I believe in magic. I have always believed in magic. Sure, the belief has taken different forms and come to me in varying degrees throughout my life, but it’s always been there. However, every so often, if I find myself stuck in the weeds of the mundanity of adulthood or in a period of crisis like *ahem* flailing my way through a global pandemic, the belief starts to waver.
Perhaps you’ve felt that, too — whether because of recent global events, or simply because of the growing distance you have from your days of childhood wonder.
There are many ways you can define magic, and many different types of magic that you can believe in. I’ll let you decide what that is for yourself. But no matter your preferred flavor, what I think unites all these types of beliefs is engaging with our imagination, and more importantly, learning how to believe in our imagination. The extraordinary things you might believe in or imagine do not exist separately from the reality in which you check your inbox. In fact, it’s detrimental to us all if they do.
Our belief in magic — our belief in our imagination — is what allows us to create a tangible reality outside of the systems that we want to destroy. It’s what allows us to imagine new ways of relating to one another. It’s what allows us to find solutions to right past wrongs. It’s what gets us past the shoulder shrug and the “but that’s just the way things are.”
So what do you do when you feel that belief start to waver?
One of the tools that snaps me back into the magic the fastest is getting lost in a good book that offers some core truth of the extraordinary magic that is possible. If you’re here, I’m guessing that’s true for you, too. So, I’ve created a quiz to lead you to a book that has made me (re)believe in magic — each for different reasons and in different ways. May it spark the belief in you too.
Books in This Quiz
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
In a reality of billionaires and leaders acting in their own personal interests, there’s got to be some sort of dark magic all these powerful people are engaging in, right? Ninth House features the occult activities of Yale’s secret societies, and you cannot convince me that there isn’t some truth to it.
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
This is an absolutely delightful read that will connect you to the magic and belief of adolescence when you were riding that edge of “this is silly…but what if it’s real?” I was charmed by how accurately Quan Barry captured a teenage narrative voice, and it made me reconnect with the type of magic that comes from believing in yourself, believing in the people in your life who are on your team, and stepping into your full self.
Scatterlings by Martin Shaw
Martin Shaw has a way of speaking about story that makes my jaw drop. He explores what it means to not just hear a story or read a story, but to truly behold a story. This book will have you reaching for all sorts of myths and stories to act as your roadmap.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Erin Morgenstern said in an interview that she does believe in magic because to believe in magic is to believe that extraordinary things are possible. The Night Circus is filled with fantastical magic, but I couldn’t help but feel the poignant truth of it. Magic is the way of the world, but most of us are conditioned to see it as illusion.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
There’s perhaps no greater magic than realizing that other-than-human living beings can be our greatest teachers. Robin Wall Kimmerer offers us the indigenous perspective of a reciprocal relationship with the living world.
Has the magical spark been reignited? Good! Check out some more magical book recommendations, dig into the main categories of magical systems, and although we all know that magic is not about the things that you buy, these witchy bookish goods might be the perfect physical reminder of the magic that exists inside you.