I'm starting to make progress in "manifestation," the form of magic I finally settled on taking.
It's a lot like positive thinking in that basically you think about something a lot and then it happens, but there's more to it than that. I mean, clearly, it isn't a rule of the universe that if you think something is going to happen then it will (how boring would that be?). Instead, the basic idea is to make room in your life for something to happen and follow intuition. In one sense, I think manifestation is about getting better at recognizing and taking advantage of good luck, not so much creating good luck that wouldn't happen anyway.
But some good luck that happens seems suspiciously good.
For example, when they were starting this school, they needed money to buy the property that became the campus. The school wasn't founded by the masters alone but also by a group of people who might loosely be called students and alumns--the school evolved out of a group of friends who studied together. So, they asked everybody in their little community to contribute what they could--and that was the same week two community members won the lottery.
I'm not kidding.
Now, it's not like either of them won millions--I think one got a couple of hundred and the other won a few thousand--but it did really help. They weren't calling it manifestation back then, but apparently they were trying an equivalent form of magic. Things like that happen a lot, here. The thing that someone needs just happens to show up at the right time.
But the thing is, it still isn't predictable. You can't just manifest a winning lottery ticket, it won't work. You can manifest a solution to a problem, but not usually the form the solution will take. And even then, the solution doesn't always arrive--it just arrives more often than it seems like it should.
I still can't say whether it really works, whether there's really a cause-and-effect relationship going on, but honestly I'm not sure I'd like it as much if I was sure. I mean, I can get twenty dollars out of an ATM machine and buy my mother a birthday present, and that's very cut-and-dry. Or, I can manifest the means to buy a birthday present for my mother and find twenty dollars in the bottom of my backpack that I could have sworn wasn't there before--it probably actually fell out of my wallet, but it feels magical because there is an intrusion of doubt, of possibility. It's like that white chick in the hospital room Ollie told me about--evidence that the world is bigger than it seems. If manifestation was as sure and as comprehensible as an ATM machine, it would feel no more magical.
Anyway, the thing is I'm starting to succeed in my manifestation projects, and the weird thing is I know when I'm going to succeed and when I'm not. This feeling comes over me and I just know that I can make something happen, whether that's driving all the way home to my parents' house without catching any red lights, getting enough rain this week so the sweet corn plants don't get stressed, or getting my dental appointment rescheduled so it doesn't conflict with one of my classes. And so far, that feeling has always been right. The lights are all green when I get to them, the rain comes, the dentist has a cancellation and offers me the spot.
When I don't have the feeling, the thing doesn't happen.
So, what I want to know is, does that feeling mean I can make something happen, like I suddenly have an ability I normally don't, or is that feeling what happens when I put myself in the path of something that's going to happen anyway? Am I manifesting the event, or only my place in it? Or is it manifesting me?
I was thinking about the concept of faith the other day. Faith is a big part of manifestation, not only because you have to have faith that the manifestation will work, but because part of the idea is making yourself a servant of God. I'm not sure I quite understand this yet, I don't think it's quite as straightforward as it sounds, but Joy says if you are doing God's will then things happen to assist you. Becoming willing to do God's will is part of successful manifestation.
Growing up, I was taught to treat "faith" as a synonym for spiritual dedication and to regard belief as the heart of religion--if you want to know what a religion is about, you ask what adherents believe. So when Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed would move mountains, that supposedly meant that is you believe in God you can work miracles, like Jesus did.
But Charlie doesn't really like belief. He's always trying to uncover the truth underneath what we think it is and he's never satisfied to think something is true just because he wants to. Kit says something similar--"in Wicca we do not believe. We know or we do not know, and if we don't know we can find out." And yet, Kit works magic and Charlie...Charlie's life is magic. I think everything he does might be a prayer.
So where does faith come in?
I was thinking about this, how to have faith in a friend doesn't exactly mean believing in something. It's not believing the friend exists, because that's obvious. It's more like trust or support. And being faithful isn't quite about believing anything, either. It's more like loyalty, keeping promises.
So, if faith is a relationship of trust, loyalty, and dependability, can faith the size of a mustard seed move mountains...because the mountain cooperates? Or because the faithful person knows the mountain so well as to plan around its movements?
Because mountains do move, that is unquestionable.