Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians

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The Magician Misses the Magic

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

When I was eleven years old, I became deeply engrossed in magic tricks and ventriloquism. Both of those studies quickly became compulsions for me, to the extent that I would practice them in the privacy of my room while my parents confidently trusted me to do my homework. Paul Winchell was a popular ventriloquist on TV at that time, and I had a Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist dummy. I read books and learned the tongue-techniques of forming words without moving my lips. At the same time I devoured books on stage magic, discovering how to grab the spotlight by fooling an audience with digital manipulation, misdirection and mechanical illusions. 

At that point I could very well have been on track to become a colleague of Penn and Teller or Terry Fator—but such was not my destiny, for by the age of sixteen I had lost my enthusiasm for both of those trades just as abruptly as I had embraced them. The surprising reason was a sudden deep disappointment with their artificiality; I found that I no longer wanted to pretend to be the voices of animals and other non-human beings, I wanted to have real conversations with animals and sprites, in which somebody else would talk back to me! Neither was I satisfied to deceive people with illusions of magic tricks, I wanted to access the real magical powers of Moses, Solomon, Merlin and Jesus! 

Prompted by Goddess-knows what inner guidance, my Dad had given me Paul Christian's two-volume book "The History and Practice of Magic" for my sixteenth birthday, which introduced me to ancient Egyptian initiations beneath the Great Pyramid and to the mystics and alchemists of the Middle Ages and Renaissance—giving me hope that such powers might actually exist and be available to mortals who were fortunate enough to discover them. 

In retrospect, it is a matter of some irony that from the ages of sixteen to thirty I pursued the profession and art of Acting, which is (it can be argued) just as much an illusion as ventriloquism and magic. But when I was on stage I was able to convince myself that I was truly embodying the spirits of historical and classical characters, which is a powerful sort of necromancy. This talent served me well when I became an officer in my Masonic lodge, and later a non-denominational Wedding Celebrant. Those two occupations involved invoking the spiritual power and authority of ritualistic words; and that brought me even closer to my secret aspiration. But as soon as the paraphernalia came off and the complementary observers left, I once again found myself alone with my same old problems and neuroses. 

Which brings me to Today. At the age of sixty-seven I am absorbing news items about beloved performers and writers who were important parts of our lives and always seemed to have it all—success, fame, fortune, intelligence, empathy and wisdom. But if that was really the case, why have so many committed suicide, and why are so many others being prosecuted for sexual deviances which they hid for forty years? Could it be that they, too, craved the same inner connection with a real source of power that I did as a child, and suffered the same discontent, frustration and feelings of inadequacy when forced to admit that they were just giving audiences an illusion of the real thing? 

That would certainly seem to be the case. Surely, if all those wonderful authors and performers had been as intelligent, empathetic and wise as they appeared, they would have felt complete in themselves, with no inkling of despair and no desire to abuse anyone weaker than themselves. They should have been bigger than that! They should have possessed more faith! They should have felt as powerful as everyone else thought they were. 

Shouldn't they? Or must I admit the sad truth that no human being is always confident, that none of us has ever had his whole act together all of the time? Bishop Tutu writes that his friend Nelson Mandela should have been allowed to die with dignity, instead of in the drawn-out suffering way he did. Mahatma Gandhi probably thought he'd made another mistake when he felt those bullets enter his chest. Noel Coward was absolutely serious when he penned the bitter-sweet words, "the most I've ever had is just a talent to amuse." 

Hey-ho. If love were all. The magician misses the magic.

 

 

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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

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Monday, 13 October 2014

    Beautiful! I think many of the people who contribute most to bettering society feel like failures to some degree, at least sometimes, if not often. Great post!

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Tuesday, 14 October 2014

    Thanks and smiles.

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