This is an intriguing explanation of magic. I found it in an Anne Rice book, Servant of the Bones, and I think there might be some truth to it, some insight and understanding, a fresh viewpoint, a different way of defining what magic is and how it works. The book itself is a work of fiction, and yet, when I think of magic in this way, and act as if it is indeed true, my own magic has more power. I get faster and better results. So, here it is:
“All magic of all lands and of all schools is the same. Magic is an attempt to control the unseen spirits, and the spirit within the living, or to bring back the spirits of the dead which still surround the earth. That is all that magic is. Making illusions, doing tricks, bringing wealth, it’s all done through spirits, that is, beings without bodies who can move swiftly, unseen, steal, spy, transport, etc. That’s all magic. The words differ from country to country, from Ephesus to Delphi, to the northern steppes. But it’s all the same.
I know all the magic that can be known, and I continue my search for more. To learn a new incantation teaches me a new possibility. Now listen to me! It teaches me a new possibility, but it doesn’t increase my power, my power increases with understanding and will. All magic is the same. What I’m saying is, you can do most anything whether you have the words or not!
Magicians are born for the most part, but some men become magicians… incantations school and direct them, but ultimately the words don’t count. To God all languages are one. To the spirits all languages are one. Incantations help the weak magician more than the strong.
But you can see why can’t you? You are very strong. You can do things without incantations. I’ve seen that today. So have you. Don’t let anyone ever convince you by any incantation that they can have power over you. A magician can have power over you, yes, but don’t ever be fooled by mere words. Confront the power if you would resist it. Rouse yourself and make an incantation of your own. Incantations frighten spirits and humans alike. Make a song of strength, a song of might, when you would have your way. Doors will open.”
“You cannot study magic. You can not learn it. You must ingest it. Digest it. You must merge with it. And it with you.
When a Magician casts a spell, he does not first mentally review the Major, Minor Tertiary, and Quaternary Circumstances. He does not search his soul to determine the phase of the moon and the nearest body of water, and the last time he wiped his ass. When he wishes to cast a spell he simply casts it. When he wishes to fly, he simply flies. When he wants the dishes done, they simply are…
You need to do more than memorize Quentin. You must learn the principles of magic with more than your head. You must learn them with your bones, with your blood, your liver, your heart, your dick. We are going to submerge the language of spell casting deep into who your are, so that you have it always, wherever you are, whenever you need it. Not just when you have studied for a test.”
From: “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman.
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