What really is magic and what does it mean to live a magical life? #magic #spirituality

The other day, I found myself chatting with a friend about our writing aspirations. While I was talking about my visions for the Warriors of Light book series, the conversation veered into the subject of magic. I mentioned how most books that use magical elements are placed into the category of fantasy because they are beyond the realms of the realistic. They entertain and enthrall us by encouraging our minds to play with the fantastic in the form of the impossible or unreachable. They stir our imaginations in a way that leaves us wishing for something we will never obtain. Fantasy, though, can also remind the imagination that there is more to life than we often allow ourselves to notice…

This photo was taken at Acadia National Park in Maine. To me the land looks like a sleeping giant. In the area of the heart, you can see an eye. The image embodies magic waiting to be seen. In book 2 of the Warriors of Light series, a giant much like this one appears.

How frustrating it can be to feel as though a magical life is illusive and always beyond the realm of possibility. When I mentioned that a few readers of The Labyrinth had compared my book to one of the most popular fantasy series written, our conversation began to explore the definition of magic and how much it differs in my series vs. the one it had been compared to. The young “warriors of light” protagonists are not wizards or witches, nor do they use wands or attend a school that teaches spells and potions. Instead, their teacher is the labyrinth, a magical maze they journey through individually and together to bring back the light where it has been broken by darkness. Sure there are somewhat fantastical elements. The six young protagonists learn how to shapeshift into their spirit animals. Some of them see ghosts and all of them converse with beings in other realms, but is there really so fantastic?

Magic Can Be Extraordinary

In The Labyrinth, the hexagram star is both an individual and a cooperative journey back to the center/heart of union.

Those how have traveled the shamanic journey will probably tell you that shapeshifting, or communing with spirit totems is not so fantastical. And, I’d wager most of us have had communications with spirits or beings from other realms, whether we realize it or not.

The hidden realms of life reveal their wonder as we open ourselves to the inherent magic that resides in all life. Like young children who have not yet lost their connection to inherent magic, our inner sight and senses re-expand beyond the ho-hum of the everyday routines. A mere walk in nature can stir the cells into a state of blissful union. Glimpses, or perhaps more, of the extraordinary become common, but no less magical. The more connected we feel, the more interconnected we feel as joy arises from our sense of being a part of an infinite web of light.

The Magical Inner Journey

When I journey into the ancient landscapes that still hold the imprint of magic, my cells hum with joy and time seems to collapse and open.

While adding truly fantastical elements to a book of fiction can be fun, the magic of a hero’s journey arises out of self-discovery. It is an inner journey as well as outer journey. This is magic that is not only sustainable, but grows with awareness. The state of joy becomes accessible, achievable, and sustainable unlike a material treasure that is not easily found and can be lost, or stolen away. The gift of inherent magic can only be robbed by the self as it resides within the self.

Magic is an opening to and not a manipulation of energy

True magic arises out of the very essence of life. It does not manipulate the forces of the elements, but opens to the inherent magic that already exists. Herein lies true wonder. The state of joy is accessible through the opening. When we allow ourselves to open to life’s mysteries we find connection, truth, and re-union. Although most of us are not trained in shamanism, or have the ability to shapeshift into our spirit animals like the protagonists in the Warriors of Light series, we do have the ability to connect with and glean wisdom, inspiration, and a sense of union with the animal and plant communities around us. Many of us experience an aspect of this connection with the animal companions that live in our homes, but we can also open ourselves to connecting with the wildlife outside of our homes. Sitting in the presence of a tree and bearing witness to its enduring strength and flexibility, or watching the transformation of an earth-bound caterpillar into a near-weightless butterfly can bring profound insight, peac,e and awe to the observer.

Magic is Living in Wonder

Often the closer we look at life the more wondrous it becomes

This is magic. It is opening to life and all of its wonders that exists and unfold in each moment all around us. It is the knowing that not everything can, or will be known, in one’s lifetime, because life is filled with such complex and intricately balanced beauty that no mind can truly understand creation.

Introducing The Labyrinth and some history on the setting

Now available in print and Kindle! 

Warriors of Light: The Labyrinth
The Labyrinth, now available on Amazon in print and Kindle.

It seems fitting that I am sitting looking out on Lake Merrymeeting while I write this post announcing the release of my newest book, The Labyrinth, Book 1 in the Warriors of Light series. Lake Merrymeeting holds a special place in my heart, as does the man who introduced it to me. I met the man when he was still a boy. We were both seventeen and spending six weeks of our summer at St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program (ASP). I was studying biology, and he, ecology, but our eyes were drawn together at a dorm meetup on the night of July 4th 1991. We were married eight years later on July 17th, the day I hit the release button for The Labyrinth.

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Dave & Alethea. Circa 1991. Photo Credit: Arthur Kehas

Dave and I had our first date at St. Paul’s library four days later. While he reviewed my biology homework, I reviewed his English essay about his favorite place, Merrymeeting Lake. “Maybe you can go there with me someday,” he smiled shyly.  Anything seemed possible that evening, but I never imagined I would be writing my own story one day inspired by this beautiful lake in New Hampshire.

 

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Mystic Lake aka Merrymeeting Lake with the author’s fictional renditions. Map Design: Danielle English

Perhaps I was thinking about the day I met Dave at the ice cream social when I wrote this passage:

Dell_SketchWhen Dell’s eyes made their way to the front of the line, they stopped at a tall boy her age wearing a navy-blue baseball cap that covered most of his hair and shaded his forehead. He was paying for his cone, and as he turned away from the window Dell watched him lick his green ice cream, then lift his eyes to meet hers.

“What are you looking at?”

Her mother’s words broke the energy that held her gaze to the boy’s. In those few seconds, Dell had forgotten everything but the color of his eyes. They were like the flaming sun in a cloudless sky. They were like nothing she had ever seen before. (The Labyrinth, Chapter 2)

 

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The shop that inspired the place in the book.

 

Dell was waiting in line at “The Bubble” when her eyes met those of the mysterious boy. A place inspired by an actual ice cream shop with a similar name in downtown Wolfeboro. It is popular with my children and many other summer residents. As the “oldest summer resort in America,” the town of Wolfeboro is rich with history.  And that name seemed to want to be used, unchanged in the pages of my book… perhaps, in part, because of  the character Lupe who likes to roam the hills around the lake…

 

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A bit of an cynic, Lupe believes most poeple are driven by greed and a lust to be better than everyone else. He prefers the realm of night, when most people are asleep. In some ways he’s a sharp contrast to Dell, who is quite comfortable in the daytime and loves the water.

 
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Is it Lupe Dell sees at The Bubble, or is it Shesha, who is quiet, mysterious and brooding? Shesha lives on the north side of the lake, but has never encountered Dell, one fateful summer…

 

 

Ari_Sketchor is it Ari who catches her gaze? Ari, who is best friends with a girl named Sula, who likes to read in the embrace of evergreens and prefers books over most people.

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Each of the three boys has eyes that seem to see beyond the surface, but then again, so do the three girls…
Aponi_Sketch

Aponi is expectionally beauitiful, but she doesn’t seem to notice how she stands out. Instead her troubles are deeply rooted within. Her mother’s life is in danger, and so is the Mother Earth’s. Aponi has known since she was a small child how intricately linked her mother’s body is to Earth’s, but she didn’t know she’d soon meet five friends destined, like her, to save them both…

These are the six warriors of light whose stories come together in a broken maze they follow in their dreams. It is a fictional fantasy, but also a metaphysical guide intented to help children of all ages embrace their gifts and a greater understanding of Life.

To order your copy of The Labyrinth in print or Kindle, please click here.