Wind & Wizardry

From an intense marathon of on-line performances in the Winter of 2021 my enviromagic has made a windswept return to in-person performing. Both have made for epic adventure…

My on-line magic shows for Waterbury began with several performances for the Library on recycling and water

The silver lining to Covid distance learning was the opportunity to perform for Waterbury school children stuck at home. My calendar quickly filled up once the coordinators of several after-school programs learned of my ability to deliver educational magic shows to their students during their afternoon sessions. Performing more than 40 shows in 60 days was exhausting, exhilarating and extremely fulfilling. Students enjoyed a magical break from their studies and more typical on-line experiences. They also responded by asking insightful questions about recycling, trash and what they could recycle in their bins at home. And the additional silver lining…. I did not have to “haul” my show to each school, set it up and re-pack it after each performance. The three on-line shows I developed over the winter were all kept with lights, camera and backdrop in my office. Both the physical and the magical were in many ways easier.

Performing water magic under an open sky at the Rocky Hill Earth Day celebration

I returned to in-person performing in late April sharing “Earth Day Magic”, a new show, with several communities. This show is themed even more fully with my wizardly spin on environmental education: I am here to educate the audience on how to be heroes for our world. In Earth Day magic I share the powerful steps we can all take to recycle, protect water and choose clean energy. This is all wrapped within the wisdom of “The Wizard’s Ancient Secret”: “everything is connected.” This truth reminds us that our ability to help protect our planet is greater than we may realize.

As if the excitement and challenge of returning to in-person performing were not enough I had to relearn how best to work with an old partner and sometimes nemesis: wind. Despite my love for wind as element and provider of clean energy I do not hold that love for the capricious nature of its gusts and breezes. In years past these would blow props off stage, ruin the effect of an otherwise marvelous moment of paper magic and topple my hat from atop my head. This Spring, however, I planned well. I re-tooled Earth Day Magic to be nigh windproof! I replaced routines focused on paper and aluminum foil recycling with one using heavy steel cans, for example. Wind got the last laugh, however, blowing my grand hat from my head during a show. The audience got a good laugh and we all welcomed a return to some degree of normalcy.

Presenting youthful attendees with a certificate extends the magic of the show and serves as a reminder that the power to protect our world is in their hands. This splendid artwork was created by Craig Conley, a.k.a. “Professor Oddfellow”

Who is Championing the Environment in 2020?

This one question has many answers…and that is a very good thing. Recently I was honored to receive Aquarion’s Environmental Champion Award for my efforts in using magic to inspire and empower the public. Aquarion also presented Environmental Champion Awards to other businesses and individuals working to protect our planet. I am happy to be in good company and to see such good work being done.

The bigger answer, however, is even better. My goal is not to “save the world” by championing the environment through magic shows. Instead, I want to win the hearts and minds of audience members with the message that it is their efforts that will make the difference. Ideally, following the experience of one of my shows, they see themselves as environmental champions. Almost as good is when my audience members recycle more, waste less, conserve water, energy and wilderness not because they are “environmental champions” but simply because doing so now makes sense.

photo by Debbi Morello Republican American

Thank you for joining me on this journey! With enough environmental champions we will make a world of difference!

Reach me to plan for a brighter and greener 2021! 203-737-0475

#environmentalchampion #environmentaleducation #enviromagic #cyrilthesorcerer

Summer & Sorcery!

The Conjuring Connection

a Newsletter for Friends & Supporters of Better World Magic

Hello and Happy Summer!

In these troubled times I encourage you to find restoration for your heart and spirit in Nature.  The cancellation of the live performances I had scheduled for the busy Earth Day season of Spring provided a silver lining.  Weekends and evenings became more free.  I had the time to get outdoors with family, dog and on my own.  No enviromagic I will ever perform will ever equal that we can all experience by walking out the door.  This photo is of a recent family hike.


To continue public outreach on recycling, water, energy and other topics for the citizens of Waterbury I have shifted venues from school and library to Facebook and YouTube.  

During Covid I share a valuable secret from Harry Houdini.  I hope you will watch this three minute video to see the vital lesson Houdini offers to us.  He learned this lesson overcoming childhood poverty and other substantial challenges in his own hard times.


For enviromagic presentations and performances geared towards professionals and other adults please visit my other website:  Better World Magic!

Enjoy the summer and keep your own magic going!

– Cyril “CJ” May


Cyril the Sorcerer



Who Will Save the World?

Sharing MAGITRICITY with attendees at the Connecticut Science Center

Legend, folktale, fantasy novel and magic-themed epic movie all agree:

It will not be an old wizard who saves the world.  It is the role of old wizards to help the younger heroes of these stories to do that job.

Merlin schools young King Arthur.
 Gandalf guides Bilbo & Frodo.

Dumbledore trains Harry Potter.

Following this tradition I seek to enchant, educate and empower my audiences so that they have the confidence, knowledge and skills to protect our planet.

Let us work together!

I am offering a number of enviromagic shows this year!

All shows are suitable, or adaptable, for audiences of any age:


MAGITRICITY introduces the basics of energy and climate change.  It teaches that everyone has the power to save energy, save money and save the planet.  It began as a companion piece to an exhibit on climate change at the Yale Peabody Museum.

WATER WIZARD uses Vegas-level water magic to share important information on conserving and protecting our planet’s most precious resource.  It incorporates the master level wizardry that my teacher, Master Magician Jeff McBride, used to best Penn & Teller on their TV show “Fool Us.”

RECYCLING IS MAGIC has been my mainstay show for more than 15 years.  In a story of monsters, magic & too much trash, a wandering wizard learns that recycling is the best magic to cure the woes of a village beset by messy ogres.

LITTLE FAIRIES, BIG MAGIC teaches the importance of humans, animals (and fairies) sharing wilderness. It was created for fairy festivals but succeeds in providing its fun and important message in all settings.


RESOURCERY presents environmental magic and environmental learning on a variety of topics in a TED Talk fashion.  While Resourcery is usually shared with professionals and other adults as part of training programs and conferences, it can be adapted for younger audiences.

Let us work together to empower this,
and the next, generation of heroes!


Conjuring a Better Climate

Hello and Happy 2019!

2018 began with water magic and ended with energy magic.  Water magic was assisted by teachers from America’s Hogwarts, McBride’s Magic & Mystery School.  New lessons in energy magic came from people working in the nuts & bolts world of training the next generation of energy experts.  Let me explain.

Eric Gribin shows area middle school students how they can help the planet and make a future for themselves with a career in clean energy


Sharing MAGITRICITY with attendees at the Connecticut Science Center


WATER WIZARD grew out of my desire to share the magic of our planet’s most precious resource with audiences.  With the help of Master Magician Jeff McBride, Dean Larry Hass and others at the real-life school for wizards, I created a show of 25 minutes which empowers audiences to care for our water planet (More on the adventure of learning Vegas-level water magic in a previous post). They learn how to be water wizards, conserving and protecting water whether it is coming from their own tap or traveling into an ocean downstream.  In 2019 I will be sharing it with water experts to help my messaging be as powerful and professional as is the magic I learned from Las Vegas.

MAGITRICITY began many years ago as a companion piece to an exhibit on climate change hosted by Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.  Like Water Wizard, it empowers audiences with basic knowledge about humanity’s relationship with Nature, in this case climate & energy.  Through the show, and fliers provided at the end of the show, it offers direction and hope on how to save energy, save money and help save the planet.  Near the end of 2018 MAGITRICITY received a noble invitation to take the stage again from Eric Gribin, Director of the Energy Management Program at Tunxis Community College.  Working with Megan Dempsey of the Connecticut Science Center, Eric and I provided more than just magic and information about the environment and energy.  Eric engaged the young people in energy analysis demonstrations and inspired them to see their future in the clean energy field.

What magic does 2019 hold for you?  What suggestions have you for Water Magic & Energy Magic in the upcoming year?  I would love to hear from you!

– Cyril John “CJ” May a.k.a. Cyril the Sorcerer

“Everything is connect” is a fundemental truth I share in Water Wizard, MAGITRICITY and my other enviromagic shows.



Helping the Planet Through Vegas Magic: Environmental Magician Learns the Secret that Fooled Penn & Teller


Master Magician Jeff McBride bested Penn & Teller on their Fool Us TV Show with his most recent version of “Rainmaker”, his water bowls routine. He has shared his secrets with Cyril May to aid him in greening the planet one magic show at a time.

November 15, 2017

Environmental magician and Resourcerer, CJ May recently returned from a residency at the Vegas “House of Mystery” where he studied the secrets of the Water Bowls with Jeff McBride, the master magician who bested Penn & Teller on their network TV show “Fool Us”. May seeks to use this groundbreaking magic routine to help the planet by teaching his audiences about the wonder of water.

Before his appearance on the Penn & Teller hit series “Fool Us”, Jeff McBride had experimented and refined his water bowls routine over more than 30 years. Having welcomed Connecticut native CJ May to his House of Mystery, and the Magic & Mystery School for which it serves as home, McBride invited May to learn the water bowls. McBride loved May’s use of magic for environmental education in his shows on recycling, energy and, of course, water.  McBride and May began preparations for this sharing of secrets long before McBride took his beloved water bowls routine, named “Rainmaker”, to national television.

May now has the training for the routine as well as two gleaming “magic bowls”. Anyone is welcome to examine them, however, for as May says “the magic is not in the bowls, it is in water.  That is the most vital lesson and magic I can ever share.”

Master Magician Jeff McBride schools environmental magician Cyril May in The Water Bowls.  – McBride’s Magic & Mystery School. Las Vegas

In addition to the McBride Magic & Mystery School, Cyril John “CJ” May has studied at another venerable institution key to his role as “spokeswizard” for the planet. May graduated with a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

May performs his environmental magic around the country as well as internationally. When performing environmental magic shows for children he assumes the role of “Cyril the Sorcerer”. When giving his TED Talk style presentations and training programs, with magic included, to professionals and other adults he is “Cyril John May – The Resourcerer.

Supporting May in taking his magic to “The Vegas Level” has been TOMRA, North America. TOMRA is a manufacturer of recycling sorting equipment. May met representatives of TOMRA in 2016 when they shared the podium in presenting at a professional development event for classroom teachers. In partnership, TOMRA funded May’s water bowl studies in exchange for environmental magic and related work.


Keywords: Environmental Penn Teller water magic Las Vegas McBride recycling Yale

Travel by Magic

Harry Potter carries on the ancient tradition of wizards flying upon the backs of hippogriffs. This beautiful drawing was done by Di Acra

“As a modern sorcerer of sustainability it is fitting that I travel upon wind and sunlight.”

As a sorcerer I continue the ancient tradition of traveling by magic.  According to historic accounts, ancient sorcerers might ride upon hippogriffs, the offspring of the mythical griffin and a mare.  Flying brooms and magic carpets were well-known as methods of transport for witches and other wonder workers far before Harry Potter and Disney’s Aladdin.

When I need to “feed” my “hippogriff” away from home I make use of the EV charging stations popping up around the nation.

As a modern sorcerer of sustainability it is fitting that I travel upon wind and sunlight.  In contrast to the wizards of old my transport is of a new sort for a new age:  a Nissan Leaf.  Fueled by the solar energy generated on our roof, and the grid-based electricity which Connecticut allows us to source from the zero-carbon generators of solar and wind, the Leaf does not pollute or contribute to climate change.  This fully electric vehicle may not have the range of a gasoline vehicle or even the gas-electric Prius which I have so enjoyed owning.  But then again, I don’t imagine the hippogriffs of ancient sorcerers could fly forever either.

Of Water & Wizardry

Happy World Water Day! (March 22nd)

Photo by Lisa Kereszi

In 2017 I will travel to the desert to study the magic of water with a master wizard who runs a school of wizardry.  Literally.  I will take on this quest not only in pursuit of grand adventure and better magic but also so that I can use what I learn to inspire audiences with the importance of water.

The school to which I will return is McBride’s Magic & Mystery School of Las Vegas.  The Image result for jeff mcbride water bowlsMaster Magician, and school’s Founder, is Jeff McBride.  Although I may look more like Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, youthful-appearing Jeff McBride has acclaim in the real world equal to that of the great wizard in Harry Potter novels.  I have been fortunate to receive Jeff’s support of my magical studies and my use of “enviromagic” (Jeff’s term) for environmental education.  When the opportunity arose to learn one of his master work routines, The Water Bowls, we both agreed that the time was right.  My “Magic of Water” magic show already shares the wonder of water and the power we all have to conserve and protect it.   Jeff’s Water Bowls routine will improve this show, bringing it to the “Vegas Level”.  The Water Bowls routine is wordless but powerful for Image result for jeff mcbride house of mysterythe story it shares of human interaction with water as the source of life.  It will bring a very important and perhaps spiritual lesson to a show which already delivers messages of fact and science.  I look forward to learning this routine and to the time spent studying closely with a master magician.

Home  As a sustainability professional I must also offer thanks and gratitude to the environmental educators and officials who work tirelessly to ensure our waters remain abundant and clear.  This year I was able to partake in a unique training day in which the ties between waste and water were demonstrated for classroom teachers in Waterbury, CT and elsewhere.  TOMRA and Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) hosted Project WET, a national training and curriculum provision program, that brings water-focused activities to classrooms and nature centers nationwide.  Their efforts may not be magic shows in the strict sense of the word, but the fun and enlightenment that they bring to children can literally make all the difference in the world.

Enjoy World Water Day as well as the blessing, and magic, of water!

#worldwaterday #magic #water #enviromagic #spokeswizard #brasscitybuzz


Magic in Iceland

img_3001Iceland is a country renowned as a land of fire and ice, Viking settlers and northern lights.  I was fortunate to take in this magical landscape after performing “Recycling is Magic” for several schools in the Reykjavik area.  While I enjoyed sharing my environmental magic with my Icelandic audiences, the utter elemental beauty of the country reminded me that Nature is the greatest magician.

This adventure began with a magic to rival that of Iceland’s beauty:  love.   My wife and I decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary with a visit to a land for which we had such longing.   We were able to combine our own celebration with a partnership with Landervernd, Iceland’s most prominent environmental organization.  I worked with Landvernd’s Caitlin Wilson, Margret Hugadalfholsskoli-kids-and-cjottir and Gundmundur “Mummi” Gudbrandsson (a fellow graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies) to create a bi-lingual version of “Recycling is Magic” for elementary school children.  We made some cultural as well as language changes.  For example, my American “ogres” became Icelandic “trolls”, a strong cultural tie.

Given the love that Icelanders have for their majestic landscape I was surprised to learn that their recycling efforts are mixed at this point.  Reykjavik has curbside pick-up for residences, but recycling at businesses and other locales around the island nation is very intermittent.  As such my offer of recycling magic shows tied well into Landvernd’s efforts to help Icelandic schools participate in a growing international green school effort:  Eco Schools.  It was nice to contribute my own small bit of magic to help such a splendid land in its work to protect its environment.  #iceland #enviromagic #spokeswizard #recyclingmagic #recycling

Municipal Magician

One of the most magical moments of 2015 for me was being asked by IMG_1896the Mayor of Waterbury, CT to return to full-time work as a sustainability professional so that I could use my magic to increase the Brass City’s recycling rate.   I have become, for lack of a more accurate term, the world’s first municipal magician.   I am delighted that the Mayor as well as others in Waterbury support this mix of “sorcery” with sustainability.   I incorporate magic into outreach while visiting neighborhoods, knocking on doors and delivering bins.  I introduce myself to parents and children in the waiting rooms at the City’s Health and Education Departments, levitating a bottle to show them the magic of recycling.  I empower school children with my magic so that they realize the power they possess to change the world one can, bottle and piece of paper at a time.

One very powerful bit of magic I use to share a very practical truth is producing an enormous “wad” of cash from an empty garbage can:   after telling on-lookers that Waterbury gets paid for its recyclables I continue by saying that tossing them into the trash is 2014-10-20 21.33.48tossing away (presto!)…MONEY.   I am repurposing magician’s magic for a new purpose beyond that of entertainment.   It not only delights, but it also educates.

To ensure I am successful as a “spokeswizard” for Waterbury, I learn from local and national allies, both magical and otherwise.   David Copperfield (photoed with me) was kind enough to chat with me before his evening show in Las Vegas.  The world’s most famous and successful magician, he was humble in admitting that there is no secret formula to great magic.   He felt his success is due to constant innovation, hard work and a certain amount of experimentation.  He has also assembled an amazing team of other experts to support his work.   I am fortunate in having the support of Master Magician Jeff McBride (photoed with mask) and the very real faculty of The McBride Magic & Mystery School, a real-life Hogwarts for modern magicians.  Jeff has been Magic Castle’s Magician of the Year, is a Guinness World Record Holder, and carries more honors than I can list here.  The classes, lectures, consultations and personal teaching of Jeff and these other masters of the mystic arts have aided me in my efforts to protect the environment in more ways than even they can fully realize.

One of the secrets that David Copperfield and I did JeffMcBridenot discuss is that along with other successful entertainers he is an expert at making a personal connection with his audience.  He structures his show to make sure that “tricks” and “wonders” are interwoven with personal stories,
conversations with volunteers and other very-human interactions.  We may be astounded by his magic but we love him, and so many others, because of who they are.

I follow this interactive model while door knocking on the streets of Waterbury, meeting people at events in the Silas Bronson Library, or visiting a block party.    It may be the magic of magicians that gets their attention, but it is likely that it will be the magic of a very human interaction that wins them over.   After performing recycling magic for my impromptu audiences at Health and Education I introduce myself to each family and take their address if they need a bin.  I make sure to deliver the bin within a few days personally.  I put their address on the bin and call or knock on the door while dropping this off.  This refreshes our personal connection and gives them some sense that there is a “kinder, gentler” component to Waterbury Recycling than they may have experienced elsewhere in our very big world.   It is with this combination of interactions, both magical and human, that we will together “vanish” much of Waterbury’s trash bill and “transform” not only cans and bottles but also a City’s sense of itself…at least with respect to recycling.

I still bring my magic to other communities beyond Waterbury.   I recently performed at the 25th Anniversary celebration for CleanRiver, a manufacturer of high-end recycling stations based near Toronto.  Sharing recycling magic with their guests, as well as sharing the magic of energy, water and wilderness with others, remains a true pleasure and a devotion.  I hope our magical paths may meet up some time in 2016!

CJ May – Cyril the Sorcerer

“Magic, by its ability to capture the imagination, can change the world.”