A Story of Beginnings: Memories of Magic and Wonder

  1. In Sufism the world of light is called “the world of divine command” (‘âlam al-amr)—in contrast to “the world of creation” (âlam al-khalq) that we experience through the senses and the veils of the ego. In the world of divine command everything bows down before God. It is the domain of angels and other beings of light who only know to bow down before God, and can only enact God’s power and divine will. The world of light exists outside of time and space, and is accessed through the divine consciousness of the Self.
  2. David Abram describes how “for the Inuit, as for numerous other peoples, humans and animals all originally spoke the same language.” He quotes an Inuit woman: “In the very earliest time, when peoples and animals lived on earth … All spoke the same language. That was the time when words were like magic … Those who are recognized as shamans or medicine persons most fully remember the primordial language, and are thus able to slip, at will, out of the purely human discourses in order to converse directly with the other powers.” From The Spell of the Sensuous, p. 87–88.
  3. The light hidden within the created world is what the alchemists called the lumen naturae.
  4. Genesis 2:19 “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
  5. The awakening of magic was part of the story of creation, when human consciousness first appeared. The natural magic of the Earth allowed us to experience the wonder and mystery of creation, how all of creation embodies a divine purpose. It can be seen, for example, in the cave paintings in southern France whose animals have a shamanic dimension. Tragically, this early magic began to be misused for the purpose of power, and this started the split between the worlds, the world of light and the physical world of creation, which is imaged in myth as the Fall, a loss of innocence. I sense a calling to return to this primal relationship, awakening this magic that is still present, although mostly hidden, within creation. The magical relationship between the worlds is a part of our heritage which we have mostly forgotten, although we still speak of a “magical moment” when the numinous energy of the inner comes into our outer world.