1965 was a big year for me. Some of the more memorable moments were accompanied by the hit song, “Do You Believe in Magic,” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. The strains of that song followed me out the doors of high school, into the Navy and around the world, eventually to Viet Nam. Fortunately, after two deployments, I made it home alive and in one piece.
This year, however, “Magic,” takes on a whole new role for me, as I research the subject for my newest novel in which magic plays a major role. “The Practician,” will be the first novel in a grail mythology series of four books. The title and the theme reference Rick Townsend’s past and the “gift” that will profoundly alter his future, a gift that will, in fact, change his entire world, and ours. So, as I research the subject of magic and its history, I thought I would post the things I’m learning from time to time, here, on my author blog.
Returning to the question, “Do you believe in magic?” I wonder what your answer might be. The question holds great interest for me, as a student of the Bible, because the Bible is a book who’s subject is almost entirely about the supernatural and yet, the church has, more or less, convinced Christianity that “magic” is nothing more than superstitious mumbo-jumbo. Is it? Maybe. Certainly through my childhood and up to more recent times, magic, for me, was illusion and slight of hand, more trickery and ingenious design than supernatural power. In the distant past, however, this was not the case, and lately I have seen things that I cannot explain, things I am forced to attribute to the supernatural. I confess that what I’ve seen was on video, it could have been manipulated, but I don’t think that it was because I know from my studies of scripture and from my research in extra-biblical sources, that real magic, that is, “transcendental magic,” truly did and likely still does exist.
When I say, “transcendental magic,” I’m talking about magic beyond illusion. I’m talking about the kind of magic Pharos’ magicians used to change a rod into a snake when they desperately needed to duplicate Moses’ amazing feat. Of course, the feat was supernatural in both cases. The transmutation of wooden rod to living serpent wasn’t accomplished by Moses, nor was it accomplished by Pharos’s magi, but it was accomplished by powers beyond their hands, powers beyond their world that they called upon, powers beyond time and space, as we know it. That’s the kind of magic I’m talking about. There was a time when it was more common than it is today. Perhaps it was because people were more willing to believe in it then, than they are today. Perhaps what is required is a mind that is open to the possibility, a mind that doesn’t need to stuff everything into the box provided to us by modern science, or by the church, whether either one of them accepts the reality of transmutation, or denies it. Perhaps believing is the key to transcendental power, the requirement for it to be present. I don’t know. I don’t practice magic, even though the New Testament Bible tells me I could, and that I should, but from that source, I understand the practice of calling upon powers beyond our world. I understand that the power of real magic, transcendental power, lies beyond my hands and beyond this world.