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Author Topic: Magic and Religion  (Read 22993 times)
phoukamare
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« Reply #15: March 10, 2007, 09:15:43 pm »

How does magic play in with your religion?  Does it at all?

If it doesn't, why not?  If it does, why?  Is it required to believe in magic to be a member of your faith?

You don't fool around do you, Shad?

Hmmm, well magic isn't a major part of my religion, per se. I call up sacred space which some would call magic...I do ward my property and home which is magic. But, and this is a big one, they are not directly related to my religious duties to Macha.

However, there is a magical thing I do that is directly related to Macha. I 'blood' the trees and land. I have to do it one more time, to fulfill the requirement of my bargain with Macha.

So, I guess magic is part of my religion, and it is so, because Macha requires it, and finally based on the first two answers, yes, if there were any other members of my religion, they would be required to believe in magic...I think.

It's hard as I'm not creating a religion nor a tradition consciously...I'm just fulfilling my duties as Macha's priest.

Clear as mud?

Phouka

edited to correct a typo

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« Reply #16: March 12, 2007, 04:13:08 pm »

How does magic play in with your religion?  Does it at all?

My path, the Path of the Poet, is based on the power of words, really, so I would argue that every word I write is a magic in and of itself.  I write poetry sometimes with the specific intent of dispelling negative moods from myself, or giving myself new confidence to go and make new friends and things.  Writing brings me closer to the divine, and is also a tool for bringing me closer to the world, which, I think, is the definition of magic.

I also do some bind runes that I carry mainly as charms, but that doesn't really have to do with my "path"; I started making bind runes before I set out on the Path of the Poet, and since they've worked so well for me, I've just continued with it.

If it doesn't, why not?  If it does, why?  Is it required to believe in magic to be a member of your faith?

I guess the only right answer would be this: you have to believe in words in order to be a Poet, and their ability to do something, the definition of which is largely built by the Poet herself.  I've built up this whole... mysticism... about words, and writing, so, I believe in a kind of magic without which my path would collapse.  So, yes... I'd say you'd have to believe in magic in order to be a Poet.
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« Reply #17: March 12, 2007, 04:54:34 pm »

How does magic play in with your religion?  Does it at all?

If it doesn't, why not?  If it does, why?  Is it required to believe in magic to be a member of your faith?

I can't claim any certain faith as my own at the moment, except for perhaps the vague, umbrella-term "pagan". At the same time, I don't believe belief in or practice of magic is necessary for my own spirituality in any way, as I feel magic is simply a tool that can be used to promote my aims and will in the world, should I choose to use it. Not unlike voting in hopes that the politician I back will support what I want to see happen in my country, if that analogy makes sense.  Undecided

Because of my "just a tool" view of magic, I don't think it would have much of an impact on whatever path I eventually choose as my own. Not saying I wouldn't use it if it were applicable, for example if I were Kemetic, I might practice heka as part of my religious work, but I doubt any form of magic will become an integral part of my religious practice. I see the purpose of religion as more the connection to and worship of the divine (however you envision the divine to be), rather then the manifestation of my own will on the world (which is the purpose of magic in my view).


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« Reply #18: March 12, 2007, 06:04:19 pm »

The quick and dirty answer is that magic is integral to my religion - in this instance, "religious witchcraft" is the contextually relevant religion to cite.....<snip>......  Like many who've answered, magic is something I do, not something I ask my deities to do for me (though there are various ways they might be involved), but unlike many others, this doesn't put a separation between religion and magic for me.

Sunflower

I have to say, specifics like tradition aside, what Sunflower said. There's a reason I tend to call it religious witchcraft Smiley

I could separate magic and religion, like I could separate a lot of things from each other, but I don't ... for me they're all parts of the whole thing, and part of me and who I am and what I do...... *resists the urge to quote a favourite all time quote from Matrinka*

And I guess, a belief in magic would be necessary,but actually practising it wouldn't necessarily be, because the two CAN be kept separate, that's just not the way I personally do things..... is that as clear as demon infested mud???
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« Reply #19: March 12, 2007, 10:24:35 pm »

Quote
How does magic play in with your religion?  Does it at all?

If it doesn't, why not?  If it does, why?  Is it required to believe in magic to be a member of your faith?

My initial reaction is to say, "no, my magic and religion are totally seperate." And then I actually pause and think about that and realise that I'm lying.

While there is a sort of mental line in my head dividing say, religious ritual from a "omfg I need a job!" spellwork, there's areas where it gets a bit fuzzier. I have used deity invocation in spellwork, for example, and I have used magic for purposes directly related to my spirituality. So I guess the answer is that magic has become firmly entangled in my religious practice and shows no sign of getting untangled anytime soon.

Looking at it that way... yes, a belief in magic is necessary to be a member of my faith. (Since my faith consists of one, it's really not a big deal, mind.)

- N
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« Reply #20: March 12, 2007, 11:34:06 pm »



Because of my "just a tool" view of magic, I don't think it would have much of an impact on whatever path I eventually choose as my own. Not saying I wouldn't use it if it were applicable, for example if I were Kemetic, I might practice heka as part of my religious work, but I doubt any form of magic will become an integral part of my religious practice. I see the purpose of religion as more the connection to and worship of the divine (however you envision the divine to be), rather then the manifestation of my own will on the world (which is the purpose of magic in my view).



Well, religion and magic in Kemetic thought is pretty much inseperable.  When you speak, you are doing heka.  Gestures in ritual, you are doing heka.  Speaking with authority is heka.  Heka is in all of creation including deities and humans and all the created world.  Heka is one of the closest words to mean religion in Ancient Egypt the we know of. 

http://www.asetnet.net/essayheka.html

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« Reply #21: March 12, 2007, 11:48:56 pm »

I also do some bind runes that I carry mainly as charms, but that doesn't really have to do with my "path"; I started making bind runes before I set out on the Path of the Poet, and since they've worked so well for me, I've just continued with it.

Finn, can you elaborate on bind runes, please?
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« Reply #22: March 13, 2007, 12:26:19 am »

Well, religion and magic in Kemetic thought is pretty much inseperable.  When you speak, you are doing heka.  Gestures in ritual, you are doing heka.  Speaking with authority is heka.  Heka is in all of creation including deities and humans and all the created world.  Heka is one of the closest words to mean religion in Ancient Egypt the we know of. 

http://www.asetnet.net/essayheka.html



Seems I had a slightly inaccurate idea of what constituted heka. I thought it was authoritative utterances mostly, in the vein of "if you say it with authority, the power of the words and your Will shall make it so". I guess I saw it fitting more in with the English word magic then with the concept of religion as a whole. But then I haven't done much research into Kemeticism, so teaches me to talk when I'm not sure I have the definition right!  Undecided
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SatAset
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« Reply #23: March 13, 2007, 02:22:40 am »

Seems I had a slightly inaccurate idea of what constituted heka. I thought it was authoritative utterances mostly, in the vein of "if you say it with authority, the power of the words and your Will shall make it so". I guess I saw it fitting more in with the English word magic then with the concept of religion as a whole. But then I haven't done much research into Kemeticism, so teaches me to talk when I'm not sure I have the definition right!  Undecided

That is one portion of heka and a very important part of it.  Words.  Divine Speech.  Authority of Speech.  But heka permeates creation and thus there is heka in gestures in ritual and the ritual liturgy. 

Good books on it if you are interested are:

The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice by Robert Ritner
This book is an excellent overview of Heka (Egyptian Magic)! This is a dissertation. Heka is seen from an ancient Egyptian perspective and is thoroughly discussed. Symbolism of objects and action are discussed such as breaking of the Red Pots. An excellent book! This title is currently out of print. Try an online store or a used bookstore.

Magic in Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Pinch
This book discusses Egyptian magic through archeological evdidence, including artifacts and literature. Topics include myth, spirits, priests, figurines, the dead, amulets, fertility and written magic. There is also a section on Egyptian magic influencing later developements such as the Hermetica. This book could be described as "Ritner for Dummies", but I think this book has great information and I'd recommend it alongside Ritner's book.

Amulets of Ancient Egypt by Carol Andrews
Amulets of Ancient Egypt by Carol Andrews I liked this book for the information. Amulets for Deities, animals and human body parts, possessions, and offerings are discussed fully. Also there is a section for the symbolism and mundane means of acquring the materials to make the amulets. I did like this book, but I wish the author had organized it more like an encyclopedia though.

Reading Egyptian Art by Richard Wilkinson
This book discusses in detail all of the signs of Gardiner's heirglyphics list. This book is heavily illustrated so it is easy to see which symbol is being disussed with more than one example. This book has great information in it. It is a companion volume to Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art.

Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art by Richard H. Wilkinson
There are detailed descriptions and pictures of gestures, numbers, colors, forms, materials, size of materials, location and heiroglyphs found in Egyptian art and what they could mean to the Ancient Egyptians. An excellent overview of ritual in ancient Egypt.

J. D. Ray. "Ancient Egypt" in Oracles and Divination edited by Micheal Loewe and Carmen Blacker. Pages 171-190.
This article has much information about divination in ancient Egypt.
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« Reply #24: March 13, 2007, 08:30:17 am »

Oddly enough, when I think of Heka, it is an integral part of me and my path. when I think of doing magic, it has nothing to do with my path at all. Other than that I am utilizing Heka with my every word and action during spellwork, I see no definite connection beyond that to my personal journey. My gods do not help me with my magic, nor do they care one way or another about the magic I do. Basically, I see myself as a witch who is Kemetic, as opposed to a Kemetic witch.

I guess what I'm getting at is, Magic in the form of Heka is very important to my path, but for me personally, the doing of magic in spell form had no connection to my path whatsoever save for the connection to Heka casused by it's existence in everything.
 Undecided
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« Reply #25: March 13, 2007, 08:54:19 am »

How does magic play in with your religion?  Does it at all?

If it doesn't, why not?  If it does, why?  Is it required to believe in magic to be a member of your faith?

Magic is definitely a part of my religion... sort of. If you qualify journeywork/meditation (the two are virtually inseperable for me, as meditation becomes journeywork whether I want it to or not) as magic, it definitely is. Sure I do the occasional ritual and spell, but when I do these, I invoke 'the divine'.

Because I follow the path of individual gods, this makes it nonreligious in that it is not an act of worship or something  I need my deities to overlook. The divine to me is the innate magic in everything. But there is no way to make it completely standalone from religion for me; magic is part of a whole which includes relationships with deities but is more about coming into oneself and all that.

Also, I will second the Poet above. I do believe that words have magic, and writing is very much a part of my path. So when I write, I am actually invoking a power not my own, as the story tells itself through me.

Yes, you would need to believe in magic to follow my path. It's a bit of witchcraft, a bit of kemeticism, a bit of Dianic wicca, and just about every other religion on this planet thrown into one. And it's a path all my own, so I don't think it'll really affect anyone outside myself.
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« Reply #26: March 13, 2007, 10:50:59 am »

Finn, can you elaborate on bind runes, please?

Bind runes are little talismans (usually I just write them on a little piece of wood) that are made up of several runes to reinforce a certain energy or feeling or task you assign it to.  You make up a symbol of all the runes you want to include in the bind rune, say, for instance, for a bind rune to increase the love inside and around you, you could take gebo, pertho, sowulo, berkana, laguz, mannaz, ehwaz, and inguz (or any combination thereof), devise a symbol of them, and inscribe them, and "charge" them, on something you can carry around with you. 

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« Reply #27: March 13, 2007, 11:03:46 am »

I don't think it does.  My 'faith' has sort of morphed and grown in directions I wasn't really expecting, and moved away from the belief system I spent a good ten years putting together, where magic and spirituality were very tied together.

Where I am now, someone can hold religious belief, without doing magic, someone can do magic without being a magician through the intervention of deity on their behalf,(prayer/request) but not everyone can be effective at raising and directing their own personal energy, nor does every person want to.  Some people are happier without the additional complication.

I don't count things like meditation as 'magic' only deliberate, purposeful attempts at conforming reality to will, through desire.

I've come to think that things like meditation and contemplation of the nature of deity are more mundane than I first thought.  I think most people do these things, even the non-religious; even though they don't acknowledge themselves doing it.  They haven't stopped and gone gee, that moment of deep thought there, where I didn't move for about ten minutes was a period of altered awareness and focus. 
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« Reply #28: March 13, 2007, 11:40:56 am »

That all really depends on your definition of "magic", right? In my belief, magic and prayer are synonyms.

Being Masklyn's echo here.  In my system of belief, magic and prayer are effectively the same thing.  Because my system of "working" is so very NOT ceremonial, but takes effect more through the power of my thoughts and creative* visualization and actions.  Similarly, my spirituality (what some might term "religion") is an integral part of my daily life.  Everything I do, say, etc is coloured by my spiritual worldview and is inextricable from it.


* - Here, I mean the act of creating, rather than "ooh, you put a white belt with those dark jeans, how creative!"
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« Reply #29: March 13, 2007, 03:41:29 pm »

How does magic play in with your religion?  Does it at all?

If it doesn't, why not?  If it does, why?  Is it required to believe in magic to be a member of your faith?

For me, magic and religion are... two strands of the same cord? Separate and yet interwoven, if that makes sense at all. There are times when I'm practicing one or the other, and times when both come into play at once. And they seem to use the same parts of my brain.

I think a belief in magic, or at least a mind open to the possibility of its existence, is required for my path. An active disbelief in magic would read to me as a strongly order-focussed paradigm, and thus a rejection of the order/chaos balance at the heart of my path.

I hope all this made sense outside my head. I've wound up squishing non-verbal concepts into words again, and I'm never sure I'm communicating the true meaning.
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