A Yearning for True Magic

A yearning for true magic

A recent dream has been haunting me. I’ll share the basics here.

Magical maze: 18th April 2013

Early morning dream. Tone: Numinous, shimmering.

I can see the entrance to a hedge maze, which seems to be so overgrown and in need of a trim that I am not sure I can actually enter it. The maze hedges are seemingly box, the leaves very fresh and shining green (the previous day I saw the knot gardens at Strangers’ hall in Norwich that are made of box) but when I somehow slip pass the entrance, the way between the hedges seems to have widened. I’ve gone in to see if the maze need maintenance ie trimming the hedges but once I am in, everything is different.

My first impression is that there is magic in action. Not conjuring or trickery but real magic. It’s a funny feeling. I’m very scathing about things that are pretend magic, like Disney and theme parks. I hate it. I hate people pretending that something that is set up to be a kind of backdrop for a scene is real. But this is real. Outside the maze it had been ordinary daylight but once inside I seem to be surrounded by shimmering moonlight and starlight. The light on the glossy leaves sparkles, and there is a sound like icicles ringing, high pitched like silvery bells but very tiny and almost inaudible. I can feel my senses tingling and I have a sense of excitement, of anticipation.

But I don’t know why I am there. I hadn’t planned to go in, I was just investigating to see if the hedges needed cutting and I feel out of place and unprepared now. I remember some lore concerning mazes that if you keep the hedge to your left/right shoulder you will find your way so I start to walk, following the twists and turns keeping the hedge to one side. I don’t want to be there; I have not planned this and I feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel the right time, despite the sensation of magic going on.

Eventually I reach what I think is the centre but I find there is an opening from it back to the normal ordinary world. I can see a street scene, very mundane with a bus going past. I feel odd, I’m not sure I want to leave but I do. I am aware I am going to go back and walk the maze properly when I am ready but when will that be?

Analysing the dream I can see that I want what I call magic to be real and yet I fear constantly that what is seen as magical is nothing of the sort and is a kind of con trick made by corporations wanting to give people a kind of a ride. Yet I do believe in magic, in the numinous encounters that I know are real and yet at times I doubt. I believe in fairies and yet at times I doubt everything. Somehow things need to prove their reality.

I don’t know what the maze is but perhaps it is my own mind.”

The dream reminded me how much I hate fakery. I don’t mean conjuring, stage magic but rather the kind of let’s pretend that accompanies theme parks, role play, cos-play and the like. It’s not for me, let’s just put it like that. I can’t pretend that the glitter really is faery dust or that the artificial special effects are the real deal. I have read a great deal of material from spell books and from esoterica and it draws me, powerfully, this yearning for the numinous, the otherness of the unseen realms. Some time ago, someone sent me a link to a site with fairy pictures. They were clearly just photo-shopped pictures, mostly cutesy children dressed up as fairies, with special effects. And yet, people were believing these were real. I could not. Apart from the fact that I suspect that supernatural beings are well able to evade photographers, the pictures were nauseatingly sweet in most cases.

I want real magic, something that shimmers through the fabric of what I think is reality, and changes how I feel about it. The yearning is currently painful, because there is so much fakery around. I can’t play let’s pretend and truly believe it, and yet, I desperately want to experience something that is beyond the usual run-of-the-mill mundane world that is filled with buses and newspapers and boredom. I need to spend time in the quiet liminal places of the world, trying to hear the silent song of the worlds beyond this one, tune my eyes to the subtle, fleeting incursions of other realities. And if a door opens up, I will step through, however ill-prepared I may seem. In the dream about the maze, I woke regretting that I had not journeyed to the centre to find what lay there. I’m done with caution. 

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4 thoughts on “A Yearning for True Magic

  1. What a wonderful dream. The tone, numinous, seems important, and the excitement. Then you write … Eventually I reach what I think is the centre but I find there is an opening from it back to the normal ordinary world … seems you have doubts about the sacred centre in your self, your connection to
    wholeness. You could go back there, make it real, or paint mandalas, or create a little altar for objects you associate with wholeness ect.

  2. not quite sure why what etc my response. I keep thinking of a morning during a 4 day work shop with artist richard layzell, based at chisenhale and including quite a few dancers – some professional and astonishing – [or ex like me] and one visual artist.This morning we were to be silent and Richard would take us on a walk – east end of london, big main road. I am very happy with silence, turns out the others weren’t really except for the visual artist. Well I say they weren’t because there was a heck of a lot of gesticulation, mime – all big. Along side all the buses and cars this seemed almost grotesque – and why was it needed? I saw many beautiful plants and insects along the way. We were taken to a buddhist centre cafe where they accepted silence as normal – silent retreat but need a cup of tea. I kept thinking there is magic here – but I think I meant wonder, if only the silence was a quietness of body, just listen, look, smell, touch. It wasn’t a numinous magic – though sitting briefly in the half lit cellar meditation room was pretty damn amazing – especially as you knew that the man in there was on a huge meditation journey…the sound of the underground.

    I’ve had some things happen to me – mainly involving stone – that are sort of magic – not everyday experience, not this rational experienced world – and one was even a shared experience, and I’m not sure how much I really want any more. One was devastating. I feel that even if you were to hypnotise me, give me a truth drug, I would tell you that stones moved. And it wasn’t funny.

    The labyrinth is a potent image for me – not sure about the maze.

    but yes – be done with caution for a bit

    but I wonder if there is a here and a there a this and a that

  3. “I don’t know what the maze is but perhaps it is my own mind.” Your wonderfully detailed description of your dream did have the feeling of an inward journey.

  4. Found myself reading this several times… nicely done!

    Unfortunately, I fear that all this is probably escapism under the name magic. At least Disneyland makes it clear this is escapism – unlike the spell books you mention. That’s my own perspective anyway.

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