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Author Topic: Do you have a "job" to do? (your religion and the rest of the world...)  (Read 10437 times)
heron
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« Topic Start: October 16, 2007, 11:23:45 pm »

I know that some spiritual feminists (especially Reclaiming tradition) believe in using magic, ritual or prayer to influence the world in social or political ways. For some, magic is a kind of activism. I'd like to hear how others feel about this.

Personally,  I've never considered myself an activist, but I probably fit the definition of "concerned citizen." But there are times when i feel like magic is perhaps the best or only way to improve on a situation that is to convoluted for mundane handling. For example, I posted earlier today about feeling sickened after reading a passage in Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book, Infidel, in which she describes how she and her brother and sister were circumcised. Basically, it was horrifying and made my physically ill. Of course, I feel like, "this must be stopped. this is WRONG." But I also think, these things are so culturally ingrained in certain cultures that someone like me saying, "um, that's not really a good idea" isn't going to make them change. So, I start to wonder if there's anything I can do on a spiritual level that would help end this horrible practice, and I wonder, could it help to pray? Should I do a spell? If I did, what would I say/do? Light a candle? What?

So ... Do you believe it's ok to use magic or prayer for social change? Do you do just that? Why or why not? If it's not ok to do that, how do you respond to problems in the world that you are unable to affect in mundane ways? Or can you suggest a mundane course of action that would have an impact?
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« Reply #1: October 16, 2007, 11:39:38 pm »

So ... Do you believe it's ok to use magic or prayer for social change? Do you do just that? Why or why not? If it's not ok to do that, how do you respond to problems in the world that you are unable to affect in mundane ways? Or can you suggest a mundane course of action that would have an impact?

I don't do magic -- at least, I haven't for a while, and have no plans to start again.

But I DO believe I have a job to do, per Brighid's instructions, and that it involves social activism.  I've discussed it ad nauseum here:  http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=752.msg10457#msg10457

Right now, I'm the public policy director for a national advocacy organization that promotes safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.  LGBT students are definitely some of the today's society's "outsiders" -- which is an important group in Celtic thinking.  My job is to help make their lives easier and to, hopefully, make them more an accepted part of society.
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Mari
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« Reply #2: October 17, 2007, 12:20:09 pm »

Do you believe it's ok to use magic or prayer for social change? Do you do just that? Why or why not? If it's not ok to do that, how do you respond to problems in the world that you are unable to affect in mundane ways? Or can you suggest a mundane course of action that would have an impact?

I have a job to do, but it's nothing to do with social activism...
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« Reply #3: October 17, 2007, 01:26:05 pm »

So ... Do you believe it's ok to use magic or prayer for social change?

Why wouldn't it be?
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heron
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« Reply #4: October 17, 2007, 01:33:31 pm »

Why wouldn't it be?

Well, I guess this is where my confusion comes in to play. We often hear that it's unethical to do magic for or "on" a person without his/her consent. So, does society count as a person? If I am doing magic with the intention of "healing" a society, do I have to ask society if it wants to be healed before I can proceed?

Maybe this sounds ridiculous, I don't know.

But I think my bigger question is HOW? Because I don't necessarily follow the same rules about asking permission. I don't interfere with individual people's lives, but I think magic for social activism should be just fine. Then again, if I turn out to be psychopath with twisted ideas of what's good for society, then maybe not.
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« Reply #5: October 17, 2007, 03:32:55 pm »

I know that some spiritual feminists (especially Reclaiming tradition) believe in using magic, ritual or prayer to influence the world in social or political ways. For some, magic is a kind of activism. I'd like to hear how others feel about this.

I'm not an activist. I've never been an activist. My normal MO is "leave me the hell alone, leave my 'kin the hell alone, and I'll leave you the hell alone." Honestly, I do feel I have plenty to deal with, WITHOUT creating more for myself by stirring hornets nests and sticking my neck out. If something comes "close to home", however, I will do something about it. Grin

Well, I guess this is where my confusion comes in to play. We often hear that it's unethical to do magic for or "on" a person without his/her consent. So, does society count as a person? If I am doing magic with the intention of "healing" a society, do I have to ask society if it wants to be healed before I can proceed?

My thoughts are, if it needs changed, change it. I don't believe in asking permission...not in a case like this. I only believe in asking permission for something particularly invasive that is intended to be helpful (for instance, I would not do an energy healing without permission, or if I had a good indication that the person would be OK with it.) because sometimes "help" is unwanted and can make the issue worse.

I do not believe in getting permission to do bindings, defensive magic, etc. I honestly think the idea of getting permission for these things is ridiculous ("hi, do you mind if I put a hex on you? OK great! Thanks!!").

Just my two cents.
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« Reply #6: October 17, 2007, 03:54:53 pm »

Right now, I'm the public policy director for a national advocacy organization that promotes safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.  LGBT students are definitely some of the today's society's "outsiders"

THANK YOU, Moon Ivy! You're doing vital work. It's easier growing up gay now than it was back when I was doing it (the '70s), but it's still mighty tough, esp. in certain parts of the country and the world.
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« Reply #7: October 17, 2007, 04:13:51 pm »

I don't do magic -- at least, I haven't for a while, and have no plans to start again.

But I DO believe I have a job to do...

Like Moon Ivy, I don't do magic either. However, I *definitely* have a job to do, in two senses:

1. I think we're all personally responsible for the world around us and what state it's in. My attitude is, If you see something wrong with the world, it's *your* job to fix it. This ties in to my religious view: I believe that the creation of the universe is an ongoing act in which we are active participants (as opposed to the view that the world was created by a supreme deity a long time ago and handed to us).

And as is probably obvious, I'm an activist, from a family of activists.

I don't understand why anyone would turn to magic to deal with a social ill or world problem over which they have no influence...probably because I can't think of anything over which we have absolutely no influence. Example: Darfur. My sister was outraged by reports from there, so she organized in her local community and got involved in the Save Darfur group. It hasn't stopped the carnage (yet), but it's made a difference, putting the problem on the U.S. political radar.

2. My gods insist that I write their myths. I consider that my most important job.

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« Reply #8: October 17, 2007, 04:22:22 pm »

I know that some spiritual feminists (especially Reclaiming tradition) believe in using magic, ritual or prayer to influence the world in social or political ways.

I seriously doubt that I fit the classical definition of "feminist", Reclaiming or otherwise, but I have absolutely no problem using magic to "make my voice heard".  Special interest groups pay lobbyists sickening amounts of money to skew Congress in it's favor.  Why shouldn't I use the tools I have available?  As I am a member of this society, and in my view, 'society' is a collective entity, my permission should be enough.

It's no different than voting.  I'm putting my intent/desire/wish out into the universe as strongly as I can to favor a given outcome.  Will I hex any particular individual running for office or supporting a bill?  No.  What I will do is setup a strong vibration against that outcome though same as a persuasive speaker would in front of an audience.  Difference is I can reach a much larger audience this way.  Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't but, to quote Wilt Chamberlain, "You will miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take." 

Oh, yeah, actually getting out and voting helps, too.  Wink

Quote from: heron
For example, I posted earlier today about feeling sickened after reading a passage in Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book, Infidel, in which she describes how she and her brother and sister were circumcised. Basically, it was horrifying and made my physically ill. Of course, I feel like, "this must be stopped. this is WRONG."

The first time I'd come across this concept was reading an old National Geographic in a doctors waiting room.  An article told the story of a woman who was ritually circumcised as part of her coming of age ceremony.  Personally, I see it as horrific and barbarous but it's a practice that is rooted in cultural and religious values.  It's a real test of tolerance to realize "In order for me to expect others to allow my beliefs I have to allow theirs no matter how I feel about them."

There is an organization around that is actually working on this.  We've gotten mailers on it at home.  I forget the name right now because, as horrible as it is, I have more immediate concerns to deal with.  I can check for the name of the organization later if you like.
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« Reply #9: October 17, 2007, 04:28:12 pm »

The first time I'd come across this concept was reading an old National Geographic in a doctors waiting room.  An article told the story of a woman who was ritually circumcised as part of her coming of age ceremony.  Personally, I see it as horrific and barbarous but it's a practice that is rooted in cultural and religious values.  It's a real test of tolerance to realize "In order for me to expect others to allow my beliefs I have to allow theirs no matter how I feel about them."

Actually, that's pretty much how I feel about the circumcision, and most goings on in other countries/religions/etc. I don't feel it's my place, my RIGHT to say what they can and cannot do. Or, if I could, they would have the same right over my beliefs and practices and I do not accept that, so...
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« Reply #10: October 17, 2007, 04:34:46 pm »

I know that some spiritual feminists (especially Reclaiming tradition) believe in using magic, ritual or prayer to influence the world in social or political ways. For some, magic is a kind of activism. I'd like to hear how others feel about this.

I don't see that being a feminist is any requirement for being an activist Wink
Just because many feminists are, doesn't mean they're the only ones. Leaving that aside and sticking with activism....

Quote
So ... Do you believe it's ok to use magic or prayer for social change? Do you do just that? Why or why not? If it's not ok to do that, how do you respond to problems in the world that you are unable to affect in mundane ways? Or can you suggest a mundane course of action that would have an impact?

It's another set of tools on hand so why not use it the same as any other set - like letter writing, public speaking etc? Different problems call for different tool kits that's all, sometimes more than one set. As for getting permission, I think that depends on the ethical code of the person using the tools more than anything else.
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« Reply #11: October 17, 2007, 04:36:15 pm »


The first time I'd come across this concept was reading an old National Geographic in a doctors waiting room.  An article told the story of a woman who was ritually circumcised as part of her coming of age ceremony.  Personally, I see it as horrific and barbarous but it's a practice that is rooted in cultural and religious values.  It's a real test of tolerance to realize "In order for me to expect others to allow my beliefs I have to allow theirs no matter how I feel about them."

There is an organization around that is actually working on this.  We've gotten mailers on it at home.  I forget the name right now because, as horrible as it is, I have more immediate concerns to deal with.  I can check for the name of the organization later if you like.
Yes, actually, that would be helpful if you don't mind.

I've struggled with that question of tolerance lately, too. I certainly believe in allowing people to practice their religions, but there is a limit to what I will tolerate. When it comes to physical violence, mutilation etc. of other human beings in the name of some religion or god... sorry. That falls outside the scope of "tolerance" in my opinion. I don't know exactly what you may have read in National Geographic, so it could be different from what I have read and heard. But what I read is nothing short of institutionalized, ritualized abuse.

In America, circumcision is performed by a doctor in a clean environment, and it's done very early so the child grows up not knowing the difference. What I read was... I really don't want to describe it, but it was basically extreme physical mutilation of children's genitals (ages 4, 5, and 6 I think) in a filthy environment with makeshift tools, observed by strangers, no anesthesia used, and the children are forbidden to cry lest they shame their families. I see that as significantly different from what is practiced here (although I am conflicted about Western circumcision practices as well).
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« Reply #12: October 17, 2007, 04:37:48 pm »

THANK YOU, Moon Ivy! You're doing vital work. It's easier growing up gay now than it was back when I was doing it (the '70s), but it's still mighty tough, esp. in certain parts of the country and the world.

You said it. It's still incredibly hard in some places. I'll spare you all a story, but much as I'd like to say I'm not an activist, history might disagree with me. Ahem.
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« Reply #13: October 17, 2007, 04:39:44 pm »

I don't see that being a feminist is any requirement for being an activist Wink
Just because many feminists are, doesn't mean they're the only ones. Leaving that aside and sticking with activism....

Yes, you're right on that point. I just use spiritual feminists as an example because they're the ones I've been reading about the most lately. :-)
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« Reply #14: October 17, 2007, 05:39:15 pm »


I believe that if we have the power to do something about it, we should do so.  We are all part of the Divine, and we all need to improve it.

Ya got a tool, use it. Cheesy

(intelligently, of course.  not everything is a nail because you have a hammer.  but if you DO have a hammer, and there's a half-built structure and some nails .. you can at least ask if they need help!)
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