Of writing and magic

Any act of writing can be a spell. Simply putting words into the world is an act of will, intended to cause change. It is a process that can change the person undertaking it, as well. I write things on this blog because I intend to cause change.

Sometimes I write in order to understand. I find it a powerful tool for processing. There have been many times when insights have come to me as I was writing, rather than having set out to write about insights I’d already had. Even when I think I know what I’m going to say, the process of writing often opens unexpected doors and allows something new to come through.

By this means, I can take ideas out of my thoughts and place them in your mind. Thanks to the additional magic of the internet, I can do that without necessarily knowing you. Written words travel freely through time and space, connecting us with people in ways that go far beyond what many of those writers could ever have imagined. I can sit at my computer and read in translation the first known novels from around the world – something I doubt those authors could have imagined would ever be possible.

Anything you can do through meditation, trance, visualisation or similar inner working, you can do by writing. It’s all about the kind of states your mind can enter and how you choose to explore that. For me, if I want to know about something, my best bet is to try and write about it. The headstates I sometimes enter when writing are much akin to those other, more obviously spiritual states. 

Much of my writing is deliberately constructed by me, in a conscious way. Much of what I do depends on knowledge, experience and years spent learning technical stuff and honing skills. However, every now and then, something else seeps in. Not always when I’m trying to court the numinous, sometimes when I’m being entirely silly, even. Some of my best animist writing is in Wherefore – which was written to be an amusing distraction during lockdown. 

Opening up to the flow of words and ideas always makes a space where something else is possible. Just occasionally, something else comes through that is more than I expected, and takes me to places I did not know I could go. Sometimes, the act of writing is one of being enchanted – not being the spell caster, but being the one on whom the spell is cast.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. 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

3 responses to “Of writing and magic

  • toomajj

    Thank you for this very true and lucid piece of writing. Definitely impacted me and encouraged me to do more writing today.
    I often fall into the trap of waiting for ideas first and then writing about them. But my own experience, similar to yours, is that ideas often show up and unfold through the writing process. Writing is kinda like setting out a fishing net for ideas.
    I’ve also had quite a few therapeutic experiences through writing where at times of stress or anxiety I’ve tried to write about how I feel and reconnect to disowned parts of my personality and have their voices heard through writing. It’s a wholesome and reintegrating process indeed. And thank you for reminding me of that. 🙏

  • rpatrick

    I love this. It resonates deeply with my experience and what I find myself yearning for. I have employed writing in a number of ways across the years. You’ve given me new inspiration and insight into what continues to call me to write. As I often point out to my Latin students, the same word (carmen) can mean a poem, a song, a prayer, and a spell. They all involve words, written and spoken, with the intention of making a change in the world.

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