One of my favorite authors is Laini Taylor. One of the characters in one of her trilogies (Daughter of Smoke and Bone/Dreams of Gods and Monsters/Days of Blood and Starlight) is an angel who has been trained to be a weapon, an instrument of destruction, and he has a severe injury in one of his shoulders. He is also a special kind of mage and one way he starts to understand how to harness and utilize his magic is through the bottomless well of pain that is contained in his shoulder. He meditatively enters his pain as if it were a place. I find this idea very intriguing, and on my morning walk yesterday, I tried to use this imagery to enter the injury in my left knee and envision sunlight sealing it and clearing or burning away any other cartilage junk that may be in there. After my walk, the knee seemed to be a little more painful, and I am anxious to see what happens as time progresses. When I went through physical therapy for my back injury years ago, it was common to have a flare in pain before it would settle down and become less painful. As it is said, “No pain, no gain.”
I like this idea of harnessing pain to create change, and I think it could be used in the way the character uses it in the book, to apply to other kinds of magic. What a great way to utilize chronic or acute pain in a way that is beneficial to the person! I see it as using the energy that the pain causes as the energy needed to direct your intention. Maybe envision it as a ray, a laser, that is then directed into the magic spell, sigil, petition, bottle, mojo bag, charm, amulet, talisman or whatever. The whole concept of magic can sound very silly to modern minds, so best just to take it in matter-of-factly and not get caught up in trying to rationalize it. The three-step process is what I like best, and it strips it down to the basics: 1) INTENTION 2) VOICING or DIRECTING the intention 3) SYMPATHETICALLY or SYMBOLICALLY making something in the physical world to represent the magical goal in order to give the thing “spirit” or “life”. In essence, MANIFESTATION. Then you just let it go into the ether and forget about it. There are many ways to raise energy, and I have found anger to be the most effective for me, perhaps because usually anger is more laser-focused than other kinds of energy. But so is pain. I really like this idea to enter the pain and direct it rather than get into a complete froth that I then need to calm down from, which can be very difficult.