The Art of Magic


magic

The Art of Magic

     My induction into the world of magic occurred 30 years ago via, a boyfriend who at the time was a rising star of the junior members of the Hollywood Magic Castle. We were dating and I would see him perform at the Castle and hang out at Hollywood Magic store with the likes of Max Mavin, Christ Hart, Lorenzo Clark, George Tovar and many others that came through the doors of Hollywood Magic.  He would talk a lot about “real magic” and being a “real wizard”. Having come from a Catholic background I had no idea what he was talking about at the time but he gave me the book, Illusions, by Richard Bach which opened a portal into another world for me.  The relationship didn’t last but my love for magic and performance ensued.  I would eventually create, “Pinky the Clown” performing magic for little tykes.

The million dollar question in the world of professional performance magic appears to be, is magic an art, craft or neither?  There are two components that must be examined independently of each other in this question.  The first component is magic and the second component is art.  In order to be able to say that magic is art or that magic is not art one needs to define what is magic and what is art. In this article I will look at the idea of magic and art in society and culture and in their inception.  And then we can examine where is the intersection of magic and art if at all.

While pursuing my M.A. in Religious studies I took a course called, “Gender, Magic, Witchcraft and Religion.”  For the first class my professor asked me to perform my kids party act to open up the discourse on what is real magic?  In religious studies magic and religion go hand in hand.   Emile Durkheim, in The Elementary forms of Religious Life states, “that magic is full of religion just as religion is full of magic.” [1]  He also states that, “the magician is for magic what the priest is for religion.”[2]  Durkheim is referring to magic as ritual practice but the birth of the performance arts had their inception in the early religious rituals of the shamans.  Joseph Campbell states, “The myth makers of earlier days were the counterparts of our artists.”[3]  Mr. Campbell is referring to shamans.  Bill Moyers posits the following question to Campbell, “In these early elementary cultures, as you call them, who would have been the equivalent of the poets of today?”  and Campbell responds, “The shamans.”[4]

shaman1

The shamans were the first storytellers and the first performers acting out myths to inform the tribes. These first performances were the religious/spiritual rituals in which the shamans led the community.   Theater grew out of  myths, ceremony and ritual which took place in daily life and theatre evolved from the performance of ritual in which the community was not a participant but a spectator. “According to the historians Oscar Brockett and Franklin Hildy, rituals typically include elements that entertain or give pleasure, such as costumes and masks as well as skilled performers.

As societies grew more complex, these spectacular elements began to be acted out under non-ritualistic conditions. As this occurred, the first steps towards theatre as an autonomous activity were being taken.”[5]  The shaman/priest was the magician.  Magician Christian Engblown states, “That when you have the ancient shamanic drawing in a cave depicting the end of the world, that’s magic.”[6]   Now some of you may be saying but magicians are not shamans.  Shamans by definition travel between altered states of consciousness to do acts to the benefit the community or society. (We will come back later to this idea of altered states of consciousness as it pertains to the ideas of art and transcendence.)

Mircea Eliade states, “For of course, the shaman is also a magician and medicine man; he is believed to cure, like all doctors, and to perform miracles of the fakir type, like all magicians, whether primitive or modern.”[7] In ancient Egypt and biblical days  the priests were magicians.  Go back to Moses battling it out with the magicians of pharaoh in his attempts to free the Hebrew slaves. In Exodus 8:7 it states, “But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.”  In Acts 8:9-13 we find the following, “But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great.’ And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.” Johnny Thompson, has stated that, “At one time we held a lot of power until they caught a guy switching bricks at the last second, a gold one for a real one, you know.  But till then we were held in pretty high esteem now we have had to turn it into an art form instead of  a religious form.”[8]

post44 roberthoudin                                                                 roberthoudin

In the 1850’s Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic combined magic, religion and politics to stop a simmering war.  The country of Algeria was rebelling led by the Marabouts, a religious sect with supposedly magical powers. They wanted the country to break its ties to France.  By request of the French bureau in Algiers, Robert-Houdin, was asked to prove that French magic was stronger than that of the Marabouts.  “Performing for the local chieftains, Robert-Houdin caused a warrior to seemingly lose his strength. By suggesting that the warrior could no longer lift a lightweight box, the warrior couldn’t. And at the end, the warrior shrieked and ran from the stage. He was secretly shocked with a jolt of electricity.”[9] The rebellion was effectively quelled by Robert-Houdin who was acting in the role of shaman/magician. Magic is the seeming representation of supernatural powers by a shaman/magician.  These representations were elements of religious/spiritual rituals performed for the community.  Religious ritual paved the way for the development of theatre.  The shaman or the magician can be said to have been the first performer, who engaged in a form of storytelling which sometimes made use of magic.

            But how do we define what is art? Art is form and content, which means that all art consists of these two things. Form is defined as the elements of art, the principles of design and the physical materials that the artist uses. Content is idea based and has to do with what the artist meant to portray, what he did portray and the spectators reaction to the work. Art can be painting, sculpture, poetry, music, dance, theatre but not all of painting, sculpture, poetry, music, dance, or  theatre is necessarily art.

These are definitely the components or elements of a work of art and in that sense magic does utilize many of these elements. Magic encompasses all of the performance arts. Dani, DaOrtiz, states magic, “plays with concepts of the arts, plays with colors, music, dance. A lot of art in one art of magic.” [10] A magic show can be visual, use props, music, dance and choreography so in a sense one can say that magic is art but we have also stated that not all so called art is “art.”  What then elevates a piece or a work to that which we call “art”? Tolstoy states that ,  “Art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man. Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produces or is producing, the art , and with those who, simultaneously, previously or subsequently, receive the same artistic impressions.”[11] “It is on this capacity of man to receive another man’s expression of feeling, and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based.”[12]

The artist is the person who has the ability to rip out his heart and soul and to place it on a silver platter and with arms outstretched to his audience say, here take this and consume it, devour it.  Think of the art work of Frida Kahlo, who took her pain and transformed it into art. Yes, the ability to transform pain both physical and emotional is the transmutative power of the artist. We take the pain of being in relationship with life and turn it into art–whether in song-poetry-music-writing or magic. We are sharing our pain or our point of view with other’s so that they can go yes–yes that ‘s it what you created is what I am feeling –what I too have gone through but I did not know how to say it……..that is the power of the artist—It is not celebrity or fame —it is the power to connect with another human being on a soul level such that not only are you transformed by the creation of the art–the releasing of the pain into something beautiful but also the observer is too transformed and taken to another level of spirit. That is what I feel artist’s are about—well at least that is what I intend in my art with the end result of looking for the higher spiritual truth that is contained in that pain. Art can then be defined by having the quality of transcendence from the mundane to a higher spiritual realm.

The question then remains is magic an art?  Does magic have within it the element of transcendence?  Brad Henderson states that ,”magic is inherently pornography because it’s so easy to get a WOW or an AHH.  That the lowest form of magic and all magicians care about is reactions. It’s about how you make people feel. And if it’s just the wow, then you are a pornographer, a magic pornographer.”[13] Jay Scott Berry has said that, “Magic is, by its very nature, is a mind expanding art form. Even the simplest illusion demonstrates that the boundaries of perception are not necessarily the boundaries of reality.” Starhawk defines magic as, “the art of changing consciousness at will”.[14] But how would this idea of transcendence translate into magic.  Lupe Neilson states, ” Eventually, the goal of any great performer … is to transcend the mundane and create a sensation of true Wonder.” [15]

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     Such is the art of René Lavand.  If anyone can claim the title of master artist in magic it would be René Lavand. He does with one hand what I could not even conceive of with two.  I had the pleasure of seeing him perform at the Hollywood Magic Castle. I am fortunate that I speak Spanish and was be able to understand him in his native language as his words were sheer poetry and the translator missed the beauty of his words. I was in awe and wonder. I left that show feeling as if the magic was real.

And therein lies the key to art.  Art is the experience that the participant walks away with.  It is that moment in time however brief where one feels connected to the mysterious, to the divine via one soul to the other. Magic is the most ancient and mysterious of arts. It was via the shaman/magician that the tribes connected to the mysterious.  This tradition continues with modern-day artists. Yes, Magic can be an art in the hands of an artist.

The best thing that we can do as artist is to rip off our masks and to expose the soul that lies underneath and there we find the words, the songs, the music, the art, the poetry  and the magic.  And in that communion and sharing we uplift the planet and others. Our experiences are merely the point of reference for our art. It is in that creative space that we find resonance and transcendence  with life.

Ivonne Perez Montijo, M.A.

References:

http://arthistory.about.com/cs/reference/f/what_is_art.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Eug%C3%A8ne_Robert-Houdin

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/houdini/peopleevents/pande03.html


[1] Durkheim, Emile, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, p. 58

[2] Ibid, p. 60

[3] Campbell, Joseph, The Power of Myth, p.85

[4] Campbell, Joseph, The Power of Myth, p.85

[5] Brockett and Hildy (1968; 10th ed. 2010), History of the Theater.

[6] Wilson, Paul, Is Magic an Art? video 2012, ConCam Films, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GNGDoroJtYw

[7] Eliade, Mircea, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy

[8] Wilson, Paul, Is Magic an Art? video 2012, ConCam Films, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GNGDoroJtYw

[10] Ibid.

[12] Ibid, p. 48

[13] Wilson, Paul, Is Magic an Art? video 2012, ConCam Films, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GNGDoroJtYw

[14] Starhawk, The Spiral Dance p. 7

Messages from God…….


Messages from God

 

Messages from God

everywhere, all around

angels whispering words

and feelings

into my heart

don’t let life

get you down

let go of the strife

that’s come around……

a broken heart

and love falling apart

with time will mend

dreams don’t have to end…

Messages from God

everywhere, all around

angels whispering words

and feelings

into my heart

Be still the mind

and you will find

in those moments

the sweet voice of wisdom

brings you sanctum

leave the worries behind

ghosts of the mind…

give wings to your dreams

on stars and moon beams

you will find….

Messages from God

everywhere, all around

angels whispering words

and feelings

into your heart

 

~♥ ivonne p montijo ♥~© 2012

Lovely Blog Award


I have had the honour of being nominated for, “The Lovely Blog Award” by http://birdmartin.wordpress.com

Thank you, Catherine !!!!!!

She is such a wonderful and inspiring soul.  Reading her blog has helped me tremendously with my own rollercoaster relationship battle.

The rules are you have to state 7 things about yourself your readers don’t know already.

1.) The love of my life is my dog, Missy.

2.) My favorite color is pink.

3.) I believe we draw into our lives the people and experiences which help our souls to grow, even if it appears to be negative–there is always a blessing and a gift in it.

4.) My favorite place in the world is Jamaica.

5.) No matter how despairing some of my posts regarding relationships might appear I am still a hopeful romantic.

6.) God also brings into our lives the people who will be there as a support in times of need and sometimes they are cyber friends.

7.)I love to dance and I feel music and  I hope to inspire others through my music and writing or is it writing and music–cause I’m still learning the music.

I would like to nominate two people for this award but there are so many out there who are so deserving.

http://girlpleasegodgotthis.wordpress.com/  and http://apropheticwalk.wordpress.com/

These two women have also been sources of inspiration and encouragement for me in these past few months.

thank you, you have all put a smile on my face

 

🙂

ivonne

 

 

The Depression Monster Strikes…..


Depression reared its ugly head this morning.  The alarm went off at 10:00 am and I could not bring myself to get out of bed.  Just a few more minutes, I thought and then I would get up…….and so I lay there….I thought about the past……I thought about recent events……and I prayed,…… “this is the day the lord has made,let me be glad and rejoice.”  But there was no rejoicing.  There was only the blackness that I was feeling in my soul.  I lay in bed and said Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.  I said it for the last relationship I was involved in, “Please forgive me, I am sorry, Thank you, I love you.”  I lay there and I prayed, “Dear God, please remove any psychic, emotional ties to JSB–set him free and set me free.”

This depression did not make a sudden appearance.  No, not at all.  He had been lurking around-hiding in the recesses of my psyche waiting for a moment of weakness to strike me at the knees and leave me unable to move.

I have fought him and have fought looking into the dark abyss that I know as my depression.  But today there was no fight in me.  He caught me.

I finally got out of bed and the clock said 12 noon.  12 noon, really!!!!  It only felt like a few minutes maybe half an hour at the most.  I had to get out of bed there was much to do.  The farmers market would be over by the time I made it there.  I dragged myself out of bed to start the beginning of a day that was already half over.

The other evening Rick Springfield was on Dr. Oz talking about his depression.  I have often thought how is it possible to be depressed when you have all that success and money?  At the very least you could afford good doctors to fix it.  Dr. Oz showed a brain scan of a normal brain and of a depressed brain.  The depressed brain was mostly blue as opposed to the normal brain which had lots of yellow and red areas.  There were a couple of really dark blue patches on the brain and Rick Springfield said, those really dark patches were where the music came from.

I can relate to that.  Much art is born from the pain and angst of the artist re-expressing itself as music or poetry or paintings, etc.

But I have not written a song or a poem in about two months.   Out of pain I can write–I can create.  But with the depression it is a different kind of pain.  This is a pain that comes as a numbness to life.  The perception is that there is nothing–a big zero.  It is like being in a vacuum or abyss in which nothing penetrates–there is no sound-no light-no love-no nothing.

I know that my life has been blessed in so many ways but when this monsters appears at my door none of it matters.

I made it to the farmers market by 1:00 PM and they close at 1:30 PM.  I found many of the items I wanted except for the purple carrots–I was too late.

My next stop was Whole Foods Market.  I actually had a lovely conversation with a woman demonstrating facial products.  This made me feel a bit better, although I think I may have shared too much information about my life with her.  I have always been that way–will talk to a total stranger about anything including my life.  Ha-it’s no wonder I am doing a blog.  She made me promise to go to the beach.

So after Trader Joe’s I went to the beach.  Since I did not have my dog with me I decided to go to a different stretch of beach.  The beach is where I find God and solace.  But today even that was a challenge for me.

The sand felt wonderful against my bare feet-it wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t cold.  It was warm and squishy.

As I walked along the shore breathing in the ocean air the wet sand glistened with gold dust.  I do not know what the specks are or why it makes the sand glisten with gold but it was a delight to see the sand sparkling in the sun radiating golden sparkles.  This stretch of beach had sea shells.  Beautiful shells the treasures of the ocean.  I collect rocks and shells and I may as well have found sapphires and rubies.  I perused the sand hunting for treasure.  I found six little beauties to add to my collection.  And as I went about collecting I started to notice not only the treasures of the ocean by the trash left by humans.  I shook my head in dismay as I thought that life is like this.  Some of the people we meet are treasures to be collected and kept in the heart, while some people are just trash and we are supposed to walk past them and leave them behind as a bitter-sweet memory.  The problems come when we confuse the trash for treasure.

This has been a year in which I thought I was receiving gems and treasure but when I looked in my heart all I had was trash.

As this year is coming to a close I acknowledge that it has not turned out as I had anticipated.  I put my dreams aside to help someone pursue their dream and was left with nothing.  It has been one wild goose chase after another.  I have been in survival mode for the past few months.  I want to get beyond surviving and move into thriving.

This monster, this depression is here so that I can acknowledge the hurts, the disappoints, the disappointing people and in that acknowledgement hopefully move beyond the barriers that keep me from moving forward.

I am looking forward to 2013 as a fresh start to resume the goals I had laid aside at the start of 2012.

The Beach…….


I really cannot write about journey in this space-time without doing a post on the beach..my mistress…my love…my divine consort.

If I were to become one with the world I would most certainly be a part of the soul-fabric that is the beach.  When I think of beach what comes to mind are the white sandy beaches and the warm, crystal clear turquoise Caribbean waters of my childhood.  The Caribbean where every day is a perfect day for the beach.  That is the definition of beach for my–my idealized beach.

But really I am a happy camper in most beaches—all that is needed is sand, the ocean and a blazing sunset.  Sunset is my favorite part of the day–I am quite partial to those-pink-purple-gold sunsets that bathe us in resplendent awe.

I feel God when I am at the beach.  And the sunset is God reaching out to hug the world in colorful radiance.  The sound of the tide coming and going, waves crashing are music to my ears.  The smell of the ocean breeze renews me and brings me to life.

 

I got married at the beach.  I did ritual to Yemaya to call forth a soul mate at the beach.  Yemaya, is the Yoruba goddess of love and fertility and she is depicted as a mermaid.  She is one of my spirit guides.  The beach calls out to me–singing her song hypnotically as no other.  Maybe I was a mermaid in a past life, but answer the call I must.

I dream of having a home on the beach that I might live every day with my mistress and make her my lover, my divine consort.  For now I have to suffice with being seven blocks away.  I breathe in her perfume as I walk my dog each night under the silver moonlight.

The beach-God-life-peace-beauty-love are all the same word to my soul.

The beach, she is my mistress and I must answer her call to honor her as my lover in the twilight, in sunset and under the velvet sky with moonbeams illuminating the face of my beloved–I await him as I call out to Yemaya, mother of the sea to bring my beloved to me……..

the ministers son……


 

I have recently been blogging about my first love, the magician but in order to talk about my first love we really have to go further back in time and to another place.

The year was 1964 and the place Puerto Rico.  I was only three years old and he was about eight or ten years old.  Neither my memory or mother‘s can recall all the details such as our actual ages but certain of the details are as clear as they day they occurred.

My first love was the minister’s son and I was only three years old.  …..

To continue reading go to, The Illusionist by Ivonne Montijo on amazon.com

 

bookcover-kindle-70-percent-jan-223-4-pm

 

World Wide amazon links here.

 

Believe!!!!!


 

What an amazing affirmation of the blessings and the abundance that God has in store for us when Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them”(Mark 11:24).

This means it is already done.

The marriage made in heaven, done!

That new job, done!

The new home, done!

Health and Healing, done!

Prosperity, done!

In that prayer and in that affirmation we have been set free from struggle and strife

In that prayer are the promises of God, the eternal the divine.

The law of attraction states be grateful before you receive and life “as if”.

Do not wait for God’s blessing to appear–no, no, no be thankful before it manifests.

Live in the joyful heart, NOW.

All things will be given to you.

And if you need a little inspiration, then click on the link to my man Garth, whose got some inspiring country gospel music for your soul.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXCLH8wOuYU&feature=related

 

Blessings to you all!!!!!!!

 

Ivonne

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