Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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The Neopagan (non)Belief of Magic

My insightful friend lupagreenwolf said:

*There will always be people who stereotype anyone who practices magic as delusional, or "just" a kid, or whatever other demeaning, patronizing thing they want to use to try to pass us all off as nuts.*

There are those who believe that their paganism is a spiritual thing only. There are others who believe being neopagan is about the spell work. Most believe a something of both.

Here is the bizarre scene I see. I don't understand the neopagans that don't embrace magic. If is almost as if they don't believe in it, but this is really too strong of a statement. Instead, these naysayers accept magic existing only after first-hand proof and/or quasi-scientific explanation. Magic is only as big as their personal senses and recognized documentation. WFT? How can a person worship in an ecstatic way and not believe in a large and undocumented magical world? Shoot, even if the full belief is not there, there could at least be a tolerance for others embracing 'different' magical pursuits. Why not? The larger world of magic does not go away if a person closes their eyes and puts their hands over their ears.

Recognition of magic is a matter of interpretation. Even the Christians believe in their own forms of magic via demons, angels, miracles, and the overall power of prayer. Some Christians do look to the neopagan forms of magic and yell "Satan". The irony here is that these Christians are more "accepting" of neopagan magick than the neopagan naysayers. While the Christian acceptance is condescending and judgmental, it does exist and this is a weird indictment of neopagan naysayers.

What is the explanation? There are some neopagans that seem to say, "Any magic we don't do ourselves is an illusion. Real magic only happens through documented and proven methods. We would have it written down if it did exist!". I call this the anthropological approach.

As you can see, this stuff pushes a button in me. My snarky side comes out a bit. I live in a shamanic world where magic is very real and only loosely "proven". To that end I've written about the shortcomings of "anthropological approach", specifically from a shamanic perspective, in a previous article. My article's summary was this:
The point of my humor is that there is more to the personal experience of religion than just the documentation. IMO the real stuff happens outside of the documentation. To borrow an analogy, the map is not the journey and the path is not the destination. The real magick happens in a place of unseen goddesses and talking trees.

While I seem to be making a point at the expense of logical pagans, the situation illustrated by Mutt and Jeff is very much what the non-native shamanic practitioner faces. Yes, the practices are anthropologically documented. There are indigenous people "living" the traditions. Neither helps the modern seeker to truly connect with the true path. The magick is difficult to capture. The ecstatic nature of the shamanic path makes this even more so. In reality, the shamanic seeker moves beyond the documented into their own realms of ecstatic experience. The results cannot be documented. The outcome cannot be compared to a historical record for validation. The knowledge that outcome is valid is the personal historical record.
Tags: magic, magick

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