30 Days of Paganism: Day 5 Beliefs – Magic, spellcraft, mysticism and various woo shit

04 Nov

I’m still way behind on this meme, but I am chugging away at it. It’s not a good year for grandparents though, my paternal grandfather has just entered hospice and is not expected to last long. He’s the opposite of my grandmother who lingered and I was ready for it, Grandpa was just here for my brother’s Ordination. I feel like I’m on eggshells for the call that I need to make my way down to Florida.

But I still have things to write! I’m breaking this one into sections, because I have different feelings about all of them.

Magic: In short, I’m wary. No matter what some blowhards might say, magic and witchcraft ran rampant through Hellenic religions. Whether it be through curses (which yes, would involve gods), or amulets, a lot of sympathetic magic was going on. And that doesn’t even get into later magic systems which stemmed from Hellenic ideas.

But I personally get wary, because magic seems so nebulous. Is it strictly supernatural? Does it include religious prayer and ritual? Otherword travelling? I rarely get good straight answers and so my answer when people ask me if I practice magic, I question back with “Well, what’s magic?”. That’s always been more productive to me. If they include trance states and prayer, or my dancing, then by all means I practice magic. I will live it through my life.

But if they say its witchcraft, or pulling ingredients together to affect the natural world, then the answer is mostly no, I don’t currently practice it. I’ll deal with the energy I can pull together from myself, but dealing with stones and gems, herbs and colors doesn’t do it for me. Same for Ceremonial. It works great for others, but it isn’t for me, at least not at this time.

I feel like magic is a term much like pagan. Everyone uses it and means something different.

Spellcraft: Shorter answer, assuming spellcraft refers to the type of assembly magic, I don’t really practice it. I have in the past and I may in the future, but currently, it’s not my sort of thing. You wouldn’t know this by my bookshelf though. The back half might as well be a witchcraft source guide. I have thing, it’s called curiosity and I will always be willing to revisit my ideas

Mysticism: This is more my bag. I’m at work right now, and my at work book is The Mystic Heart, which I stole from my father (who then sent me a bunch of other books which I need to finish reading). I don’t quite agree with mysticism being the universal path, not the way they do, but I do think that religions in general suffer from a lack of mysticism.

Why suffer? Religion isn’t practical for everyone. For some, religion is an absolutely needed and essential part of life, but for others, it’s just something they do and it’s expected of them. Religion is part of the everyday, but in a form that can feel rote — memorization, saying the words and not looking towards the meaning.

To me, mysticism is the search for meaning in communication with the Divine. I’m not certain of any universal truth, or, even if there is one, that it is knowable. Since I’m usually okay with sitting in the liminal areas of life, this works for me. I will seek out my gods to touch whatever I can.

but I can’t sit to do that — for me, I find that while dancing, in really seeing the natural world, and just …moments that happen, that feel out of time and sync.

Religious mysticism, for those who aren’t so rote-minded, who feel discouraged, can be the blood and bones of their spiritual work. We don’t talk about it much, outside of paganism and traditions that aren’t Western in origin, which is such a shame.

But it is also a practice. I have to be open for these experiences and sometimes I have to seek them out. That’s what the dancings for and my small, light, trancework. I’m having trouble getting any deeper than that, my adhd naturally interferes enough that a stray thought jerks me out of it. It’s unsettling, trust me.

Instead of various woo shit, I have to say — sometimes, I have a hard time believing myself. Skepticism is a great tool, and sometimes, I can’t even believe myself and my own experiences. I take this as a tool, being able to discern what unsettles me. My open mind won’t let my brains fall out.

Thank goodness, that would be a mess!

1 Comment

Posted by on November 4, 2010 in Uncategorized



One response to “30 Days of Paganism: Day 5 Beliefs – Magic, spellcraft, mysticism and various woo shit

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