Magic ~ Bliss or a Dark Art?

Do You Believe in Magic (album)

Do You Believe in Magic (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everything you read has a kernel of truth. Or something that takes you by surprise.  The book I am reading right now is “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness, and though it is a work of fiction, I think there are kernels of truth scattered throughout, and definitely surprises.

This book challenges many of my firmly rooted opinions. And it is these sentences, on page 72 that are responsible:

“I wanted to know how humans came up with a view of the world that had so little magic in it….I needed to understand how they convinced themselves that magic wasn’t important.”

These statements were in response to a vampire asking a witch why she was interested in the history of science. The witch is the main character or protagonist in the book, Diana Bishop. The vampire is Matthew Clairmont. I am far enough into the book to be intrigued—and I found Diana’s statements very telling: why do we think there is so little magic in the world?

This is not a book I would generally pick up—I am not a real vampire fan, but the story introduces the readers to an intelligent, alternate world that many of us may not be familiar with. I am finding it difficult to parse fact from fiction, but that is what makes it so interesting.

Magic is a word that conjures wonder. I must say that I agree with Diana ~ why do we live in a world where we are not believers in magic?

Is there bliss in magic, or do you think of it as a dark art?


Published in: on February 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm  Comments (50)  
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  1. I suppose it is who how you look at it and how you use it whether the magic has dark properties or not. Maybe humans believe so little in magic because if they do channel any, it will not be used in blissful circumstances?

  2. For some reason when I hear the word, “Magic,” I think of phony magicians who practice their acts in order to fool the audience. I’ve never really thought about the definition of “Magic.” To me, changing outcomes or using super-natural forces sounds like God’s work. I think we can call on God to ask Him to help us, in which case I think the magic is really a miracle — divine intervention, if you will.
    Centuries ago when people used herbs, flowers, etc. to cure people they were thought of as witches. They were just smart, having a gift for science, I think. haha!
    To me, it’s God who created science and all the complex working parts of this earth. We have everything we need to survive – He gave them to us as a gift. He blessed us with a beautiful world. Anyone who takes credit or tries to claim those miracles or knowledge or power as their own, looks foolish. (At least to me.) 🙂

  3. Well I just wrote a long reply and apparently did not tap post, so it all went away. Now I have no energy left to redo- I thought is was pretty good too. I did not get into the religion thing either. Just not appropiate. If it is your own blog, maybe that is okay or where 2 people are commenting back and forth.

    Magic, I have no earthly idea. Maybe? Probably not. Magic in bliss or bliss in magic? Don’t know that either. Too complicated to go into here and then one risks stepping on some other blogger’s toes if I really wrote what I think.

    Nice post by the way. Now get someone to wave that magic wand and get that 7 or is 9 year albatross from around your and your spouse’s neck. For some reason I keep thinking how awful that must be. And I don’t even know you. But I really do think of it almost daily. Have no earthly explanation of why it creeps into my little ole brain.


    • Yvonne–I appreciate that – it is the lawsuit that won’t go away–another motion has been put off from Feb 11 to March 25 – boy I am telling you they better be glad I am not a witch — I would turn so many people to frogs!

  4. I think it depends on ones’ definition of ‘magic’. I think there is a lot of magic in the world in so many wonderful ways. …the magic of a child at play…the magic of first love…the magic of putting on that prom dress… But I’m not into magic that is used in the other ways …I really don’t like the shows that use ‘magic’ …although there used to be a ‘fun’ one on called ‘bewitched’ but it was not in any way intended to be realistic….I must admit I did watch it….Diane

  5. Magic happens every day.

  6. Have you read any Alice Hoffman? She writes like I would if I had any talent – and her stories usually have bits of everyday magic.

    • must find her and read her–you have talent btw

    • I’ve read her and you are so correct!!

    • I put some of her books on hold at the library–do you recommend any in particular?

      • The ones that I can remember the names of – Turtle Moon, Blackbird House, Practical Magic. I haven’t read all of her books, but have liked the ones that I did read.

      • thanks so much

  7. OMG, I am so excited that you are reading this book!!!!! It is so wonderful to read something from my favourite genre (fantasy/magic) which is written by such a learned woman. She takes something unbelievable and makes you really consider your beliefs in a different light, and I loved all the science and history facts that she intertwined with the storyline. A Discovery of Witches is one of my favourite books of all time, and I can’t wait for the third book in the series to come out!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :).

    • I think you were the one who told me about it–and you said exactly what I feel about the book–she makes you consider things you would not have

      • My advice to you is to make sure you have the second book on hand before you finish the first one because you won’t want the story to end and you will be dying to find out what happens next :).

      • I got both from the library–what a world Harkness has created

      • I know :). I found myself falling right into it, and it was one of those books were I really missed the characters after I was done. I don’t know if you remember me saying this or not, but I actually met her at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto back in the fall. She read from her book, and then we were able to meet with her afterwards to have our books signed. She is a truly amazing woman and so nice to talk to. It was a very memorable experience!!

      • what a wonderful experience – I love meeting authors and going to readings

  8. I’ve thought about reading this book on many occasions. Thanks to your comments it’s officially made my ‘to read’ list. If you like a touch of magic in your books you may consider the works of Sarah Addison Allen. Her books always have the combination of magic and food. They are fun and fairly quick reads. I like to choose them after reading something that makes me think. Happy reading! ~Gail

  9. What a thought-provoking concept! I seems to me that as humans get more advanced, we become more and more firmly rooted in the thought that “there’s no such thing as magic.” Since science is kind of looked at as the standard to ‘proving’ things now, intangible, unexplainable things (maybe otherwise known as magic) don’t quite fit into that equation. Not sure where I’m going with this so I’ll just stop now. Sounds a really fascinating book!

    • Yikes, I meant *It seems to me and *sounds like a fascinating book. Sorry, it’s early in the morning right now.

    • I love your take on this — science turned on itself to prove magic

  10. Magic happens every time my grand daughter smiles. Corny but true.

  11. Oh I love this and the quote is wonderful – I say yes to magic!

  12. I believe in things that can’t be explained by human logic…I would say miracles, or even good magic. And if there is good magic, there is surely bad magic. I don’t know that I believe in witches or people with magic powers…but maybe that’s because I don’t want to believe in that…makes me uncomfortable? ~ Sheila

    • I am like you and want to believe in good magic–but you are right–there is a flipside

  13. Queen told me long ago that there are kinds of magic. Freddie Mercury rocks, so I’m gonna say that there is a special magic in lots of things in this world, not all of it dark.

    Also, listening to Queen in the car = bliss.

  14. As long as there is no harm done & it’s not used for evil purposes – I will say bliss!

  15. I agree with Rosy.. magic can be used for many good or fun things I believe..I found it interesting in reading about New Orleans, there was woman called Madame Leveau who practiced Voodoo and was so well known and loved even the Catholic Church supported her. I think it’s all in how we perceive things..

    • I think you are right — things are 100% perception sometimes (you may ask how something can be 100% sometimes, and I say to you: that is a good question)

  16. There are many different definitions of magic and I agree with Free Penny Press, much of it is how we perceive things. My real comment is I love the album photo! I used to listen to that song, on the record, all the time. It was my mom’s album and I don’t know what happened to it. Thanks for the good memory! 🙂

  17. Have you read Harry Potter?! The series gets a little dark towards the last couple of books. But the first few books are so magically magical that I wish I was a wizard myself. I know it’s fictional but I totally believe in magic!!

  18. […] Magic ~ Bliss or a Dark Art? ( […]

  19. Its pure bliss unless until you start to get obsessed with it… Thats my idea. I might be wrong though.

  20. […] Magic ~ Bliss or a Dark Art? ( […]

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