Sunday, August 1, 2010

Plant mages, qi, and pantheism

I find Tamora Pierce's Circle novels to be a good source of inspiration for my druid path. In these books, she writes about what she calls "ambient mages," which are different from "academic mages." Academic mages are like Harry Potter. Academic mages have power within themselves, and they seem to rely more on things like spells, potions, and wands. Ambient mages find power in the world around them. Each has a particular element or craft in which they find magic. It's plants for Briar and Rosethorn, thread and cloth for Sandry and Lark, metal for Daja and Frostpine, weather for Tris, vision for Niko, stone for Evvy, dance for Paco, cooking for Jory, wood for Nia, and glass for Keth.

When I was reading Street Magic recently, I was struck by how Briar draws power from plants. As I walked to work, I looked at the trees and bushes all around me, and imagined that magic was flowing into me from them. Not that I was taking power away from them, just that I felt stronger for being in their presence.

Then I took a qigong class. The teacher talked about drawing in strong, healing qi energy from the world around us. It was very much like the drawing energy from plants which I had just been thinking of.

It also fits with pantheism. We pantheists see the divine as something which pervades the universe, and we feel the presence of the divine when we are out in nature, which is sort of like drawing magic from plants.

I don't believe in literal magic. Briar's drawing magic from plants provides a good metaphor for my pantheism, and having that metaphor strengthens my spirituality.

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