I’m going to cast a spell. No need to clutch at your pentacles; I’m casting a spell in the old sense of the word: a tale, a story. But a spell isn’t just a narrative, oh no. A spell is a narrative that shapes the way we see the world.
This is a magical spell, or, better yet, a spell about magic. Here goes:
Magic is the act of making the imaginal real.
There is magic of the obvious variety, like creating blueprints of a house, and then building that house. You just cast a house-building spell. What once existed only in the imagination is now real.
There are also spells of the more subtle variety. When you cry real tears from watching a movie, when you are angered by insulting words, when you buy things because of the commercial, you’re under a spell. Nothing has been made, per se, but the effect of the spell is very real.
Of course, this includes all of the rituals, charms, and incantations that we normally associate with the idea of “magic” in the paganisms. But I would add that no magic happens unless some real effect (physical, emotional, etc.) manifests.
Magic is all around us. When the courts declared that corporations are people, they created, before our eyes, a real, live, non-corporeal entity: a spirit! (Or a demon, depending on your perspective.) Want to see a real magical item? Look in your billfold, and there it is: magical green paper that you can trade for your worldly needs. Use your witch’s eye and look at all around you, and you’ll see magic everywhere.
Magic is real, but, more importantly, “real” is magic!