Magic Uses Imagination and Action

As I said in my last post, when prayers have been powerful in my life, when magic has happened, there are certain aspects that have often been a part of that prayer or magic. First it is necessary to be aware of the desires of our hearts, and then to send those desires into the larger universe.

Then, it is also important to take some action on our own behalf. These actions might include both mental actions and physical actions. Mental action is using that tool of imagination that I have spoken about. Imagination is a powerful tool for prayer and magic. Notice that the roots of the words magic and imagination are the same. A few years ago, when I lived on Cape Cod, a Wampanoag grandmother gave me a trouble basket. She said: “Whenever you are worrying about something or feeling sad, you can put that trouble in the basket. You can write it on a piece of paper, or hold a stone, and imagine your trouble on the stone, and then put it in the basket, close the lid, and let go. It won’t feel so heavy.”

White Candle MJ DSC09662Images focus and shape the energy generated by our desire, so we can work with it. The image of the stone in the basket can focus our letting go of trouble. Or for another example, if we desire to heal someone we love, we may imagine white light flowing through their body. The image of white light gives a form to our desire for their healing. We can also use material objects to focus our imagination. When we light a candle, the bright light of healing becomes more tangible. The more vivid the image, the more powerful the energy can be.

We take action in our imagination, but also in our daily life, to bring our desire to life. Prayer is not a substitute for action in the world; rather it goes hand in hand. For example, if we want to find a place to live, usually we must go out looking for one. Years ago, five of my friends and I wanted to rent a big house in Jamaica Plain so we could live as a community. We lit a candle, and then we went out and looked at all the houses that were advertised in the paper. But nothing seemed right all day, so we finally stopped for ice cream. Next to our booth was a bulletin board, and there we found a new poster for a house to rent. We called and it turned out to be our perfect house, three doors away from the ice cream parlor.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that when we are firmly committed to a course of action, the universe responds. I find it often responds with humor and quirky irony, and in ways we don’t quite expect. We didn’t find our house in the paper where we looked. We found it after looking while getting ice cream. I will never forget a prayer in which I imagined a white horse coming to take me to visit a loved one I was yearning to see. The next day, someone in a white pickup truck offered me a ride to my destination. Synchronicity!

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Imagination as a Tool

Imagination can play an important role in shifting our attention. If we want to find that which is larger than words, that which we cannot define or explain by words, we need to access the playfulness of the non-verbal mind. Images are one way that we can experience the non-verbal realms. Carl Jung taught us about the power of dream images to express realities which could not be expressed in words. In my dreams, I have experienced the power to fly, to light candles from across the room, to heal with fire in my hands. Our dreams can be a pathway into a different consciousness.

Candle flameSometimes, people shift their attention by calling upon an image of the larger reality. Some people call upon God to hear them and to speak to them. Others invite the goddess to enter the circle. Or we might say, Infinite Light, be here now, and light a candle. These invitations are also called invocations. It might feel silly to us to call out to someone or something that we don’t even know is there. But any time we invite the larger reality into the room, what we are really doing is inviting our hearts to shift their attention. We are re-tuning our hearts to notice the light that is already there.

The images are meant not to be objects to grasp in our minds, but tools for the imagination to awaken the mysteries of connection within us. So, if I say, “Spirit of Life, please open my heart to the wonders of your world,” I create an intention, a form that can hold the energies in a certain rhythm or shape. I open a window in my consciousness, to see what my literal eyes cannot. When we open the door, there is something that wakes up, something beyond what we can expect or explain. If we don’t open the door, we will never know what is out there, or in here.