River: My unicorn is magic.
Jeffrey: No, it isn't.
River: Yes, it is.
Jeffrey: No. It really isn't.
River: You stuuuuppppidddd. (Sigh. Thought I was avoiding all this with the five-year age gap. Not so much.)
At that point in time, I jumped in and told Jeffrey that it wasn't up to him to decide what was magic or not and also that he shouldn't dictate how others see the magic around them. (I know. It was pretty deep, even for me.) Then Jeffrey, seeing that I was NOT happy with him for squashing River's fantasy, launched into a story that sort of freaked me out and made me smile at the same time.
In his story, Mike Tyson (his stuffed dinosaur dragon he has had since infancy; named after the boxer because Jeffrey chewed its ears when he was little...so technically, it should be Evander Holyfield, but whatevs) walked. And danced. And bounced down the hall. Jeffrey was absolutely certain that this phenomenon had actually happened--and that it was magical. River, suddenly becoming pragmatic, mentioned that she had never seen Uni walk or dance. After a little suggestion from me, Jeffrey came up with the theory that in order for Uni to be magic, he had to soak up a little more of River's "feelings."
Wow. Talk about a connected kid, hunh? Pretty much in ten minutes, he not only allowed me to articulate a major tenet of my faith, but he also laid it out in simple terms for his three-year-old sister:
- Magic is subjective and no one can tell you what is magic and what isn't.
- Magic needs to really know you to be used by you.
I have a hard time with the concept of "magic." Or should I say "magick?" Is there a difference? On the one hand, I've seen some crazy, spooky, weird, wondrous things that make me question a lot about what most of us think about reality.
But is that magic? Is magic something that can be worked? Or does it just exist?
When I read Tarot, even when the results are so uncannily spot on that I have to walk away, I'm not sure that it's magic. I think...maybe it's just perception and that the traditional beliefs associated with the cards make me look at a situation differently.
And when I make charms, I definitely make a ceremony out of it. I chose items for the charms very carefully. I weigh my words and ingredients with an eye to the person I'm making the charm for and the folklore attached to the various herbs and stones. But...is that "making magic?"
When I'm feeling down and I pull a little energy out of the earth to boost myself, is that magic?
It seems, both from a Pagan and a non-Pagan perspective, that there are two different versions of magic floating around. There's the basic kind: the moon, the sun, the seasons, the elements. Then there's the woowoo kind with its bells and whistles and cauldrons and wafers and whatnot.
I think what I'm coming to believe is that the basic kind is something that all people recognize and that the woowoo kind is just the way folks align themselves with the basic. Pagans call it magic, other faiths have different names for it.
Is it all the same magic?
Is it even real?
Tonight, when I mentioned the story to Will, he told me that he had had a little bit to do with Mike's bouncing and dancing. I have to admit, I was disappointed. I mean, it's one thing to know a stuffed dinosaur dragon can't bounce down the hall. It's another thing to KNOW it.
Of course, I won't tell Jeffrey any of this. For him, Mike Tyson is magic. And maybe...maybe THAT'S what makes magic real. It isn't the fact of it.
It's the belief.