Thursday, 29 December 2016

The fabric of magic is woven into our existence

I can say with full certainty that the world we inhabit is inherently magical. To walk through a natural structure crafted from giant trees that have thrived since modern comforts were inconceivable is to witness magic. Magic, to me, is a feeling. It's also a fabric that overlays the physical world - a membrane forged of collective psychology, of stories thousands of years old.

A few months ago I was sunning myself on the Greek island of Crete, looking out into the azure sea at a dragon. At first glance this rocky structure looked much like an island and I'm sure to the untrained eye it could easily be mistaken for one. But locals knew differently. The shape was definitely dragon-like - a creature that has been turned to stone and sits in the sea for eternity. "Nonsense," you might say. But can this membrane of folklore not allow this island to be both a physical geographic place and a dead serpent at the same time?

For me, magic exists alongside the mundane. These stories of supernatural beings and brave heroes form an overlay on this scientific world. One shouldn't exist without the other when it comes to analyzing the world around us. It's important to know that the Devil's Arrows are both a megalith erected by pagan ancestors and the literal weapons of a dark being. There is no use in 'debunking' the latter because the story is just one part of what makes these stones what they are today.

I used to subscribe to the materialistic school of thought - that the only importance lied in physical things that we could evidence. Everything else can be discounted. I am not religious but I know gods walk the earth within this magical membrane. Our very weekday names have been shaped by Woden, Freya and Saturn - can we ignore them as if they don't play a part in our world experience? Absolutely not.

I believe that life is much richer when we make room for the magical, the sublime. Over the past few years I've softened my position as a staunch atheist and have sang songs of and drank to the old gods. Not because I think they're listening, but because of what they represent.

As the world becomes a more uncertain place it's important to remember that it's also wonderful and brimming with secrets. While certain people want to tear others apart, we must remember that our shared stories, this fabric of magic, brings us together, no matter where you are in the world.