As a child I had delusions of self-sufficiency. I could build a home or weaves my clothes from blades of grass, set up imaginary stores of goods for an imaginary winter, or repurpose the everyday items of home into survival gear. I loved the Swiss Family Robinson and the Boxcar Children. I read books on wilderness survival – I learned how to build lean-tos and snow caves by the fourth grade. I loved my family and, of course, I did actually depend on them for survival, but in my mind I lived in a solitary and self-centered world.
Childhood’s savage, direct, solitary magic is succeeded by a coming together of shared magic – from witch to coven, from desert visionary to the “company of the saints” and “the great cloud of witnesses”.
Like Adam, once we awake from infancy was find ourselves quite alone in this world – our god-like parents far above us, our teddy far beneath us. It is only in adolescence that we realize our need for friendship, society, and bonding. Our need makes us consider what the content of another’s heart might be and to begin asking ourselves all the great questions of other’s consciousness:
How do I know this isn’t all a dream?
How do I know that everything isn’t some Matrix-like projection or that other people aren’t robots?
Are other people’s experiences of the world like mine? How can I ever know?
The magic now came from connection with peers and in discovering myself mirrored in relationships rather than in the material world. The ultimate goal of my childhood’s magic was in becoming the source of my own magic and power. In adolescence that goal became communicating and entering into a relationship with the source of that power. As a child I had my own essential grounding in the magic, the sense that I came directly from the magic, that I was a flowering and a completion of and co-substantial with it.
Leaving behind childhood I lost that grounding. The magic was now outside of me rather than within me. It became a helping hand lowered from high above, that if accepted, might keep me from drowning in that formless and unfurnished deep that existed before God laid a hand to the work of creation.
It is from that deep I came. It is to that deep I will return.
We are like dust, except that God intervenes.
We begin as the spirit that hovers over the deep. Our own identity forms the world as we experience it. We always begin as the One.
But our eyes are opened. We find we cannot remain as little children. We cannot continue to be as innocent as doves. Now we are in the great deep, the formless void. Then we floated above, now we are hovered over. Now we join the Many.