Over the years I've stuffed my brain full of magical fantasies inspired by all my favorite books. A Wrinkle in Time, the Narnia series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, absurdist Russian lit ... plus every ghost story and sci-fi tale I could get my hands on. More recently I've gotten into superhero chronicles (X-Men, The Matrix, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). And let's not forget Harry Potter. You name the "magic ability" or otherworldly phenomenon, I've probably lusted after it. Or at least I used to.
My latest obsession along those lines is the TV series Once Upon a Time. At a plot level, it's about what happens when a bunch of (in)famous characters from fairy tales and popular children's stories (ABC has the convenient Disney hookup) get thrown together in a small New England town. The writers expertly weave together disparate origin stories into a narrative that finds everyone's favorite heroes and villains navigating the world of cell phones and double espresso with varying degrees of success.
But the show's real strength is its refreshing take on what counts for magick. In a world where witches, wizards, fairies, mermaids and ogres run amok zapping each other with their insane supernatural abilities, the message comes through loud and clear, if a bit heavy-handed: That kind of magick comes with a price. Its effects are temporary and usually require an impossible sacrifice or an unforgivable betrayal. Rinse and repeat.
As the show progresses (I'm on season 4 of 5 and slowing my pace because I don't know what I'll do with myself when I run out of episodes) we're introduced to other types of "magic" that, we're told, are infinitely more potent than wand-waving and spell-casting. Science is one such discipline (Dr. Frankenstein makes a cameo). Technology is another force to be reckoned with. But the biggie is (drumroll) True Love.
No shocker there. But they push it a little farther. It's not just romance that wins the day. It's the love between a parent and a child. It's the revelation of believing in yourself when the entire world says you're wrong. It's the gift of imagination and the strength of inner beauty and the elegance of nature.
So, normal human stuff. Except think for a moment what a treasure and a mystery it is to truly trust another person. Or how it feels to reach a goal you thought was untouchable. Or what it's like to fall in love. Now we're getting somewhere real and fairly transcendent.
Early on in my clairvoyant training, one of my teachers told me something I'll never forget. "Lots of people can channel spirits and communicate with out-of-body beings," she said. "That's not what impresses me. What impresses me is someone with the courage and neutrality to face a possibly painful situation. Someone who uses their psychic tools to break out of unhealthy family dynamics. Someone who forgives herself for making a mistake. Someone who uses his creativity to build the kind of life that feels fulfilling. That's real power. That's magick."
To be precise, that's magick-with-a-K. When put side by side like that, the invisibility cloaks and time-traveling devices and magical potions I spent my childhood daydreaming about start to look like amateur hour. In the end, a life well-lived is that thing we're all seeking --and only we have the authority to conjure it for ourselves. (Hey, no pressure.)
And if I'm going to cite pop culture in support of this line of thinking, I might as well also include something a little more literary and really old. "Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, but I have not love, I am nothing." That's what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:4, circa 700 B.C. And there you have it: Love is the pot o' gold at the end of the double rainbow. But you already knew that.
What does all this have to do with clairvoyance?
When I give a reading, I get to use my own kind of X-ray vision. I see what turns people on, shuts them down, or brings them peace. I get a peek behind the curtain, if that makes sense. I read pictures of the energy that person has been fueling an entire lifetime on. Sometimes that fuel is wholesome and nutritious, and sometimes it's more like Cheetos. Nobody's wrong; it's just life. But it does make a difference in terms of how much we get to enjoy our earthly experience. And good news is, the moment you can see what you're dealing with, you can do something about it.
Learning to read these truths about myself and others has changed my perspective on what real magick looks like. And here's the secret: We're the magical, mystical things. Us. Not the ancient wizards or even the sexy elves. And for sure not the orcs.
We're full of exquisite power and beauty, but it's all tangled up with pain and invalidation and judgment. Part of the game of sucking oxygen on this planet is about teasing apart that crazy ball of energetic yarn to get to the good stuff. Having a tool like clairvoyance has helped me separate the gold threads from the barbed wire without having to actually climb the spiky fence.
Anyway, not to spoil any of the stories I mentioned before, buuuuuuut I can tell you the big deal there is never the sorcery, either. In the end, it's always the friendship, the journey, the tiny spark of hope that matters*.
*Cue every John Williams score, ever