Separate to the discussion as to whether everything the myriad members of Paganism and Heathenry counts or qualifies as magic or not, there exists a seemingly unspoken agreement amidst Pagans and Heathens that magic is essentially unseen. Few things are truly so readily agreed upon as this near quintessential premise that magical arts are more or less done without a visible presence that others can witness. There are extra elements that make the subject somewhat more complicated; the adoption of quantum theory, vibrations and other such attributes into your praxis, auras and chakras, potential differences of various natures between everyday folk and those more spiritually/magically active and many, many more. There remains a question of a very White Elephant sort, which never seems to be quite satisfactorily answered – why can magic not be seen? It isn’t something I’ve ever heard mentioned by other Pagans and Heathens nor is it something that I can honestly say I’ve ever read. Unfortunately as is the case with these sorts of questions, the lack of discussion makes for an irksome lack of information.
A critical premise of being Pagan and Heathen is that, to one degree or another, you are looking to the past to find a spiritual and or religious approach that resonates with you. A part of looking back to the past, regardless of who is doing it and or why, requires the consideration of myths and legends which are difficult to prove with the scientific method for obvious reasons. Really, it is a monumental task to try and understand the universe with absolutely every mythical and or legendary event, personage and special trinket included. Nevertheless, for Pagans and Heathens these sources are considered to be substantially more than apocryphal. Yet we somehow lost along the way the reality of magical skills that are clearly visible to all who witness them. Outstanding examples of this are such figures as Baba Yaga, Circe and Merlin. Though perhaps not all of their magical acts were of the kind to be seen, but certainly there are things all three did that could be described as ‘flashy’.
I’d be remiss in not acknowledging that this is a raw nerve of a subject for Pagans and Heathens; just the other day I was having a conversation with some friends here in Costa Rica (non-Costa Ricans) and one of the first things that they said was to show them magic when the subject came up. Were I able to have, I still wouldn’t have done something just to appease them. However, it was then that the thought really came to me to ask why it is that simply whipping up a ball of fire, raising a shield of magical energy and other such magic that is usually restricted to books is considered impossible, metaphorical or at best apocryphal – especially by Pagans and Heathens.