The Secret and Ordinary Ways of Magic

Star Spell second page spread

Most of us know this little rhyme, to wish upon the first star we see at night, and if we say it with all our heart, it will come true. We learn it as children. We remember it because it rhymes. We repeat it as adults, just in case it might really be true. This is everyday magic, ordinary and secret at the same time. Rhymes like this have been taught to children by their mothers and fathers for centuries, so harmless even a child can say it, so powerful it can be thought of as a prayer, a wish, a magic spell. A spell, in the old sense of the word, telling a story to yourself of what you wish for. Wish on a star, a tree, a stone, a river, a breeze, a dandelion puffball, and send your wish into the world on the breath of your words. This is the power of words, repeated every night you see a star, if you like.

In this little book, I tried to capture some of the magic of that feeling, of looking up into the twilight sky and catching sight of the first star, visible perhaps in the hues of sunset, and emerging in the images of the great constellations wheeling above us.

In the Gallery, I’ve published a new series of images for my little Star Spell limited edition book, with new photos and a view of the entire single sheet of printed paper from which this handbook was folded and stitched into its cover, decorated with a fire-invoking five-pointed star. In the Library are the text and images from my essay “The Making of Star Spell,” published in the calligraphy and book arts journal Bound and Lettered in 2008. The essay delves into the many details involved in the creation of this book, combining the traditional arts of calligraphy and painting with the modern skills of the computer to make all the parts of this book. Magic at every level, slinging ink, pushing pixels, stitching my wishes into the binding to safeguard every copy.

A little handbook of magic, if you will, including instructions for how to write your own spell. Or tell your own story. Or make your own wish. And have it come true. If you believe, it will.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • suzi smith 02/25/2011, 1:41 am

    This is lovely cari… & really enjoyed reading about the process. Thanks for sharing!

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