Thursday, October 27, 2016

Explaining Magic to Family, Friends, and Co-Workers

This post is a response to Jason Miller's excellent one of the same title, which you should read here before continuing.

It's so rare for Jason and I to disagree, I read this several times to figure out where we diverged. And it's not really a disagreement; I don't think anything he said anything wrong. But there's a piece I think he left out. And I'm pretty sure he agrees with me on this, because I learned this schtick from him.

So you don't want to be thought of as evil (and there ARE legitimate reasons why you might want to present as evil; some in our world lack monsters, and without monsters, heroes have no one to fight but each other. But that's a hard fucking row to hoe, and not my calling).   HOW do you convince people you're not evil?  One way, I am sure, is to convince them that everyone does it. That you're not REALLY doing that thing they thought was so bad, you're doing some other thing entirely. That will 100% work, and I understand it as a tactic for dealing with strangers and people you don't care about. But there's another option, which is much harder, but (for me, at least) worth it. You can redeem the thing they thought was bad.

The only way to do that, the way I think Jason is actually doing it (and I think that because I watch him do it), is to be so overwhelmingly, radiantly, and obviously Good that anyone who knows you cannot doubt it.  Learn how to have Lightning in your eyes and simultaneously the cool, deep, reassurance of the Earth.  Learn to be the Storm and the Sun.

Hold yourself to far higher standards of Goodness than "everyone does it". Much, much higher standards than you would hold other people. Much, much higher than they hold themselves, higher than they would even dream to hold you to. Be the kind of Witch that, when Fundamentalists first meet you, they see the Light of the Angels shining in your eyes before you say a word. Be so Good that they question everything they believe about good and evil (which, while hard, isn't really as hard as it sounds; the whole notion of good vs evil is pretty self-evidently stupid; all you have to do is get them to look at it askance, and it falls right over). Clean yourself of the soot and filth of the world until the ineffable, but undeniable Divinity at the Core of Your Being (and also everyone else's being) shines forth as an aura of Radiant, Charismatic Bliss. Be the kind of person that no one who actually knows could possibly question the inherent goodness of. Be good not like a child, and not even like a saint. Be Good the way sunlight is good, the way clean water is Good, the way friendship and family are Good.

The thing of it is, you don't actually have to be that Good all the time.  Just often enough that they can't forget you have it in you.  Really, you probably only have to do it for a single moment, if you do it right.  But, it's even better if you can do it a lot.  Let them see that even the Witch is made out of the Divine Light.  Give them the opportunity to see the Dark and the Light together, instead of denying the Dark, and people eventually start to understand that Goodness isn't a thing they have to do, it's a thing they already are, it's the thing that they're made out of.  Don't tell them that Witches aren't really evil.  Just show them that a Witch can be Good.  And, really, what's even the point of even having friends and family if you don't Love them enough to know they're more than capable of understanding that simple and self evident fact? What kind of Work can you accomplish with a coworker you don't care about even that much?

Now, I'm not saying you have to Love everyone the way you Love your family. This is about how to explain magic to friends, family, and coworkers. This isn't about how to explain it to your neighbor, the asshole who is always knocking over your trash cans, and calling the cops when you park in a way he doesn't like.  I mean, it clearly seems absurd to say your should Love your neighbor like you love a brother, like you love yourself. Right?