There's a Facebook group called "Witches of Ohio," that posts a question of the week. A recent question was "Name three things a Witch cannot live without." Most of the responses involved material objects used as magical tools. My response was "stories, stories, stories." The following is my elaboration:
My favorite “Twilight Zone” was a genie in the bottle story. Only this genie granted just one wish, instead of the usual three. The man who discovered the genie knew he had better carefully think through his one wish, before he made it. Fortunately, he had a good imagination, and could anticipate things that might go wrong with any choice (fame, fortune, love, power, etc.). At the end of the story, his one wish was to become the genie himself. His first act as the genie was to increase the number of wishes back to three, so people could make mistakes.
When Dorothy encountered the Wizard of Oz, she heard a man shout out (from behind a curtain) “Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain!” To me, that scene is a metaphor for growing up, and losing our innocence. Almost everything I have trusted (relationships, belief systems, gurus, therapists, etc.) has turned out to be a manipulation of a man behind a curtain. There are ooky-spooky mystics who tell us that all life is an illusion, and that therefore we are best off turning our backs to the material world, so we can contemplate what they think is real. I suspect there is a man behind a curtain manipulating their illusions as well.
I’ve decided, in line with that “Twilight Zone” episode, that I want to be the man behind the curtain, pulling the strings and levers, to support the illusions that give my life meaning. I don’t need to borrow from a priest or a guru to create my illusions – I am more than competent at creating my own. But I think it’s only polite, to look at other people’s illusions, to see if there is something I might like. Isn’t that what we do, when we listen to stories?