Living Magically: The Art of Chewing Life Up and Spitting it Out

by Gary “Z’ McGee at Waking Times

“The Universe is saying: Allow me to flow through you unrestricted, and you will see the greatest magic you have ever seen.”Klaus Joehle

You’ve probably heard the now common cliché, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” How true it is. But it’s not enough to know it with your head. You need to understand it with your heart; with your mind, body, and soul, in order to create magic with it. You need to be proactive about it, in order for it to really have an impact in your life. Like Daniel Pinchbeck said, “Deep down, nobody wants a job to occupy his or her time. We want a mission that inspires us.”

This will probably require getting a little “crazy,” a little bit “nuts.” In order to make your life more magical, you may need to take a non-dogmatic leap of faith. Let yourself go mad. Let yourself be weird. Like Kurt Vonnegut said, “We are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.” Farting around is making a big stink, it’s laughing at the all-too-serious human condition, and it’s falling in love with impermanence.

You are a magical creature, even if you’re not consciously aware of it. Your inner-child wants desperately to come out and play, even if you have suppressed it; even if it has been oppressed by a sick society. Jump into the angry abyss with a smile on your face. This is how magic has always been created, from shamans to Shakespeare. Get out there and live! Look for the magic within things. Look for the magic within you. Like William Butler Yeats poetically articulated, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”


Dreamer of Dreams

“Not to dream boldly may turn out to be irresponsible.”George Leonard

Haters gonna hate, lovers gonna love. And the best place to start loving, is to start dreaming your love into being. Dream of cathartic thunder resonating between lonely hearts. Dream of lightening in a jar drank to the dregs by humorless men desperately trying to regain their sense of humor. Dream of chaotic empathy usurping orderly apathy. Dethrone the parochial by dreaming God and Satan are playing tennis, and no matter how much they play, the score is always love-love. Like George Bernard Shaw said, “You see things, and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say, ‘Why not?’”

Between wakefulness and dreams there is a third thing: metamorphosis. Dreams don’t stand still: they move; they change; they dissolve and crumble and coalesce and regroup. As a dreamer of dreams, you must do the same. And if your dreams are “flying south for the winter,” then that’s probably where you should be heading. Turn your dreams into a quest, into a journey of the most high. Whether it’s the quest for health, truth or love, “quest” is the key word, and the journey is always the thing.

Forget logic and reason for a time. Let unreason and magic shine. Then bring logic and reason back in for a little tidying up. Do it with high humor, and the magic that comes from being the dreamer of dreams will not elude you. Like Carl Jung said, “Reason and understanding must unite with unreason and magic.” Let them unite within you in perfectly imperfect recognition.

The Greek word Thumos is the desire for prestige. It is the dream of the perfect recognition, when all that is great within ourselves synergizes perfectly with all that is eternal in the cosmos in harmonic synchronicity.

Mythmaker of Myths

“Dream the myth forward.”Carl Jung

The greatest magic is transmuting the passions. And nothing is as powerful, alchemically, at transmuting the passions than myth.

Joseph Campbell described mythology as having four basic functions:

  • The Mystical Function: experiencing the awe of the universe,
  • The Cosmological Function: explaining the shape of the universe,
  • The Sociological Function: supporting and validating a certain social order, and
  • The Pedagogical Function: how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.

As far as being a myth-maker is concerned, the mystical and the pedagogical functions are the most important. This is because the primary method of myth is sensual, not verbal. Language is secondary, and only because it is the only way we have to communicate the mythic vision. But by relearning this, sensual, nonverbal language (what Derrick Jensen calls “a language older than words”), we open ourselves up to the majesty of the cosmos and allow for the inner-workings of nature to rethread herself through us.

Our tool is myth. Our goal becomes, as Thomas Berry said, “to move the human community from its destructive presence on the planet to a benign or mutually enhancing presence on the planet.” The myths we harbor can work for or against us. Our current myth is a violent, exploitative, dog-eat-dog system. Unfortunately, we’ve swallowed this myth: hook, line, and sinker. Our duty, if we have the courage, is to update this outdated, unsustainable myth by becoming mythmakers who have the audacity to create a contemporary, sustainable system that meets violence with laughter, exploitation with expiation, and the dog-eat-dog system with a human-support-human system.

Mythology is an ever-present, ever-receding horizon mediated through the creative imagination of individuals and cultures and venerated through art and cosmology. As Louis G. Herman wrote, “The retelling of mythology helps access the creative energy of the ancient past within the present. In this understanding, past, present, and future become separate faces of a single reality,” or, as Jean Gebser put it, an “ever-present origin.”

If we can step back every once in a while and think like an outsider. If we can let go of the “story,” and release the myth. If we can think past it, around it, inside and out of it. If we can accept it for what it is, and then let our imagination run rampant all over it. If we can take the frame of our yester-life and reshape it, widen it, rebuild it out of rubber-bands, or weaponry turned livingry, or desertification turned greenery. If we can break it, if need be. If we can do that, then we can prevent the frame from ever becoming a locked safe. And if it ever happens to become a locked safe, it’s never too late. We know the combination. And if for any reason we should lose that combination, then we must have the courage to shatter the lock. Like Tony Robbins said, “Passion is the genesis of genius.” Being a mythmaker is having the passion to shatter outdated locks with updated sledgehammers.

We create our own magical reality as we go.
We create our own magical reality as we go.

Jokester of Jokes

“Life should be lived to the point of tears.”Albert Camus

Nature loves audacious courage. Commit to nature and she responds by removing obstacles from your path. This is how magic is done. This is the art of chewing life up and spitting it out. This is the shamanic dance in the abyss.

One of the most amazing things that courageous people discover on their journey is how fulfilling the self-made path is, especially when they don’t know where it might lead. The awesome realization that if the path were clear, and everything ahead of us were known, it simply would not be fulfilling. Even if we cannot admit it to ourselves, we yearn for astonishment. We long to be surprised, to be in awe, to be taken aback by the majesty of the Great Mystery.

It is within the labyrinth of our own journey, with its twists and turns, ups and downs, hidden demons and thrashing thresholds, where we find true fulfillment. Not on the clear path of others, with their wide-open and clearly forecasted ways, their all-too-noticeable signs, their spoon-fed morsels of already-lived life, and their parochial paradigms handed down piecemeal from shrunken comfort zones. In the adventure of our own labyrinth, there is no such thing as dead ends. There is only the illusion of dead ends. On the already-lived-path-of-others there are always dead ends, especially if you don’t do things as “they” did, or as authority commands.

This is not to say that we should not stand upon the shoulders of giants. We definitely should. But we ought to make such standing a part of our journey rather than an end to it. If we can allow ourselves to be individuated voyeurs, peeking in on the paths of others, borrowing the magic that works and discarding that which insults our soul, all while using it to see further than they could, then we make our journey our own while learning from those who came before us. And the best part is we don’t get stuck, because we’re simply borrowing an egg or two (of knowledge) from their baskets, rather than placing all our eggs into any single basket.

By living the self-made labyrinth of our own journey, we turn the tables upon the cosmic joke itself. Instead of being the butt-end of the joke, we become the almighty jokester, the personified trickster, transcending seriousness with a humor of the most high. We become the one who laughs instead of the one who is laughed at. We liberate ourselves to laugh at it all, to poke holes in makeshift ideologies (especially our own), and to usurp outdated thrones with updated humor.

The paths that came before us pale in comparison to the paths that lay within us. Similarly, the dogmatic seriousness that came before us pales in comparison to the humorous sincerity that lies within us. Their old magic is no match for our new magic. I beseech you, you who would live a magical life of adventure and self-discovery, your path begins at the perceived limits of your comfort zone. Authentic love begins with genuine humor. Dream the dream forward. Dream the myth forward. Dream the joke forward. Laugh, and laugh hard, especially at stagnate dreams, outdated myths, and parochial gods. The world doesn’t need more obedient followers, sycophants, and bootlickers. It desperately needs more disobedient dreamers, mythmakers, and jokesters.

“In conclusion, there is no conclusion. Things will go on as they always have, getting weirder all the time.”Robert Anton Wilson

Tapping the force.
Tapping the force.

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