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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #1 
Here is a link to an article that some of you will find most inspiring:

http://www.kentonknepper.com/can-magic-really-help-heal-people/#comment-60
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks for sharing.  This sort of ties in with the recent thread where Stanley talks about feeling uncomfortable with the "sense of power" derived from performing magic.
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #3 
Some people feel uncomfortable with the deeper roots of magic, Eugene Burger often spoke about the symbolism of magic, and I feel it is an area that many magicians are probably not aware of.  I know Jeff McBride and the Mystery School teach this kind of awareness, and anyone who has taken the time to read 'Magic & Meaning' by Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale will be aware of such thinking on magic. 

And I am still curious to know what power Stanley is referring to?
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
Some people feel uncomfortable with the deeper roots of magic, Eugene Burger often spoke about the symbolism of magic, and I feel it is an area that many magicians are probably not aware of.  I know Jeff McBride and the Mystery School teach this kind of awareness, and anyone who has taken the time to read 'Magic & Meaning' by Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale will be aware of such thinking on magic. 

And I am still curious to know what power Stanley is referring to?


I'm hoping he chimes in again.  I think he will.  I am interested also.

I do know magicians that felt uncomfortable with certain aspects of magic, for example Jerry Andrus was famous for never wanting to lie to his audience.  He was careful to never tell them something that was simply not so.  He would never say "Now I'm going to place your card into the middle of the pack" if it weren't true.  So he would and he devised a shift to extricate it.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #5 
Found this interesting quote in Psychology Today...

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." —Thich Nhat Hanh

I searched for the quote "there's magic in your smile" and found the article.  I think this study is applicable to magic.  Magic frequently results in audiences experiencing laughter and of course, smiles.  The beauty here lies in the fact that in addition to helping your audience feel better, by smiling yourself, you will also experience health benefits!  A win-win.

Here's an excerpt and I'll also include the link to the article.

"

How Smiling Affects Your Brain

Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.

For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress (3). Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, or excited. The feel-good neurotransmitters—dopamine, endorphins and serotonin—are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well (4). This not only relaxes your body, but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

 

The endorphins also act as a natural pain reliever—100-percent organic and without the potential negative side effects of synthetic concoctions (4).

Finally, the serotonin release brought on by your smile serves as an anti-depressant/mood lifter (5). Many of today’s pharmaceutical anti-depressants also influence the levels of serotonin in your brain, but with a smile, you again don’t have to worry about negative side effects—and you don’t need a prescription from your doctor."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile





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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you for sharing the article on the magic of a smile Ray.  All of us who perform know how magical a smile, or laughter is.  Jeff McBride often says "Magic is good Medicine" and I remember hearing, and reading about numerous people who utilised humour to help them heal... of course we've all heard the saying "Laughter is the best Medicine" and now this thread is getting toward the real magic of our magic, and how it affects those who witness or are actively involved in our performances.  There is a lot to learn about the deeper aspects of magic which are often missed by concentrating on the superficial aspects of the trick itself and the mechanics involved.

As you know I was recently speaking with a member of the magic circle and he was relating how he believes magic is slowly transforming into something much deeper year after year.  One of the books he recommended I read was 'Here is Real Magic' by Nate Staniforth - as yet I have not had the pleasure of turning the pages on his book, but I have read many accounts of indigenous magicians and the healing properties of magic - personally I find the whole topic fascinating, and would like to get more involved in this side of the magic myself.

It also reminds me of the time Doug Henning performed for the Eskimo folk, now that story offers an interesting perspective on the deeper understandings of magic!
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #7 
Here is some info on the Nate Staniforth book referenced by Socrates.  Looks like a great book.

"Nate Staniforth has spent most of his life and all of his professional career trying to understand wonder—what it is, where to find it, and how to share it with others. He became a magician because he learned at a young age that magic tricks don’t have to be frivolous. Magic doesn’t have to be about sequins and smoke machines—rather, it can create a moment of genuine astonishment.

The paradox is that the better you get at creating wonder with magic for other people, the harder it gets to experience it yourself. After years on the road as a young professional magician, crisscrossing the country and performing four or five nights a week, every week, Nate was disillusioned, burned out, and ready to quit.

Instead, he went to India in search of magic. Here Is Real Magic follows Nate Staniforth’s evolution from an obsessed young magician to a broken wanderer and back again. It tells the story of his rediscovery of astonishment—and the importance of wonder in everyday life—during his trip to the slums of India, where he infiltrated a three-thousand-year-old clan of street magicians. Here Is Real Magic is a call to all of us—to welcome awe back into our lives, to marvel in the everyday, and to seek magic all around us."  From Goodreads
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #8 
As I think about this subject, I'm reminded of the group of magicians in St. Louis that used to go to local hospitals, especially children's hospitals to perform.  They really are the unsung heroes of magic.  I'm confident they helped the healing process of those kids.  If only to take their minds off of their circumstances for a while, their contribution was huge.

I'm sure it isn't continuing in the Covid-era, but perhaps there are other ways to get in front of patients via Zoom, etc.

By the way, I know this is happening all over the country and the world for that matter, but I only have experience locally.  

Back in college I did some shows at a nursing home for seniors and it was very rewarding.
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John Cowne

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
Here is a link to an article that some of you will find most inspiring:

http://www.kentonknepper.com/can-magic-really-help-heal-people/#comment-60

Thankyou for sharing, Socrates. This is a topic well worth resurrecting. I particularly loved Kenton’s application of the Miser’s Dream. That really showed a generous spirit and inspires me to do something similar. I’d encourage as many of us who are in a position to do it to have a go in the near future. Can you imagine if the general community began to see our magic as a ‘healing art’ in the same sense as medicine now recognises laughter is? What a paradigm shift!
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Matt G

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thank you for sharing! I have a few thoughts/anecdotes on this myself that I'd like to share.

1) I personally know two people who have quit decade-long battles with nicotine addiction through hypnosis. Whether you consider it magic or not, it's an interesting exploration into the phenomena of suggestion, placebo, and unlocking your own internal vision. In relation to magic, it's kind of a perfect example of "the magic doesn't happen in your hands, it happens in the minds of the spectators."

2) My single biggest goal in magic is to get confident enough with my performing to be able to incorporate it into some of the volunteer work I do at a local children's hospital and school for underprivileged children. I sometimes have trouble relating to people whose life experience is so different than mine, and reading/playing games/whatever else is nice, but I think magic is something that can speak to anybody when performed right. I hope I can help.

3) From a "performer's" perspective, I've got to say that magic has helped me heal a lot, especially during these crazy times. I had undergone some serious losses over the past year and a half or so. Finding a hobby to be passionate about, and experience wonder with, has done wonders for my mental health. The combination of watching somebody doing something that makes me say "holy $*!@, how did he do that??" and then practicing it enough to be share that same enjoyment with others, man, it's really been hugely fulfilling. I particularly loved Alejandro Navas' lecture, because I am able to perform it over Zoom for friends & family I know I won't see for a few months. In addition, being able to share that wonder with all of you guys has been awesome too. It's why I'm so grateful for this community, because I know we all share the same passion and enjoyment for the "sense of wonder" that comes with magic.

Sorry about the rambling. But to answer the question: yes, I think magic can really help heal people.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt G
Thank you for sharing! I have a few thoughts/anecdotes on this myself that I'd like to share.

1) I personally know two people who have quit decade-long battles with nicotine addiction through hypnosis. Whether you consider it magic or not, it's an interesting exploration into the phenomena of suggestion, placebo, and unlocking your own internal vision. In relation to magic, it's kind of a perfect example of "the magic doesn't happen in your hands, it happens in the minds of the spectators."

2) My single biggest goal in magic is to get confident enough with my performing to be able to incorporate it into some of the volunteer work I do at a local children's hospital and school for underprivileged children. I sometimes have trouble relating to people whose life experience is so different than mine, and reading/playing games/whatever else is nice, but I think magic is something that can speak to anybody when performed right. I hope I can help.

3) From a "performer's" perspective, I've got to say that magic has helped me heal a lot, especially during these crazy times. I had undergone some serious losses over the past year and a half or so. Finding a hobby to be passionate about, and experience wonder with, has done wonders for my mental health. The combination of watching somebody doing something that makes me say "holy $*!@, how did he do that??" and then practicing it enough to be share that same enjoyment with others, man, it's really been hugely fulfilling. I particularly loved Alejandro Navas' lecture, because I am able to perform it over Zoom for friends & family I know I won't see for a few months. In addition, being able to share that wonder with all of you guys has been awesome too. It's why I'm so grateful for this community, because I know we all share the same passion and enjoyment for the "sense of wonder" that comes with magic.

Sorry about the rambling. But to answer the question: yes, I think magic can really help heal people.


Never be sorry for rambling.  You just opened your heart a little and your passion came pouring out.  
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #12 
By means of Magic, a very special door can be open to let us escape from the stressful world of reality, at least for a while, so that we can breath the fresh air of fantasy.

You don't need to be a Doctor to imagine that the fresh air of fantasy can help to heal people.

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Reply with quote  #13 
One of the things magicians do is tell stories and stories can be powerful things. Humans are story-telling animals, so much so the entertainment industry makes billions of dollars feeding us canned stories. Our religions are made up of stories and they say we each have our own personal stories. When I worked in a mental health care facilitiy, I told the kids and teenagers stories I thought were helpful, or at least fun. One of those stories was of Beowulf. With the appropriate amount of added drama, the kids loved the story and would ask me to tell it over and over again. You wouldn't think a story from 800 AD would still be interesting, but there is a reason it is still around. I think a good story adds value, but a bad story can subtract value from a person's life because stories can be metaphores or analogs to our internal conditions and if a story moves people the right way it improves their life, and of course the opposite is true for a bad story.
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Socrates

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"People embellish recalled magic effects and lie in order to tell the best story. Our job as magicians is to give spectators openings for future embellishments, and we do it by telling a great story, so that our great story can be better than the next competitive story down the line" - Michael Weber

"The shaman’s deception may in this sense, be the necessary lie that brings others to trust in healing powers – and, thereby contributes toward bringing about the healing experience" (Magic and Meaning. Hermetic Press, Seattle, 1995. p.35)

“A people are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves. Sick storytellers can make nations sick. Without stories we would go mad. Life would lose it’s moorings or orientation... Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart larger.” - Ben Okri


Following on from Sam's thoughts on storytelling, and also referring back to earlier posts on lies, a few quotes to consider...
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #15 
My wife and I performed a show at a local restaurant/bar a few years back. We had a pre-teen or maybe a younger teenage girl volunteer twice to be in our show. 
As we went around the room thanking people for coming out, my wife found the girl's mom at the table crying. 
It turns out this one daughter of hers has asperger's syndrome. She doesn't like crowds, doesn't like being on stage, and doesn't like being on stage in front of strangers. 
And yet...she VOLUNTEERED twice to be in our show. She was the one raising her hand enthusiastically wanting to come up.
The mom taped it all on her phone. 
And it's shows like that, and experiences like that, that make it all worth it. 


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
My wife and I performed a show at a local restaurant/bar a few years back. We had a pre-teen or maybe a younger teenage girl volunteer twice to be in our show. 
As we went around the room thanking people for coming out, my wife found the girl's mom at the table crying. 
It turns out this one daughter of hers has asperger's syndrome. She doesn't like crowds, doesn't like being on stage, and doesn't like being on stage in front of strangers. 
And yet...she VOLUNTEERED twice to be in our show. She was the one raising her hand enthusiastically wanting to come up.
The mom taped it all on her phone. 
And it's shows like that, and experiences like that, that make it all worth it. 




Beautiful stuff there!
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
I'll share one.  I'll try to remember it as best I can.  The setting was a convention, the Midwest Magic Jubilee, I forget the year.  I was looking forward to seeing some magician friends I hadn't seen in decades.  One of the performers and lecturers that year was Simon Lovell.  I was aware of him, but at that time hadn't seen much of him.  

He did a close-up set on Friday or Saturday afternoon and then a lecture at night.  This happened during the lecture.  He was doing some stuff and at one point he sat on the table, I think and suddenly got very serious.  Everyone was focusing on him, what was going on?  He took a deep breath and began to tell a story about something which happened during WWII.  This, I believe, was during the liberation where Jewish (and other) prisoners were being liberated from prison camps.  They were being placed on trains to be transported to another city, away from the horrors they'd been forced to endure.

Simon talked about a little boy, probably around 10 years old.  This boy was very sullen, he clearly wasn't doing well.  He refused to even speak.  Some questioned whether he even could.  He never smiled, but instead always had a look of gloom on his face.  After the men, women and children were loaded onto the train, some of the soldiers remained with them, to ensure their safe passage.  

One of the soldiers had noticed the little boy and during the trip, sat down with him and tried to console him.  He explained what was going on and told the little boy that things were going to get better.  It didn't seem to help.  Suddenly, the soldier had an idea.  In his pocket, he had some change.  He remembered that he had been taught a simple magic trick when he was a child.  His father, or perhaps an uncle, had shown him how to make a coin disappear!

So he dug into his pocket and pulled out a coin.  He showed it to the little boy, who instantly became curious.  After displaying both sides of the coin to the child, the soldier placed it into his hand and squeezed it tight.  He slowly opened his hand, finger-by-finger and the coin was gone!  The little boy was silent for a moment and then suddenly broke out into a smile!  Then a miracle happened and he spoke.  The first words he had uttered in the longest time.


After Simon finished the story there wasn't a dry eye in the house.  Mine included.  That, he explained, was magic.
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