Reclaiming Magic

In my teens, I had a strong belief in magic. Not so much the spells and wands variety, but the essential, magical nature of reality, the importance of will, the strange complexities of existence. It’s one of the things I’ve lost along the way, and that wasn’t any kind of good or natural ‘growing up’ experience, or a deliberate embracing of another paradigm. Simply, I had my sense of magic stripped from me.

Over a period of years, I was exposed to a number of people with deeply disturbing and psychotic beliefs. People who claimed to be deities, who claimed to have cursed others and caused illness. People who claimed sole responsibility for keeping other people alive, the fate of others dependent on their whims. I also encountered people who claimed to be highly intuitive, but used their claimed intuition as a way to bully. It’s very easy to use the assertion that you have magical powers to control, intimidate and manipulate others. When modern writers criticise ancient cultures, it is often with the very assertion that people claiming magical powers used them to bully the credulous into serving them. It certainly does happen and is both alarming and destructive to encounter.

Exposed to this kind of behaviour and attitude, I became increasingly unwilling to think about anything in magical terms. Rational causality became ever more important to me. I felt a strong need to defend myself from what I was experiencing by becoming ever more conventionally rational. Magic became the word for experiencing the numinous or feeling a sense of wonder, but the idea of spells or deliberate will working I rejected. And oddly enough, that sense of the numinous, of the magical within life and nature, also began to diminish within me. I became, quite literally, disenchanted.

It is absolutely vital to maintain an understanding of reality that allows you, me, to functionally engage with others in viable and meaningful ways. However, humans are not wholly rational creatures. All things that we do begin in thought, will and imagination. We all have experiences we can’t explain, and the further reaches of science are so full of complexity and strangeness that getting my head round them is endlessly challenging, and much of the time, it might as well be magic. So often historically, ‘magic’ has been the word we’ve used for things we had no other explanations for. Letting that sense of wonder and possibility back in does not mean letting go of sanity or reason.

I am setting out to rediscover my sense of wonder, to rebuild my trust in the world and my ability to perceive it as a place that is not openly hostile to me, and that is rich with beauty and goodness, even amongst the pain and challenges. It is my intention to actively seek my own re-enchantment. The belief of my youth was just what naturally occurred to me. I didn’t put much work into it, so while it had an inherently innocent quality, it was also somewhat unformed, untested. To set out deliberately to rebuild in myself a sense of wonder and magic, is not going to give me back what I’ve had stripped from me. What happens, if this works, is bound to be different. I have no idea what to expect. Gone are the days when my sense of the future was keen and I trusted to my intuition.

I am choosing to step out into the darkness, with only intent to guide me. I want my magic back. I want my sense of magical possibility back, and my trust in both myself and the wider world. I want the rich, unconscious dreaming life I once had, and also I want those things I do not yet know about, that will be part of this journey. I’ll be blogging what happens alongside the other issues I tend to tackle here, and as ever, will be glad of anything anyone feels moved to share along the way.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

11 responses to “Reclaiming Magic

  • Heddwen

    O the wonder of wonder. Strange how the childs world view escapes us as we grow up. Everything seems infected with harsh reality, its difficult for us to reconnect. Good luck on your journey, Nimue

  • Dave

    This was lovely and marvelous. I check your page everyday to see what’s new, and each day it says something new to me.

    Our Path is not so different, having misplaced the magic (mine was more the “becoming a grown up kind of thing) and I sat in my car today thinking the exact same things, but in different words, intending to find the magic again.

    Your post about coming to druidism through gaming was me all over and I liked that me, so I’ve decided to spend a year searching for that guy, his way of seeing and his magic, seeing if it might mingle well with the accumulated wisdom of a few decades since then.

    Thank you both, Nimue and Tom, you’re so often thought provoking, inspirational and so genuine it’s good to know you’re in the world.

    ~Dave

  • Terry Mace

    Bright Blessings to you Nimue 😉

    You may be interested in the work of Joseph Campbell and James Hillman if not already known to you. Their seminal works are many and have assisted and supported me in my own re-claiming of my mythical self and magical self.

    And, for me, that’s the thing…

    It’s my own magical and mythical self that I’m really in process to re-discovering or re-visioning rather than something objective outside myself such as a concept or idea.

    For myself, my own path and journey of myth and magic has been very much a re-discovering of my own inner child or free child, the child in me who once stood in amazement and wonder at both the world and things in the world.

    Until of course, it was beaten or punished out of me as little more than ‘a waste of time’.

    I wish you the sweetest of journeys back to you and as always continue to love reading your adventures into you 😉

    Much love, Terry x

    A Link to Joseph Campbell:

    http://www.jcf.org/new/index.php

    A Link to James Hillman:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hillman

  • celticchick

    That’s terrible, Bryn. People like that are dangerous. It’s no wonder that you are hesitant to step into magic again. Maybe by going a solo route, you will be able to reclaim what you lost.

  • helgaleena

    Magic is alive and the Goddess is a FOOT! *snerk* Good for you, Bryn!

    Not everyone who claims magic actually understands it. It’s a fact, like thermodynamics, and just like thermodynamics it can be used to exploit. So sorry that this happened to you and so glad you are realizing that the litmus test is whether the so-called magic is compatible with LOVE.

  • Jayne

    My perception of those folk who loudly proclaim to ‘be able to ‘do’ magic’ and who apparently ‘work’ with the Gods, are those who actually like the idea of it and really haven’t got a clue….’those who shout the loudest’..and all that! I never have understood why people need to discuss their ‘magical’ experiences with others..it somehow makes it all so fake. Going ‘solo’, as Celtic chic puts it, works. I wouldn’t want to trivialise my understanding of magic or the sense of wonder I gain from it by sharing it with others who invariably do not understand.
    if you have truly had magic in the past then it will not have left you…simply dig deep, chill out, leave the past behind and be true to yourself….magic is all around us even in the deepest darkest moments….you just need to want it badly enough.

  • Nimue Brown

    Thanks Jayne. The good conversations I’ve had with people about magic have tended to be cautious late at night things between good friends, and much more about sharing a sense of wonder and uncertainty than proclaiming power. I think I am getting so that I want it enough that I can refind it. I hope so.

  • Jamie Jenkins

    Right im a druid there is juch thing as magic u can put curses on people but druids are known for there medicens made from natural herbs we dont believe in cursing some one we are peasful people we where discriminated by other religions magic is supposed to be used for good not yourself. my magical powers are i have premminision dreams which are riddles of the future and i see ghosts and talk to them. magic cant keep some one alive that is fules everyone has magic its just if embrace them and not fear what u have.

    • Nimue Brown

      I’m guessing that either english isn’t your first language, or that you struggle with spellings – there’s a lot of phonetic words there, I get that one too, it’s taken me a lot of work to deal with it. I wouldn’t have said Druids in the UK are particularly known for herbal medicine. However, I’m not sure what you mean by some of your comments so am unsure of how to respond.

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