My Brand of Fantasy Magic

…isn’t really fantasy at all. Magical realism, perhaps?

I recently re-watched Constantine (starring The Man of One Face: Keanu Reeves), where the protagonist spends his life fighting to keep the balance between heaven and hell via magical relics, know-how, and insight into traveling to hell and back. He’s dark, brooding, quippy, and so self-destructive he’s dying of lung cancer. It’s a delve into what I consider magical realism: people, many people, believe wholeheartedly that the ability exists (even if it’s only for one person) to… insert random miracle here. Be it travel through hell, talk to the dead, turn water to wine, transform into a totem-animal, talk to rocks, converse with ancestors long dead, see auras, dowse, possess another person/animal.

A lot of people don’t. And that’s cool. A lot of people pursue religion as a form of self-government, so instead of spending the time to understand themselves, they look to religion: “This is bad (according to the Book), so I won’t do it.” It also kills multiple birds by creating a community of similar-thinking people, which reinforces the feeling of “this is right.” Which is cool. That’s what certain governmental bodies do. And we’re governed by many circles, be it personal, family, friends, religion, spiritual (separate from religion), communal, work, local, federal, world. And that’s just what I pulled off the top. This is a digression and I’ll stop it now. I’m trying to show how this also holds its own forms of power: any single one of these bubbles could specify “this is bad” and a person follow it simply because, well, someone says to. Even the “personal” circle. Which in itself is a form of mind control.

I had a simple purpose when I began writing twelve years ago: have fun, connect with people, share my thoughts. It’s still the same purpose, albeit a little evolved. My thoughts developed into something a little stronger: magic is real. Some magic is real. Not all. Magic Missiles and two hundred foot orc giants with enchanted tree trunks for armor isn’t. Science keeps trying to say it has all the answers worth knowing (while people touting Science as the new religion also try to say, like a marijuana enthusiast, Science has ALL the answers), but it doesn’t. Neil deGrasse Tyson recently said, “That’s what’s so great about science. You don’t have to believe in it for it to be true. It exists without your permission.”

Mostly.

I know enough about Science to know the importance of “observable” and “human fallacy.” I’ve been reading about human beings having more than five senses. More like nine. Pressure, balance to name two. It really doesn’t matter how often Science revises what truths it accepts as fact. What matters is it’s always changing in its definition, always updating its databases.

Next, to define science into two subcategories: hard science (physics for one) and soft science (psychology for two). I know too many well-meaning Science worshippers who put it all together. Soft sciences, the stuff our thoughts are made of, the stuff of our dreaming, of our extra-sensories, of our deeper knowledge, of our abstract pattern recognitions, is very wide open and mostly unexplored, despite the 100 or so years we’ve had to study it. Why? Unobservable. Or, difficult to observe. Assumptions based on calculations and patterns of tests.

Magic is a soft science. In fact, eventually, all that “magic” will fall into some sub-sub category of either a sense or quirk of one or two chromosomes in some errant mutative family line (or, you know, something a person develops through meditation and a proven set of practices). Since our realities are subjected to the extent of our senses, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–to say I can’t dream another person’s dreams, for example. Or travel a place constructed wholly of peoples’ thoughts, over time, like a great big living world placed overtop our own. Or fight constructs of modern religion with sheer self-certainty alone.

We all give off energy. That’s a fact. We exist because of it. Byproducts of processes going in in our bodies. We can’t see it. We assume the effect of said energy release is negligible to our surroundings simply because, since we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

I find a new awakening going on, in this culture. In this society. A long, long time ago, during the time of the birthing religions (200 BC to, say, 1000 AD), the understanding exploded of a second, third, and perhaps even fourth sublayer above the Real. This is the stuff of the new old religions. It is the backbone. Now that religion is failing so many people of this time of “Scientific Certainty,” they’re turning to Science and Atheism. Which is cool. They do their thing. As long as they aren’t killing in the name of Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s all gravy.

The New Reformation, I guess, comes. Or a Second Enlightenment. I’m only sorry I don’t get to know it fully.

So the magic I use in my writing comes from a deep place, a sub-tonal to the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Gitas, and the Books of the Dead, and whatever else. It comes from a constructed place–a governing place similar to those I listed–where the reality is multi-faceted, science is currently too short-sighted to involve itself, and energy talks with the voice of long-dead preachers. The magic I use is energy, plain and pure, built up on the shoulder-plates of imaginative thinkers and socio-pariahs like Einstein and Twain and Jung who, in another century (or life), would be heralded as prophets or even gods.

My brand of fantasy magic comes from the coupling of intelligent thought and passionate realization, of fever dreams and deep stillness. My brand of magic is the extent of the human condition, of spirituality that exists for itself, of ripe power sieved through governing filters. And that’s just in the reality.

In my writing, it collects the results of What Ifs and runs tests until the pattern is undeniable in its repetition.

Sorry. Magic is a lot of things. For me, it must stem from reality. It must stem from science and its branches are religion. Its fruits are you and I, the readers and writers, and it’s more than simply an axe-like tool. It’s a whole undiscovered place, like a continent with slightly different rules. It’s a way of breathing. It’s a way of bleeding. It’s a way of interaction.

It’s so. Fucking. Sexy.

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3 thoughts on “My Brand of Fantasy Magic

  1. Aaaand there’s the best last blog line ever.

    I tend to agree that magic is best dealt with as a part of the world it exists within, and of COURSE as a part of religion, and as a part (can’t think of any better way to put this right now) of science. I mean–after all, if you’ve got all those goshdarn crazy physical laws in your world (the boring ones, like gravity), if magic can make you fly, there has to be a logical explanation for HOW this works. Magic is possibly one of the physical constants of your world. Maybe we have it here and maybe we don’t. Honestly, there are so many things in the hard and soft sciences you discuss that are, to a fairly unscientific observer such as myself, indistinguishable from magic that I’m inclined to say yes.

    Also, very inclined now to start killing in the name of Neil deGrasse Tyson. Mostly because it’d be funny. Wait, that’s not a good reason to kill people? Oops.

    • I’m fairly unscientific, too. I’ve spent my life reading Science News magazines, and squaring off with my engineer father and brother for so long, I feel as if I were somehow intimately linked to synapse relays and dark matter. Oi.

      And beyond what we make up in our heads (which is as real as God, as real as blood-into-wine), there’s no way of knowing. I just know some people have “it,” and some people don’t. I spent most of my life laughing at the idea of Astral projection and all that jazz. Why? It didn’t make sense and nobody could explain it without six buzzwords a sentence. (Center your mind and ground yourself before you simply separate your positive, present self from your Ultimate self. That’s when you know you’re traveling. WHAT!?)

      Fortunately for me I ran into a brilliant, hard-hitting woman who also happened to have an intimate understanding of the whole thing. It’s complicated. And it made perfect freaking sense when she talked about it. And here I am. … Trying desperately hard to explain something I’ve known my whole life and only just recently began to explore.

      • It’s funny, my boyfriend and I were just talking about this (via ‘ESP’, but still). A lot of the practitioners of these arts might be full of baloney, but the arts themselves–well. He put it in a very similar fashion, something along the lines of ‘just because we don’t entirely understand the science behind it yet doesn’t mean there ISN’T science behind it’. I guess, when you think about it, a lot of those ghost hunting shows and stuff like that are (admittedly puckey-full, but still) expressions of our societal desire to see these sort of things made rational.

        I’m a fantasy writer. I WANT to believe in magic. Of course I do. I’m just waiting to be convinced. When the aliens finally land, I will be the happiest girl-to-be-reserved-for-scientific-experimentation in the whole frigging universe. Until that day, I’m fairly happy with my grey area.

        And I have to say, if I hear the word ‘self’ more than three times in a sentence, I automatically assume that, no matter what your discipline may be, you have absolutely no idea what your physical self is talking about. 😛

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