A question that arose while reading the beginning of Merlin is how faery renew their energy?
When I asked Merlin this question, I confess the look on his face was a different than any I’d ever seen.
He looked at me, and said “We don’t renew our magic, we don’t renew our energy.”
“So how do you continue to do magic, if you don’t renew it?” I asked.
“Well, it’s like I tried to explain in another answer,” said Merlin raising an eyebrow. “It’s not that we have magic, it’s not that magic lives somewhere in our body, we look at the world in a different manner. We reach out to the energy that surrounds every one of us, and we channel that energy. Energy surrounds us the way water surrounds fish. A fish lives underwater but a human can’t. It’s the same with magic, some of us can use this energy but humans can’t.”
His smile bordered on the condescending and I felt myself getting angry. Before I could frame a retort, he spoke again.
“It would be the same thing,” said Merlin and he hesitated and thought about his answer. “It would be the same thing as you walking through a forest, or taking a swim in comfortably-warm water. After both activities you feel really good,” said Merlin. “You’re at peace with the world. That feeling is the magic in the world.”
I could only take a deep breath as I recognized that feeling.
“Humans feel the magic, but they don’t recognize the energy for what it is,” said Merlin. “You can hold onto that feeling for a long time. And if you meditate regularly, you can hold onto it longer. You can allow it to emerge as you work or talk. Those you interact with and share it with will benefit but you don’t call it magic nor can you direct it.”
I opened my mouth to ask a followup question but he held up his hand to stop me and continued.
“We in the Fae world recognize it for what it is, and we redirect it and use it to the best of our abilities. We don’t hold the energy inside us, we channel it through us. Some of us have more ability to channel more of the energy than others, that’s all. “
“Is that clear?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
I nodded but my mind wasn’t really on what he was saying. I felt humbled and sad when I realized how limited I was, how poor my experience is when compared to what he took for granted.
He didn’t seem to notice how I felt but continued. “Here’s another example,” he said. “Imagine a radio. The radio receives radio wave energy from the air around it and translates that energy as sound.” He looked at me. I forced myself to meet his eyes and I nodded. He continued, “Well, it’s the same thing. We receive energy waves from the air around us and we translate that energy into magic.”
“How much energy is there?” I asked. It seemed there might be a finite amount.
“It’s generated and regenerated just by the earth spinning and the sun shining. The magnetic poles are one source of energy in the planet. I’m sure you know they’re caused by a large amount of molten iron swirling at the core of the planet,” said Merlin.
“Humans can measure that,” he said pointing down to the floor. “And they can use that energy directly.” He paused, his face took on a sad look. “But humans can’t measure or detect the secondary energy field, and that’s the one the world of fae runs on,” he said.
“And before you ask, the answer to whether a human can learn to do the same thing is – in my experience – no,” said Merlin.
Shaking his head, he continued, “Many people pretend they can or believe they can. And there are hundreds of books printed over the years containing spells and other recipes, but those should rightly be on the fiction shelves.”
I was feeling sadder and sadder by the moment as I understood how rich his world must be and how limited ours was by comparison. He lived amidst a sea of positive energy and we… Well, we didn’t. I forced myself to return to listening to him only to discover he’d stopped talking.
He was watching my face. When he saw me focus on his eyes again, he began again in a low, almost apologetic, voice.
“What I said may be too hasty. There may very well be people alive who are more sensitive to magic than others. There are a few of us who’ve had children over the years with humans and their genetic code may be more likely to give them some limited feeling of the unseen world around them. They can’t work magic but they may feel as if they can and they may feel the magic when it’s strong around them.”
There was something about this conversation that was making me feel as if I’d lost something precious. I was missing out on one of life’s most amazing experiences and I’d never, ever be able to see or feel the world as he did. It was one thing to know somebody had a better life than yours – because you could work hard to match that lifestyle. But it was another thing to be told you didn’t have what it took – by no fault of your own – to experience the world as it was meant to be experienced. I’d never see the magic surrounding us no matter how hard I tried.
It was a dual-edged sword. One side was the realistic understanding that some things just weren’t meant to be but the other side was the sharper edge of disappointment.
But I’d underestimated Merlin. Our eyes met, his eyes softened and he said, “You don’t expect to win an Olympic medal do you?”
I began a retort when he held up his hand.
“We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I can direct energy – you can’t. But you can write far better than I’ll ever be able to. You understand your friends implicitly and I struggle with human emotional outbursts. Even after all these ages I’ve lived and the adventures I’ve had, there are things you do with only a few years practice I’ve never been able to do,” he said.
I started to reply when he interrupted.
“I understand your disappointment in discovering a limitation you’ll never overcome because of your genetics. You’ll never be able to match my abilities and skills at redirecting energy. You won’t ever run a mile under four minutes either.
But you can push your own innate skills toward your own personal strength by using meditation and mental exercises,” he said.
I allowed a slight smile to color my response, “You mean if I practice, I could run a mile under four minutes.” I expected him to become flustered but like always, he fooled me.
“You won’t know until you try,” he said tilting his head in a challenge.
Unfortunately, I could not reply to the challenge as he disappeared without even offering to leave me a beer.