What is Magic?

These brief thoughts are directed at the theatrical performance of magic and are written to help aspiring performers consider the ‘meaning’ behind their performances.

From a performing magicians point of view, what is Magic?

Jeff McBride is the epitome of a magician — he is never ‘on’ he is just always being a magician. If you’re a professional magician and you’ve not seen Jeff’s booklet “Magician 24/7” then I would highly recommend it.

Jeff is always ready to be the magician that he is his ‘on-stage’ persona is simply a large portrait of who he is when off stage.

And here’s the point.

Most ‘magicians’ act the part of being a magician because they accept that they’re illusions are illusions and hence their magic is not real’. With such an attitude being the ‘inner mindset’ of the ‘magical performer’ then there is the clear need to ‘get into character’ and ‘be someone else’ when performing.

But is that it?

Have we reduced magic to a performance which exists only in the frame of the cabaret floor or theatre stage?

Many ‘magicians’ have dropped the word ‘magician’ when describing themselves. Many have opted for titles that we deem to be more ‘marketable’ — Enigmatist, Paranormalist, Mind Reader, Unusualist, Psychological Illusionist and so on.

In a sense they have conspired with the general public to relegate the word ‘magician’ to presenter of ‘cheap tricks’ and ‘petty distractions’ — or to a mythical being whose only value is to amuse children and the ill-informed.

Magicians-turned-Skeptics who police the world for paranormal fraud have further confounded the public perception of ‘magic’.

Now let’s be clear here…

I am not for one minute supporting those who use the tools of the magician’s craft to ‘con’ others into believing in some fairy-tale reality wherein they, the all-powerful-wizard, possess the secrets of health, wealth and spiritual connection (should that indeed be part of your metaphysical mind-set); that they have the sole ability to ‘connect’ you with your destiny — and then make you pay heavily for that connection.

Nor am I suggesting that we need to encourage people to engage in pre-scientific, medieval thinking.

Magic, as defined by the mystics, is the ‘art and science of bringing about change in accordance with will’, or more usefully ‘magic is about transformation’. So putting aside the lengthy discussion about what ‘will’ really is, we can see real magic all around and we engage in magic ritual every day.

So if one seeks to communicate with the ‘other side’.. ‘Will’ becomes the desire to converse with ‘someone’ on the ‘other-side’

They will consult their grimoire of magical correspondences, of numbers and associations.

They find the correct sequence of symbols to chant over their wand.

Then they are connected long-distance to a friend in another country!

The magical grimoire is the phone book -

The wand the voice activated iPhone.

OK, so not wishing to push the analogy too far, I think you get the point.

The act of living and communicating and simply being is magical.

Gazing at the night sky and seeing stars, galaxies and the endless possibilities within the cosmos is awesomely magical.

How the individual chooses to make sense of their personal experiences is where some of the dogmatism and hence challenges lie.

Ok. So what has this got to do with card tricks?

Absolutely nothing..

What have card tricks to do with magic?

In the strictest sense — absolutely nothing…

They are ‘tricks’ — they are not pieces of magic.

These ‘tricks’ can be transformed into magic by the way in which they are performed; by the meaning we as the magician give to the act of the performance.

Jeff’s Magician 24/7 is not about being ready with the a ‘trick’, but about being able to share an experience — wherein lies the magic.

Sharing and experience, a kind word, a smile can be considered as a magical act. We all know how easy it is to transform moods and bring about changes within the minds of others by the way we treat them — this, my dear reader, is part of being magical.

I write these words as a spell to affirm what I have been thinking; this in turn reminds me of my own changing ideas — which in turn, now shared, may prompt changes within you.

So, if you are a magician, the next time you are asked to show someone a ‘trick’ you can be like Gandalf..

Stand tall, gaze intently at the person asking you to ‘entertain them’ and state “I am not merely a conjuror of cheap tricks’ and then be magical.

Notice the moments of wonder you can create and treasure them.

Alan /|\

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Writing about personal development, the mind and future histories. New articles every Monday. Website : www.dralanjones.com

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Dr Alan Jones PhD FRSA

Dr Alan Jones PhD FRSA

Writing about personal development, the mind and future histories. New articles every Monday. Website : www.dralanjones.com

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