Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic?

Magic is an integral part of any fantasy novel.  From the beginning of civilization, people have believed in the powers of nature and their ability to appeal to those powers.  Even in today's sophisticated world of science and technology, we keep our superstitions and enjoy tales of magic and sorcery.  How many of us have 'knocked on wood' or avoided walking under a ladder? Does it give you a moment of unease when a black cat runs in front of you?

Religion and magic often become intertwined or perhaps end up at odds with each other.  What is the difference between these two powerful beliefs?  Religion is an appeal for help or an attempt to appease the gods.  Magic is the attempt to do the work of gods or perhaps force the gods to give you aid.  Is it any wonder the base conflict in many fantasy novels is about opposing religions or powerful magical beings acting like gods?
In ancient times, probably into the prehistoric, most religions we term pagan relied on natural forces to aid their magic.  Every tribe or village might have a shaman who directed behavior and sacrifices to direct the magic inherent in the earth to protect them from disease and famine. 

At some point in history, religion and magic drew battlelines and the Christian church declared most of the primitive rituals and beliefs as witchcraft.  Today few among us will admit to believing in magic and the things it can do.  Yet so many of us lap up fantasy books where magic and magical beings are the heroes and heroines though usually the bad guys use magic also.

I do believe in miracles and perhaps they are a type of magic.  I don't believe in curses though certainly bad luck exists.  Or is the bad luck just a superstition, a low form of magical belief? Do you have superstitions passed onto you by grandparents or parents?


  1. Great blog! (Love the template, too.)

    Came over after I saw your comment on Alex's sight about "Transformers." I have a grandson dying to take me to it.

    Superstitions? Well, I try to sleep in on any day that ends with a "Y," but so far have been unable to do it. So I guess I'm continually tempting fate.

    Consider me a new follower, and my best to you during your writing endeavors!

  2. Thanks, Bryce, for the follow. Have fun at Transformers with your grandson.

  3. It's funny, I love fantasy novels. I enjoy reading and writing about magic, but it's all just escape for me. It's nice to believe that something extraordinary can happen, but most days real life is more like a slog through the mundane. Of course, it's the thought of living an unremarkable life that makes believing in magic all the more tempting, IMO.

  4. I can't think of any superstitions passed down in my family. Fantasies are not my usual choice, but I've enjoyed reading quite a few and also enjoy movies like Harry Potter.

  5. I'm not superstitious at all.
    I enjoy magic in fantasy books because it's fantasy. It's not real. I know it offends some, but I can make the distinction and just enjoy it.

  6. Yes. I believe in miracles and magic.

    When my father was healthier he was a sought after dowser and faith healer so miracles have been a part of my life from as far back as I can remember.

    My accountant/lawyer husband, however, had a far more conservative/rational upbringing, but he also started believing in miracles about 22 years...after watching my father work for the first time.

    So, yes, I believe in miracles and magic, and I think we have a power within us that we have to take great care not to abuse because when we disrespect or deny that power it too easily leads us astray.

    Judy, South Africa

  7. This is a terrific post.

    I honestly don't know if I believe in magic which is probably strange since I love to write and read fantasy.

  8. I can't think of any superstitions passed down through the family. But I think we can see miracles around us in the beauty of everyday life, in nature, in a perfect sunset ...

  9. I usually remember Friday the 13th the next day! LOL