Sorchia's Universe

Specializing in Bewitchment and Single Malt Scotch

M is for Magic


Magic is a very old word. If you lived in England during the Middle Ages, you probably would have called somebody who did magic a witch and magic itself was called wiccecræft—witchcraft or galdorcræft or even dwimorcraeft. Before that, Druid was the term you used for someone who did magic. Somewhere around the 14th century, people began saying magic which came from an Middle French word magique which came from a Late Latin word magice which came from a Greek work magikos which came from an Old Persian word magush.

That Greek word is kind of interesting since it is the feminine of the Greek magos which means one of the learned priestly class. Magi is the plural of magus, so the three wise men were wandering magicians—more important than that, probably priests but still skilled in what people thought of as magic at the time. Magic didn’t have anything to do with Satan or mischief. Instead, it was more about priests, priestesses, and what served as religion. Magic, spirituality and natural science were mixed in a delightful and entertaining manner back in the day.

Today, some like to spell it magik or magick or majik and any other way you can think of to distinguish stage magic—tricks, legerdemain—from the real thing. To me a rose is a rose is a rose. But what is the real thing?The definition according to Aleister Crowley, an English occultist, is “The science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the Will.” That leaves a lot of room. Boiling an egg would fit this definition of magic.

The spiritual element of magic is what is missing. You could say Spiritual Power instead of magic and be closer to what I think the word means though that would still fall short. Magic and praying have a lot in common. When you pray, you ask for help to manifest something. When you do magic, you use the power God has already given you to manifest that change. God helps those who help themselves. This is God saying, “Is your arm broke? Fix it yourself” so you do magic.

Magic is often divided into lots of different kinds of magic depending on the principle or items you make use of as you attempt to influence time and space. Sympathetic magic involves using items, words, rituals that have some connection with the outcome you desire—it’s all part of the like-attracts-like idea. You got yer ritual magic and yer folk magic, yer candle magic and yer crystal magic, yer kitchen magic and yer Earth magic. The key ingredient is visualization. Practitioners visualize the change they want to manifest, put faith in their power to change it, let that image and faith build, and then release it. Sometimes they say words to help it along, sometimes they do rituals, and sometimes they use objects or actions to magnify the energy. But the things they all have in common are the clear intention, the visualization, and the expectation or faith.

Strangely, quantum physics now tells us that quantum particles exist in multiple states—until they are observed. They’re sort of like the ghosts in the old Pac Man video game. Once you look at them (or visualize them), they are in whatever state you perceive them to be. So by changing your perception, you change their state. Sounds like magic to me.

What do you think? Are there limits to what we can do? Do you believe in magic? What’s magic to you?


Just Like Gravity continues to exist in stasis. I’m visualizing a real book, so it should be publishedf any day now!

L is for Lunar

The word lunar comes to us by way of Middle English where it meant “crescent shaped.” Before that, of course, it started as the Latin word luna meaning “moon.” From this, we now have Looney, lunatic, and lunacy. Anybody who works with large numbers of people or animals knows the full moon definitely affects behavior. As a teacher, I can tell you that during the three days of the full moon, anything goes in the classroom. Those little brains soak up lunar rays like bums soak up Ripple. (If you are a bum and like something besides Ripple, my sincerest apologies—and congratulations.)

In Tarot, the Moon card is about mysteries, illusions, and sometimes deceptions. Imagine the subtle play of blue shadows in a moonlit wood, wisps of mist along the river at dawn, half-heard strains of violin music, and the fleeting scent of roses and sage. The Moon rules that intuitive, hidden part we keep secret from even our closest friends and lovers. The power of the Moon is the yin power, dark, mysterious, receptive, intuitive, encompassing.

Distinctly feminine, the moon’s phases are divided into the Maiden, Mother, and Crone—the triple goddess. The two weeks of the waxing moon are for building, creating, manifesting while the two weeks of the waning moon are for protection, banish, discard, clean. The full moon is time of highest power with the new moon the second most powerful time. The dark of the moon is especially good for starting new things

Wiccans celebrate esbats on full moon and new moon nights. The Farmer’s Almanac shows the best signs of the moon for planting, harvesting, cutting your hair, among many, many other things.

Strangely, when I was a kid, my invisible friend used to hitch a ride to the moon on a 4th of July bottle rocket where she would stay until Halloween. I was never sure why, but I suspected she just got bored and found the excitement of a barren, airless chunk of rock preferable to Missouri in the summer. Any psychologists in the crowd, feel free to chip in.


Oh and by the way, If you live in North America, you can see a lunar eclipse this very night. I’ve posted the time for my zone. To see more time zones, go to

This eclipse is one of 4 this year—a tetrad—and obviously another sign of the end of days. Seriously, eclipses were considered bad omens by the ancients—and considering all the bad things that they had to deal with who can blame them? Change sucks, was their motto because it usually did. In our more enlightened world, however, it would be nice to think that we can watch the eclipse and enjoy it as a sign of the constancy of the universe. What would worry me is if this or any of the tetrad of lunar eclipses failed to materialize. That would signal something was seriously amiss with the regular movement of our planet and those heavenly bodies we are dependent upon for life. So when the eclipse is at its fullest, bang the gongs and shoot off the fireworks because it means that even though we are hurtling through a vast, dynamic universe at unimaginable speeds, we are right where we are supposed to be and all is well.

Eclipse times for North American Central time zone

Central Daylight Time (April 15, 2014)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 12:58 a.m. CDT on April 15
Total eclipse begins: 2:07 a.m. CDT
Greatest eclipse: 2:46 a.m. CDT
Total eclipse ends: 3:25 a.m. CDT
Partial eclipse ends: 4:33 a.m. CDT

K is for Karma

Karma is one of those words that mean different things to different people. The concept is hard to pin down in just a few words. It’s origins are Sanskrit but like all words, it’s meaning has evolved over a very long time. The idea is in every religion though often defined as system of reward and punishment. In general, karma refers to the idea that ethical behavior is rewarded. Punishment isn’t a part of karma. Instead, if you don’t behave ethically in a certain situation, you get another opportunity to do better—until you get it right. It’s like Groundhog Day only spread out over eons. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” is an expression of karma in the Bible. A subtle difference from punishment, but a difference all the same.

You can believe that karma acts during one lifetime or during many. It’s different from Fate in that you are in total control of your karma. Your thoughts and actions today determine what happens to you tomorrow. Chance is contradictory to karma and coincidences are not coincidences. Instead, you look at each situation as an opportunity to learn something or to teach something. You can believe that God directs karma or you can believe that karma is a law of the universe. And, of course, you can choose not to believe in it at all.

If you choose to believe in karma and start looking for it, you will never want for humor. It is, of course, most easy to find in the lives of others—and that’s the funniest part. It takes a bit of introspection and honesty to see it at work in your own life.

How does karma relate to magic? Well, a lot of things

that we call magic turn out to be science. If karma is a law in the universe like gravity , the Dilbert principle and Murphy’s law, it’s still magical to watch. That’s probably at least partly due to the fact that somewhere in our reptilian brain, there is a crocodile wearing sunglasses saying, “No way is this real.”

Also I couldn’t think of another K word even remotely interesting and related (except, of course, my name but that would be a very dull post.)

Karma is a background element in Just Like Gravity which is still stalled at the publishers. Hoping to actually have an e-book by the end of the month.

J is for Jinx

How the word Jinx came to mean bad luck or a person who causes bad luck is a twisted tale. Here’s my unofficial and very subjective theory based on research, deep thought, and at least one glass of Scotch.

Way back in the sixteenth century, a bunch of Scotsmen sat around the fire with nothing to do so they invented yet another drinking game. They named it High Pranks—how this translates to Scots Gaelic I have no idea and since they were all drunk and since Scots Gaelic is an adventure all of its own, that bit of history is lost. Anyway, the game involved a dare. You had to perform some crazy feat or suffer the consequences—no drink for the round. This is how we got haggis, caber tossing, and golf among other things. It was a very popular game. Unfortunately, many accidents occurred as the evening progressed and, eventually, the phrase Pranks came to mean bad luck—maybe even bad luck brought on by mischievous wandering spirits.

Meanwhile, in another part of Scotland, people who

Georges Olioso

Georges Olioso

spoke languages other than Gaelic called this kind of bad luck a jinx. In this line of development, jinx may have come from the Latin word inyx which is the name of a peculiar bird who can turn his head around nearly 180 degrees while hissing like a snake. The feathers of this bird were common ingredients in magic spells and so the name of the bird came to mean hexed.

Creative speakers combined the meanings and jinx came to mean bad luck brought on by supernatural means. Maybe it happened during one of those drinking games. The Scots boys were showing off for a visitor from a far land. Somebody fell in the peat bog while trying to heave a sheep across the loch or something similar. After they fished him out and dried his kilt, he explained that his bad luck must have been the result of offending a spirit since it could not have been caused for want of skill. The visitor said, “Where I come from, we call that a jinx” and the Scottish boys thought that was funny too. Many otherwise unamusing things seem hilarious when you’re sitting beside a loch drinking whisky.

Ever after, when someone fell in a bog or accidentally set himself on fire, they would laugh and say, “Yer jinxed, laddie.” If it happened too often to the same person or when a particular person was present, they began to wonder if that person wasn’t the cause. They would cock their ginger eyebrows at him and discourage his attendance at other loch-side festivities.

Undoubtedly, the word was used amongst the populace long before it made its way into literature. In 1868, a popular American bar song titled “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” immortalized the captain as perpetually having horrible luck. The verses were varied, probably bawdy, and legion, all describing the increasing ill fortune suffered by the captain brought on by a curse. Jinx or Jinks was used in various bits of literature thereafter from whence it made its way into baseball slang and thus onward to where it is today.

That’s my theory, unsupported and totally pulled out of—well, not totally. There was a Scottish drinking game associated with the word and the inyx bird was also mentioned as a source. And the references to song and story are real.

Bad luck waiting to happen–my cat Petunia

But this post has gone on for too long. Let me know what you think of my theory and stop by to see if Just Like Gravity is available yet. At this writing, I’m waiting for the publisher to cure some technological troubles, but the book is with her and ready to be launched.