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Author Topic: Magic Without Gods?  (Read 8500 times)
Katefox
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« Topic Start: May 18, 2011, 01:21:45 pm »

I really hope I'm putting this in the right place.

Anyway, I've been looking at magic recently, and hoping it might serve as a base for my personal spirituality, which has been somewhat lacking as of late.  I've found I'm missing having ritual in my life, and I find myself rather drawn to ritual magic traditions, the Golden Dawn, and such.  The problem I'm having is that I want to stay away from working with deities, demons, or other spiritual entities, but magical practice seems to be full of them.  I haven't looked at witchcraft as much, so if there's something there that goes about magical practice in a non-deity-specific manner, I'd love to hear about it.

The thing is, there's so much information, and misinformation! out there that I'm at a bit of a loss at where to look.  My bullshit detectors are not yet so finely tuned, and it can be a bit overwhelming (plus google keeps giving me results for role-playing games, which isn't terribly helpful Tongue).  And I do much better if I have a starting point to build from.  Plus, it seems horribly disorganised, and inefficient to take a bit from here, and another bit from there, and cobble it together.  Granted I imagine I'll end up doing some of that anyway, but it would be nice to have a framework to start with.

I guess I should also say that I'm not really looking for spellcraft, as such.  I don't really have anything I feel I need to cast spells for.  I'm really hoping to use ritual as a tool for connecting with the universe, appreciation and thanksgiving, praise to Divinity (even if I can't tell you currently what I think the Divine is), that sort of thing.  But it feels incorrect to invoke deities I don't follow or believe in.

And, I really hope this jumble makes some kind of sense.  It's all rather confused in my own mind, so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not explaining myself well.  I'm also not sure if I'm getting my terminology right, so hopefully I haven't inadvertantly said something offensive.

I'm really just hoping you people can give me suggestions for resources, for places to start my research in a more productive manner than READ ALL THE THINGS. Tongue  Suggestions.  Book/website recommendations.  That sort of thing.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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« Reply #1: May 18, 2011, 02:10:33 pm »


I'm afraid I'm not much help, because my reaction is something along the lines of, "What have you been reading that treats deity-invocation as default magic?  Most magic is something completely unrelated to deities!"

I suspect the major difference is that you have a ceremonial bent (which is full of stuff like angel summonings, historically speaking), and I'm far more of a folk magician.  So I guess I'd suggest you look into folk magic stuff - some witchcraft, traditional remedies, ordinary people stuff.
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violentsound
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« Reply #2: May 18, 2011, 03:27:50 pm »

I guess I should also say that I'm not really looking for spellcraft, as such.  I don't really have anything I feel I need to cast spells for.  I'm really hoping to use ritual as a tool for connecting with the universe, appreciation and thanksgiving, praise to Divinity (even if I can't tell you currently what I think the Divine is), that sort of thing.  But it feels incorrect to invoke deities I don't follow or believe in.

And, I really hope this jumble makes some kind of sense.  It's all rather confused in my own mind, so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not explaining myself well.  I'm also not sure if I'm getting my terminology right, so hopefully I haven't inadvertantly said something offensive.

I'm really just hoping you people can give me suggestions for resources, for places to start my research in a more productive manner than READ ALL THE THINGS. Tongue  Suggestions.  Book/website recommendations.  That sort of thing.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Okay, what I'm getting from this (and I've only just had tea and conquered the hangover, so bear with me) is that ceremonial magic is unappealing because of all the bloody summonings and whatnot. But you don't want pure spellwork.

Well...

There's religious witchcraft, or some varieties of Wicca. There's also chaos magic. Both of those involve ritual, and can be non-deity specific. (If you're going traditional Wicca, then yes, there's deities involved but I know there are more eclectic practitioners out there who focus on energy or archetypes rather than specific gods.) I'm not Wiccan, so I'll be darned if I can think of great introductory books off the top of my head, but I know the Cauldron has a book review section here. I'm also a big fan of Lupa's reviews.

The Cauldron itself is a great web resource, of course. Ditto the Seeking page.

Chaos magic is a bit mind-bending at first, but it really resonates with some. Good books on Chaos Magic include Phil Hine's Condensed Chaos, Liber Null by Peter Carroll which I think you cna find online, Ramsey Dukes' S.S.O.T.B.M.E., Jan Fries' Visual Magic, aaand... what else can I see from here... Mm, I enjoyed 'Occult Experiments in the Home' by Duncan Barford.

Websites include the old Barbelith forums if they're still up (you have to dig through, but that place was THE place to be back in the 90s) and Rune Soup.

I hope that helps you get started anyway. I'm sure I'm forgetting lots.

And oh yeah... READ ALL THE THINGS.
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Katefox
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« Reply #3: May 20, 2011, 12:30:42 pm »

I suspect the major difference is that you have a ceremonial bent (which is full of stuff like angel summonings, historically speaking), and I'm far more of a folk magician.  So I guess I'd suggest you look into folk magic stuff - some witchcraft, traditional remedies, ordinary people stuff.
You're right.  I haven't looking very much at witchcraft or folk magic, at all.  I will have to do that.  Thank you for the suggestion.

----

Okay, what I'm getting from this (and I've only just had tea and conquered the hangover, so bear with me) is that ceremonial magic is unappealing because of all the bloody summonings and whatnot. But you don't want pure spellwork.
Yes, pretty much.

Quote
There's religious witchcraft, or some varieties of Wicca. There's also chaos magic. Both of those involve ritual, and can be non-deity specific. (If you're going traditional Wicca, then yes, there's deities involved but I know there are more eclectic practitioners out there who focus on energy or archetypes rather than specific gods.) I'm not Wiccan, so I'll be darned if I can think of great introductory books off the top of my head, but I know the Cauldron has a book review section here. I'm also a big fan of Lupa's reviews.
Oh, thank you.  Those book reviews look very useful.

Quote
Chaos magic is a bit mind-bending at first, but it really resonates with some. Good books on Chaos Magic include Phil Hine's Condensed Chaos, Liber Null by Peter Carroll which I think you cna find online, Ramsey Dukes' S.S.O.T.B.M.E., Jan Fries' Visual Magic, aaand... what else can I see from here... Mm, I enjoyed 'Occult Experiments in the Home' by Duncan Barford.

Websites include the old Barbelith forums if they're still up (you have to dig through, but that place was THE place to be back in the 90s) and Rune Soup.
Much like with witchcraft and folk magic, I haven't really looked into chaos magic at all.  I will have to check it out, then.

Quote
And oh yeah... READ ALL THE THINGS.
I should have expected that answer.

Thank you for all the suggestions.
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Owl
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« Reply #4: May 20, 2011, 04:46:00 pm »



Look into energy work.
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« Reply #5: May 25, 2011, 09:14:41 pm »

I've been looking at magic recently
Can you define that? When you say "magic", what does it mean to you?

Quote
The thing is, there's so much information, and misinformation! out there that I'm at a bit of a loss at where to look.  My bullshit detectors are not yet so finely tuned, and it can be a bit overwhelming (plus google keeps giving me results for role-playing games, which isn't terribly helpful
Maybe start old-school at the bookstore or library. Don't worry so much about the quality of the "information". Just go to the Wicca/New Age section and look for books that you find entertaining and interesting. You don't have to believe any of it, but you do need to be engaged. Most authors will cite other works that they found inspiring and that may help you narrow down into what you are really interested in.

Personally, I try to avoid the labels. When you hang a label on your chest you may feel you have to comply with all the advertised traits of that particular label. That isn't true. Pick and choose what you like the best and eventually certain specific labels will bubble up to the top.
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Ana
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« Reply #6: May 25, 2011, 09:27:53 pm »



My suggestion would be to look into some of the Flamekeeping posts here too, and I agree with what Owl said, and look into energy work.
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Katefox
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« Reply #7: May 25, 2011, 11:04:11 pm »

Can you define that? When you say "magic", what does it mean to you?
Umm...connecting to the world, and interacting with it in a spiritual way?  Maybe.  I don't exactly have a good working definition of what is magic in my mind, just vague ideas.  But like, ritual strikes me as inherently magical in nature.  And spellcraft seems to me to be a type of ritual, but I've hardly looked into casting spells at all, so I could be wrong in this assessment.  I think that covers it, but there is so much I don't know yet, so probably not.

Quote
Maybe start old-school at the bookstore or library. Don't worry so much about the quality of the "information". Just go to the Wicca/New Age section and look for books that you find entertaining and interesting. You don't have to believe any of it, but you do need to be engaged. Most authors will cite other works that they found inspiring and that may help you narrow down into what you are really interested in.
Do you know, I never really thought of doing that.  Like I should be going to the library with a specific book in mind, but I think I'll take your suggestion, and just go see what they have and pick out something that looks interesting.  Thanks for the idea.

Quote
Personally, I try to avoid the labels. When you hang a label on your chest you may feel you have to comply with all the advertised traits of that particular label. That isn't true. Pick and choose what you like the best and eventually certain specific labels will bubble up to the top.
Yes.  I'm coming to the conclusion that if there is an established path to fit what I'm looking for, it's probably more obscure, so I won't be labelling myself for a while.

---

My suggestion would be to look into some of the Flamekeeping posts here too, and I agree with what Owl said, and look into energy work.
Yes, I've been looking a little into energy work, now.  And it looks like something that will be useful.  Does anyone have any suggestions for good resources on the subject?

And I've been meaning to look into Flamekeeping, if only because I've never heard of it before I came here.  So it's definitely on my list of things to read about.
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