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Author Topic: Atheism and witchcraft  (Read 11757 times)
Adept Member
Last Login:June 03, 2011, 01:52:13 am
United States United States

Religion: ergghhhmmmmnnnnn....
Posts: 1997

Did the big meanies break yer speshulness

Blog entries (48)

« Reply #3: September 11, 2010, 12:07:51 pm »

If you consider yourself an atheist - or nontheist - and practice or believe in witchcraft, can I pick your brain a bit? Or if you have some other reason to have thoughts to offer, please share!

Is your atheism simply a nonbelief in the literal existence of deity/ies, but you believe in spirits or Spirit? Do you believe in the supernatural? What is your understanding of how magic works?

I'm really interested in hearing perspectives on this... I think my personal idea of witchcraft would fit pretty well in an atheist framework, but I've never had reason to explore it. 

My current take on deity, comes from the belief that the world is how it is.  It is a complex and connected system of order and there is no "right" way to navigate that order.  In my view, the practice of worshiping deity attempts to create a path through the system that is life that will validate the journey rewarding 'correct' behavior and putting obstacles in the way of or when incorrect behavior occurs.

From my experiences, it just ain't so.  It reminds me of a line from a book where the narrator is talking about speaking to gals who are just starting off in life, and they have this amazing hope and belief that if they are just good enough, then the world will be a good place, and then all this terrible shit comes down the line and they wonder what they did to deserve it - and the answer really is absolutely nothing.  They did nothing wrong but sometimes life sucks and you just do your best to survive it.  There is no placating the storm.  There is no good enough.

So I don't go in for the deity thing.  I used to.  I still do enjoy the way the time I worked towards faith shaped my character - or perhaps my personality led me towards faiths that were a bit closer to my natural inclinations.  I'd probably say a combination.  I appreciate that I'm not the only one to go through life as I do, and I've found some useful tools for keeping the roof off my shoulders in my travels.

I do believe in spirit, not in the 'your totem animal is' sense, or in the 'spirit sought me out' sense, but in something that exists within everything and that can be observed, pursued and learned from - as well as interacted with.  Whether you pursue spirit effectively depends on how well you work with it. 

Back to the complex system thing.  I think that spirit in many ways is like a web that reacts to the order that we don't always see, and through effective observation of spirit you can sometimes get some pretty good warnings and indications of what would and wouldn't be good ideas.

Magic, for me is the effective pursuit of spirit.  The steps that you take to interact with that web.  While you can interact, there's only so much you can change and the real changes come from finding the currents and knowing what roads go where you want to be and what roads cost what you don't want to pay. 

I've purged most of my magical practice and distilled it down to a lot of dream work and just knowing work.  Knowing how to ask the web for what I want and seeing the places where the roads cross.  I think that might not be practical for someone who was just starting out, because it's the culmination of all of the years of magical practice that built the connections between visceral and intellectual and later I worked to take out the carrier material. 

I struggle with figuring out how I'm going to teach my boys this, because I on one hand don't think it could be taught without all the mental sit ups and research and time in pagan 101.  I have an issue building a theistic practice with them (which they both seem to want/ need at this stage in life - they need a face that sees them to interact with spirit) because they are too young to understand the impersonal nature of nature that keeps the balance between getting spirit drunk and making yourself ineffective in tracking spirit because you can't see past what's in front of you.


I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir

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