Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians
A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.
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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