Do You Believe in Magic?

Anyone know a protective spell to ward off flu? A meditation perhaps? Affirmation even? I’ll take what I can get. To be honest, I’ll try them all.

Some people would say that’s my problem. I’m too willing to give almost anything a try, even when it comes to religion. Not what you’d expect (and certainly not what my parents wanted) for someone raised in a devout Catholic family, complete with one priest, three nuns, and eight years of Catholic schooling. That eight years should have been a red flag—my parents, aunts, uncle and sister all had at least twelve.

Not me. I couldn’t wait to escape the itchy wool skirts, even though I still went to Mass, said my prayers, and asked few questions. I hid my interests in reincarnation and near-death experiences from my mother. I had gotten in trouble once when she caught me reading The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. In my defense, it was in the bookcase in the dining room. I didn’t know that it was my brother’s book (the only explanation for how it got there), or that I shouldn’t have been reading it. My mother, though, made that point quite clear, while leaving the why of it a little fuzzy.

Lesson learned: don’t let mom know what you’re reading. Even as adults, if my siblings and I were swapping books of questionable (metaphysical) content when we met at my parents’ house, we’d make sure they were hidden in bags.

Before I cannonballed into metaphysical waters, I spent years away from the Catholic church, immersed in a non-denominational fundamentalist Christian group that cured me of organized religion for good. Since then, I’ve read it all: witchcraft, tarot, manifesting, channelling, reincarnation, near-death experiences, intuition, remote viewing, alien encounters. I’ve taken classes in Buddhism and comparative religions. I’ve read mystics and heretics and everyone who’s made an appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I watch The Long Island Medium, and Ancient Aliens. I pray to St. Anthony when I lose things, and I ask angels to protect me when I drive. My daughter calls me a Cathgnostigan (A Catholic agnostic pagan).

The more I read, the more I question. The more I question, the more I know that . I want to believe in magic. I want to believe in a world where good things happen unexpectedly. I want to believe in angels and Spirit and miracles. I want to believe that there are mysteries in the universe that we haven’t solved. I want to believe I’m connected to something bigger than myself.

I don’t always succeed. During some intensely stressful times, I disavowed any belief in goodness, in joy, in love, in God. I fervently hoped that death would be an end to all being, all consciousness, and I wished daily for that death. Yet other times, I found myself reciting prayers from childhood, or part of the Communion Rite from the Mass: Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In Your mercy, keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety…. Despite myself, I sought comfort in the familiar and the spiritual. Atheism wouldn’t stick.

I like to think that choosing to embrace the magical, holding a door open for the spiritual, coexists with intelligent inquiry and discernment. It’s a way to reaffirm that there is much we don’t know about ourselves and our universe. It’s a way to stay curious, open, and childlike. It’s a way to connect to life, germs and all.

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