Looking Out and Looking In

Two women touching magic:

***

Pandora looks in, unable to contain her curiosity. She is the self-interested mind, wanting treasures, fruits, knowledge. She stands outside of magic and looks in on it. Or rather, she kneels, kneels before power and wants it for herself. Her actions show no concern for the Law, or for the fate of the world. She unleashes great suffering and evil.

Pandora, John William Waterhouse, 1896

***

Miranda looks out. Her relationship with magic is a given. Her father is a great magician, powerful, kindly, and commanding. Miranda is steeped in magic effortlessly. She desires not power, nor even wisdom. Serene in her own virtue and her own beauty, she gazes out on the sea and wonders. Miranda regards the outside world, she is other-seeking and other-loving. Her love for Ferdinand is immediate and self-forgetting.

Miranda, John William Waterhouse, 1875

***

But if we feel like Pandora, how can we become like Miranda without going through a Pandora stage? That is a great riddle. Miranda simply is. If we have to ask, we are missing the point. To be Miranda, you simply need to dwell already within the magic. No action or spell or incantation will take you there.

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