It occurred to me today that I don’t have a picture of the elements up on my wall, and that it was about time I printed one out and slapped it up there. So I went on a bit of an odyssey for the right image. I found many beautiful pieces of art, from pictures of the Elements themselves as gems, to images of their current manifestations (necklace, necklace, necklace, crown thingy, necklace, necklace, …), to abstract interpretations of what the virtues themselves are supposed to mean. I even found some truly inspiring pics of the Mane Six. But there was one piece above all that really stuck out.
It’s not terribly epic. It’s not niftily abstract. It’s just a very well done vector of the elements as first we see them in Episode 2. It’s not the sort of thing that typically makes your jaw drop and say “Sweet Celestia, what beautiful art!” But it’s what ended up on my wall to inspire me in my daily life, and in my brain-itty brain as I write up little essays like this. Why?
The most potent magic in the entire world sat there and gathered moss. For a thousand years! This Grail, this reservoir of positive energy, these relics so powerful that they can weaponize the magic of friendship itself and channel it into an unstoppable force of good in the world, these items so powerful that they established Celestia and Luna’s sovereignty when used to conquer Discord…
Without pure hearts to guide them, they’re nothing more than a useless bunch of rocks.
I love the Mane Six, and frequently derive joy and inspiration from their various exploits. Acts of nobility, acts of selfishness, acts of redemption. Lessons learned. Wrongs forgiven by understanding friends.
But when I think of the Elements of Harmony, I don’t just think only of what the Mane Six have achieved, but what has yet to be achieved. What I might one day achieve.
That crumbling structure in the castle: it’s a sleeping giant—a power waiting to be awoken. It’s in all of us – this magic. Every time we give comfort to our friends, or even strangers; every time we’re kind and generous; when we summon the courage to live with integrity, and to be honest regardless of the personal cost; when we share joy with our fellow man through benevolent laughter; when we are loyal and true to ourselves, our beliefs, and our friends, then we get a little bit closer to that magic.
Sometimes, in your finest moments, you can get a taste of that power. Wield it even! (Just a little bit). And in your darkest hour, when you’ve screwed up, and that magic feels so very far away? Just remind yourself that you are defined as a person not just by what you find, but also by what you seek.
The real point is that process of picking yourself up and trying again—of endeavoring to be a better person, of hungering for that magic in your life, of charging for it with all you have. The Elements of Harmony are unfathomably powerful, but they are still paperweights without a heart to live in.
A grail is meant to be quested for. Otherwise, it’s just a cup. The Elements? Some dusty old rocks in a weird fountain-statue-looking thingy in a faraway castle.
The real magic is you.
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