The Big Book of Practical Spells: Everyday Magic That Works - Judika Illes 2016



When I was a little girl, Bewitched was among my favorite TV shows. Samantha was my role model and who could blame me? Who wouldn't want to be Samantha? She was beautiful, poised, charming yet sensible, extremely intelligent and articulate, completely at home in everyday society but also secretly filled with magical powers. Her magic appeared effortless. A wiggle of her nose and she could do anything. Ironically, while so many watched rapt with envy, the central theme of the show was how badly Samantha wished to be just like us regular folks. It was the one feat she couldn't accomplish. No matter how hard she tried to live our mundane, tedious lives, washing dishes by hand rather than by wiggling her nose, she couldn't help it. Samantha was innately magical.

Jeannie, star of I Dream of Jeannie, found herself in much the same boat. Her magical powers, which, of course, all the viewers longed to share, were a burden to her and a source of embarrassment to her true love. While everyone but the object of her desire looked on enviously, Jeannie only wished to be an ordinary woman so that Tony would truly love and accept her.

Television shows like Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and more recently, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, have delivered hours of entertainment but have also been a source of frustration. The magical powers that so delight us are clearly completely unattainable to mere mortals. The powers depicted are very special and very unique. Typically, they are hereditary; passed down through bloodlines, an accident of birth. Jeannie, Samantha, Sabrina: the girls can't help it.

The girls aren't alone. The best-selling books in the Harry Potter series also deliver this message. Although Harry and friends are shown studying diligently to perfect their skills, ultimately those skills are innate. Once again, some are magically gifted and some, unfortunately, simply aren't. Just as the “magical” people can't help their powers, so the nonmagical are left permanently outside the enchanted circle. Some protest that these books and television programs tempt children (and adults!) by glorifying “dark arts.” The protest seems pointless: they're missing the message. The underlying theme of these works is that if you're not born a member of a witchly family, there is no sense in trying. Your longings cannot be fulfilled. Harry Potter, like Baby Tabitha, was born with his power. The rest of us humans can only stand apart wishing wistfully, consoling ourselves with the notion that magic isn't real. By dangling the possibility of a special separate magical world before us, a supernatural existence, the ultimate insinuation is that it is all only a lovely fantasy. Magic doesn't exist. Enjoy the fantasy for half an hour and then get back to real life.

I don't mean any disrespect. I would still love to be Samantha. I love Bewitched as much as ever. I love Harry Potter, too. I Married a Witch starring Veronica Lake is one of my favorite movies. Stick a fantasy witch into a movie or television show and I'll watch it, Bell, Book and Candle, you name it. At heart, these entertainments acknowledge our deep and frustrated longing for magic. They are wonderful fantasies but fantasies are truly what they are because their implicit message is incorrect. There is magic. Real magic. You can do it and I can do it. Magic is not unique or elitist, or reserved for those with special mystical blood. Magic is as common as dirt.

Part of our problem involves limitations of language. Languages function as more than just communication tools. They also reveal much about their cultures of origin. In the same way that English is limited to only one word for snow versus the twenty-seven-odd words in the Inuit tongue, we have only one word, magic, to express so many different concepts. That word, magic, is used to delineate tricks, sleight-of-hand, sorcery and television fantasies, as well as the timeless Earth knowledge that helps us connect to the energy of our Earth Mother, fulfill our desires and destinies, and protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm.

Regarding real magic, real practical, functional, down-to-Earth magic, I have good news and bad news for you. Bad news first. As far as I know—although believe me, I would love to be the one to tell you different—there is no effective spell for redecorating your entire home in a quarter of an instant just by wiggling your nose. Get away from the mirror, girls. Practicing the Jeannie nod doesn't help. Our longing for this sort of television magic prevents us from seeing the real magic at our own fingertips.

The good news? Magic is your birthright. It is open to all. Yes, Harry Potter is not alone, nor is he unique. The aptitude to practice pure Earth magic is present in all humans at birth. It is not culturally specific nor is it dependent upon your IQ. The ability exists for both genders. Are some more magically gifted than others? Sure, but we're not all great dancers, either. Talent is but one factor; effort and desire play major roles, too. You already possess the building blocks to create the magic that is right for you. What's stopping you? Challenges to your magical gifts tend to be insidious ones, but with a little awareness and effort can be overcome. Beyond false expectations of magic, and the defeatism that this fosters, the major obstacles for most are our severed connections with Earth.

What is magic anyway? What is this Pure Magic?

Real magic, the magic of the Earth, is Pure Magic. Magic in its purest form consists of a dialogue between Earth and yourself, a dialogue whereby you are able to express your desires, receive and recognize a response and are then able to make your wishes and desires come true. Earth's gift to her children, it is the simplest, most basic and most ancient magical art, open to all. Expenses are minimal. No specialized metaphysical training is required. You don't even need to understand what metaphysical means. What is required is an awareness of the natural rhythms, energies, powers and patterns of Earth and her diverse inhabitants. These rhythms and powers are then manipulated in a harmonious and conscious manner to help manifest your goals. In simple language, Pure Magic encourages you to take your dreams and desires and translate them into concrete reality.

The bottom line is that magic is communication: communication between yourself, Earth and all the other life forms with whom we share our Earth Mother. Easier said than done? Well, unfortunately, unlike fantasy magic, real magic is not completely effortless but, on the other hand, it is completely attainable. Your own goals and desires will determine the level of effort that you need to fulfill your birthright and become a magical practitioner.

The first step is simple. Buy a cauldron? Find a familiar? No. Just be kind to yourself. This is real life, not television or literature. Forgive yourself for being unable to master unattainable and unrealistic goals and start afresh. (Magic and reality? Oh, yes. More about that later.)

There are so many reasons that people assume that they can never become a magician, witch, wizard, warlock, practitioner, adept, whatever word you prefer. Perhaps you feel that it is hopeless because you've never been able to master the nose wiggle, let alone do anything with it. Or perhaps you work as an accountant, and what kind of magic is that? Or maybe once you tried a candle spell and it didn't work. Maybe once you tried a Ouija board and you think maybe it did work and you got scared and threw it away, so how magical are you? Maybe you tried to read someone's cards and your predictions were completely off the mark. That's all old baggage. Throw it away. None of it prevents you from achieving your full potential now.

There is one aspect of magic that all of these TV shows and novels did get right: those actively practicing magic do have more fun. Magic will put a sparkle in your eyes. It will put a lift in your walk. You will begin to see things in ways that you have never seen before. Loneliness and boredom will be banished. You will feel stronger and radiant with energy. You will not feel purposeless but competent to fulfill your own destiny.

No, I can't teach you how to turn your mean boss into one of the less attractive mammals, but magic does provide some invaluable gifts. Magic can get you out of trouble. No, not everyone comes up with winning lottery numbers but magic can ensure financial well-being. You can achieve peace in your family and gain the love that you've always wanted. Magic can provide spiritual and romantic fulfillment, not to mention improving your sex life. It can also improve your appearance, bolster health and vitality, and help you become the person you've always secretly known you could be.