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Author Topic: Magic without religion  (Read 22952 times)
catja6
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« Reply #30: July 17, 2007, 10:17:04 am »

I'm just of the old-school, I guess - not that I think magick is all about religion, or vice-versa, but I do think there are 'laws' about using magick put in place for a reason. I've looked (and looked ... and looked ...) and most magick isn't really religion-based, just religion-guided.

Define "old-school."  A lot of the archaeological evidence for magic in ancient Europe and the Middle East consists of curse tablets, calling for destruction to rain down on the head of this or that enemy.  Likewise, Western folk magic, as collected, doesn't have anything resembling a coherent set of ethics; most folk practices adopt the trappings of the dominant religion in the area, but that doesn't mean that that religion's *ethics* are adopted -- when the dominant religion is, say, Christianity, for the most part you shouldn't be doing magic *at all*, so practicing it is already in violation of that religion's ethics.       
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« Reply #31: July 17, 2007, 10:57:16 am »

Let me ask you this, what is it that you want to use magick for? Do you have a clear outline of your necessities and the like in which to use it? Are you certain you know what you're doing? I'm having a hard time with this, really. It's like giving a baby a loaded gun; sure, they'll use it but do they really know what they're doing?


You really think that magic is akin to a gun if not guided by religious principles?  I think of magical acts as simply another arena of effort and the idea that that effort must be cloaked in a burkha of somekind to be safe and effective is just completely foreign to my frame of mind.  I don't really see how a religious stance would affect answering those questions above, either.  I could ask those same questions of a carpenter getting ready  build me a new closet or cabinet.  Power tools are certainly capable of being dangerous if used badly, after all.  But I don't see whether asking him if he is Catholic or not has jack to do with making it safer.

LIkewise, just because magic is taught in SOME religious traditions, settings, doesn't mean that is the only place one finds magic , and nor is it the only way to use magic.  It somewhat shocks me to see this attitude about magic since it harks back to medieval Church's views on laymen reading the Bible: Hey, man, let the priest tell you about it, you are too stupid to get the interpretation correct anyhow.  They were literally forbidden to read it, did you know that?  So, your questions seem in a similar vein, although perhaps you do not mean it so strongly: "Don't you need some high priestess showing you how to do this so you don't mess up?"
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« Reply #32: July 17, 2007, 11:43:22 am »

I've been wanting to start using magic for quite a while now, but everything I find is so deeply entrenched with a religion or religious set of standards that I just don't get into it.
My question is, how can I find magic that is religion-neutral.

I've been practicing magic for about eight years now. Started on wicca but felt it was to constricting (and full of to many angst filled teenagers), so I tried voodon, then Kabbalah, then ceremonial, then.... well you get the Idea.

Eventually I noticed that most systems are remarkably similar and I settled into a combination of selfstyle and choatism.

What I'm trying to say is your approaching the problem the wrong way. It doesn'y matter where you start, it matters THAT you start at all. Just dive in (not the deepend though) and trust in yourself. It'll all work out, if you approach it with your common sense in the on position.
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« Reply #33: July 17, 2007, 01:37:29 pm »

I've been practicing magic for about eight years now.

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« Reply #34: July 17, 2007, 04:50:16 pm »

You really think that magic is akin to a gun if not guided by religious principles? 

No, but I believe strongly in guidance, not just magick for the sake of doing one's own bidding. I'm just stating my opinion, and yes, I believe magick without guidance is giving a baby a loaded weapon.

If I make someone upset by my opinions, I do apologize, but not everything I say is wrong.

Sorry.

Kendra  Huh
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« Reply #35: July 17, 2007, 05:12:58 pm »


If I make someone upset by my opinions, I do apologize, but not everything I say is wrong.

Sorry.

Kendra  Huh

Kendra,

I think you might be reading too much into Syrbal's reply. The Cauldron is a discussion and debate forum. Questioning and debating is what this forum is all about. While personal attacks are not allowed, spirited debate, questioning positions, asking for sources, etc is common place.

Disagreement over views doesn't mean anyone is mad. It's just TC. It can take a bit of getting used to, but in the long run, it makes for some really valuable discussions.

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« Reply #36: July 17, 2007, 05:42:08 pm »

I've been practicing magic for about eight years now.

Welcome to The Cauldron!
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« Reply #37: July 17, 2007, 05:45:46 pm »

If I make someone upset by my opinions, I do apologize, but not everything I say is wrong.

Don't worry about that, you aren't going to upset people here by having an opinion on an issue. Others may not agree with your opinion (and will likely tell you so and probably tell you why they don't agree). That doesn't mean that you have to change your opinion or that you have upset someone. As Ocelot says, disagreeing is just something that happens on a debate and discussion board like TC.
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« Reply #38: July 17, 2007, 05:53:51 pm »

No, but I believe strongly in guidance, not just magick for the sake of doing one's own bidding.

What's wrong with doing one's own bidding, out of interest? Smiley
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« Reply #39: July 17, 2007, 06:05:38 pm »

No, but I believe strongly in guidance, not just magick for the sake of doing one's own bidding. I'm just stating my opinion, and yes, I believe magick without guidance is giving a baby a loaded weapon.

If I make someone upset by my opinions, I do apologize, but not everything I say is wrong.

Sorry.

Kendra  Huh

I don't get upset by opinions.  But I am often very curious exactly why people hold such opinions and wonder if they have been thought through to any logical conclusion.  What is wrong with doing magic for one's own intentions----I rather think that is THE point, actually.  And then, exactly who/what is qualified to be that "guidance"?  I have seen some pretty creepy guru types out there in the world that make me quite frankly more likely to trust my own ideas over theirs in every case.  If magic must be attached to religion to be "right" and "safe" it really is the same kind of spiritual castration I see in a lot of Christian practice: "all you lay-people are too stupid to talk to God/read your own Bible to interpret/etc....let us priestly types tell you how it works"  For you see, that really was the attitude in the Middle Ages.  What you seem to espouse is a similar stand about the use of magic, and I find that troubling and theocratic-leaning.

Magic is a tool.  People are not forbidden to buy and use a hammer.  If some idiot whacks his own thumb, he learns not to do it the next time.  With magic, is one is incompetent, the chances are better than average that nothing whatsoever will happen....so, lol, it might even be safer than a hammer.

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« Reply #40: July 17, 2007, 06:51:46 pm »

If I make someone upset by my opinions, I do apologize, but not everything I say is wrong.

Sorry.

Kendra  Huh

Ah dont worry about it.  People debate here all the time.  Doesnt mean anything personal, tho to somebody not used to it, it might come across that way Smiley  Heck, I would say a third (or more) of the board disagrees with what I say every time a debate comes up, another chunk agrees with me, and another bunch of them dont really care! LOL  And that is pretty true of a lot of people on here, frankly.  But it is really a good environment to learn from, and to learn how to personally think outside of your own little box.   I never even heard of chaote magick till I came here!  But I am quite certain that with a little study, it might just come in handy sometimes  Wink for example. 

Meantime, welcome to the Cauldron!

Gina Smiley
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« Reply #41: July 17, 2007, 07:10:29 pm »

I'm just of the old-school, I guess - not that I think magick is all about religion, or vice-versa, but I do think there are 'laws' about using magick put in place for a reason. I've looked (and looked ... and looked ...) and most magick isn't really religion-based, just religion-guided.

I agree with Catja; this isn't really an "old-school" position. Folk magic(s) (ancient and modern) and Western ceremonial magic tend to draw on the imagery and trappings of their respective cultures, which usually includes a large dose of religious thought. However, that does not mean the ethics of those magical systems are guided by religion, especially since there are quite a few points of divergence between those religions and magical practices.

Additionally, I'm not too impressed with people who use the sound bite "harm none" as their only magical ethic. I'll take people who think through the consequences of their actions, magical or not, over religious folks who don't think every time.

That's not to say that magical ethics can't be guided by religion, just that they don't have to be.

Sasha
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« Reply #42: July 17, 2007, 08:41:40 pm »

Magic is not really part of my spiritual practice.  The two diverge even tho' there are connections and I feel no need to call upon my deities to do something magical.  Why don't you just try thinking about how it would work making your magical calls as you go, without recourse to this or that deity?

While both Shad (not Shadowheart, my still-taunting-me god) and Morrigan are more than welcome to participate in whatever magic I do, I don't really plan on calling on them for actual help with the magic. That seems... disrespectful. Undecided I'd rather 'play' on my own and then if I actually do need help with something big know that I can ask for help and not find I've made them mad...

Eh, you all know what I mean, right? Cheesy
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« Reply #43: July 17, 2007, 08:51:02 pm »

I'm just of the old-school, I guess - not that I think magick is all about religion, or vice-versa, but I do think there are 'laws' about using magick put in place for a reason. I've looked (and looked ... and looked ...) and most magick isn't really religion-based, just religion-guided. I don't believe in wild magicians personally; those who just do it for the heck of it without really thinking of the repercussions. Not that that's what you are - I don't know you well enough to even assume it. It just feels wrong to me personally, to ask about magick and not really want a base for it.

I think that's what I'd call simple morals, to be honest. But what I mean is everything I've found has a flair or flavor that is tailored to a specific religion. Like I said before, much of what I've found is Wiccan-esque, and makes a lot of assumptions I don't agree with. It's that part I want to cut out of the magic, so I can apply my own beliefs to the practice.

Quote
Let me ask you this, what is it that you want to use magick for? Do you have a clear outline of your necessities and the like in which to use it? Are you certain you know what you're doing? I'm having a hard time with this, really. It's like giving a baby a loaded gun; sure, they'll use it but do they really know what they're doing?

Oh lordy, do you really want me to start listing? Cheesy No, I'm not certain I know what I'm doing, but then, I never am. But I can't learn if I don't try and maybe burn my fingers a few times. That is a potential consequence of learning a new skill, and one I'm fully aware of and willing to accept. But I really don't think it's quite as bad as giving a baby a loaded gun. I'm not going to be conjuring up chaos vortexes right away (if ever). Shocked

Quote
I don't mean to offend, I'm trying to look out for your best interests, as well as everyone else involved in the magickal community. I do wish you luck though, in what you're seeking. Just use any bit of knowledge you earn with caution and restriction. I certainly hope you're not after a love-potion or something equally as silly ....  Undecided

Kendra

No offense taken. Smiley I think the part that got lost in translation is the desire to have no specific religious focus. My world isn't as cut-and-dried as many duality-based religions make it seem, for example; yeah there's black and white, but very little of them. They blend too much to form shades of grey. So if I'm trying to do magic in a setting of black and white, and I'm not seeing it... Well, it's very hard to concentrate because I'm busy picking apart the concepts under the ritual format.

It gets hard to explain beyond that... I'm looking for the skill to drop it into my Code? Eh, sort of. Undecided
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« Reply #44: July 18, 2007, 02:51:23 pm »

So if I'm trying to do magic in a setting of black and white, and I'm not seeing it... Well, it's very hard to concentrate because I'm busy picking apart the concepts under the ritual format.

That I understand completely! I'm glad you replied, as I was getting bogged down in others' replies and I was hoping to see how you took my response.

In some of my research, I've found that a lot of the uses for Deities in magick is for a focal point to draw one's own energy through. I'm having a bit of trouble wording it so I don't sound psycho, so I'll kinda wing it - basically having a little statue or something on your altar or whatever you choose to work on/with, can act as a point of security to aim your focus through/on; it can somewhat keep you grounded. You could subsitute whatever deity you'd like to use, or just use your own. If you believe in yourself, use a picture of yourself. You don't have to worship yourself to use the object as a grounding tool.

Good luck! Grin
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