cover photo features someone wearing a zip-up jacket, fuzzy trapper hat, and goggles, left fingers placed thoughtfully on their chin while contemplating a luminous sparkler held in their right. © Matt Palmer


Hidden Powers (of Non-Magic People)

“We do not need Magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling



{ MODULE #7 }

Power of Understanding

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Have you ever gotten a glimpse of a book, movie, or album, some small preview, then it’s not quite what you’d imagined?

A picture in our mind won’t necessarily live up to the expectation, but once on the other side there’s a greater understanding of what it truly is, based on one’s own perceptions of course.

While you may believe you understand something, true understanding comes from dots connected within your own experience. Not just what we’re able to glean from the previews, our imagination, or opinions of others, which likely will not give us a fully accurate viewpoint.

We look back and say “Oh!” even when we mostly have a clear picture going in, because the notion in our brain is still distorted to some degree until we put the pieces together. Even a puzzle with one piece missing is still lacking information. A single broken pixel on a screen may seem like not that big a deal, certainly something one can get used to, but even that one missing fragment can be distracting. While removing a scene or chapter may not detract from our ability to perceive the overall intention of the piece, it’s still not as complete as it might have been.

The Power of Understanding draws on the element of Thought and is much more personal, which is why this Violet or White, Mental energy is often associated with the individual wills of our core, solar plexus chakra and the Power of Courage. Our understanding is unique, and uniquely fallible as it is brilliant.

Just because we observe some kind of art, noting the colors, themes, and so on, perhaps even having a general understanding of what the creator intended behind their work, that doesn’t mean we have a clear grasp of what kind of impact the piece has on others, or how it will affect us over the course of our existence. We understand what it is, what it’s meant to represent, but it can take time to truly become intimate with something to the point where we move beyond understanding to a place of familiarity, which we will discuss more in the next module.

This energy is located at the crown of the head, linked to the coin of Clarity and Confusion. Part of what makes this power so special yet so challenging is that we think because we generally know something, we actually know-know it. Yet we all have (or will) go through situations where we realize what we thought we knew still had more layers to uncover. Even if we may have been generally correct, what we know changes over time.

Perhaps you’ve called a piece of work your favorite since the first time it became introduced to you, but how much more rewarding is it after you’ve gone through to enjoying it multiple times, seeing things from entirely different perspectives and picking up on details you hadn’t before?

What about looking back after years and years to realize it’s almost an entirely different experience? What’s changed? You have. This is understanding. Like science, its goal continues to prove itself wrong, rather than to dig heels in and deny that it’s a constant, fluctuating process.

The power of understanding is much more like having the full picture, being able to identify everything in the picture, recognizing what it’s conveying, but still only having a glimpse of anything beneath the surface. Like an iceberg, we recognize what it is while missing so much.

A mirror which is clear will showcase reflections. These aren’t the things themselves, however still give us fairly accurate and informative data. This is the clarity side, in the same way that a foggy mirror will take that same not-fully-accurate picture, the reflection of something, and distort it to some degree further, thus confusing what we think we know

We see the distortion, and sometimes even know it’s not reality, but at the time it seems real. To us, it can the closest thing we have to grasp in the way of reality, so we cling on. But that doesn’t mean thing become clearer if the mirror can’t clean itself. The clearer the images are in front of us, the clearer we will rise to meet them and more appropriately respond to the inevitable twists and turns.

Throughout the course of my life, I have countless examples where I could have sworn I knew what was going on. That I knew the truth, or had the right answers. Sometimes basing some pretty serious life decision off of my individual understanding of reality. Oh how wrong I’ve been! To grow into a higher level of understanding in any capacity is a very rewarding experience, albeit occasionally extremely humbling.

Growth isn’t about feeling humiliated by where we’ve been in the past, though it could absolutely be argued that the more humbling the “ah-hah!” moment, the greater impact it may have on the rest of our lives. Sometimes entire paradigms shift in an instant, sending our trajectory in an entirely new direction.

All too frequently I’ve failed to remind myself of that when faces with my own arrogance, yet even when making a concerted effort my ego still tries to thwart me. This can be frustrating, of course, not just being able to see things for what they are at any given time, however I like to imagine a story where one character has had some revelatory piece of information come to light, then desperately asks another person “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?”

“Because,” the other party might reply. “You wouldn’t have been able to play your part as effectively if you’d known.”

“But, if someone had only explained to me the reasons why!”

“No. We needed you to be convincing.”

An actor in a play knows they’re not really the character, but let’s pretend they truly believe they’re living the script, then suddenly having it dawn on them they’ve only been performing for an audience. How strange it would seem to onlookers if said cast member were break the fourth wall out of nowhere, starting to shout out, “None of this is real! It’s a lie! All make believe!!”

The audience, in return, would know this to be true.

“Isn’t that why we came here?”



30 points

please submit all work to with the subject “Module #7 – Your HOL Name

Meditation (10 points)

“Half Scroll” / 50 words

Spend some time in reflection of this month’s lesson. Rather than actively thinking about the topic, find stillness and simply notice. What comes up for you? Don’t get too hung up on any particular memories, images, concepts, or feelings that arise, but do take note. Each time something pops up, acknowledge it, then return to centering yourself. Perhaps following your breath with each inhale and exhale as you re-anchor into the quietness. We can tend to have easily active Monkey Minds that want to jump around a lot, and we call it a meditation “practice” because over time it can become easier and easier to calm our inner chatter, as well as doing so for longer periods of time. Some days are more overactive than others, but just because we keep becoming distracted doesn’t mean we’re doing anything wrong. It’s like any muscle, the more you work at it the more you see the strengthening benefits in other areas of your life. After you’ve spent five minutes or so seeing what bubbles up, spend another five minutes jotting these things down. This can be listed as short bullet points with or without addition details, essentially in any brainstorm style you prefer. The goal is to quickly write out as much as you can remember, however seemingly insignificant, or any last minute ideas to get it all out of your head without worrying too much about how cohesive your notes are once written down. You may include anything that has to do with preparing for, practicing, and wrapping up your meditation experience if you’ve used any music/props/scents, and such.

Monologue (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Consider what you’ve written down from your brainstorm. What jumps out at you that’s wanting to be explored a little more deeply? Come up with a topic based around these meditations and write an essay about your personal perspective on the matter. This could be a single aspect or multiple elements from your list. In addition to sending in via e-mail, you feel like sharing with your peers go ahead and post this to the corresponding “Monologues” thread at the Class Forum with or without including your “Meditation” and/or “Mindfulness” responses added in together. This is voluntary and will not effect your points one way or another, however it will add to our community vibe and could stir up conversations or contribute toward any “Mining” points others may wish to accrue over time.

• Mindfulness (5 points)

“Quarter-Scroll” / 25 words

In what way(s) is this month’s Power currently in- or out-of-balance in your life? Is there anything you could do, communicate, or adjust that would help either regain or maintain this balance, and/or in what ways might you already be doing this, whether you’ve fully realized it or not?



30 points

Choose any TWO of the following prompts.

Extra Credit options may NOT be used in place of Assignment work.

In addition to submitting via e-mail, you are encouraged to please share these publicly in the corresponding “Extra Credit” thread over on the Class Forum wherever comfortable. While this will not effect your points earned, it will encourage interactions by providing additional ways for people to connect. Particularly those who take part in the “Mining” portions of these exercises over time if they enjoy or relate to your work and choose to touch base on something you may have shared within their own writing.

Manifestation (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Write some kind of a Short Story or Poem that revolves around this month’s Power. Let those creative juices flow! Please note that regardless of number of lines, even poetry submissions must adhere to the 150 word requirement for full credit.

Memory (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Share a story from your past that reminds you of this month’s Power. This may be from your real life (keeping privacy rules in mind), and/or experiences you’ve had here at HOL.

Media (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Based on your reflections from this month’s lesson, choose one piece of media you find in any way to relate to these concepts floating around. This could be a book, television show, movie, musical album, etc., and doesn’t have to be something completely new to yourself, so long as it speaks to you as connecting to the vibe you’re associating with this energy. Perhaps you’ll go into detail about why you chose this in particular, along with what aspects correspond most appropriately with your sense of this month’s power. What’s your general opinion of your selection’s strengths or weaknesses? Anything unexpected or enlightening come up along the way? Include whatever you feel compelled to share!

Mining (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Head over to the Class Forum and explore. If you find something written in a previous post that in your mind relates to this month’s power in any way which inspires you to further expand or reflect upon, you can use this as an option for Extra Credit here. You’re welcome to poke around or ‘mine through’ the past years of work shared from previous members of the class to find thoughts, concepts, theories, or stories that strike a chord in you and help point toward something you may wish to write about here.


++ Please Note: in accordance with official HOL School Timelines, NO EXTENSIONS are permitted past end of semester deadlines. “Muggle Studies: Hidden Powers” is a One Term ClassAny Assignment, Extra Credit, or Exam MUST be received by 11:59pm HOL-time on January 15th (for Fall), then June 15th (for Spring) in order to qualify for House Points or a Quill unless a minimal grace period has already been granted. ++