we can light up magic within ourselves. Call it zen, call it peace, call it bullshit – but aside from the plastic masks and the cheap pointy black hats – I think magic truly exists within this deeper connection to ourselves.
However we choose to define magic – whether it’s a Vegas performance, a vengeful curse, the way a blossom appears in the crack of the sidewalk, or a sacred self-care ritual we perform within the walls of our own home – we need it in our lives. We need things that make us laugh, that amaze us, that keep us happy and optimistic and hopeful for the future. And we should call those things what they are – magic. Whether you watch for it in your favorite childhood movie or depend on it for a change in our political climate over the next year, choose to believe – at least just a little bit – in the reality of magic. Somewhere, you might find it.
And maybe, just maybe, it will find a way to change you.
Happy Halloween, y’all. It’s November tomorrow!