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So, we celebrated the transition into May with some May wine and mead and the eating of delicious donuts. I'd have tried to make some of these, but we had a scare with almost putting my parents' dog down, so instead we bought them. But either way, we stayed up until dawn pigging out and I, at least, being really happy that spring is here in NY. More and more I find myself celebrating things in a way which is my own. I like to give a nod to the traditions of the holidays (literally, holy days) without following any strict rules. I do what feels good and respectful and brings me joy. Anything which doesn't, I leave off! But I love spring and I take any opportunity to celebrate it. Today it's overcast, but I smell the upstate NY summer coming and it feels magical to me.

I'm on the fence about my own definition of magic. I think there are several senses and I've been trying to cobble my own definition together mentally.

I think the first and most obvious sense of magic is what most people have touched on here. It's the sense in which we effect change by non-ordinary means. I was thinking that I'm probably willing to commit to a definition which includes only those instances in which change actually occurs. Just because you perform a ritual intended to product some effect doesn't mean that you automatically performed magic. Something must occur as a result of your efforts. In addition, I don't think that the effect need necessarily be the one you wanted, but any effect will do. And I think the fact that it is produced by non-ordinary means is the crux of this portion of the definition. In this sense, magic is a noun; it is something that occurs or the practice of bringing that thing about (like sorcery).

The second sense of magic is also a noun, but it is far more broad. Maybe it would be better phrased as "magicalness" or something. But it is something which is all around us. It is something we can feel when we witness beauty or are in deep awe. It is numinous, holy and, well, magical. I think it's this that we fail to be able to really explain. This is the area wherein we fall short of explanation, but I think that may also need to be included in the definition. Magic is something inherently inexplicable beyond a certain point.

So, I've tried to encourage people to make their own posts so that individual discussions can spring up around each definition, refining and questioning and causing several distinct branches of conversation, instead of a big lump under one thread like we did before. But maybe that's not the right approach? What do you think? How do you learn from one another best?


Adults in Witchery

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January 2012