Revealing the Magical

MagicalToday’s post, Revealing the Magical, concludes last week’s post, The Visionary Perspective, in which I attempt to distinguish between the genres of visionary fiction and magical realism—how they differ and where they may overlap.

Magical Realism

The genre of magical realism blends the supernatural or what is typically unseen by human consciousness with the natural and familiar world by using the existence of fantasy elements in the real world. This is not done by inventing new worlds as fantasy books do, but in revealing the magical in this world.

The magical is a common and ordinary occurrence in my book, The Lioness of Brumley Hall, and harnessing these magical elements is one of its key themes. Political critique is often a main focus or subtext used to challenge the reality of established viewpoints. Cultural clashes are part of this critique. The Lioness does this by briefly highlighting the political/cultural clashes between China and Tibet and accessing the Celtic mythology of the Faerie.

Magical realism may meld the unseen and visible realities together but this does not necessarily lead to a more evolved transformative consciousness or understanding of our true reality of an integrated Universal holism.

Magical realists take for granted that we live within both worlds as an integrated reality but the focus for magical realists is to challenge existing consensual physical reality, not transcend it per se.

One of the main lesson my grandmother character teaches her grandchildren is that magic does not necessarily make one more conscious and aware which connects magical realism with the necessity of an evolving consciousness to reach a more in tune level of awareness.

Visionary FictionIntegrated Action and Awareness

In my book, the characters do both—live in an integrated existence of the visible and unseen, but with a grandmother’s guidance, transcend the consensual reality of everyday existence.

I believe children naturally negotiate their lives through an integrated existence in both the visible and unseen worlds until they are socialized into the consensual reality of material existence.

I wanted to create a world where that did not happen, where they could remain within the magical reality of Brumley Hall and explore what they felt to be true on an unconscious level. They do this by inhabiting various Jungian archetypes to experience a growing awareness of their transformative powers.

Again, the main philosophical theme of the book is that neither vision or magical powers make a person more humane—kinder, more peaceful, decent, trustful or more worthy than others. Awareness of the full scope of our spiritual humanity is the key for conscious evolution. Buddhists believe that magical or supernatural powers, which are called Siddhis, are a distraction from the real goal of humanity, enlightenment. And of course the ever present ego is always willing to manipulate or co-opt the visionary as its exclusive prerogative for the instigation of power agendas which is embodied in the psychotic villain character of King Ascaric.

Spiritual Wisdom and Political Commentary

The combination of visionary and magical realism also allows me to overcome the “la la” aspect of being too precious in expressing the spiritual wisdom of the former, but also from succumbing to the harsh political commentary of the latter.

Humor, one of humankind’s greatest assets, is a necessary leavening agent for keeping the narrative moving and focusing on a great story instead of an overtly spiritual or political agenda. For me, it’s all in our movements through a life grounded in awareness of our full potential that makes for transformation.

 

MagicalMarian Lee is a long time student of the Western Mystery Tradition and the Kabbalah and finally decided to take a break from the dullness of academic writing to pursue her more creative and energizing writing on esoteric spiritual/magickal matters.

 

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About Saleena Karim

Saleena is a writer and publisher, best known for authoring the political biography "Secular Jinnah & Pakistan". As well as being the co-brainchild of the Visionary Fiction Alliance, she is the author of the award-winning visionary fiction novel "Systems", which is also part of the curricular reading material and the Marghdeen Learning Center, Karachi.
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6 Responses to Revealing the Magical

  1. I like your point that visionary fiction looks to attune to the spiritual or use that energy to affect the "real" world while magical realism just accepts our world has both elements in it. I'm sometimes surprised when writers who use elements of the fantastic or spiritual or magic in their work turn out to be hard-nosed, materialist cynics.

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  2. I really appreciated your definition of Magical Realism in your first paragraph. It is one of the most practical and clear definitions I have come across.

    Marian, you say : "Magical realists take for granted that we live within both worlds as an integrated reality but the focus for magical realists is to challenge existing consensual physical reality, not transcend it per se." Another useful definition!
    I see VF as not so much about transcending consensual reality, as about using both consensual reality and the unseen magic of this world as catalysts for growth in consciousness. We have talked in previous posts about that 'between place', where these two meet to form new awareness or transformed consciousness.

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    • libredux says:

      Jodine, I was going to quote the very same passage you have picked. 🙂 I also concur with what you say about "using both consensual reality and the unseen magic of this world as catalysts for growth in consciousness". A great way of looking at the "spirit-matter" question in contemporary language. As an aside (and not to veer off topic), I'm presently trying to figure out what the "in-between" means as it is being discussed here.

      Marian, you possess amazing clarity of thought. Thank you very much for sharing your insights with us. Your book is going on my to-read list.

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  3. I love the following statement, and am thinking of including it as part of my "What is Visionary Fiction?" elevator pitch. "Revealing the magical in this world." I'm halfway through your book, Marian, and am anxious to see where it leads.

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  4. Another thought-provoking post, Marian. Got me rethinking what "magical" means enough that I looked it up again: "the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature." It's an oversimplification, but magic indicates a neutral technique or cause that creates an effect inexplicable to the non-initiate. The magician has to have an extraordinary skill, which does not necessarily require greater inner awareness. The same could apply to vision or any ability, paranormal or otherwise.

    Why your statement, "the main philosophical theme of the book is that neither vision or magical powers make a person more humane," hits home. I, for one, have too often confused the two and believe our society promotes that mindset, Why we are so shocked when a great ball player or famous politician commits some heinous crime. Why the Buddhists consider Siddhis a possible distraction; easy enough for someone with paranormal ability to let it swell his ego.

    Once again, you reinforce the key element–growth in consciousness–that makes VF unique. External elements can contribute to the process, but ultimately it comes down to growth taking place within. It alone can make us more humane–even though it makes it more challenging to write terrific VF.

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