Transforming the Journey:
Mentoring Lives Through Magic and Myth
Before risking my descent any further, to maybe a level of only one-third as good as I was the last time, let me bring closure to this presentation. I want to do so by returning to a notion featured in the title of my remarks. What does all this have to do with magic you might ask?
First of all, mentors are "creations of our imagination," Daloz says, "designed to fill a psychic space somewhere between lover and parent. Not surprisingly, they are suffused with magic and play a key part in our transformation, reminding us that we can indeed survive the terror of the coming journey and undergo the transformation by moving through, not around, our fear. Mentors give us the magic that allows us to enter the darkness."53
How we do that is also a function of our magic.
Daloz says, "Magic is a word given to what we cannot see--and we can rarely see across the gulf." 54 In my faculty mentoring role I have waved many a wand over stacks of notes that began as clutters of thought and fragments of information, that eventually transformed into wonderful papers or theses, not so much from any sleight of hand, rather mostly through the efforts of students who, at one time, despaired of ever seeing an end to any of it, but who then came to believe in themselves. In effect, it was their magic that made the difference. I only stood by with the wand, just in case.
Magic, . . . all true wizards know, is available to anyone willing to stand in the right place. Most magicians are simply people who have refined, more than the rest of us have, the art of understanding how the world works. They know where lie the fault lines, clefts, and barely visible seams in what we call "real." In working their magic, they simply ruffle the line between imagination and reality, for they know that the greatest illusion is to believe we have no illusions.55
The magic of all this is that mentoring is within reach of all of us, whether as mentor or mentee. We have it within our power to create the believable in others if we take the time to listen.
I wish you the best in your wizardry. Thank you very much.