It’s a common enough question some normal person might ask a weirdo like me. Maybe it’s dripping with incredulity, or it could be simple and honest curiosity. There are often two questions embedded in the asking, and these are:
- Is the magic being discussed supposed to be real?
- Assuming it *(magic) is or may possibly be real, can it be studied by an interested party, sans some form of formal and exotic initiation or access to a school or individual with specialized knowledge?
The Answer to Both Questions
Is it Real?
Of course “it’s real” and actually this is a partial answer to a question so silly and clunky as to almost qualify for the label of non-question. I don’t mean to be ugly, and I concede there’s nothing wrong with asking whether or not magic is real, simply because I know the peope behind the inquiry don’t know any better.
That must come across as smug and condescending, but I’m not making the effort to be smug or condescending. I’m only being honest and straightforward.
You see, asking an oddball like me, who practices and studies and shares magic as a way of life, if magic is real, well it’s like asking a comedian if comedy is real.
Who would ask a painter or illustrator or sculptor if art is real?
Does it make sense to inquire of a vocalist or guitarist or saxophone player if music is a real thing or just some silly shit ancient people came up with to deal with the world around them?
Now I’m being clunky. How about this:
Ask if the laughter and related reactions to the comic’s performance are real.
Is the inspiration and drive to paint a landscape really a thing? Consider the person who comes along after the fact and looks at the painting; is their spontaneous, instinctive response a real event?
How about this: Where does music come from? Where does it go when the playing and singing stop? Is the way it makes you feel before, during, and after experiencing it a series of chemical, emotive, psychological and physiological reactions, and nothing else?
The people who built castles, cities and ports, magnificent temples, pyramids, colosseums, and bridges were not superstitious fools. The ancients who trained raptors, horses, dogs, and other creatures, who in fact genetically altered and created new species of animals through the breeding process, could not have been bumbling simpletons.
If a method of swordsmanship, archery, or unarmed grappling was flawed and foolish, it never made it off the battlefields of the old world. Deliberate, tested, intelligent methods produced predictable results not only in warfare, but in all areas of a life far more challenging and dangerous than our cushy and forgiving modern lifestyles.
It’s foolish to assume the processes of magic would have survived thousands of years if it were just a bunch of fantasy. Those who trot out religion as part of a counter argument again, do not know enough about the subject at hand to properly discuss it, much less debunk it.
I’ll say it once more: Magic is about GETTING DESIRED RESULTS, not feeling more secure or loved or of purpose or whatever.
The short version of my answer is:
This leaves us with…
Can an Individual from a Modern Lifestyle, without a Known Witch in the Family Tree or a Teacher from a Secret Society Learn how to Operate Magic?
You, or anyone else with the mental faculties to read this material and comprehend its message, can learn a great deal of magic through solitary study and experimentation. During the Renaissance spells and ceremonies were often referred to as experiments. Because so many magicians practiced both alone and in secret, the notion of letting the magic teach you as you actively engage the cantrips and rituals was sort of “baked into” the philosophies of the era. For perhaps half a millennium, a large scope of the magic practiced by human beings has resembled an intrigued individual with a book or two, tinkering away in his or her quiet space, making notes, etc.
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