The wife and I are committed ‘Potterheads’. There are those who suggest because of that we *should* be committed, but that’s another issue. Anyway, we were chatting the other day and she expressed some surprise that there were just so many pre-existing words about magic and what can be described as the magical world. On reflection it dawned on me that the suggestion these creatures were*real* was something I’d grown up with through my childhood. I just accepted their existence the same way I’d accepted that religions were ‘real’. Despite having been brought up within the scope of the ‘Church of England’ I carried with the belie that *all* religions were ‘real’ even paradoxes occurred. I saw then and see now no difference between ‘magic’ and religion.
In fairness I had no reason to doubt the existence of the magical universe. Just think about it. The magical bestiary alone was well populated even before J K Rowling commandeered it for her own use. The banshee, hydra, elf, fairy, dragon, basilisk, unicorn, phoenix, griffin, the nymphs, sprites and gnomes are a very few of the creatures supposed to be ‘out there’ somewhere. Then look at the nominally creatures with more intelligent behaviours. In this group we see the mermaid, werewolf, vampire, leprechaun, centaur, satyrs, fauns, goblins, and giants etc, and remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg!! Many of these magical beings exist only in the minds of inhabitants of the British Isles. There are a myriad of magical beasts and beings in every inhabited country.
The question we should be asking ourselves is… why? What is it about ‘magic’ that is has become so pervasive part of the human psyche? It’s easy to dismiss magical thinking as a means by which the uneducated can understand their world, i.e. by attributing magical action of some sort to otherwise ordinary actions in the natural world, ranging from catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods and even solar eclipses to the more mundane such as rain, hail, bad harvests and the like.
However, the sheer number and variety of magical beings and objects created must surely point to something else. Don’t ask me *what* that ‘something else’ might be, because I don’t know. Essentially I suppose the belief in a ‘magical world’ is no better and no worse than the creation of religions with their own stories and myths of magical beings that control the way the universe function. The problems arise when an adherent of one version of the magical world, usually one of the religions, tries to impose its world view and belief system on people who have no interest in that world view and wish to continue following their own world view and belief system.