It’s A Kind Of Magic – Why Love Truly Is Sorcery And Marriage Is The Ultimate Magical Ritual
When I was a teenager, I dabbled in Ritual Magic. This did not work out well for me. I was great at summoning things, but not quite so hot at banishing them. Whether these things actually existed or were just in my head I’m still not sure. It probably doesn’t matter. As Eliphas Levi once famously said : “Whether or not demons exist is irrelevant. The Universe we live in behaves as if they do.” Well, as famously as a 19th Century occult philosopher can say anything.
Reality or imagination, the demons bothered me. I got sick of doing the Ritual of the Rose Cross every night and it was affecting my A Levels. So I sought the advice of a friendly nun. No, I’m not making that bit up, there really is such a thing as a friendly nun. She was called Sister Concepta and she directed me to Father Conaughty, who was the Exorcist for Hexham and Newcastle diocese at the time. And he performed a minor Exorcism on me.
At least he said he did. He gave me dramatic looking pewter crucifix to cling on to and said “Yes. You’ve definitely got something very nasty attached to you” in a gruff Irish accent. Though I think he stole that line from Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. And he might well have been referring to the patchouli soaked, cut off denim jacket I was wearing. Or my laughable mullet haircut.
He sprinkled holy water and read Latin from one of the thousands of books in his dusty study. I was sitting nervously in an elderly leather wing back armchair inside said dusty study. It was a sunny Saturday morning and I tried to distract myself by following the dust motes playing in the sunshine that streamed through the ecclesiastical windows.
He might as well have been reading me his shopping list in Latin. Maybe he was. But it did feel something was being ripped out of me and I walked out feeing lighter than air. He let me keep the pewter crucifix. Whether my demon was real or imaginary, I felt much better and vowed never to have anything to do with Ritual Magic again. But of course, ritual magic is unavoidable in everyday life.
I had stopped titting about with demons in time to get good enough A-Levels to scrape into university. Where I discovered girls and fell properly in love for the first time. I had a less nerve wracking time cowering under my sheets making unsuccessful banishing gestures at the demons to be fair. Being in love is great. Falling in love has a stomach churning alchemy all of its own. I won’t bother describing it. You’ve all been there, it turns you into a gibbering wreck and it’s deeply unpleasant.
The trouble doesn’t stop once you’re in love though. Little words and actions and omissions take on meanings that can cripple you or make you giddy with elation. You become at once stronger and yet indescribably vulnerable. It’s no wonder that people talk about “Keeping the magic alive” in a relationship.
That special person stepping outside the magic circle and saying “It’s Over” can destroy the other person’s life, sometimes permanently. If some random person, or even someone you knew quite well, walked up to you and said, the worst it would make you feel would be puzzled or mildly uncomfortable. It wouldn’t bring your world crashing down about your ears. That’s the paranormal nature of love.
Ritual Magicians regard the Catholic Mass as one of the most powerful magical rituals there is. Stolen consecrated communion hosts are much prized amongst those who practice subverted forms of the magical arts. In a Catholic Mass, the communion wafer is literally transformed into the Body of Christ, despite the fact that it quite clearly remains a wafer. Which doesn’t really make much sense if you think about it for very long. Then again, nothing makes sense over a long enough time frame. It all depends on how long you are willing to think about it. Anything becomes nonsense if you consider it for a lengthy enough period of time.
But 1.2 Billion Catholics believe it –if only in their hind brains- and that’s a hell of a morphic resonance. A sixth of the world’s population believe it, so maybe on some level it’s true. Though more people than that believe Justin Bieber is amazingly talented and that doesn’t seem to have had any impact on the truth of that situation.
Which brings us to the most incredible magic trick of them all. Marriage. The joining together of two people. Like in The Human Centipede but often much much less pleasant. People cannot be joined together as one entity. But time and again we try, in the name of love. Like that’s ever a good enough reason. Even with pretty much the entire human race believing in it, it only works half of the time. And most of the time, when it’s working, it’s working through gritted teeth.
Love and Marriage. Love and Marriage. Go together like a horse and carriage. Very precariously, with lots of complicated linkages. A little bit leather never usually goes amiss. And when the horse and cart come apart, there’s panic in the streets and anyone with any sense will run in the opposite direction very quickly.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013