The Dilemma of Using Magic

Those of you who know me in the real world – or those of you who’ve been coming to this blog and reading the posts that aren’t there – know that I’ve had a very heavy load of work-related stress for the past eight months in general and the past eight weeks in particular. I’m not to my breaking point, but I can see it from here.

In the material world, I tend to favor material action, but this situation seems to call for using every tool in the toolbox – including magic.

The skeptical say the danger of using magic is that you’re relying on something that isn’t real – magic doesn’t work. On the contrary, perhaps the biggest danger of using magic is that it works too well. But magic doesn’t give you what you want – it gives you what you ask for, and what you work for. Parse your spells as carefully and precisely as a corporate lawyer writing a contract, or you’ll find Coyote or Loki or some other Trickster laughing while you slip on a cosmic banana peel.

So I set out to carefully and precisely define what I want and need. I spent several hours going over what’s wrong, how I got there, and what needs to happen to make things well. When I finished, I read it over carefully… and it sounded an awful lot like “put things back the way they were before work went to hell.”

As I’ve said before, I’d make a lousy Buddhist, but the Buddhists are right about one thing: suffering is caused by attachment (the Buddhists are right about a lot of things, most of which I have trouble accepting). And while suffering is by definition unpleasant, it’s also a good motivator. If a factory hadn’t closed in 1995 I never would have left Chattanooga and all the baggage of living in my home town. If another factory hadn’t downsized in 2001 I never would have left Atlanta and formed the connections and relationships that are so helpful and so pleasant in my life now.

If I put things back the way they were, what opportunities for growth may I be turning down?

When I came back from the Druid Gorsedd in August I said I had seen what was possible: Pagans living successful lives in the mundane world and then working and practicing on off time. I was building a network of connections in the Pagan and UU worlds. I was prepared to spend the next 20 years becoming a wise Druid and using my professional career to finance it all.

Is this stress and suffering calling me to something else? And if so, what?

If I work magic to reset my life, I will inevitably work toward a vision that’s based on what I know – incremental changes from what I am/have now. On the other hand, if I say “Goddess, put me where you want me” then I open myself up to things I’m not thinking of now, but I also fail to take responsibility for where my life goes… which is also likely to be incremental changes from what I am/have now.

It seems the magic I most need to work now isn’t to fix my job, it’s to open my eyes and ears to what I’m truly called to do and be.

Whatever that is.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    "Parse your spells as carefully and precisely as a corporate lawyer writing a contract, or you’ll find Coyote or Loki or some other Trickster laughing while
    you slip on a cosmic banana peel."

    Couldn't have said it better myself JohnFranc. . . :-)

    Still ROTFLMU*UO over *resigned* CUC Executive Director Mary Bennett's dU*Ubious mis*"spelling" of U*U!

    Maybe Mary Bennett and other "less than lucky" U*Us need to take your carefully thought through advice and put things back the way they were before they went to hell. . . ;-)


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