Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 16,512,239

April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

The Oak King's Domain (A Story)

The Star Child

April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops

April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah

March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective

March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!

March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness

March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright

March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects

February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are

February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?

February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings

February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)

January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected

January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence

January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression

January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild

December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed

December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)

December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots

December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward

December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?

November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy

November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?

November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 10480

VoxAcct: 288118

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 2,980

Times Read: 5,571

RSS Views: 76,239
Magical Thinking Or Magickal Living?

Author: Stifyn Emrys
Posted: February 26th. 2006
Times Viewed: 5,571

Do you believe in the tooth fairy?

Father Christmas?

Or yourself?

Children live in a world of magic and wonder, where knights rescue fair maidens from fire-breathing dragons, where witches command the elements with an incantation or a flick of the wrist. And we believe that somehow, somewhere we should be able to do the same.

We believe we should be able to keep mommy and daddy from fighting so much. That it’s within our power to stop our alcoholic uncle from drinking. That if only we could harness these magical powers, we could bring back the devoted puppy who played fetch for endless hours in our back yard and knew just when to wake us up with a playful kiss when it was time for school.

If only …

When I was 8 years old, that puppy – a Shetland sheepdog named Frisky – was hit by a car in front of our house. Mom told me she was dead, and no amount of wishing or hoping could bring her back. I shouldn’t have let it happen in the first place. I shouldn’t have allowed her to get out of the house and now, worse still, I couldn’t bring her back. I remember calling her name again and again, but she simply wouldn’t come.

And I was convinced that it was all my fault.

Now, years later, I realize that it wasn’t. The world doesn’t revolve around me, and I don’t have the power to bring back Frisky with a wave of a magic wand. I’m simply not that powerful. But at the time, it was natural to believe that I was. “Magical thinking” is a psychological term that characterizes a certain stage of our childhood development (around the late preschool age) during which we believe we have control over our environment. We haven’t yet developed the capacity to differentiate between causation and coincidence, so we bemoan the fact that Daddy got sick because we threw a tantrum and refused to eat our peas.

As we mature, we leave that stage, but it can be tempting to return – especially if our lives are out of control. Our parents divorce, or Daddy hits Mommy, or we are sent away to school. We grow older, and we yearn for a simpler time, when the world wasn’t so complicated and (we imagine) there was magic at our fingertips. In individual terms, we seek a return to the playful innocence of youth; in a historical sense, we long for a golden age or Camelot, where magical forces were at work to ensure that all was right with the world.

But did such a world ever really exist? Was it ever really that easy? Or was it simply that we, as children, just weren’t ready yet to confront the harsh reality of life beyond our parents’ protection?

Magical thinking can be very seductive. And Pagans who fall prey to it, pass it on to their own children, taunting them with the promise that they can somehow control their environment through spellwork, visualization or mere force of will. If we do so as parents, we do our children – and ourselves – no favors. Have you ever tested a teenager’s will? It’s pretty strong already. Even without magical powers, teens are very much a force to be reckoned with.

But we fan the flames of this magical thinking with entertainment and literature that offers the illusion of control. We glamorize Witchcraft as a pop culture phenomenon on the level of the Backstreet Boys or Brittany. Teen Witches can use spellwork to achieve good grades – never mind cracking a book or studying for a test. And what about those so-called Witches on “Charmed”? That Book of Shadows works more like Aladdin’s lamp than a compendium of spiritual insight.

Pagans are hardly the only ones who indulge in such fancies. Christians cling tenaciously to such illusions as a virgin birth and a bodily resurrection, hoping by the force of their will to overcome their fears of sex and mortality. The greater the fear, the more severe the distress, the greater the temptation to seek shelter in that golden age that never was, in that Garden of Eden we never planted. People are afraid of death, of sexuality, of abandonment, of violence. So they hide behind a cloak of magic.

When we present the Craft as something out of “Bewitched” or “Charmed,” we dishonor our children as well as our tradition. (This is not to denigrate those series, which have value if viewed for what they are – pure entertainment.) The Craft is not something that can be mastered like a computer game or worn like a pentacle necklace or garb at a Ren Faire. To be a Witch, the word’s origins themselves tell us, is to be a “wise one.” And wisdom is not a commodity cheaply purchased or easily won. It comes, most often, with experience and trial. Do we therefore bestow this title too lightly? Do we forget that the wise women of the village were most often the crones, who had learned by hard experience to shed the cloak of magical thinking and walk spiritually skyclad in humility and oneness with their source?

The lesson they had learned was simply this: That to combat the temptation of magical thinking, we must move toward the practice of magickal living. What we must, in my view, accept is that the Craft is not about bending the environment to suit our will. That’s the kind of thinking that has produced global warming, rampant pollution, widespread starvation and mass extinctions. It is instead about honoring that same environment and coming to terms with it – and with our own true selves.

If we place ourselves at odds with our surroundings by seeking to control them, we isolate ourselves from the true source of all magick. Where then will be our power? If we, in our arrogance, declare war on Mother Earth, how can we prevail? Indeed, why should we wish to? It is only when we bring ourselves into harmony with the greater whole that we can achieve the truly wondrous. It is only when we connect with the source that we can transcend the narrow bounds of ego and step beyond the constraints of childhood fancy. No longer do we seek to control the source.

We manifest it.

We spend such energy tilting at windmills that we forget to ride the wind. We seek to compel the impossible, we deny the inevitable … but we dare not abide the unthinkable: That we are the magick we have spent our lives pursuing. We are the very change we strive in vain to manifest.

Father Christmas was your own dear father, placing gifts beneath the tree at midnight. The tooth fairy was your loving mother, who cared enough to leave a dime beneath your pillow. They were magick in these moments – and no less so if at other times they quarreled. If they lashed out at you in anger. If they left you when you needed them. If they divorced.

Magick is reality, affirmed in any moment.

We can’t mend our parents’ broken marriage.

Force an alcoholic to stop drinking.

Or a bigot to stop hating.

Or an army to stop killing.

We can’t bring a beloved pet back from the grave.

We can’t wave a wand and conjure up a happy ending.

Not by wishing or willing it.

But we can know our true selves, and be our true selves – secure in the knowledge that this, in itself, is enough. We won’t be able to foresee what wonders will be born of this; but wonders rich and bounteous are sure to manifest. The choice is ours alone to make: We can isolate ourselves in magical thinking …

Or we can empower ourselves through magickal living.

That, in my view is what it means to be a Witch.


Stifyn Emrys

Location: San Luis Obispo, California


Author's Profile: To learn more about Stifyn Emrys - Click HERE

Bio: DragonScribe is the co-founder and moderator of Pagan Action Network on MSN. He is an author, poet and editor who lives with his wife in Central California.

Other Articles: Stifyn Emrys has posted 1 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Stifyn Emrys... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Stifyn Emrys ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).