I make no secret about the fact that for my entire life, I have had an interest in the occult. The mystical and Magic(k)al are both points of fascination and realms of study that have held my interest for my entire life. Writing, too, has had an incredible hold on my life and within these two artforms I have found and I make my home. I don’t claim to be a Master of either Art, but rather only having lived a lifetime being a constant student of both.
“In the beginning there was the Word.”
This well-known biblical verse is really a truism, regardless of what particular religious persuasion you are. Religions and Traditions of Faith the world over recognise that within the written, spoken or even imagined ‘Word’ there is a tremendous amount of power. That Power is the Power of Creation. The Ancient Egyptians, according to Egyptologists, believed the word to be so sacred that the rituals were written down on both the walls of the Temple as well as on papyrus scrolls and were read rather than memorised. The Priesthood, because ‘The Word’, was so sacred, wanted to take no chance of ‘taking the ritual into their own hands’. It was important. Both stone and papyrus were considered precious things. Words were considered heka or magic, and if you knew the proper name of something and how it was said, it was believed you had both the power to create and to uncreate it. Look at the oft-quoted metaphysical idea that says, “Thoughts are things.” They are things. Every single tangible thing you see and interact with was first created as a thought in someone’s mind. The ideas were conveyed and deveopoed and out of something that many mght consider to be ‘nothing’, and a more tangible object was created. By standards of the ancients, and as little as fifty years ago, the world we live in now is indeed quite ‘magical’ if not miraculous.
Within writing, we still need to weave that sense of magic and Creation. We imagine worlds, create characters, beings and situations, or we become vessels for the voices that we hear clairaudiently or things we see clairvoyantly and we describe them for our readers so that in some sense these imaginary places, people and events do ‘come alive.’ Like the Mage or the Witch, we are trained to go into that Otherworld or Between the Worlds and bring back to show to our peers or our communities that which we have ‘seen’ or interacted with or experienced, only within our mind’s eye. We weave it all together tangibly like a mystical cloak and we put it on so that we are seen as either a great conjurer or a poor one, depending on how well we have done our jobs as writers. A Magician or Witch who does not plan well, does not keep focus within the Ritual and bring down and project out the Magick that they seek to weave is a poor operator indeed. So it is with we who write. If we do not plan, if we let ourselves be buffeted not only by the winds and the emotions and reactions of others or are put off by the changing tides and storms that come up in life, we find ourselves unable to operate within any realm of existence effectively. Excuses for not doing either art are meaningless and unacceptable. All that matters is if we do or do not; and as the Jedi Master Yoda said, “There is no try.”
Writing and Magic are passions, compulsions and can lead to them becoming a profession. It takes skill in both to either not be labeled as a fraud, a sell-out or downright shallow. We can be inspired by or try to emulate the story weaving or magic of others, but in the end it is we who must do our own work. Such shortcuts are found out and exposed for the charlatanism that it is. It takes a dedication toward integrity of one’s work to make ourselves as good as our Word. For within that word, be it done for the power of creation in Magic, or Writing, in the end it is the same. We use the subtle realms to construct a kind of reality.
What better way to connect us to the Power of Creation and the Creator?
It’s a heady experience when you have done a Ritual so well that it leaves you exhausted yet exhilarated. It’s the same way with writing. There is no better thrill than to know you have done a particularly good piece of writing. That the dialogue, the description, the situation moves and flows s a heady sensation indeed. You do either thing by focusing on the energy, moving it by your Will and going where it takes you or where you Will. Those places are journeys to the Otherworld indeed and I personally would not trade them for anything.
When I first started formally training, there was something called ‘The Admonition’ within the particular Tradition that my mentor gave to students. It went something along these lines:
“This is a Path that you shall walk alone or with others of like mind. If your friends or loved ones were meant to be here then they would be right now.”
It went on to say that even within the framework of those who work Magic together, there sometimes comes a point of separation. Inevitably in life there comes a time when you part the ways with others. Ideally, we do so in peace, going your way without regret or remorse and allowing that other person or situation to go as well. But in doing so you know that the time was spent and all within the equation had grown somehow in some way. So it is with writing. We write with those whom we resonate, we weave our magic and then we move on.
I have written collaboratively with some incredible people. My very best friend I met via and we have been writing together for nearly a decade, but for either of us, it is the bond of friendship that we conjured out of that writing that means the most. Others have rotated into my life for a shorter amount of time, but the gift of the experience is no less appreciated. The greatest gift they gave was in teaching me things about myself and about the Muses and characters that share my headspace and have pushed us all to becomeing better writers, and in the end, better creators and far more responsible for what happens in our lives.