Moving through childhood can oft seem like a magical mystery tour, with wondrous, weird and wild happenings enriching life with enchantment and discovery.
As every new day offers tantalising twists and turns, be it a tooth fairy’s silver coin in a glass of water, delicious chocolates in an Easter garden, nature’s amazing delights of varied leafy trees, colourful flowers and soaring birds overhead or a selfie on a small screen that seemingly rings spontaneously, life unfolds as a blessed magic.
Without great knowledge about science, human creativity or evolution, children can experience these wonders as curious and inexplicable magic, an intangible beauty and joy evoked by talking one’s first words as Oscar Wilde stated in his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”: “Words!…what a subtle magic there was in them…to have a music of their own as sweet as that of a viol or lute”.
On growing up however, children may abandon their appreciation of magic, learning instead that a myriad of reasonable, logical and intelligent explanations dictate and determine life.
I remember feeling a sense of betrayal during my schooldays when education taught me magic beguiled the immature and juvenile, based on ignorant beliefs that were misplaced and misguided for understanding and wisdom about the modern world.
Science reigned sacrosanct without magic, except the supposed, subtle sort manipulated by deft hands with a deck of cards or a rabbit rolling around concealed in a hat.
Moreover, ancient religious scholars denounced magic as satanic, opening the way for demonic possession, with Exodus 22:18 in The Old Testament opining “Do not allow a sorceress to live” while the King James Bible affirmed that: “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live…”
This historical context proposed magic as evil, a notion of heretic “black” magic casting malevolent spells, as opposed to “white” magic which had inspired the majestic, miraculous and marvellous achievements of humankind, apparently beyond sensible and accessible comprehension.
Certainly, it is the latter we should hold onto, particularly now as Christmas approaches and promises to herald happy camaraderie for families and friends after months apart in isolation and lockdown.
Hopefully, it will be an occasion for magical moments of merriment and mirth, not just for children awaiting Santa’s precious presents from the North Pole, but for adults too, reflecting on life’s thrills and entertainment with childlike appreciation and adventure.
While the future is obviously still bedevilled by pandemic uncertainty, maintaining faith in the allure of magic may conjure a spiritual, even surreal excitement for everyone celebrating this festive season.