In Alice Hoffman’s novel, Practical Magic, she spends a lot of time talking about love. In Hoffman’s world, love is not an entirely beneficent force. In fact, it can be a destructive force. Something that wrecks you. Ruins you. Destroys you.

Love is something that must be approached with humility. Patience. Reverence.

The beauty of magic is that most of this can be communicated without words. The exoteric meaning of angels and demons–extradimensional creatures who tempt us for good or evil–is far less beautiful than the esoteric truth.

Angels represent the bliss of love. The joy. The giving.

Demons are none of that. Desire. Want. Burning need.

Angels and demons are not supernatural creatures who dance on pin heads. We are angels. We are demons. We are love. Selfless and beautiful. Selfish and destructive.

When I mention this director’s name, a lot of people make the pot gesture. You know, the hint that you need to be high to understand or appreciate his work. They’re wrong. You don’t need to be high. You just need to pay attention. And understand the secret language he’s speaking.

So much of magic is unspoken. So much of magic is piercing what you see to get to how you feel. The language of magic is also the language of dreams. The horse is not a horse. The cigar is not a cigar. The woman in the blue dress and veil is… well, I don’t know what she is. But she’s in my dreams. Haunting me. And every time I try to lift that veil, I wake just before I do. And I’m sweating and almost screaming and grateful I woke before I could see the face that hides there.

Love transforms us. Makes us greater than what we are. Makes us less than what we are. So much of us are afraid of love. Rightly so. Some of us are not strong enough to survive its alchemy.

Some of us are destroyed by it.

Some of us are transformed.

This is a story about love. Transformation and destruction.

Alchemy.

The secret language of magic.

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