Magical realism: the books in which anything can be real. Flower petals miraculously falling from the sky, never-ending psychic bloodlines, rose gardens that spit up children’s bones. It’s easy to see why this magical genre is such a favorite among people who discover it, because anything can happen. It’s adventure not only forwards but sideways and slantways, as Willy Wonka would say. I discovered magical realism through the traditional writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges, but I stayed to devour the entire genre because… well because I’ve seen some weird things in my life and I want to know what other writers think is possible. If you’ve already found the magic of magical realism, I think you’ll agree. Because the little secret about magical realism, and writers in general, is that even though we can believe six impossible things before breakfast, often we secretly believe that whatever is happening in our stories really could happen somewhere, sometime. That’s inspiring to me, that other people can show me the crack in the universe to walk through to find Wonderland, you know? Even if it’s just a little piece of our hearts that holds out for that dreamy reality, it’s there. Another rabbit hole to drop down. For my post in this week’s Magical Realism Books Blog Hop, I’m going to tell you a few things that I’ve actually seen, that led me to a sort of magical realist worldview. And then you might understand why I write about houses that haunt their families with voices of their children from many different ages in the past, trees that act as portals to shamanic reality, and angels and demons who fight over the destinies of churches. Because I’ve seen it, and I want to show you a little crack in the universe that I found.
I’ve written on this blog and my Facebook page before about my experiences growing up dissociated, or partly out of my body, because of the trauma of nearly dying over a dozen times as a child. Among people who grow up like this, it is common to hear these stories. I can’t tell you how to interpret them for yourself, because reality seems to be so ineffable that everyone perceives things through their own worldview lens… but enough stalling. Here goes.
After years of seeing angels and demons fighting over whether I would live or die through accidents and illnesses and being physically attacked growing up, I finally sorted through why this had all happened to me and what was wrong and started recovering repressed memories for healing. This helped explain why I felt a constant anxiety about my safety and had never known why, and a very good healer helped me this way: she told me that in order to have space to move around in the world without constantly feeling like I had to keep myself safe at the level of my skin (as if danger were always right next to me), one thing I could do was to ask archangels to come and hold space for me so I could breathe a little easier and they could keep me safe. That would have sounded nuts to me, except I had already had archangel Raphael come to me and heal me of terrible migraines when someone prayed for me a decade previous, and the healing was instantaneous, permanent, and other people present for the prayer saw angels too, to confirm what I was feeling–like silver light was pouring through my head and down my back, healing everything.
I had already felt some invisible force prevent me from turning my head to check traffic when I was out on my own taking public transport at the age of nine across bad neighborhoods with only my siblings to supervise, and then saw angels rush in to stop a car that came within an inch of hitting me.
I had already seen demons walking through the house I grew up in, and heard them screaming at me that they had a right to be in a very dark building in Chicago that was kitty corner to my hotel where I stayed on vacation when I was twelve, where I saw a ghost in the closet–a little boy who had been locked in there somehow and cried all night long, scaring the hell out of me that I was left all alone to deal with this supernatural reality without adults who could understand.
So, what the heck, right? I had also already verified that I am not mentally unstable and was not hallucinating, thank God. Some people, particularly people who grow up dissociated because their bodies are too painful to live in, also commonly see these things, probably because they are living in a slightly different dimension of reality. Kind of like having one foot in heaven, asking for the check a little early. So it’s for this same reason that I was struggling as a writer who studies the symbolism of mythology and deities and such with the idea that angels might just be concepts. Because archangel Haniel is sort of the same as the goddess Hecate in association with intuition and the moon. So what if the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, commonly invoked to help with issues that are thematically associated with protection, messages from God, and healing, are just energies or concepts like many deities in eastern cultures seem to be sometimes? Engaging with a particular dynamic in the world?
Well, because I’m psychic, having grown up with an intuition developed like an athlete’s muscle from needing to constantly be on guard against the subtlest sign of danger. So when I called in these archangels and actually perceived in my mind’s eye that they showed up, I was distracted from the healing we were proceeding with when Raphael laughed at me from his position in the corner by the door.
“You should know I’m more than a concept,” he said. “I’ve already healed you once.”
True, Raphael, that’s true. Maybe I write because I still can’t tell what’s real and what’s my mind trying to make sense of the world, after so many of these crazy experiences that were helpful to navigating my childhood but no less strange than the situations that precipitated them. But maybe it’s a crack in the universe, guys. Maybe it’s personified not just because I need it to be to understand it, but because there is a personified intelligence behind the universe, even if it doesn’t consist of an old guy in a bathrobe. Every time I peel back the layers I find the energy underlying matter, and the light flowing out from behind reality, but from within that light I hear a voice, and I see a face, and there is so much love and so much beauty that I couldn’t possibly describe it to you. That’s why I write what I do, and that’s the story from most anyone who has had a near-death experience, it seems. Whatever this world is made of, there’s no doubt in my mind it’s pure magic, and the more cracks we find, the more rabbit holes we drop down, the more overwhelmed with joy we will all be.
Pick up a magical realist book today, and walk through another crack. You never know where you’ll end up, but if my hundreds of experiences of this kind and those of other writers and explorers are any indication, you’ll end up somewhere better than where you are now. Adventure is calling you. Have fun, lovelies. Many blessings on your adventures. Tell me what you see when you get back.
This post is part of the Magic Realism Blog Hop. About twenty blogs are taking part in the hop. Over three days (29th – 31st July 2015) these blogs will be posting about magic realism. Please take the time to click on the button below to visit them and remember that links to the new posts will be added over the three days, so do come back to read more.