“Cheap Shots” #8 (Do You Believe in Magic?)

There’s even a song about it (although I rather ruthlessly culled the verses I wanted for my purpose).

“I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul

If you believe in magic, come along with me
Believe in the magic that can set you free

Ohh, talking ’bout magic

Do you believe like I believe (Do you believe in magic)
Do you believe like I believe (Do you believe, believer)
Do you believe like I believe (Do you believe in magic)”

(© John Sebastian 1965)

Not long ago, a question was asked on-line about whether those of us who practice divination with tarot think the “magic” is in the cards or in the reader. (This brought up a whole side debate over whether the cards are in fact just bits of printed cardboard with no indwelling spirit, but that’s a separate topic). The majority of respondents felt that the reader’s intuition picks up insights via more-or-less psychic or spiritual channels (perhaps from spirit guides or “angels,” but more likely from a universal database or pool of subtle knowledge that can be tapped by the more sensitive among us), while only a few believed that the cards themselves hang on to emotional energy, which is why they need some kind of cleansing between readings (again, off-topic here). So any “magic” present during a reading would belong mostly to the reader and his or her numinous sources.

I have quite a different view. I think the magic resides in the querent through subconscious foreknowledge of the future. That foreknowledge is imparted to the cards through a  form of “communion” during the shuffle and cut. I see the process as “subconscious induction” stimulated by the querent’s handling of the deck, which puts the cards in the correct order for the outcome needed at that time.  The cards engage directly with the querent at a deep level, and my job is simply to reinterpret them in conscious terms. This is why I mainly read face-to-face at present.

Of course, not one other person picked up on my thought; they would rather believe in some type of mysterious – and transparently benevolent – agency that inspires them to choose one line of inquiry over another. Personally, I think the operative principle is just a form of physics that we don’t have the ability to measure yet. In other words, what any rational pre-Enlightenment person would have called”magic.”

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