Pagan Studies

A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.

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Why the Young Can Do Magick

In the fall of 1970 my first wife and I moved lock, stock and barrel from Lake Ann, Michigan to Stratford Ontario, Canada - with the single-minded intention of living there so we could audition to become Company members of the Canadian Shakespeare Festival. 

I was 23. She was only 19. We had no money, and no jobs waiting for us. She could live legally in Canada as a British subject, but I was an American citizen and would have to get permission for residency. 

It was an insane idea - a delusion - an impossible quest. No mature person would have considered such an unprepared move. No recent graduate of any drama school had ever attempted it; there were only two places where every aspiring actor went after graduation: New York or Los Angeles. 

Stratford, Ontario was the most prestigious Shakespeare Festival in North America. It was the hardest place in the world for American actors to get into. Mature, seasoned performers auditioned there and were rejected all the time. 

It would involve far too many financial, legal, logistical and international steps. Such a crazy goal could only be accomplished by a great act of magick - or by people too young and inexperienced to understand how overwhelming the odds were. 

We did it. We succeeded! In the summer of 1971, after surviving a winter of the deepest snow that Stratford had gotten in twenty-five years, we were both hired by the Festival as Actor Apprentices. In the 1972 season we were hired back as Journeymen. In 1973 we were made Full Company members. For three years we were legal Landed Immigrant residents of Stratford, Ontario, Canada. In the winter of 1972-73 the Festival took two plays on tour to Montreal, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Krakow, Moscow and Leningrad - behind the Iron Curtain, in what was then the Soviet Union! We were both included in the Company. We performed in The Taming of the Shrew and King Lear (a Russian favorite) starring William Hutt, on the second stage of the Moscow Art Theatre. We were feted at embassy receptions, given tours and shown Stanislavsky's dressing room. 

I've had some lovely experiences in my life, but I have never again duplicated such an improbable feat of magick as that one - when I was young and filled with too much sexual and spiritual energy to have any conception of failure. It was no walk in the park; there was fear, insecurity, self-questioning and hard physical work. There were cold, dark times. My wife and I fought all the time, because we were little more than children who had not yet grown into the full adults we were destined to be. We were not as compatible as we had imagined, but the heady mutual attraction of sex and intellect and dramatic talent had hidden that fact from our eyes. One might say that we were small-scale equivalents of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor - oil and water, attracted by the very differences that would drive us apart. 

But the overall adventure was amazing. And the sheer force of energies flowing through our systems carried us along on a tidal wave that refused to be stopped or diverted by any mature arguments of caution. 

Outstanding examples of other young people who had improbably huge successes include Alexander the Great, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. All of them encountered social criticism when they transitioned from innocence into open experimentation with their burgeoning sexuality; but it is that very energy - whether we call it Sex or Kundalini or Chi - that powers magick and makes it potent. 

And that is why magick is feared by sexually repressed religions. It is the guilty, jealous reason why Puritans felt driven to torture witches and send them to the gallows: if Godly people weren't allowed to have fun, nobody else should have fun either! 

Fortunately, magick can still happen as we get older - as witnessed by the awe and fearful respect generated by the many aspects of the Crone. But now the energy must be gathered, tended, banked, considered and directed with careful skill. We are more in control of it, than it is of us. (It may be that the aforementioned fear results from hot-blooded youth's realization that the magick of the old can be directed by cold, calculating intelligence.) 

Nowadays, I evaluate the pros and cons of a proposition before leaping into it. If I think it would tear me apart emotionally, I will turn it down. Everything worth achieving comes with a price, and now I know that sometimes that price is too high. 

My mature caution protects me and keeps me stable - but it also keeps me out of the Guinness Book of World Records and off the cover of Time magazine! There is nothing gained when there is nothing ventured. 

Shakespeare says that each man in his time plays many parts, and Ecclesiastes says that to everything there is a season. Nothing illustrates that truth more clearly than the overwhelming magickal energy of youth that sweeps away all obstacles and takes no prisoners - even, sometimes, burning up the magicians themselves.

 

 

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A student of esoteric traditions since the age of 16, Ted Czukor (Theo the Green) taught Yoga for 37 years until retiring in 2013. For 26 years he was adjunct faculty for the Maricopa, AZ Community Colleges, teaching Gentle Yoga and Meditation & Wellness. Raised in the Methodist Church but drawn to Rosicrucianism, Hinduism and Buddhist philosophy, he is a devotee of the Goddess in all Her forms. Ted has been a Shakespearean actor, a Masonic ritualist and an Interfaith wedding officiant. He is the author of several books, none of which made any money and two of which are available as .pdf files. He lives with his wife Ravyn-Morgayne in Sun City, Arizona. Their shared dream is to someday relocate to Glastonbury, England. theoczukor@cox.net.

Comments

  • Jamie
    Jamie Saturday, 30 November 2013

    Ted,

    This is so very, very, true. Many of us have such raw physical vitality and boundless enthusiasm, in those years. The same youthful passion that can create greatness of all kinds, also leads our generational cohorts to tempt fate in so many ways...with damaging and occasionally deadly results.

    Then there are the consequences of our single-minded obsessions. It's like my take-away lesson from reading Homer, which is unlike what literary critics tell me it ought to be: Who pays the price for the things we want?

    Some things we can only learn the hard way.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Sunday, 01 December 2013

    Dear Jamie,

    I absolutely agree. And, by the way, what you take away from Homer - or any classic writer - is exactly what you were meant to take away! That is what makes a writer great: that each reader can find something of unique significance to him alone. Those literary critics you mention need to get a life and stop taking themselves so seriously.

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus
    P. Sufenas Virius Lupus Monday, 02 December 2013

    I think there's much truth to what you've said here, Ted. Lady GaGa, herself only 27 at present, had a meteoric rise to fame herself, and is still hated by a huge number of people for emerging fully-fledged on stage as a sexual being so committed to her own artistic vision that none can sway her from her resolve...and, she does it so well!

    I do have to take issue with one matter you mentioned above, however. I do not doubt that many Puritans in both England and the colonies of North America were erotophobes of the highest order; however, the "witches" they hung, at least in North America, and in many cases in England, were not witches at all, and may have been as equally sexually repressed as their persecutors. The twenty people who were executed or died in the Salem trials weren't witches at all; the one person in that whole situation who might have been some sort of magical worker or practitioner of non-Christian traditions was Tituba Indian, who was among the first accused, but who confessed and repented, and was not executed. (Admitting to having been at Satan's mercy got people mercy, because it fit the idealized Puritan conversion narrative, especially where women were concerned; those who did not admit to it because they rightly said they had not done it were always held longer in prison or executed.) If anything, it was the experimenting of the teenage girls with Tituba and her "weird ways" being discovered by the adults, including Rev. Parris, whose niece was among those girls, that caused the entire Salem witch craze...thus, the "magic," so to speak, of those sexually-maturing young girls in the repressed society of colonial New England made twenty people pay with their lives to cover their lying teenage asses.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Monday, 02 December 2013

    You are absolutely right, P. - and thank you for the adroitly-phrased history lesson! I meant to indicate what repressed Puritans assumed about those they persecuted, rather than any actual truth about the accused persons themselves.

    Yes, Lady GaGa does do it so well - doesn't she?

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