The Mage musician's first notes begin to weave the spell. It becomes harder and harder for the listener to focus on the guitar’s individual sound as the ritual builds. The music becomes ripe with meaning above and beyond lyrics or melody… and then suddenly Magick bursts into the world.
Mage Music 41
|Mage Music 41 - All In Good Time|
In the movies and sword & sorcery books – and in wishful thinking - people believe that all it takes is waving wands or casting spells and then some Magick happens. Sorry – that is just fiction, not reality. Even the greatest ritual, fueled by the most powerful desire and will, doesn't get Magickal results just like that <snap of fingers>.
Yes, the description at the beginning of this post is real enough – as far as it goes. The thing is, Magick is not just the song you hear or the ritual you see, and Magick doesn't happen the moment the Mage says so mote it be.
When you’re taken up by the Magick of the music - or the movie or novel - it's easy to overlook the fact that the real-life back story would have to include how long it took the hero Mage (or the bad-guy sorcerer) to reach the level of proficiency needed to get to that point. Even if some of the months or even years of struggle to master the skills is depicted on screen or in print, having to actually sit through a the truth of all that hard work (work that is likely liberally sauced with failure) would be boring enough that you'd demand your money back.
Fiction can skip all the slow parts, but reality can't. The reality is that little Jimmy put in hour after hour learning to master his guitar, taking days and weeks and months and years to prepare for stepping onto the stage and "effortlessly" creating Magick.
Time is of the essence
One of the defining aspects of ritual is time.
Dealing with time is an art in itself. The infinite is timeless and all things that can happen in reality are happening at the same time. Magick is, among other things, an interface between the finite and the infinite, and thus Magick partakes of the timelessness of the infinite to a degree. It is the sequentiality of time on the human plane that keeps things from happening all at once, including in Magickal ritual.
Humans, even Mages, can’t help being stuck in sequential time, but that is a good thing. Without sequential time we would not have music. Inherent in movement is stopping, inherent in sound is silence. Thus, part of the art of dealing with time is knowing when to pause and when to stop – to know when enough is about to become too much.
The Mage begins the Work long before the first note of the guitar resonates in the world. The requirements of the ritual have shaped the preparation; the preparation provides the momentum that builds over time until the point of change is imminent. Only then is the first note of ritual sounded. The ritual must take only the time needed to tip the momentum into change. More than that is too much, for Magick happens in its own good time. Amen.