The tricky question of magic; A rational approach…





“…The tricky question of magic

Magic is not focal or central to paganism. Pagans can be pagans without using or believing in magic.

The association of paganism and magic is to some extent a historical accident. And from the point of view of the scientific pantheist, this association is unfortunate.

One tenet of scientific pantheism is to keep an open mind. Fifty years ago mainstream medicine would never have accepted that the mind can influence the course of disease. Today the placebo effect is well proven and quite strong. We know that the state of the mind can affect the state of the immune system and the course and prognosis of many illnesses.

So scientific pantheism would be obliged to keep an open mind about magic. Our minds can influence our own bodies, our actions, our determination, our focus and concentration. We may also become more persuasive, more able to influence others to do as we would like. If we “psych” ourselves up sufficiently, we are often capable of feats that seemed almost impossible.

But can our minds control matter, other than our own bodies, directly? Can they influence other minds out of our physical reach, just by thinking? If these things were possible, it would mean that the human mind were separate from matter, and able to move through time and space independently of the body. To accept this would involve a radical rethink of the scientific pantheist outlook, of science as a whole, and of most people’s normal ways of looking at the world.

As Carl Sagan remarked: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Before the reality of magic is regarded as fact, before we radically revise science and philosophy, there would have to be the most rigorous and repeated tests showing a clear effect, far beyond what could be expected by chance. Until such evidence is available, the empirical pantheist would do well to withhold believe in magic.

It may well be that, even when magic appears to be successful, other explanations are much more likely. For example, humans regularly overestimate the odds against many types of coincidence in a world with 5,700 million inhabitants, and may attribute coincidence to the workings of providence or of magic. We may forget the times when things didn’t work out the way we wanted, more readily than we forget the times when they did….”


Art title: ‘ Cosmic muse’ by artist: ~ Daily Inspirationby RazielMB @

Notes from the artist: “Daily Inspiration Shadowness

My art is dedicated to my Muse, my wife! Tomorrow is her birthday. ❤
Ich liebe dich meine Göttin!!!  ❤ “