Big Magic: How A New Perspective Can Make Your Art Magical
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclaimer for more info.
A few days ago I told you about how I was taking a hiatus from my magic. It was a big decision but witchcraft had stopped feeling right, I was too damn busy and magic had stopped being like a way to spiritually nourish myself and had just turned into a chore.
Basically, it had become no fun.
To cope, I decided to focus on something else. On a whim I picked up a book to fill my time and distract me. Little did I know that this book was going to be a shock of pure AWESOME that immediately inspired me in more ways than one.
What is this amazing book? It’s called Big Magic. I should have guessed just from the title that I was going to be in for a wild ride with this book.
Big Magic is about living a creative life unhindered by fear or societal expectation. It’s about setting yourself free of all of the needless restrictions and suffering that often comes with the territory of being an artist. And best of all, it’s about MAGIC. Real, actual, spiritual magic.
Gilbert creates from a place of deep spirituality and simultaneous pragmatism that is refreshing and inspiring. I plowed through the book in a matter of days and, much to my surprise, found myself brimming with ideas and inspiration after I had finished it. Somehow, in the course of a few days of binge reading my magical fatigue lifted and I've been left with a singular, burning desire to CREATE.
So today, we’re going to talk about art magic!
If you’re like me, you hear the words "art magic" and your mind immediately goes "Um, YES!" followed quickly by a deluge of overwhelm as six million ideas flood your brain and you quickly lose track of how art and magic actually connect.
Unlike regular art which generally has the purpose of simply being (or sometime communicating), art magic is made for doing. As with all magic, the object is to create some kind of action out of manipulating energetic forces. The artwork you create in this endeavor should start with what you want it to do.
What kind of magic can you do with art? Any kind! Truly any kind of magic can be done with artwork. The sky's the limit! You may find that you have personal preferences as to which kinds of magic mix best with your artistic style but that’s 100% up to your discretion and personal tastes.
Feel like making a painting that’ll serve as a ward for the room it’s hung in? You can do that. Want to foster self love through art magic? You can do that too. Feel like creating a spirit portal for contacting the spirits of the dead? Yep, you can do that as well. If you can dream up a spell, you can probably do it with artwork! You can even use art magic in worshiping your gods, venerating ancestors or in your shadow work.
Similarly, there’s no limit to the type of art that can be paired with magic. Creativity practically IS magic! Do You paint? Draw? Sing? Play an instrument? Dance? Act? Sculpt? Write? Do you create weird video performances? Do you make ART? Then you can almost certainly make magic with it!
Whatever it is that you do as a creative person, it can be turned into an act of magic.
Connecting Art & Magic
Art magic can be broken down into three main categories of approach. Adding magic to your art, the act of creation being magic, and art as a form of co-creation with inspiration itself.
Adding Magic To Your Art
The first approach is the easiest and most straightforward. Adding magic to your art includes things like mixing paint with charged water, enchanting your pencils or adding sigils onto your dance shoes or instrument. Whatever your art may be, you are creating the magic beforehand and adding it to your art as you create.
This method is definitely the most concrete way to go, whatever witchy skills you have can be directly applied to your artwork in this way.
Some other ways to add magic to art include:
- Enchanting reeds or guitar picks
- Putting a charm on your erasers
- Using infused water to clean paint brushes
- Putting spells on notebooks and sketchbooks
- Drawing sigils on canvases before you paint over them
- Writing spells into your stories
- Stitching enchantments or sigils into your smock
- Adding magical symbolism into collages
- Using pressed leaves or flowers to add texture and magic to your work
- Enchanting scripts so that you don’t forget your lines
The Act Of Creation as Magic
Things start getting a little more complex with this route. In order to turn your acts of creation into magic you have to learn to channel magic into whatever it is that you’re doing. Instead of the magic being separate from the art, the art IS the magic.
Just as you would use magic hand gestures and spoken spells you can direct your magic into the actual action of creating your artwork. In this way, making the artwork is itself a spell.
Remember, magic is built on imagination and intent! If you pour both of those into any act it becomes inherently magical. Art is by very definition imaginative so all that remains to make it magical is to intend it to be magical. That may sound too easy but that’s truly it, if you intend a creative action to be a spell and produce a result, it will! All you have to do is decide what you wish your artwork to accomplish.
Examples of how art can BE magic:
- Writing a story as a method of changing reality
- Singing incantations or simply turning the lyrics of your favorite song into an incantation
- Composing pieces of music as a spell
- Paintings that function as sigils
- Dancing and allowing your intent to move you
- Filling a sketchbook with magical drawings all aimed at one purpose
- Sculpting magical objects
- Creating jewelry that lends magic to the wearer
Co-Creation With the Spirit of Inspiration
This form of magical creativity is what’s gotten me so excited. Ideas and inspiration as spiritual beings is what Big Magic is about! Ok, it’s also about a lot of really awesome creative philosophy but I mean, how could I not be totally enamored with the idea of inspiration being a spirit?
The basic premise is that individual creative ideas are not simply thoughts that we come up with in our heads, they are sentient beings that we meet and enter into working relationships with. They are able to move from person to person and look for artists to bring them into reality. They become something to nourish and be kind to instead of something that we anguish over (admit it, artists anguish over their creative work). They also become far less weighty.
This concept is so freeing. It releases you from the burden of being the generator of ideas and it removes the temptation to feel like a “bad artist” when you just can’t find the inspiration to work. It means that instead of having to try to come up with ideas you simply have to be open and accepting so that they can come to you. It also means that you don’t have to pursue every single creative idea that does come to you which leaves you with far more freedom to choose to create artwork that is truly right for you as an artist and as a magical creator.
This approach to creativity makes art an act of magic from its very conception. Simply by existing art is magic and simply by being an artist you become a witch!
This form of creation gets us outside of ourselves and in touch with the entire spiritual enchilada. It elevates art and magic from a hobby into a vocation and promotes growth, depth and forward movement in ways that we wouldn’t necessarily achieve on our own. It creates community within our own practices and for many solitary witches that can be a truly difficult thing to find.
Underneath all of that is the simple joy of smooshing two things you love, art and magic, together into one gorgeous, exciting and fun experience.
It truly is Big Magic!
If you find yourself intrigued by the idea of Ideas as spiritual beings I cannot recommend Big Magic enough! It was an eye opening and absolutely inspiring read that completely changed how I look at art in the best way!