Magic is the Mystery of our interaction with Nature and with the Cosmos to coax the manifestation of what is in our heart with the will of our minds and the actions of our bodies.
Magic is a mystery.
Think about it for a second. Let it roll off your tongue and rattle around in your brain for a minute or two. Magic is a mystery.
There are several definitions for the word mystery, and most of them somehow describe what magic *is* (however it is that one might define magic, which is what makes this phrase so apt). Mystery can alternately mean “an unexplained or inexplicable event, phenomenon, etc”, “ skills, lore, or practices that are peculiar to a particular activity or group and are regarded as the special province of initiates”, “a religious truth that is incomprehensible to reason and knowable only through divine revelation” and (though it is no longer used in this way) as a trade, occupation, craft of guild of such persons.
…forget the ‘a’ this time, and capitalize the M in ‘mystery’ in your head this time. Say it again, but first close your eyes and take a deep breath. Exhale. Feel the words.
Magic is Mystery.
When you do a spell–when you release a tendril of energy out into the universe to manifest your will, does the exact mechanism of how it works really matter? Whether it was brought to you by divine will, or by the power of nature tilted towards your desires, or by sheer dumb luck coaxed in your direction, or random coincidence, or the machinations of a quantum universe, or pure psychological placebo? I mean really, does it matter?
YMMV, but I tend to say “No, not really.” I care, at the end of the day, that I can drift away into blissful slumber instead of worrying away into the wee hours about something out of my control. I care, at the end of the day, that I have done something–I have used the tools at my disposal to take an action. Magic is a toolbox full of tools with which we can achieve agency* in those instances where agency could not ordinarily and mundanely be achieved (or when ordinary and mundane need some help).
I care, at the end of the day (or maybe a week or so later) that it worked*.
I think, what is more important, is the Mystery of magic. I’m a big fan of knowing how things work, of dissecting the mechanisms that makes things function in the world around me. Its a big part of why I have a degree in biology. But…but. There are sometimes when the end result is more important than the mechanism. There are times when we cannot concretely observe a phenomenon. I’ve been a witch for too long to doubt the veracity of my experiences just because I can’t explain them. And, to be quite honest, I don’t think that I need an explanation for the mechanism of my experiences for them to have value.**
It is the Mystery of magic that makes it…well, magical. I think, in this world of technology, information, knowledge, the idea of controlling and precision of everything we think or do or say, in this world of politically correct niceties, we are too bound to the idea that there are things we can’t know, that we can’t explain, and that that is okay. It is okay to do things without proof, to do things that can’t be explained, to do things that others think are silly or superfluous or downright crazy/stupid/whatever!
I believe in Mystery, because I have experienced it through magic. I don’t know how it works, I don’t know (or care) if its all in my head or guided by outside influences, and I don’t care if other people think its foolish.
Magic is Mystery!
*And maybe it didn’t work (but usually it does).
**I’m not saying that there is no value, intellectually, or in developing one’s practice, into exploring the possibilities of mechanisms for magic (or for that matter, what gods are/are not, etc)…just that, ultimately, what matters is that magic is working for you (or that your gods are fine with how you worship them, etc)
…I borrowed some bits from the following old posts of mine: Thoughts on Correspondences, Scientific Prag-Magic-tism, and Defining Magic