As magicians we should aim for at least one ecstatic moment each day. This of course doesn’t mean that a day without some full-on practice is day wasted. For Austin Spare, Peace be Upon Him, those occultists who limit their magic to symbolic acts within ceremony as missing out. “Their practices prove their incapacity, they have no magic to intensify the normal, the joy of a child or healthy person, none to evoke their pleasure or wisdom from themselves.”
So today I was walking across the 13th century bridge than spans the river where I live. It was early morning and the rose-pink sky was being echoed in the silvery water of the river at high tide. The water seemed thicker, an effect that seemed to be caused by the low temperature. Like quicksilver the river ran slow, spinning in vortices as it passed beneath the arches of the bridge. Birds were starting their day and slipping silent through the clear air. Smoke crawled from a few chimneys and early morning cars prowled the streets.
I am located in this landscape. I know its history and its people. I have my own memories, joyful and painful, located in this place. My breath is easy and I find myself stopping for a moment by the quay and looking out towards the old shipyard and beyond to where my river curves round to meet her sister (the river Taw) as together they unite with the sea.
I am, for a moment, transported into that hyper-reality which always, on reflection, makes me think I’ve stepped into a frame from a graphic novel. There is a razor sharpness to my senses and I am both observer and at one with the world I inhabit. I feel profoundly grateful that I am able to experience this moment.
Just before I go into the gallery where I’m working I notice how the grass beneath my feet bends. I’ve deliberately walked off the path in order to enjoy this sensation.
Yes all our ceremonial work, our yoga and study matters – but only if it increases our capacity to enjoy the normal that bit more.