Hello and welcome to the MUSE JUICE BOOK CLUB!

I’m delighted you showed up, and am elated to be your host and moderator. A quote, important note: if you’re not a member of our tribe (and haven’t signed up for my muse-letter) you won’t be able to participate. Please take a moment to sign up here.  You’ll receive a surprise gift from me right away via email, so there’s THAT to look forward to!

Now, for all members, here’s what you can expect, and what I ask of you:

Each Sunday I’ll be posting the discussion topic and questions for the book we’re reading that month, right here on this blog. The intention is to meet for the discussion the following day, Monday, any time.

This book club is an experiment, so really it’s life cycle is up to YOU.

The idea is that we have a virtual conversation. All of us sitting on the red velvet couches of my living room, sipping something delicious, as we discuss the books that change our lives and shape our reality. I am passionate about books, and yearn for a forum to discuss my favorite ones, munching on creative ideas with other brightly woven souls.

It’s a conversation.

A conversation cannot happen without exchange, and so I ask you for something that is rare and precious: your attention. It’s easy to wander off and forget that you’ve taken a place on the red couch, because we’re not on Facebook where you get regular reminders when posts or comments are made. But once you become a part of the conversation, please remember your place on the couch.

Stay a while. Share your own thoughts and discuss others’.

The post will go up on Sunday, the conversation stays open for a week, and the forum never really closes. But the intention is to meet on the Mondays, since we all fare better when we have regular times we know we can rely on each other to show up.

Answer as many or as few questions as you like. You can group all your reflections into one post or answer the questions in separate posts (allowing others to comment on each separately.)

PLEASE! If you have a question or topic you think would be good for any of our books, email me. Sometimes the most lively discussions are sparked by YOU, and the ideas that created from your experience.

Now sit back but let your spirit lean in. Grab your favorite glass of muse juice.

And let us begin.

Doorways and Dreamfields: A True Fairy Tale
by Angi Sullins

Discussion #1

1) What is your interpretation of the use of the term "magic" or "practical magic" in this book?

2) How do you define practical magic?

3) Name a few examples of practical magic in this book, and give us your reflections on how they make you feel. Please feel free to relate your own experiences with practical magic.

4) The author realizes she has always been able to see differently but hasn't always been able to use that ability to her advantage. In the course of the book, she learns to utilize her "handicap" to her advantage. Name something natural to you in childhood (a blessing or a handicap or both) that you now can use in the pursuit of practical magic.

5) How can the use of practical magic reshape or redefine your reality?

Doorways and Dreamfields

  • I read this book some years back. It is still one of my favorites. As someone who does spell work, mixes potions, lotions, and mists, it is hard for me to distinguish between magic and practical magic. To me, it is all magic. As to the handicap turned advantage for the author, I would say it has let her see into other worlds, especially since she has one foot here, in our physical world, and her other is planted firmly in Wonderland. Using magic gives you back some control of your reality. I know that sounds strange. But isn’t it true that you feel better if you are doing something about what is going on around you?

    • So then my question for you would be, how has practical magic shaped YOUR life, Sharon? And more specifically, how did this book affirm or ignite your practice?

      • Well, as I said, it makes me feel like i have a modicum of control. I am an hereditary fretter. If I feel that I have no control, the fretting escalates into something not so nice for my body. If I can burn a wish, craft a spell, call in help, then I feel like I have done something and then I can let it go, at least for awhile. Magic for me is when things happen without me asking if even I didn’t know it was something I needed until it manifested. This book ignited a lot of things in me. It re-affirmed a lost belief that I could get back up on the horse, I could stand my ground for what I needed to feed my Soul.
        The progress was not overnight. I did get discouraged, but I could go back and read passages at random and pick back up on the encouragement, the determination. There are things happening in my life right now that would not be happening if I had not read that book a few years ago. It was a light, a beacon, and a promise all rolled into one book.

        • k. white

          Have read this book several times…each time going deeper~~~In migraine land tonight~~~more on Practical magic remain~~~

          • Looking forward to it! And to your return from Migraine Land! May your journey away from there be short and swift!

        • I wonder how you use “Abracadabra” (the notion of creating your world with your words/focus) ?

          • I have to honestly say that I don’t know. I have been doing this sort of things since I was a wee one. I used to know who was calling on the phone before my mom answered it (she put a frightened stop to that, eventually). Maybe, what I am doing is what some people call Wish-craft. I, also, dream things into place, if that makes any sense. i don’t know. I just don’t know.

          • Plus, I had to hide it for a very long time, so there was never any overt happenings to bring attention to me. I grew up in the Texas bible belt.

    • Lynn Smith

      I feel better when I think I have some control but have also learned to let some moments and some events happen by just releasing the need to control things.

  • Lynn Smith

    I’m going to have to consider these questions for a while. I’m a bit of a think it through person. For me, Magic seems to occur spontaneously and has to be recognized at some level in order to be effective. Practical Magic seems to be called on or requested. We plan it and measure it. Magic is a bit wild while practical magic is calmer. In this book Mernie seems to be able to tap into a magic in order to send psychic assistance to Angi. That is a form of practical magic. She called it and then sent it to Angi. Robin and others often seem led to act through a form of intuitive or wild magic so that they can help.I’ve never really done spell casting in the traditional sense. I’m more of a “I’m calling you now so please pick up the phone so we can talk” kind of magical person (if you know the song “Calling all angels” that’s sort of me. I sense people and things and magic. I get feelings that sometimes are clear but often are not. And that is both the handicap and the advantage. As a child it can be startling to know how others feel and think before they are aware of it. It is difficult to be among people when you don’t know how to not feel them. I learned to shut it down but occasionally I will be talking to someone and they will get this look of “WTF?” and say “That just happened to me or I have never told anyone about that.” Now I try use it to direct plays and help actors (and me) truly understand the roles they play.

    • Lynn I would love to hear more after you’ve thought it through. I appreciate your take on Mernie and Robin, and enjoy hearing them discussed as characters (as it’s not a perspective I can have thoroughly,being their family.) Meanwhile, try using the definition of practical magic that I have added to the discussion (in the comments) and then tell me what you think about using it in YOUR life…and how you perceived it in the book. Curious!

      Also pretty exciting about the plays and actors. What an awesome way to channel!

      • Lynn Smith

        I’m going to be away for a day but that gives me time to consider Abracadabra and how I apply it, consciously or unconsciously, in my life and to consider examples I read in the book. I do use it but I think that I think I don’t. Oh wait, I have one thing that I do A LOT. I work occasionally in a place that has horrible parking and I always send ahead for a parking space. Silly but It works. I want to try for more but I worry that if I ask for bigger things, I’ll get smacked for being greedy.

  • Karen Welch

    I see I am terribly late to get myself informed, but I will order your book tomorrow, beg your forgiveness for my tardy appearance and try to be on my best behavior! I am so in need of this type of interaction, I feel like you heard my silent plea for wonderful conversation when I read this invitation to the book club. I have “corked” the creative part of me that drew me to the Muse so long ago I feel wonderful to be able to let them loose again and I will do all I can to stay current on the materials and join in the conversations. I would love however to add one small observance. While magic is quite alive to me, it takes a rather different form than it does for many others. I see magic as just that, happenings totally indescribable as normal and yet it’s results are observed and real. Of another plane, not unlike another place in time or element. While I don’t think magic is something I can control, I am the benefactor of the results, and I can often see and touch those results as tangible and there in lies the real magic for me. It’s the result of the magical act I understand. Practical magic……….well I will have to read and then decide what that means to me. I have never thought of practical magic as anything other than just magic.
    I hope that doesn’t sound idiotic. It’s ben a long time since I was that
    Sharon I agree wholeheartedly that you not only feel better but you are a better person if you are aware and take part in what goes on around you in as wide a scale as you possibly can. Not only in an “observed by others” way but as a doer of things for ones own conscience and heart.

    • Doesnt sound idiotic at all. And I really get this “While I don’t think magic is something I can control, I am the benefactor of the results, and I can often see and touch those results as tangible and there in lies the real magic for me.” After you read the book, I’ll be so curious to see if you feel you might have any more sway over the magic in your life than you do now. I mean, it’s true. There’s something brazenly mysterious to this synchronicity and connection thing, but I do believe there are some choices we can make that keep us ripe for magic’s plucking.

    • You are in the right place, Karen! Angie is a great un-corker of creative bottles of Muse Juice!

  • I grew up with a hearing impairment (physical), but discovered that the “handi-cap” was really an advantage. I have always been able to “Hear” on a different level—intuitively, through the heart. I use that blessing to communicate with animals for a living! That’s practical magic.

  • Susan Boland

    What is magic… I need to think on this. I read the book & really enjoyed it very much. One of things that held me was the ‘magic’ moments. I’ve no idea how to define this. I think of Joseph Campbell’s work ‘Thou art that’. I’ve experienced these kinds of moments & whenever I’ve tried to define them, to explain them, they somehow lost their renewing energy for me. Synchronicity comes closest to how I define magic. Attention makes a difference. The rational mind stands witnesses to the intuitive. Staying open to the possibilities is the most powerful magic we have. The urge is so strong to explain, to define –

    • “Staying open to the possibilities is the most powerful magic we have” – well said! YES! And I’d like to go further and say we become the magicians of our own lives when we actually open to the possibilities and take it a step further to pursue wonder, to take our spy glass out and hunt down those remnants of magic in this world and follow the voice of our soul, and its bliss.

    • Lynn Smith

      I have to fight my need to understand the forces around me and to define them. Buy you’re right, I think, when I try to define these moments or forces they are lost. At least for a bit.

      • this makes it REALLY tricky for a writer! and i do believe there are experiences that defy words. it’s a FEELING, an experience. what makes me really curious, and one of the questions at the heart of this book is, can you court magic? can you conjure it on behalf of your dreams? not spellcraft or witchcraft, but WISHcraft.

        • Lynn Smith

          I used to be able to do that but it took a tremendous faith that has been bruised a lot. I’m reaching out in increments as I expand my horizons. It’s interesting because I sometimes ask for a simple message and until recently, I wasn’t seeing anything. Now, signs are all around me.

  • Let me give you guys a little more fodder…
    On the very first page of the book, the word “Abracadabra” is defined as “I will create as I speak.” Owning those words, taking possession of shaping your life according to your thoughts and vibration is how I define “practical magic” versus the kind of shimmery potion-making magic so much of the media shows us these days. I believe in magic, in many shapes and sizes. But for the intents of both the book and this discussion, when we discuss practical magic, we are taking about an ability to shape your life by choice, by thought and by word.

    I am curious where you saw examples of this in the book, and how they made you feel. And also, examples from your own life where this has played out, or where you’d like it to.

  • skyeandstone

    (Hi Angi, this is Amy O’Toole posting.) To me, “practical magic” is always there for us. It is our awareness and our response to it that makes it real. It reminds me of this quote by Albert Einstein: ” There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” My awareness opens and arises when I am paying attention to my night dreams, intuition, synchronicity, and symbols. One of my favorite authors on dreams, Robert Moss says, “Life Rhymes.” And there are rhythms and patterns in life. Admittedly, I do not always live as if everything is a miracle. There are times when life circumstances start to wear me down, and there is a “forgetting” that takes place. I loved D&D, because it helped me to remember. To slip back into the forward moving current that notices the signs and symbols; the everyday magic. When I read about Angi’s physical reactions to things that made her heart sing, I recognized myself. When she followed the thread with her interest in art dolls, she found a new passion, made new friends and connections, and opportunities arose. Things that would never have occurred if she had shrugged off her interest in dolls. We can just as easily rationalize and say to ourselves, “I am a grown up. I can’t pay attention to dolls/fairytales/art” (insert whatever makes your heart sing here that you may judge as not to be taken seriously). But, I find when we do open ourselves up to this magic, life is “lighter.” We wake up feeling excited. We have things to look forward to. We find our tribe and connect with like-minded people. We can use our passions and gifts to do good. And, interestingly enough, it truly opens the door and gives others permission to do their thing! Really. If you like something, you can be sure that there are others out there that like the same thing. We are all geeks about something.

    I’ve learned so much over the last few years. Hmmm…a “handicap”… I may have thought of being an introvert as being a handicap before I understood what it was. I used to wonder what was wrong with me! Now that I have an understanding of being introverted, I honor that. I am not happy when I make too many commitments. When I am “running” too many days in a row, I feel depleted. I need time by myself to reflect, to write and make art. It fills the well, and then I have something to offer again to the world. This is just one thing that I have learned to understand about myself that is like turning a light switch on for me. Knowing myself better in this way has made life better for myself, and I am sure for those around me!

    So, practical magic has reshaped and redefined my reality. I am fortunate to have people around me that are open to and aware of practical magic. I think that really helps. Much more magic occurs when we are surrounded by people that believe in it and support it! It has helped me to make decisions. I truly pay attention to intuition, signs and symbols in my daily life. Here is one cool example.

    A year ago, my husband’s friend asked him to partner in opening a music store. My husband told me about his idea. It sounded as if his friend had really made a well thought out plan, but I honestly didn’t think much of it. My husband had been unemployed for two years, and that had taken it’s toll on us in every way. After he told me once, we didn’t talk about it again. I didn’t mention it to anyone. One day, I woke up to a text from my Mom. It said, “I had a dream that Steve opened a music store.” I wrote back, “Shut up! (lol) His friend just asked him to partner in opening a music store!” She replied, “You are kidding! You know I rarely even remember my dreams!” I asked, “Well, what was the dream? Should we do it? Will it be successful?” She said, “Oh, yes, it will be a success! I was wandering the streets looking for the store, but I didn’t know the name of it. ” I marched upstairs and woke my husband. I told him the dream and he said, “We need to call Jason (his friend) and open the store.” And we did. That was one year ago. It has been a good partnership. Our business has grown steadily. We have five instructors, and we sell guitars, accessories and rent/sell band instruments. Also, around the same time, my husband happened to get a job that he loves! This is just one example of everyday magic. You can see how important it is to be connected to people that also believe and will act on it!

    • i thought i had replied to this already, Amy. and now i don’t see my comment! so i think your music store is an example of the type of practical magic that lies in our soul. it knocks on the door of our consciousness in so many ways. the messages are everywhere: dreams, symbols, bumper stickers, lyrics, bits of overheard conversation, “chance” encounters. how and when can you sharpen your soul-sense to perceive these messages around you all the time? that is one the questions in between the lines of this book, and one i ask myself all the time.

    • Lynn Smith

      That’s what I’m finding as well. I just need to trust the opening of the way.

  • Beth Sumner-Wichmann

    I posted yesterday, but it doesn’t seem to have made it. Will try and remember what I said or come up with something (OMG) original. Most of all, I loved the book.

  • Beth Sumner-Wichmann

    Now, having read the thread, I can recount an experience of mine. Back in the 80s, I was working with Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualizlation. There were three things I definitely wanted to happen. I wanted a car, I wanted to move in with my boyfriend, who is now my husband and there was a third thing I can no longer remember. I followed her techniques faithfully for a time and BOOM, all three arrived in the same week. I about had a nervous breakdown as I’m not great with change. These days I’m surrounded by a lot of negativity and doubt and I don’t seem to be able to make things work much anymore. There are still places where I can feel incredible magic, just not so much where I live. For me, the very air sparkles when I sense magic afoot.

  • MommaChris Gunya

    Forgive me as I am yet again, a bit behind!! I have been reading all the comments here and enjoying! I have picked up the book and am reading.. I LOVE IT! I will get back to you all in a bit.. Love and hugs…

  • Vanessa KiKi Johanning

    I’m only into the first couple chapters.. But I’m loving it.. I’ve read through all the comments, and this discussion is very interesting also!
    I believe I can manifest positive changes in my life, it happens all the time…and I always seem to see the repeating patterns of a day.. (Numbers , symbols, art markings ..)
    I will be Keeping tuned.. 🙂 Xoxox
    Vkj

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