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Magic?

Discussion in 'Neopagan or Revival Religions' started by Boethiah, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Boethiah

    Boethiah Penguin

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    I'm trying to learn more about the various pagan beliefs, and I've been wondering about magic. From my own understanding, magic is somewhat like prayer, except magic creates a result of some kind because it is apart of nature, whereas prayer is hit and miss because it is asking for guidance from a separate figure. Is this comparison apt?

    Also, how widespread is magic? I hate to group everyone into a basket by asking this, but is magic a necessity to be a pagan (of whatever persuasion) or is it just widespread? Are there any pagan religions that don't tend to practice magic, or does it just vary from person to person?

    Also, in what sense is magic used? Is it used to offer thanks to a God, to create a desired effect, to grow spiritually, etc? All of the above? None of the above? I am not well versed.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Rainbow Mage

    Rainbow Mage Lib Democrat/Agnostic/Epicurean-ish/Buddhist-ish

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    Well to offer the Kemetic view on magic, which we call heka- Magic is not something that's really separate from the universe or life itself. The word heka means to speak with authority, so even prayer is magic. Magic can't be avoided, so hence, we all do magic. I think the majority view is that to want something enough to actually exert yourself for it and then get it would also be magic.
     
  3. Boethiah

    Boethiah Penguin

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    So the Kemetic view of magic is that magic is infused in the fiber of existence itself?
     
  4. Rainbow Mage

    Rainbow Mage Lib Democrat/Agnostic/Epicurean-ish/Buddhist-ish

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    Yes and I'm fairly certain that other Pagan religions agree.
     
  5. Boethiah

    Boethiah Penguin

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    Then, magic exists in everyday life and in ritual?
     
  6. Rainbow Mage

    Rainbow Mage Lib Democrat/Agnostic/Epicurean-ish/Buddhist-ish

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    Yes, I would say it does. Here's an example of magic that people wouldn't think about: If you've ever been really angry with someone and wished something bad would happen to them and then it did, you did magic by accident. You may not have meant to, but you did.
     
  7. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

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    I'm not sure that comparison is great, prayer can be about more than just guidance. But this is a discussion on magic, so I'll leave that by the side lines. Magic, or Magick as Crowley spelt it, is change in accordance with will. For what it's worth, I am more in line with Crowley's way of thinking on the subject of Magick. In order for change to occur in accordance with your true will (perform an act of magic), you have to transcend your ego and your conscious, socially conditioned mind through spiritual practise and meditation, and realise your order in the universe. The universe will bend to your true will because all true will is aligned with the universe, the universe will not bend to hedonistic and egotistical whims.

    There is no necessary doctrine or belief to be Pagan, though a belief in one or another magical tradition is common among those of a Pagan orientation. I'm struggling to think of any 'mainstream' (for want of a better word) Pagan traditions that do not practise magic.

    You can always be forgiven for not being well versed, there are many things I am curious about but know little of. For me, Magick is used in the sense of understanding your proper place in the world, it's about realisation and transcending the ego. I am however of the highly ceremonial persuasion, you will be getting a very different answer from me than you would from others.

    Thank you for asking, if you have any more questions or would like to prompt me to clarify anything in my post please leave a reply and I will try to respond.
     
  8. Tom Terrific

    Tom Terrific Member

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    I believe there is a great misunderstanding about magick in the Pagan community. To a great degree, I think we have adopted the view of our detractors as to what magick is. This is not completely unexpected, if you think about it, since we are overwhelmingly reconstructing rather than reviving a religious tradition.

    Most people think of magick in terms of control, domination or manipulation. I don't believe it is any of these things.

    When I first embraced Witchcraft, I was taught that it was considered "black magick" to cast a spell on someone without their consent, because it was "manipulative," i.e. it treated them as an object rather than as a person having equal dignity with oneself. However, if you also believe that everything is connected and ultimately One, that everything has consciousness, etc., then why would casting a spell on "things" be different from casting them on people? Manipulation is manipulation.

    "Well," some astute person will say, "you're suggesting that I can't even raise the toilet seat without violating the dignity of the universe." Good point, but bear with me.

    One of the early criticisms by Neopagans of the Judeo-Christian culture was the way its assumption that the earth was given to man by its god to be "subdued," i.e. dominated, has led to the trashing of environments and ecosystems. To put it simply, a man owns some land and so assumes the land is his to do with as he pleases; so he builds, say, a mill, simply because he wants to. This is the same attitude operating in the mundane world as that of "black magick" in the magickal.

    "But we need a mill," you may say. "How do we get one?"

    I believe that it is man's purpose to work with Nature, or the universe if you prefer--that Nature can be related to on a personal level. The man who wants to build a mill on "his" land would, respecting Nature, go first upon the land and inquire as to whether the spirits there viewed that as a suitable use for the land. Either it would be or it wouldn't be; and, if the former, then the building of the mill would become an act of CO-CREATION, which I think is the key concept in both spheres, the mundane and the magickal.

    In the magickal sphere, magick consists not in dominating, manipulating, bending-to-one's-will of arcane forces, but in working in partnership with them to achieve a common goal. (Note: This may be the reason that fairies figure prominently in Witch lore.) Casting a spell would be leading a dance, not whipping the elements into line like a team of horses.

    This is not what people generally think of when they think of magick. People tend to think of it as some kind of technology (impersonal), just as the scientific mindset of our culture views the universe at large. It is possible for a magick-worker to abuse arcane forces, just as it is possible for a developer to pollute land; but that doesn't mean that what they are doing is right or the only way to interact with the world and "get things done."

    Tangentially, there is a deeper idea here: that the distinction between the mundane and the magickal worlds is artificial. If magick is a matter of interacting with our world to produce change, then that understanding includes the mundane as well as the conventionally magickal.

    Obviously, this attitude of mindful and respectful interaction is not something one comes to overnight. It is most easily adopted in those activities we engage in that are most atypical of our normal routines, like spell-casting or building mills. If we stopped to discuss the matter with the spirits whenever we wanted to flip a light switch or tie our shoes, we'd never leave the house. But I think that a spiritually developing individual is moving toward a level of awareness where he will be on such a level of understanding and communication with the world around him that formal discussion won't be necessary--that the person will largely *know* what is agreeable and what isn't, though in unusual situations more formal interaction might be required. Until he gets to that point, he will of necessity just have to stumble through the world like a bull in a china shop, leaving the occasional catastrophe in his wake.

    If I'm not mistaken, this style of interaction with the forces of the world is typical of shamanism, is it not? I'm not well-versed in that, so I'm not sure.
     
    #8 Tom Terrific, Feb 4, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
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