The archetypal magician embraces the creativity that many of us discard to our childhood selves and by allowing themselves this creative freedom, they can truly gain pleasure from the world around them.
Creativity – it’s hard to overestimate the impact of this force on our daily lives. From artistically arranging the seeds and slices of fruit on your smoothie bowl (for that all-important Instagram story), to deciphering the quickest route to Waterloo, and constructing a jam-packed, last minute weekend city-break itinerary before the tube has even pulled into Piccadilly Circus – it’s possible you’ve been thinking creatively in countless ways, all before 9AM. Although, aside from being creative to fulfil a clear purpose or produce a desired result, it seems like a lot of us are missing out on the joy of being creative for its own sake. The archetypal magician, a mysterious and other-worldly character, inspires us to change the way we approach creative tasks, leading to greater enjoyment and fulfilment.
Qualities of the Magician
The magician has a deep understanding of the world, physically and spiritually. In fiction, they possess extraordinary supernatural abilities, which they may pass on to a prodigy known as the ‘hero’ (think Dumbledore and Harry Potter, or Yoda and Luke Skywalker). Known for being mysterious, these characters have complex inner worlds: despite usually being forces for good, they may initially seem secretive, but are revealed to be thoughtful and caring. Possessing such power is a huge responsibility and can make these characters wary of strangers, and extremely loyal to those they trust. Masters of alchemy, magicians are aware of how things react to one another, and use this knowledge in creative ways to produce remarkable results. By using their understanding of the world to their advantage, the archetypal magician is able to transform reality, often for no other reason than the pleasure they gain from it – magic for magic’s sake.
The magician sees creativity as inherently valuable and takes joy not only from their completed object or effect, but the process of creating it – this is what makes the magician such a potent source of inspiration. Becoming a master at anything requires dedicated practice and the strength to rise above challenges, but what if we were to truly embrace the process of learning? By shifting some of our focus away from the finished product and becoming more present in the creative process, vast stretches of our time are made more enjoyable. We allow ourselves the freedom to enjoy the hours, days, and weeks (or even months!) required to complete tasks, without solely relying on the satisfaction garnered by completing it in order for it to be pleasurable.
When relying on our creativity professionally, this can even improve the quality of what we create; by becoming immersed in the creative act, we’re able to put more energy into our work in a way that doesn’t increase our levels of stress, but can, in fact, reduce them.
As well as inspiring us to enjoy the creative process, the magician encourages an approach to creativity in which the perceived quality of our work is completely irrelevant. Many of us give up the creative activities we once enjoyed when we enter adulthood. Upon deciding that we’re ‘just no good’, we put our pencils, paint brushes, and instruments away and forget about them. The magician reminds us that being creative has intrinsic value, as a way of helping us understand life, get in touch with ourselves, and relax. Affording ourselves time to be creative is a valuable form of self-care, allowing us to unwind and relinquish the external pressures we all feel in other areas of our lives.
Paint – even if what you produce doesn’t look like the work of your favourite artist! Sing – even if the neighbours complain! Dance – even if the cat thinks you’ve gone mad! Validation from others isn’t required to make these things valuable – the happiness they bring is enough. We’re free to be creative in as public or private a way as we like, and this can be a great tool as we get comfortable with loosening our grip on expectations. By all means, hide the sketchbook under your mattress, but, as time goes on and your confidence grows, you may shockingly find yourself passing it round at a dinner party.