I’ve stated many times before that my favorite definition of magic is applied psychology, but there is another definition I like, which is the manipulation of emotion and energy. Fun fact: music is the manipulation of sound, and sound is energy. Already, music is halfway to meeting my second set of criteria. In order to be considered magic though, it must also be able to manipulate emotion; there is a reason I put “emotion” before “energy” when I came up with this definition.
That being said, I don’t think there’s any doubt that music has an effect on our emotions. I am a firm believer that music can save the lives of those who are clinically depressed; I know several people who have been brought from the brink of suicide by music and were able to get help, so my first definition of applied psychology also applies here That being said, music won’t cure you entirely. Please seek help if you are depressed.
Music even helps us medically. When my fiancé was in a coma, Evanescence’s album Fallen was the only thing he responded to. On a minor tangent, can you imagine how awful it must have been for his mother to force herself to listen to an album from a band that is notorious for their sad and depressing music while her only child is in a coma? It’s a great album, but there are certain times to listen to it, and while your son is in a coma and might not wake up is probably not the best. Music helped him when he woke up, too. He went through something called “music therapy” while he was relearning how to walk. Music also helps with recalling memory, and that’s a benefit that is sometimes overlooked.
Now that we’ve established that music is indeed a form of magic as per both of my definitions, how can we apply it to our practice and our daily lives? Most of us already do. We play music while we work out to keep us motivated and to push us to our limit. Some of us play music to keep focused at work or on the road. Angry teenagers are often more aware than their parents are of the cathartic effect of heavy metal, rap, and whatever other genre “moral guardians” think is having a bad influence on today’s youth.
Closer to the subject of my practice as a Satanic witch, I like to play spooky music during some of my rituals, and that, combined with the glass of wine I like to drink during them, helps me get into the right frame of mind. When I’m cleaning, be it ritualistically or as a part of my daily chores, I like to play music and burn candles and incense. Yes, I am that witch who cleanses her home to heavy metal, but it seems to keep me focused on the task at hand. Peter Gilmore writes of a mental “time traveling” ritual in his Satanic Scriptures, and he suggests playing music from the era participants want to “travel” to.
Music has always been important to me, and it will continue to be important to me, no matter where I go in life. It is a passion as well as another tool in my magical toolbox.