Magic For Beginners – Robert G. Wertzler

Sister Abigail-1 (Nobody had yet figured out why Sisters always appeared in same named threes) surveyed the three new girls. She could feel their gifts, their powers, just beginning to stir, felt it more clearly than they yet could. Still, it was enough to begin, before uncontrolled power would become dangerous, become tempting to abuse, or overturn a vulnerable mind. She thought about that sweet and devout French girl so long ago, wished they could have gotten to her before fame and politics put her on a pyre. Then there were those confused girls in Salem, another missed chance. “Well”, she thought, “even a goddess can’t be everywhere all the time, even with nymphs and witches to help.” She took a breath and introduced herself.

“My name is Abigail. Actually, that is not the name I was given at birth which was in a now long-dead language, but close enough for this modern world. My task with you young women is to begin your teaching of what you know, with many misunderstandings and outright falsehoods, as magic. You will soon begin to have the ability to do many things that uninitiated mortals would call magical or miraculous. For you, it is no such thing. It is your nature. You are chosen daughters of The Goddess, marked and changed in your mothers’ wombs, we really are sisters. The magic you will do is your work. You will be tempted to tell others, your families, your classmates, and so on, about what you are learning and able to do, and even to show off a bit. This you must not do. In past times that would likely have gotten you burned or declared a saint, even worshiped as a goddess. Now, it would more surely lead to being found insane and institutionalized or thought a charlatan, a fraud. Now, on to your first lesson.”

Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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