Saturday, November 21, 2009


ה' בכסלו תש"ע
Shamash 6

From my previous entry Working Magic, one particular quote from Carl Sagan:

What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

A friend of mine recently brought to my attention the fact that many popular books on witchcraft and magic just rehash the same information (data) and contain nothing new. Yes, as she wrote, this is true - it is indeed sometimes very challenging to find a book containing new data to think about. Even the ancient texts of our ancestors, including the Bible, may rehash old data. For example, the Hebrew name of the book of Deuteronomy, namely Mishneh Torah, pertains to a retelling of the traditional legends.

Importantly, we must remember that books are not only useful for providing data, but also are useful for providing unique contacts with the spirits of the authors through whom even old data may acquire new and profound meaning. The magic isn't just in the data. Magic may be transmitted through the communion of souls.

Equal to the challenge of finding a book containing new data, is the challenge of finding communion and new meaning through old data - be it found in a stone tablet, a papyrus scroll, book, a video or on the internet.

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