It seemed as if the rain would never end. The day had dawned bright with only a slight drizzle, which grew more torrential with each sodden hour. It pounded down upon the roof, and every time it seemed as if it might have had enough, it pounded some more.
Another awesome Saturday, right?
In those days, I worked something close to “bankers hours” and could count on the luxury of weekends off. And yet, here I was, stuck inside, prisoner to a thunderous downpour that showed no signs of abating. Tired of reading, nothing on television and no where else to be, I opened the sliding glass door and stepped onto the 3’x5’ patch of concrete that passed for a balcony in my old apartment complex.
The phrase “wall of water” has never been more apt. The rain was rolling off the roof above me in a solid sheet, through which nothing of the outside world could be seen. The visible universe had been reduced to a moving wall of impenetrable grey accompanied by a droning thunder over which no other noise could be heard.
Almost lost in the constant roar, I could hear the voices of children.
The sound seemed to be coming from below me and to my right. Ah, the neighbors kids, two little african-american girls, maybe six and eight. I’d seen them, now and then, playing around the complex, and here they were, like me, stuck inside on their day off from school.
Were they singing?
“Rain-rain-go-away, come-again-some-other-day,” (softly).
Oh, right. I couldn’t blame them.
Too bad though, this storm showed no signs of letting up anytime soon.
“Rain-rain-go-away, come-again-some-other-day,” (progressively louder).
I remember smiling to myself. These kids were determined!
“Rain-rain-go-away, come-again-some-other-day,” (and louder still).
And this is when my humor began to transform into amazement. These kids were not letting up, their chant (and that is surely what it had become), what growing louder and more insistent. I tried to lean over the balcony, to get a look at them, but could not without plunging my head into the deluge. Even as I leaned over the balcony railing in the attempt, I could feel the wood vibrating with the power of the falling rain.
And…, I could feel something else there, as well.
“Rain-rain-go-away, come-again-some-other-day,” (almost shouting now).
I could feel their chant in the wood under my fingers, and then in the air around me, pricking at my skin and running up my spine. It felt as if lightning were about to strike, as if it were striking already, in slow motion.
There was an energy flowing out of those little girls. It was coming off of them in waves, filling in all the empty spaces around us and then pushing out…,
(demanding – commanding).
And then it was over: the chant and the storm. The echo of their last word still ringing in the sudden silence, but the rain was gone. The downpour had been stilled completely, as if someone had thrown a switch.
It’s not a thing we always like to talk about, (or maybe some people talk about it too much). We either shy away from it, when in mixed company, or we try to explain it unnecessarily. We spell it differently because Crowley said we should, because adding a ‘k’ at the end of the word will make it respectable somehow. ‘Magick’ the reasoning goes, should not be confused with the lowly art of pulling rabbits and doves out of a hat.
“Bollocks,” I say.
Magic (and you can keep your lousy ‘k’) is as much about changing our perceptions of reality as it is effecting any real change in the world. I would go so far as to say that the one is impossible without the other; that we must be able to suspend our disbelief before we may hope to impose our will upon the world around us.
The true magician must be a showman at heart.
Hey, look! It’s Dr. Strange the Sorcerer Supreme and one of the hoary hosts of Hoggoth.
Still others try to explain magic away, to make it acceptable to outsiders.
“Magic is like prayer,” they will say, to ease the apprehension of the monotheist.
No. Sorry. Wrong.
Prayer is like prayer.
When we pray, monotheist or polytheist, we call out to a deity for aid or blessing or simply to honor their mighty names. If said deity should answer our appeal, the action, the power, is in those called upon.
Magic is not prayer, and we will gain the trust of no one by lying to them.
Of course, the lines are not always so clearly drawn. Just as we may use the tools of the stage magician, we may call upon the names of deity in our workings. We may do so to set the right tone, or even to add a little ‘oomph’ and gravitas to the proceedings.
And there are those who take this too far, who think of the gods as little more than power batteries to be tapped at need. Well, there are people who treat their friends and associates in the same manner, and while they may indeed get ahead in this world, that doesn’t mean I have to respect them.
No, magic is not prayer, and neither is it the manifestation of psychic ability. Although, again, the latter may be quite useful in the application of the former. Such ability, when and where it may exist, is another valuable tool in the magicians belt.
But where are these people, who work their will on the world around us?
Does science not disprove them or engineering replace them?
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
—Arthur C. Clark
Or perhaps magic is so hard to prove because it is so easy to disbelieve.
We adults must make rules and formulae for everything under the Sun (and the Sun, and the stars and galaxies beside). The modern day magician is as wrapped up in this complicated reality we have built for ourselves as any engineer or programmer. What, we ask, are the proper correspondences, materials, elements, positions, foci, tools and time of day?
But the most important element of all has always been belief.
Without belief we fail in our every endeavor, magical or mundane.
Belief is the hardest thing to manufacture in a world that seems set against us. It is the hardest thing to maintain. Everything else that we do and need and want, falls short of this one truth. And it’s so very simple.
“Magic is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”
But only if we believe.
And to do that, we must learn to be like children.
I’ve seen children, who knew nothing of the rules (meteorological or magical) tell the rain to go away. I’ve seen the rain, the world, obey them.
If you are looking for the magic in the world, just look in the mirror…,