On Magic, Shamanism, and Listening: The Collective Unconscious of C.G. Jung

“If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, will find that this world is a magical place. It is magical not because it tricks us or changes unexpectedly into something else, but because it can be so vividly and brilliantly.”--Chogyam Trungpa

When I was a child, I longed for magic: actively, forcefully, wistfully. I spent thousands of hours reading books about witches and wizards and fairies and everyday objects endowed with supernatural powers, I read about kids who time-traveled or fell into other dimensions or discovered secret portals to other lives. I always wanted to be one of those characters from the story, happening on magic that would transport me from my problems, my boredom, my malaise (French translation: being poorly-at-ease) with life.

As I grew older, I stopped believing. So wrapped up did I become in my personal challenges, cultural indoctrination, and societal obligations, that I began to forget even the magic from the childhood stories. And as I moved faster and faster through linear time, running from one responsibility to the next, rushing to grow up, get a job, and join the rat race, I became a part of the greatest disappearing acts of all creation; a part of me began to vanish. And, unlike like the lovely magician’s assistant in modern-day magic acts, once I was sawed in two, the pieces never came together again, dropping away instead and getting lost along with the magic in the chaos around me.

Our ancestors had far more contact with magic. They lived life closer to nature, a force larger than life. They saw themselves as an intrinsic part of a pattern that happened around them and to them and in them and through them, an ongoing dialogue with equals. Rather than placing themselves above the objects we see as inanimate, everything they saw and experienced in the...(Read the full post--including a poem from Mary Oliver)

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