Quan Yin, the Chinese goddess known as the protector of children and animals, is also the grantor of impossible wishes. She is usually depicted with her right hand lifted in blessing and her left hand dispensing dreams. There is an old folk tale that says if you see her open her eyes at midnight, on New Year’s Eve, she will grant your deepest desires.
I have collected Quan Yin icons for many years. Some are wood carvings, one very old ivory rendition, and many tiny silver talisman.
As you know, I love believing in magic. It stimulates my imagination and creativity, but I always come back to the same truism: I, alone, am the catalyst for the magic.
What is “magic” really? Natural phenomena, like thunder and lightning, were once thought to be war between the gods; an eclipse of the sun was seen by our ancestors as a great dragon trying to swallow the light, so they banged on rocks and made loud noises until the beast was frightened away and the sun returned.
In Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court,” a twentieth century man suffers a bump on his head and wakes up in feudal times. Known as ‘Sir Boss’, he makes a ‘stick’ burst into flame. We, of course, recognize it as a match, but the people of Arthur’s time attribute it to magic.
Interestingly, many things that have been explained and understood as normal and natural, are still touched by magic. Birth, for instance. We know all the scientific facts that go into conception and birth, but the emergence of new life, whether it be biped or quadruped, still fills us with awe and causes us to see that life itself is magical.
An artist touching a brush to canvas; a poet reaching us with his words; a surgeon transplanting someone’s heart; all can be explained but each is graced by something inexplicable, something more, something magical.
People need a sense of magic and mystery in their lives. It makes the mundane more palatable because living can sometimes be hard. In order to cope we surround ourselves with an aura of the supernatural. We move to a higher plane where we can forget pain, and fear, and unfulfilled dreams.
Here, then, is an important secret: since you are the catalyst for the magic you and only you can make things happen. You can often eradicate pain by believing it will dissipate; you can fulfill your dreams by making them happen; and you can conquer fear by refusing to be intimidated.
In the end it is knowledge and acceptance that really create magic and it is the belief in ourselves that turns this magic into viable reality.