City Magick is a book that fills a need, that challenges entrenched beliefs about what is and isn't magical. Over the centuries, many have failed to see the magical power and potential inherent in cities. Philosophers have long perceived rustic life as somehow better and purer than urban living. Various back-to-nature movements have historically warned of the corrupting influence of cities. This perception transcends magic and witchcraft, but it holds special resonance in the witchcraft community. There is a cherished ideal, one shared by witches and non-witches alike, of the solitary magical practitioner living at one with nature. This person—male or female—resides in perfect harmony with Earth's natural rhythms. She or he communes with animals, raises plants as needed, or harvests them from secret wild places—ethically, of course—and is just as comfortable and at home in nature as the forest's native flora and fauna. This person may brag that their magical senses have become so heightened that they are no longer able to live in the hustle and bustle of the city, with the added implication that there is something deadened about those who do. This rustic ideal is a goal to which many aspire. And, of course, this ideal—this idyll—is not untrue. It is based on fact. Such witches do exist, now as in the past, and there can be tremendous beauty and power to be found in synchronizing one's life to the wild. It is a potentially sacred idyll that encourages us to recall the blessed potency of plants and celebrates the bonds between humans and beings of other species. It may also be a vestigial memory of the witch-hunting era, when discreet safety to practice as one pleased could be attained by retreating from civilization into vigilant solitude. This rustic vision is not the whole story, however. Another magical landscape exists, too, albeit one less celebrated by poets and more frequently over looked.Cities are also magical hot spots. Seekers after knowledge, magical practitioners, and witches of all kinds have historically congregated in urban centers. This is not merely a twenty-first-century affectation, some rationale to make us feel better about being divorced from nature. The Greek Magical Papyri inTranslation (The University of Chicago Press, 1996) pays testament to the vibrant community of magical practitioners who inhabited the sprawling urban mass of Alexandria, Egypt in the centuries just preceding and after the dawning of the Common Era.
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