Magic is your power to create and connect. Magic is an inherent power. It’s within you, but it’s also a spirit you access each time you speak an intention into the heart of the divine. It’s supernatural because you are supernatural, and within the supernatural exists everything that is natural. It’s embodied, sensed, and shared. To experience magic as power, we must first define power for ourselves. What is it? Where does it come from? Who has it? Who doesn’t? Let’s take a look.
The Latin root of the word power, potere, means “to be able.” Power is your presence. It’s your embodied spirit. It encompasses your feelings, preferences, strengths, skills, perspective, voice, and contribution to the world. It’s your ability: what you can and can’t do.
When I think of power, I think of electricity. Miles of power lines connect your home to an electrical substation in the city. Your home has a main circuit breaker with connected wires that run throughout your house. So, when you turn on a light, you open the flow of electricity from the primary source to the light. The light isn’t power. It uses the power, but the power is the source. Your power is not:
A. Your ability to dominate others
B. Your ability to intimidate others
C. Your physical strength to attack others
D. Your ability to manipulate others and have them bend to your will
Your power is your “You” essence; it’s your spark. It’s what makes you shine your light in the world, and each one of us expresses our power differently.
The power we described above is different from a hierarchical power based on control and domination. Power “over” has been the predominant power structure for patriarchal institutions, like religion and government. It’s shaped our culture and our understanding of power. The more privilege you have, the easier it is to use your voice, make decisions, establish boundaries, and state your preferences.
And what happens in a macrocosm happens in a microcosm because our family systems mirror societal ones. In childhood, we learn to experience our inherent power within these systems. We test our boundaries and learn how safe it is to assert ourselves, make choices, or shine our light in the world. You might have learned to fear or suppress your power. As a result, you will have become accustomed to a comfort zone.
Think about this in terms of setting intentions and focusing your magical power in a ritual or spell. If you grow up believing your thoughts matter, being encouraged to express your voice and receiving opportunities to do so, you might state your intentions with faith and conviction. Your life experiences have given you reasons to trust your magical power. If you felt powerless and helpless throughout childhood, you might find you now have a more limited comfort zone of power in adulthood.
I like to envision my comfort zone as a giant glass box that surrounds my body. Whenever I press up against the boundaries of my comfort zone, everything inside me feels tight and constricted. It takes courage to crack the glass, stretch wider, and grow. The good news is that once you shatter the glass walls, you’ll have a hard time shrinking back down.
What If I’m Afraid of My Power?
I remember a time when I felt powerless. I was so afraid to disappoint others, and I had made life decisions according to what my loved ones would accept. One night, sitting on the floor in the corner of my bathroom, sobbing, I realized I could no longer ignore the whisper in my heart urging me to leave my marriage. The life I had been living wasn’t my own, but one I’d wanted so badly to fit. I tried very hard to make it work, but in doing so, I’d abandoned myself. Restoring a sense of power meant saying the words I’d been holding back for so long; the ones that would alienate me from my family and friends and topple the stable life I’d built—I’m a lesbian.
In what ways will your life change when you embody more power? Are you afraid of those changes? Would staying just where you are right now feel any better?
With more presence and power, you will feel freer to make decisions, even if they’re unpopular: decisions like leaving a relationship, walking away from a job, or writing a memoir. The more agency you have in your life, the more you effect change in your familial and social circles. By being more magical, your life may change in both big and small ways. Should you be afraid of your power to change your life? Only if you want to stay exactly where you are right now.
Given our historical and societal experiences of power, it’s only natural you may have a little (or big) fear of your magical power. After all, we were burned at the stake for this stuff not too many centuries ago. However, the time to reclaim, own, and embody your power is now!
If you’re afraid of your power, you need to expand your comfort zone. You need to push out those glass walls, raise the ceiling, and start getting more comfortable in the expanded space of power. This exercise will help you do just that.
Expanding Your Comfort Zone
- Stand in a way that feels comfortable. Think about your primary intention. What happens to your breath? What do you notice in your body? This state of being is your current comfort zone. Does it feel tight? Open?
- Take a deep breath. State your intention. Where in your body do you feel tight? That is your inner no.
- Place your hands at your chest, facing away from your body. Feeling your no, push your hands out several inches away. In your mind, hear and feel yes. Keep pushing until you only feel your yes.
- Repeat this exercise to either side of your body.
- With hands facing towards the sky, think of your primary intention. Feel it in your heart. Feel the no of where it is right now. Now, you’re going to raise your own ceiling.
- Push your hands up slowly and say the word yes in your mind. Once your hands are up as high as they can go, have a good stretch.
- Turn around inside your new comfort zone. Feel it expand around you as you move in whatever ways your body feels led to move. Embody your power.
Your whole life is a dance of expansion and contraction, but the more you allow yourself to push beyond your comfort zone, the more powerful you become in your life and the world.
Who Has Your Power?
If you were to see your heart from your soul’s perspective, you would see a whole network of cords like telephone lines connecting your heart to the hearts of others. From time to time, you may inadvertently send energy through those cords. When you think of someone, that cord lights up, and your energy flows toward them. They likely feel it too and send you energy in return by thinking of you. The more energy someone receives, the more power they feel.
When we work with magic, we need to have full access to that energy. If you aim your focus at others, like your ex or the politician you despise, you need to draw it all back into yourself, at least while you’re involved in magical practices.
- What changes could I make in my life to feel more powerful?
- How does my experience of socio-economic power affect my inherent personal power?
- What messages have I received about my ability to assert myself and make life choices?
- In the past, have I yielded my power to a person or institution? What purpose did that serve?
- How am I yielding power now?
Adapted from Modern Day Magic: 8 Simple Rules to Realize Your Power and Shape Your Life. Copyright © 2021 by Rachel Lang.