“If You’re a Witch, Why Can’t You…?”

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“If You’re a Witch, Why Can’t You…?”

From lovely “Beth’s World of Wonders”

“My friends and acquaintances sometimes tease me by saying things like, “Can’t you just do a spell to fix this problem?” “Don’t you have a crystal ball to give you the answer?”

My friends are joking, mostly. Of course they would kind of like it if I did have a crystal ball to give them the answers; but they know these stereotyped ideas about witchcraft and magic don’t apply to my practices. However, I’ve also heard these comments from acquaintances who actually don’t quite understand the problem with this reasoning. So I’d like to spell it out (no pun intended).

Common beliefs about magic assume that magic is a “supernatural” power which can counteract or reverse the laws of nature. This belief can be found in a wide variety of places, from the popular 1950’s movie Bell, Book, and Candle to the sociological and anthropological literature on witchcraft and magic. (This is particularly true about studies of magic and witchcraft in indigenous
societies, but it also holds true for many studies of modern witchcraft, for example Tanya Luhrmann’s Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft.) Given this belief, it makes sense that people want to know why I don’t have a spell to solve every problem. If magic trumps physics, chemistry, economics, and sociology, I certainly ought to be able to get myself an apartment, find out who’s going to win the next horse race, and (with enough effort) produce world peace.

The thing is that magic(k), as Witches understand it, is not a supernatural power. It is a natural power which allows us to create change in the world. This ability to create change occurs only in the context of other natural laws and powers (like gravity and conservation of mass), as well as cultural patterns. For example, economic and sociological influences, although culturally specific, are constantly affecting our lives and are certainly forces to be respected.

This doesn’t mean that magick only works psychologically and cannot affect the external world. It does mean that magick is more effective when it does not contradict major natural laws or cultural forces. For example, trying to influence the outcome of the next election doesn’t violate any natural laws, but it puts you up against some strongly entrenched political and economic forces. Trying to turn a traffic light from green to red (a la The Craft) doesn’t have major cultural ramifications, but it does go against natural laws of electricity.

Alternately, doing magick to find a job as a social worker, when I have a master’s degree in social work, does not go against any natural laws, and it doesn’t contradict our cultural beliefs and economic practices related to social work. Your magick is more likely to be effective if it meets these conditions.

I’m not sure about the boundaries of this interface – at what point it becomes impossible to influence events which are already shaped by natural laws and cultural forces. And I don’t believe it is wrong to try to influence these events, although magick may not always be the best way to do so. But it’s important to keep in mind that in magick – as in every other area of our lives – we are not all-powerful.

The bottom line: Magick is natural, not supernatural, and it is only one force among many.”

Article source: http://www.soulrebels.com/beth/whycant.html
http://www.soulrebels.com/beth/pagan.htm

 

Shared by Moro

(I’ve looked on how or how to reblog/sharing her site directly but there isn’t an option, it seems)

 

Picture title: “After the Sabbat” by artist: sasha-fantom @ http://sasha-fantom.deviantart.com/art/After-the-Sabbat-263322486

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The tricky question of magic; A rational approach…

 

 

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“…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….”

http://www.pantheism.net/paul/pagan.htm

Moro

Art title: ‘ Cosmic muse’ by artist: ~ Daily Inspirationby RazielMB @ http://razielmb.deviantart.com/art/Cosmic-muse-Daily-Inspiration-436931139

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!!!  ❤ “