Not enough words for magic.
It’s an inept word, harassed, hackneyed, and brought low as it’s been given too great a spectrum of meanings to cover. Like design by committee, it’s watered-down to the point of meaninglessness.
The word magic is a sort of default that could also mean mystery, happenstance, luck, coincidence, intuition, flow, and on and on. None suffice. They are all ordinary, overworked words aimed at describing concepts or incidents unconsidered in polite or practical society. Things dismissed or relegated to the dead-end aisles of crazy, woo woo, or (the worst) New Age.
But a kind of day-to-day magic does exist, for lack of a broader lexicon, and this is the prompt for our writing this week. Very nice timing for me, as I’m traveling and magic can be rampant during travel, provided one is open to it. It can be rampant all the time, providing same. It’s sort of a skill and a language. Cannot be taught, only stumbled upon or maybe found, but it’s akin to muscle memory; to all memory. It connects with other things I’ve been writing about in recent months; what’s just outside conscious thinking; visceral.
This evening a friend and i had lengthy conversations on this and related topics; a conversation we began in May when she was in Brooklyn. She’s also fluent (more recently, but sort of all-at-once). A lot of people aren’t, or they are but don’t recognize it. I think the linguistic sinkhole around it is partly to blame— because it’s a cultural sinkhole. Language arises from culture, is shaped by its needs and the beliefs that underpin it.
Language is a kind of magic itself, in that it is also the means of controlling* and steering a culture. It literally makes things the way they are; the building blocks of our perception and understanding of things, and by extension our approach.
This has turned into a very long preface (rant), so I’ll write about the nature of day-to-day or ordinary magic that has no good and fitting name at some other time.
* Think of the enduring notion of true names; “According to practises in folklore, knowledge of a true name allows one to affect another person or being magically. It is stated that knowing someone’s, or something’s, true name therefore gives the person (who knows the true name) power over them.” (Wikipedia)