Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Prince and the Magician. . .

Once upon a time there was a young prince who believed in all things but three. He did not believe in princesses, he did not believe in islands, he did not believe in God. His father, the king, told him that such things did not exist. As there were no princesses or islands in his father's domains, and no sign of God, the prince believed his father.

But then, one day, the prince ran away from his palace and came to the next land. There, to his astonishment, from every coast he saw islands, and on these islands, strange and troubling creatures whom he dared not name. As he was searching for a boat, a man in full evening dress approached him along the shore.

"Are those real islands?" asked the young prince.
"Of course they are real islands," said the man in evening dress.
"And those strange and troubling creatures?"
"They are all genuine and authentic princesses."
"Then God must also exist!" cried the prince.
"I am God," replied the man in evening dress, with a bow.
The young prince returned home as quickly as he could.
"So, you are back," said his father, the king.
"I have seen islands, I have seen princesses, I have seen God,"said the prince reproachfully.

The king was unmoved.
"Neither real islands, nor real princesses, nor a real God exist."
"I saw them!"
"Tell me how God was dressed."
"God was in full evening dress."
"Were the sleeves of his coat rolled back?"
The prince remembered that they had been. The king smiled.
"That is the uniform of a magician. You have been deceived."

At this, the prince returned to the next land and went to the same shore, where once again he came upon the man in full evening dress.

"My father, the king, has told me who you are,," said the prince indignantly. "You deceived me last time, but not again. Now I know that those are not real islands or real princesses, because you are a magician."

The man on the shore smiled.

"It is you who are deceived, my boy. In your father's kingdom, there are many islands and many princesses. But you are under your father's spell, so you cannot see them."
The prince pensively returned home. When he saw his father, he looked him in the eye.
"Father, is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?"
The king smiled and rolled back his sleeves.
"Yes, my son, I'm only a magician.
"Then the man on the other shore was God."
"The man on the other shore was another magician."
"I must know the truth, the truth beyond magic.

"There is no truth beyond magic," said the king.
The prince was full of sadness, He said, "I will kill myself,"
The king by magic caused death to appear.
Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince. The prince shuddered, He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses.

"Very well." he said, "I can bear it."'
"You see, my son" said the king, "you, too, now begin to be a magician."

From The Magus, by John Fowles,
Dell Publishing Co., Inc pp. 499-500.

Meditation: Pick only one of these questions, possibly the most challenging to you today:

1. What kind of trances are we still under from being raised the way we were? E.g. Denial about the nature of real relationship? (princesses, the divine poetry of the erotic, how love can create or destroy, the power of friendships and sharing, the importance of feelings, etc.)

Possibly some illusions about the real world (islands, our faith, country or church or
way of life being superior, when we hardly know how others live at all, and
nothing of their values), myths about the mystery we call God, (all those creeds
and truths we were expected to believe in order to be saved or simply "good"
Christians. . .which seldom relate to our real lives. . .?

2. Is there "magic" that blinds and the magic that enables vision? How shall we discover our own souls, our own "magic"? Instead of someone else’s magic for us?

3. Are both princes and princesses limited by the "previous" magic? Can we recognize more fully the "old magic" as magic, let go of it, and begin to create a new magic?

4. Have some "blinders" already come off your eyes? Any from your life
or work so far?

5. Take another long thoughtful walk today or tomorrow thinking about all the blinders we have all received, and how it would be to be free of these to discover a new and fuller life and self.

6. Is the possible that this mystery we call God invites us to break all molds and discover something very original about ourselves?

7. Have we yet decided to become our own magician, hopefully with the help of this mystery we call "God."

Namaste. Paschal Baute, 10/21/99

"Inquiry is fatal to certainty."
- Will Durant (1885-1981)


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