How many of us believe in magic?
Nearly all of us did once, at a simpler time in our lives, but I doubt many of us would still say we do.
Since I was a little boy, everyone from teachers to parents to priests have reiterated to me how silly the idea of magic is.
As a boy, I didn’t believe them. I remember running through the woods behind my house, certain I was in a magical place.
When you’re a child, everything from the brightest star in the sky to the smallest insect in the dirt is magic. After the age of seven or eight, however, it was no longer appropriate to believe. There was no longer a Santa Clause, or an Easter Bunny. It was time to grow up.
I still remember when the Harry Potter series came out, schools all over the world were banning the books in a desperate attempt to contain the potential spread of something as demonic as witchcraft and wizardry.
By the time we reached adulthood, magic was something only the strange or the unintelligent still believed in. We were grownups now, after all, it was time to think and act like one.
We were taught to scoff at the ancient spiritual traditions all over the world. Medicine men, shamans, wuyus, mystics, oracles, priestesses, and witch doctors were all terms that became synonymous with barbarism and the uncivilised. Silly adults splashing water, singing strange songs and burning incense in honour of spirits with funny sounding names.
So, how many of us believe in magic?
Well, there’s around 2.2 billion Christians in the world, with the Americas and Europe providing the largest percentage of those who follow Christianity.
There’s an additional 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
Add another 1 billion Hindus, 400 million who follow the traditional religion of China, and 375 million Buddhists.
All up, around 5.6 billion people make up the following of the top five religions in the world.
That’s a lot of believers in magic.
Because really, what is the real difference between magic and religious practice?
I look at their priests and monks and see adults splashing water, singing strange songs and burning incense in honour of spirits with funny sounding names. Sound familiar?
1.the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
What religion doesn’t claim to have that power?
Religious practitioners believe they can influence eternity by uttering suggested prayers or through the singing of hymns and mantras. Whether its going to heaven, attaining saṃsāra, or improving the quality of our next life by raising of our karma, we must first place our faith in the mysterious and supernatural in order to find salvation.
We must believe in the prayer, the chant, or the mantra. We must believe in the magic. Without our faith, there is no power behind our actions.
We’ve somehow legitimized a select few forms of magical practice and file them under the term “religion”. We’ve used the power of words to shape our perspectives and change our opinions on what is legitimate and what is not (that, and a few good old fashioned witch hunts never hurt as a deterrence).
Instead of chants, we call them hymns. Instead of incantations, we call them prayers. Instead of minor deities, we call them angels. Instead of acolytes, we call them priests – or nuns instead of priestesses. In the end, it’s all just magic.
Has anyone seen the epic wizard staff the Pope carries? Even Gandalf would blush at the sight of it. If we were in the Harry Potter universe, that bad boy would be a 72 inch wand, made from elder wood (coated in gold) with a dragon heartstring core.
I’m not knocking religion. I think there are wonderful lessons to be learned from every religion and their texts. I’ve had profound moments reading the Bible, the Vedas, and various Buddhist teachings. I carry many of those lessons with me every day. Anything that makes us better people towards our fellow Earthlings and helps us to dive deeper into the deepest parts of ourselves, I absolutely support.
Our greatest gift as humans is the immense power of our belief; the strength of our faith. It gives power to the mind, body, and soul, that we never knew we possessed. Truly believing is the power behind our visualization and manifestation practices. There is no mountain we cannot climb as long as we keep the faith. The faith in ourselves; the faith in the universe. That is where the magic happens.
Children naturally possess the gift of magic. They possess imaginations that are limitless and a faith in the universe that is unwavering. They innately understand their own magical power – the power to manifest their own reality. They see the universe as it is: infinite, expanding, beautiful, and full of potential.
That is why I find it so hypocritical that we readily stomp on those imaginations and shatter their belief in magic, and yet we take them to mass on Christmas to perform ritualistic hymns for a deity who will burn them for eternity if they don’t follow his rules.
We turn a child’s world from one where anything is possible into a world with walls and barriers and limitations. They come to us wild, free, and full of self-belief, and we put them in shackles and convince them of their limitations.
Instead of teaching our children how to fit into boxes, maybe it’s time we learn from them how to live outside of them.
Maybe instead of teaching them religion, we let them teach us how to believe in magic again.
Be good to each other,
The Pope: Wikipedia
Burning at the Stake: breitbartunmasked.com
Medicine Woman: pinterest.com
Featured Image: dreamatico.com