This has been bothering my brain for a couple of months now.
In Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie H. Holmberg a man is approaching a house he knows to have magical properties, yet that promised magic does not have a great enough hold on his imagination to allow him to ignore the beauty of a heron wading along the shore. He pauses to soak that in before proceeding to his new home.
This made me wonder. Do herons do magic? Do they have magical powers? If they do, how do they use it?
What about other creatures, other elements of nature? Do they have the ability to do magic?
What is magic? I thought I had an answer years ago, but I’m not sure that definition really relates to what people really think about magic. I have thought that magic permeated everything and when humans made an effort to use it they drew on the magic from the world around them. I think that is a fairly common interpretation.
Now, it seems to me that humans are human-centric with regard to magic. I feel like it’s almost as though magic exists only for humans to use, and magical creatures exist to provide magical assistance to humans by and large. In modern North American mainstream culture a few animals are often attributed magical properties: Cats are a prime example. The magic of these animals tends to be used in service to human purposes. (In many pre-industrial cultures many more animals are identified as having magical properties. They are even sometimes seen as having pre-human culture of their own.)
The term magic is used in various contexts to refer to power, action, energy, and illusion (and maybe more things). Maybe we need more specific terms to use (not something I can think about now). In many books in which magic is a prime factor, the magic is a tool used to benefit a human(s), often by disrupting other lives and forces of the universe. This presupposes a universe of limited resources. That’s just sad.
Is magic real in those terms? I don’t buy it.
Nature is magical and full of wonder from the minute to the unimaginably vast.
I have observed a few things that don’t follow traditional ideas of reality. These things I have attributed to quantum physics reality, even though scientists claim that the everyday actions that happen on the quantum level cannot happen on the levels that are visible to the human eye. If this is magic it is a natural occurrence and unattached to human intervention (though it is true that human observation has been proven to have an impact on experiments).
A few minutes ago, blue jays were having a riot down the block. If they were to think of magic themselves, what would they think? Would they think it existed for the benefit of blue jays and other members of the corvid family? If they use magic, how do they use it? Would blue jays even want to have magical powers?
I think squirrels might find magic more useful. When they’re dropping walnuts from the tree they would be able to aim better, and the nut that one just dropped would actually have hit me instead of falling alongside.
What about the trees and the plants? After the droughty summer we’ve had my pepper plant would make sure there was plenty of water and a goodly amount of sun if it could work magic.
I like to think of magic as originating within the earth, flowing through it and channeling itself up through the animals and plants above. But that is a limited vision.
The longer I think about this topic, the more questions emerge.
The universe is so vast. Do eddies and currents of magic run through it? Is the universe made of magic?
Is there consciousness behind or within magic? Does magic serve a purpose in nature?
It certainly does in the human mind.