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Author Topic: Magic vs Religious Ceremony  (Read 14730 times)
WarHorse
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« Topic Start: November 03, 2007, 02:23:57 pm »

This is a spin-off of the Medieval Spells thread.

You can find correlations and things that look similar to magic, but I find it a little offensive to insist that it's "really" magic even though they don't believe it is.  (And just because it looks similar doesn't mean it's the same thing anyway, really.)  Sort of along the same lines as fundies telling us that we "really" worship Satan, you know?  If we don't want them redefining our religions for us, I think we ought to offer the same respect in return.

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

My inner Pantheist is suggesting "It is All One." Wink

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« Reply #1: November 03, 2007, 02:31:31 pm »

This is a spin-off of the Medieval Spells thread.

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

My inner Pantheist is suggesting "It is All One." Wink



I'm of the opinion that if you're moving / dealing with energy, then it's a "magical event / work".
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« Reply #2: November 03, 2007, 04:02:42 pm »

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

Well, lets see...Most of my rituals are religious in nature. They are mostly ritualized prayer/meditation and I often do some divination or other work as a part of them. They are religious workings to be sure. They COULD be considered 'magic' but I do not think of most things that I do as magic. The only way I would consider it a magical ritual is if I was doing something intentionally magical, like a binding or healing or something.

Baptisms? I don't think they're all that magical at all. I suppose they could be defined that way, but it would be a stretch. I would consider them even less 'magic' than I consider my own prayer rituals to be 'magic'. Plus, I do think it's rude to insist that they are actually doing 'magic' when they don't want to see it that way.
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« Reply #3: November 03, 2007, 04:05:39 pm »

I'm of the opinion that if you're moving / dealing with energy, then it's a "magical event / work".

When I was Catholic, and in college, one of my friends (not Christian) would sometimes come to Mass (usually when it was some sort of special occasion: both I and her roommate did music stuff) in part because the 'light show' (if one can see energy visually) is so lovely. (I can't, but I fully believed that there was energy stuff going on.)

I think it does also depend on ritual design: the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation is very clear about the essence  being transformed, which many of us would presume would be a magical act to some extent. Other religious traditions, where it's more of a 'in memory of this last meal' thing, not so much on the energy necessarily.   
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« Reply #4: November 03, 2007, 05:34:13 pm »

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

To me, there is a large difference between the average religious ritual and the average magic ritual. A religious ritual calls on the power of a deity or deities to actually cause the effect. A magic ritual is the caster imposing his will directly on reality.
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« Reply #5: November 03, 2007, 06:07:48 pm »

This is a spin-off of the Medieval Spells thread.

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

My inner Pantheist is suggesting "It is All One." Wink



The difference?  I'd like to know that myself! 

The situation I find myself in is:  I have no proof that magic exists.  I believe it exists, and just because I have not seen hard evidence does not mean I can deny it, yet, how would I know for sure if it is for real?

I do rituals, and many are actually called spells, and most infer a "magickal" authority.

Why do I perform these if I have no evidence of other-wordly powers coming into play?  I recognize the incredible power of these practices!  The power I refer to, which is proveable, is the effect on a person's psyche.  This I know to be true, and experienced first hand.

Ritualism may indeed have powers above and beyond the psychological, but it is the manipulation of my own mind that convinces me to use rituals.  If they happen to carry power other than that, so much the better!

As such, all rituals I use carry power, and there is no ritual that has no power, but there are those that have no power for me.  As for magic, well, is magic truly an external force, or is it internal?
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« Reply #6: November 03, 2007, 06:10:56 pm »

This is a spin-off of the Medieval Spells thread.

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

Magic can be religious and religion can involve magic.  I was not disputing that; while I don't think they're the same thing, I also don't think they're mutually exclusive.  My point in the quote you've pulled was that Christians do not themselves believe those rituals to be magic, and I therefore think it's rude to insist that it is.
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« Reply #7: November 03, 2007, 07:40:09 pm »

My point in the quote you've pulled was that Christians do not themselves believe those rituals to be magic, and I therefore think it's rude to insist that it is.

I feel a riptide when reading this.

I want to ask how my Christians you've asked about this, but that in itself would be rude, and rudeness is something we seem to agree upon.

Rather than insist that Christianity includes Magic, how about Magic including Christianity?

Could the man on the other side of the fence not have some of your territory?


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« Reply #8: November 03, 2007, 07:43:34 pm »

I feel a riptide when reading this.

I want to ask how my Christians you've asked about this, but that in itself would be rude, and rudeness is something we seem to agree upon.

Rather than insist that Christianity includes Magic, how about Magic including Christianity?

Could the man on the other side of the fence not have some of your territory?





I have to note, in agreement here with WH, that my mother was a practicing Catholic and a practicing witch, and I believe there are several of same right here on tC, are there not?
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« Reply #9: November 03, 2007, 08:17:23 pm »

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

My inner Pantheist is suggesting "It is All One." Wink

I agree with the thought that we should not try to redefine what the Christians do.  I would say, however, that ceremony is not necessarily magic, just as magic is not necessarily ceremony, even among groups that practice both. 

For example: Ritual cleansing.  Is it magic?  I would tend to say no.  Is it necessary to PERFORM magic?  In certain traditions, yes (in others, no, of course).

Baptism and Communion are symbolic.  At one time they may have been considered more magical than they now are, of course.  Baptism is a symbol of death and rebirth, while communion is a symbol of the sacrifice of the deity's flesh and blood.  Most Christian traditions do NOT believe there is a literal death and rebirth during Baptism (that occurs during Salvation).  Likewise, only a few Christian traditions truly believe that the communion elements are literally transubstantiated into flesh and blood.  Within those traditions that DO hold to transubstantiation, you could say that communion qualifies as a "mystical" experience (medieval Christianity had its fair share of mystics, after all).  Since they are opposed to magick, however, I would not go so far as to call it a "magickal" experience.
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« Reply #10: November 03, 2007, 11:54:56 pm »

Rather than insist that Christianity includes Magic, how about Magic including Christianity?

Could the man on the other side of the fence not have some of your territory?

I also did not say that Christians couldn't (or don't) do magic.  They can do whatever they want, I suppose, and just as I don't think it's for me to redefine their ceremonies for them, I also don't think it's for me to say what their religion can or can't allow.  I said that they don't typically, in my experience, believe that the rituals of their religion, particularly sacraments such as Holy Communion and Baptism, are magic.

I have not specifically walked up to any Christians and asked them, "Do you consider Communion and Baptism to be magic rituals?"  I was, however, Christian for the first twenty years of my life; I have visited a number of churches of various denominations over the course of my life; and I have numerous friends and family who are Christians, some of whom I have had religious discussions with.  Never in all that time has the idea come up that, from a Christian's perspective as opposed to that of a non-Christian imposing their own terminology on the religion, Christian religious ritual is magic ritual.  If you know of a denomination that teaches this, or condones the belief, I would be interested in hearing which one it is.

For the record, my objection here is not limited to Christianity.  I would have the same objections if you tried to tell me that my own religious ritual was magic.  It just happened that Christianity was what was under discussion at the time.
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« Reply #11: November 04, 2007, 01:25:40 am »

This is a spin-off of the Medieval Spells thread.
Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism
or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?
My inner Pantheist is suggesting "It is All One." Wink

I would say here that if a person says that what they are doing is "not magick", for us to insist that it is, is not right.
However, when I was a Pentecostal I learned how to do exorcisms, and can still do them if I have to, but now, I would see them as being a Christomagickal rite. I also learned how to do cleansings on houses, spiritual protection and calling things in by faith (things that I need like if I need to sell/buy something or need money or help of any kind). Now I would call all of these techniques Christomagick, but if others want to insist that they are not, I won't argue the point.

I also still speak in an unknown tongue (except in my case, I know what it is-it is Hungarian because I met a Hungarian speaker and he understood me).  But by seeing it as a magickal tool, I can direct it much more effectively. I use the unknown tongue directly in Magickal ceremonies in conjunction with crystals, incense, Christ's Blood (metaphysical) and my wand and it is so powerful I feel like I'm hooked up to a million watt electrical transformer! Wow!

But in all that my God is still God and I cannot do that which he would not approve. Can I manipulate God? Nooo!!!!!! I wouldn't even try to. But can I effectively direct his energy? Absolutely!

Since I would define Magick as the effective direction of metaphysical power, I would define what I do as Magick, since I effectively direct divine power to do stuff. But if God or Jesus told me to stop, I would. They are definitely much bigger than I am and it is not the business of a devotee to go bossing the gods around!

Regarding Baptism, I have known some very odd things to happen around baptisms. My husband's baptism was one such case. The baptismal font boiled when it was not connected to the water heater-with him in it! Yet he lived! A mute girl who was being baptised on the same day as me went crazy as I was being baptised, yet when her turn came, she was okay. In the Christian trad, a person who is mute may have a malevolent spirit that is likely to react badly to things like baptisms, communion and church attendance. Not always, but sometimes. I saw this myself. Would I call a baptism magick? Probably more of an initiation than magick.

Some Australian Aboriginies also practise baptism as a part of their traditional religion, as an initiation. Some clans also practise circumcision as a manhood initiation. Although the ceremonies involve ritual and probably some magickal invocation, I would not say that the ceremony itself was a magickal one. Ditto for Protestant communion, although Catholic Eucharist seems to me to be rather alchemical (bread to flesh? wine to blood?).
 
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« Reply #12: November 04, 2007, 02:14:22 am »


Just a quick note, Guineith...  Please don't forget to put blank lines between paragraphs when posting.  It makes longer posts so much easier to read.  Smiley  Thanks!
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« Reply #13: November 04, 2007, 08:22:58 am »

Just a quick note, Guineith...  Please don't forget to put blank lines between paragraphs when posting.  It makes longer posts so much easier to read.  Smiley  Thanks!
Sorry! I forgot! I'll go fix it now.
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« Reply #14: November 04, 2007, 10:03:03 am »

This is a spin-off of the Medieval Spells thread.

Okay, so what is the difference?  I am asking this with no biases - can a religious Ceremony, even something so common and basic as Baptism or Communion qualify as Magic?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

My inner Pantheist is suggesting "It is All One." Wink

I don't think it has anything to do with one's religious beliefs or lack thereof; magic is imposing one's will on perceived reality and creating change.  Look at it that way, and baptism and christening are certainly magical rites.  The daily Mass can be, as well. 

One of the reasons for the decline in Roman Catholicism in the last half century could be that they emasculated their own most basic power-raising in changing the way the Mass is conducted.  In Latin, with the priest leading from up front with his back to the congregation, facing the altar and God, focusing their devotion, had at least 1500 years of magical momentum behind it.  They abandoned it... and became just another bunch of folks meeting on Sunday in a cool building. 

A portion of the Reformation may actually have been a rejection of the addiction to that weekly power raising and the power it imbued on those men who controlled that power... which is why the Protestant denominations reject almost all the symbols of the traditional Mass:  a cross rather than a crucifix, because there's so much less emotion connected to the cross alone than there is to the image of the Suffering Christ.  No incense, only a few candles, no *rite* in actuality:  a song, a lecture, a collection, a sip of grape juice and a bite of bread, passed down the pews rather than fed from the Altar of God, a collection, the Lord's Prayer, another song and a farewell...  designed to minimize power raising.

Does that make sense to you?  I'm typing pre-coffee.

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