We get into magic for all kinds of reasons: to experience the divine, to discover our fate, and to shift reality in our favor. And regardless of your point of origin into the world of magic and the so-called “occult”, the magical path tends to lead you into the service of spirits in one way or another. We may be drawn here for personal power but what we find is collective purpose (with the more-than-human world).
This path is not for everyone. Most people just want to live in the “mundane” world without being forced to constantly question reality -and their own sanity. But the magically-operant are a different breed and trading a small piece of our sanity to glimpse behind the curtain of reality is a fair trade.
From time immemorial (since the way back when) a minority of dangerously curious humans have been called to learn the art and science of negotiating with spirit; and in so doing become magicians, or workers of magic. We magicians are the only humans with the requisite knowledge and experience to navigate the strange and murky waters of the imaginal / spiritual realms and return with something useful.
This role, that of the wizard, sorcerer, witch, and shaman, has largely been forgotten by human society, much to our misfortune and the imbalance of the cosmos. As modern magical practitioners, we are mostly unaware of this responsibility, since society barely tolerates our high strangeness anyway. Yet, the fractured nature of reality these days is evidence of this very responsibility, neglected.
From our untended dead to offended nature spirits, the people of the so-called “Western” nations have placed ourselves at odds with most of the more-than-human world; thinking ourselves the pinnacle of consciousness in the universe. And the result of our anthropocentrism has been to isolate ourselves from the rest of a benign and quintessentially helpful universe.
Forgetting our place in the cosmos also means forgetting our unity with its community of beings, and this separation causes imbalance which manifests as a loss of coherence -as reality coming apart at the seams.
To bring ourselves back into coherence we have to remember that we’re connected to everything else, and enter into these relationships intentionally and with total reciprocity. But then, again, most humans don’t “speak spirit” -most humans have no concept of how to engage with spirit effectively.
In this episode I discuss the idea that magicians are “ambassadors for spirit” or intermediaries between flesh and spirit, carrying and translating messages to and from the spirit realm on behalf of the people who are otherwise incapable and, playing this role, we help bring humans and spirits into right relationship and to work out their differences positively.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Gordon White – Rune Soup
The Postmugglism Podcast – Ep. 6: The Spiritual Gift Economy
Kohn, E. (2013). How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human. University of California Press.
LeCouteux, C. (2015). Demons and Spirits of the Land: Ancestral lore and practices. Inner Traditions.