Do you believe in magic?
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
~ W. B. Yeats
Kilauea wasn't visible from the shoreline where we stopped to take in the stark beauty of the lava fields. I took off my shoes to feel the warm swirls of black rock under my feet. There was something almost soft about the lava, despite its jagged appearance. Bright green plants pushed up through cracks in the sea of black. They didn't seem to mind the gusts of wind that whipped my hair across my face and made it dance in the air no matter which way I turned.
On the drive there, Kumu shared the story of Pele and Hi'iaka with us - a tale of passion, courage, jealousy, and betrayal. Then we drove slowly down Chain of Craters Road to a place near the Holei Arch where she played the ukele and taught us a song inspired by the story of the two sisters. In this sacred place, we learned a hula which we practiced many times, trying to remember each gesture of the story told in dance form. Some parts of the dance were more challenging than others. I wanted to get it right, but I also sensed that intention was more important than perfection. My heart was dancing and I could feel magic in the air. It was the magic of the elements, of the dance, and of the connection flowing through us and back out into the land around us.
It was the kind of magic where time is suspended - a place memory that captures your heart and invites it to remain there. Always.
There are a few places where I've “stayed behind” in this lifetime; places that I find easily when I close my eyes and allow myself to be still and remember who and where I am. In each moment of my life, I'm right where you see me. And...I'm sitting on a rock on a river in the wild jungles of Peru. I'm looking up at the glow of the sun reflecting gold on Mount Kailash at sunset. I'm tucked out of the wind on the deck of a cruise ship, saying 'yes' to my Beloved. I'm wading into the ocean to offer my hopes and fears to Yemaya as one year transitions into the next. I'm laying on an empty beach in Spain, feeling the sun warm my naked body. I'm standing on a windy beach in Costa Rica under the Blood Moon. When I loosen my grip on time and space, I find myself in all of these places.
Perhaps that's what magic is - letting go of what we hold as true in order to make space for what is possible. A heart full of wonder. A world that is wonder-full.
Actual definitions of the word magic vary, but most refer to power and an ability to influence the material word through the use of supernatural forces. Some definitions include terms like illusion or deception, implying that magic isn't real. But does the fact that we can explain how something works (e.g. a magic trick) make it any less magical?
And what about science? Does science prove that magic doesn't exist? From my perspective, science IS magic! It just happens to be the kind of magic that's explainable and repeatable. Imagine how awe-struck our ancestors would haven been to see a rocket ship or a cell phone or an x-ray machine. As sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke observed, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Explainable or inexplicable - magic requires our participation, either as magicians or as wide-eyed observers. The act of perceiving magic is what makes it real. It is our sense of wonder that that makes it powerful.
Nature is magical, especially the elements - earth, air, fire, and water - which are often used in rituals to cleanse, purify and transform. We light candles in remembrance. We let the rain wash our worries away. We walk barefoot on the earth to remind us of our connection to this planet. We listen to the wind sing through trees and lull us to sleep.
Magic is like the volcano that we don't see, but know is there because we see evidence of it all around us. It's the eternal cycle of destruction, creation, and sustenance that is forever seeking new ways to express itself. It is Pele, the goddess who shapes the sacred land - devouring it in molten lava and creating new land as the lava cools and life pushes its way up through jagged cracks.
My favorite kind of magic involves a bit of chaos. I guess I just happen to love a bit of disorder and unpredictability. I'm delighted by the unexpected ways that life organizes itself to give me a glimpse of what is possible in each moment, and I'm consistently amazed by what is revealed to me when I empty myself and invite magic in.
And sometimes magic invites us in...
I didn't know what to expect when I traveled to Hawaii for a week. We gathered in community on this sacred land. We listened to our teachers. We opened our hearts to each other. We pushed into our edges. We nourished our bodies. We immersed ourselves in the magic that was all around us - black sand beaches, waterfalls tumbling majestically into the rainforest, and hot ponds warmed by underground lava. We chanted to the rising sun and waved at turtles swimming in the surf.
So, if I could choose just one word to describe the time we spent together there, it would be…Magic!
Believe it or not ✨🌋🌺✨