Magic or Mystery?

I use the word mystery,
rather than magic.

I loved magic.
Something magic was always going to happen.
When it did, it never did anything
but land me in trouble.

Mystery is the depth of the sacred.

—Marion Woodman

 

“Magic or mystery?” — which holds the most appeal for you?

Because these two words can appear to be interchangeable, let’s start with definitions:

Magic:

The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

Mystery:

Something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain.

Reading these definitions, it’s clear why magic is so much more appealing than mystery.

Most of us would gladly trade something that is difficult or impossible to understand for the promise of influencing the course of events through supernatural forces!

Magic holds the promise of resolution. Mystery invites us to accept and surrender to the unknown.

Magic is the domain of the clever mind and the intellect — as in the magician who uses sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors, and manipulation of perception. Magic is the domain of charlatans, con-artists, and gas-lighters.

Mystery is the domain of the spirit, and of soul.

Wherever there is paradox, non-duality, and chaos there is mystery. A simple, yet brutal, example is how a person’s influence and legacy is exponentially magnified when they are murdered or assassinated. What the killer intended to silence and disempower, he amplified and elevated.

Sooner or later, most of us will confront a challenge, a loss, an illness, or a painful relationship that plunges us into Mystery. Situations that can’t be solved on the level of the mind, or those that elude our many efforts to “fix” them, are portals into mystery. They are initiations into a journey of surrender, acceptance, and a search for meaning.

The word “sacred” here is not about religion, but rather about reverence and respect. “Mystery is the depth of the sacred,” evokes the metaphor of a vast ocean of the sacred, where mystery is not found in the shallow, visible waters, but in the deep, unseen realms.

Invitations for reflection, exploration, and action:

  • What appeals to you the most: magic or mystery? (Your authentic truth, please!)
  • What experiences in your life have been portals into mystery?
  • What challenges or hardships in your past became the raw material for the creation of meaning or something sacred in your life?

 


© Vicki Tidwell Palmer (2021)

Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul (©1998)
By Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick
(Reprinted with permission)

*This post is from the Coming Home to You Series. Visit this page for the backstory of the CHTY Series.

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The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.”

Rainer Maria Rilke