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Author Topic: Religion and Magic  (Read 5253 times)
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Journeyman
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« Topic Start: September 03, 2008, 12:57:19 am »

I perform magic on a somewhat regular basis.  I assume that it has the power to actually affect change in the world or I wouldn't bother.  So assuming it works (at least some of the time) I have a couple of questions:

Do you feel magic is more effective when coupled with religion, or separated from it?  Do you pray (to anyone/thing) for favors or success?  Do you ask that other entities carry out action on your behalf?  Is this really magic, or is it worship?  If you practice non-religious magic do you believe that the energy comes from within you or without you?
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« Reply #1: September 03, 2008, 12:42:42 pm »

I perform magic on a somewhat regular basis.  I assume that it has the power to actually affect change in the world or I wouldn't bother.  So assuming it works (at least some of the time) I have a couple of questions:

Do you feel magic is more effective when coupled with religion, or separated from it?  Do you pray (to anyone/thing) for favors or success?  Do you ask that other entities carry out action on your behalf?  Is this really magic, or is it worship?  If you practice non-religious magic do you believe that the energy comes from within you or without you?
In my case, I am not very religious, but I am very spiritual.  Being a witch encompasses every aspect of my life pretty much.  I see the world as: how does my behavior effect it, and how can I change it and myself to make life better for me and my loved ones and possibly the world.  This is a daunting task, but is mostly automatic/habit.  That being said, I believe they can be seperate.  However, I do not doubt that asking God for something is far more effective than doing it myself, assuming I get what I want, because God is more powerful than me.  But you do not always get what you want from God.  Some would say, you are not meant to have it... could be...  Or my view, God is too busy, do it yourself.  I am a believer in the idea that God is like a parent to me.  He is not there to do everything for me.  He is there to teach me to do for myself and fall back on him when absolutely necessary.  I wouldn't ask my parents for money everytime I need something, I would go without until I can get it for myself.  Only if I am in dire need would I go to them.  I do spend time with them, and tell them that I love and appreciate them and give them gifts...  All things I do or could do with God.  Power to do for myself, physically, mentally, mystically, magickally, all come from God.  I thank Him for it, but do not bow my head.  That's just me.
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« Reply #2: September 03, 2008, 01:39:42 pm »

I perform magic on a somewhat regular basis.  I assume that it has the power to actually affect change in the world or I wouldn't bother.  So assuming it works (at least some of the time) I have a couple of questions:

Do you feel magic is more effective when coupled with religion, or separated from it?  Do you pray (to anyone/thing) for favors or success?  Do you ask that other entities carry out action on your behalf?  Is this really magic, or is it worship?  If you practice non-religious magic do you believe that the energy comes from within you or without you?
I believe I practice 'non-religious' magic.  I don't feel the need for religious ritual or bowing down and worshipping a god or gods.  I do however practice magic/weave spells when I feel the need.  Let's see, do I believe that the energy comes from within me or without me?  Like drops in an ocean I exist as part of the energetic sea around me, therefore the energy comes both from within me and without me as one and the same thing.

Yes, I do pray -- but not in the way that, say, a Christian would pray.  It's more like just telling the universe/God what I need and then expecting it to happen.  Sometimes I cast spells with these prayers, other times I don't.  I consider sitting in silence in meditation a prayer also.   And certain other activities that raise my energy and help me commune w/ the divine. Grin  It depends on what I feel in my heart at the time. 

I never ask another entity to carry out an action on my behalf, but if I happened to notice one helping me I thank it.  ~SF
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« Reply #3: September 03, 2008, 09:04:35 pm »

I perform magic on a somewhat regular basis.  I assume that it has the power to actually affect change in the world or I wouldn't bother.  So assuming it works (at least some of the time) I have a couple of questions:

Do you feel magic is more effective when coupled with religion, or separated from it?  Do you pray (to anyone/thing) for favors or success?  Do you ask that other entities carry out action on your behalf?  Is this really magic, or is it worship?  If you practice non-religious magic do you believe that the energy comes from within you or without you?

I think that different types of magic need different approaches.  For me long term magic for personal or community/environmental/human change benefits greatly from the involvement of "higher order" entities of various types.  "Low magic", which tends to be practical and non-religious, suits itself to everyday living, especially to improving material circumstances. 

I do sometimes pray for protection or strength, sometimes for myself, generally for others.  I do not consider this to be either religion or magic, perhaps "prayer" is independent of these things.  The only action I tend to ask for is a guiding hand. 

When I perform magic without prayer I tend to draw energy from the objects I use, the elements, the earth, the universe.  Rarely do I use personal energy for this type of thing, as I find it draining.
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« Reply #4: September 04, 2008, 03:26:43 am »

I perform magic on a somewhat regular basis.  I assume that it has the power to actually affect change in the world or I wouldn't bother.  So assuming it works (at least some of the time) I have a couple of questions:

Do you feel magic is more effective when coupled with religion, or separated from it?  Do you pray (to anyone/thing) for favors or success?  Do you ask that other entities carry out action on your behalf?  Is this really magic, or is it worship?  If you practice non-religious magic do you believe that the energy comes from within you or without you?

I don't practice religion and magic in the same breath.  However, I don't think that those who do so are wrong in that.  I don't tend to pray to any deities for anything, although I will thank the appropriate deities if certain things do happen.  For example, when I write an article that happens to be good enough to get published, I thank Athena for that, but I don't pray to her for the wisdom to accomplish that, nor to any Muse (or other deity/spirit of inspiration), for that effect to happen before it happens.  I believe that magic comes from inside of you, whether it is a force or not, I don't know. 

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Mezu
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« Reply #5: December 12, 2010, 01:12:54 am »

Do you feel magic is more effective when coupled with religion, or separated from it?  Do you pray (to anyone/thing) for favors or success?  Do you ask that other entities carry out action on your behalf?  Is this really magic, or is it worship?  If you practice non-religious magic do you believe that the energy comes from within you or without you?
Not more effective, unless your belief in self is low. By this i mean magic is driven by will, and fuelled by energy. To some extent energy thrives on confidence. Whether that confidence is anchored in self or religion, it is important to have certainty in your power and outcome. Im not religious, but im very spiritual. Religion is about authority. Spiritualism in any form is more mystical. If you have limited cofidence in self, the "authority" of religion can help, but its a crutch

However, magic does draw on other energies beyond self, even if you believe these energies are not conscious.. In my opinion, use what gives the most confidence
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catja6
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« Reply #6: December 12, 2010, 01:44:52 am »

Not more effective, unless your belief in self is low. By this i mean magic is driven by will, and fuelled by energy. To some extent energy thrives on confidence. Whether that confidence is anchored in self or religion, it is important to have certainty in your power and outcome. Im not religious, but im very spiritual. Religion is about authority. Spiritualism in any form is more mystical. If you have limited cofidence in self, the "authority" of religion can help, but its a crutch

However, magic does draw on other energies beyond self, even if you believe these energies are not conscious.. In my opinion, use what gives the most confidence

That's a limited view of magic that relies primarily upon modern ceremonialist ideas about the primacy of the "Will."  It's also insulting to those magical traditions that *are* deeply entwined with a particular religious system, and are designed to work *within* that system.  "Thaumaturgy," by definition, is magic that works with gods, usually within the confines of a specific religion.   
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UlsterYank
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« Reply #7: December 12, 2010, 04:22:34 am »

I perform magic on a somewhat regular basis.  I assume that it has the power to actually affect change in the world or I wouldn't bother.  So assuming it works (at least some of the time) I have a couple of questions:

Do you feel magic is more effective when coupled with religion, or separated from it?  Do you pray (to anyone/thing) for favors or success?  Do you ask that other entities carry out action on your behalf?  Is this really magic, or is it worship?  If you practice non-religious magic do you believe that the energy comes from within you or without you?
It depends on your view of magic(k), as most cultural practices that have been labelled theurgy have been historically viewed as magic. It also depends on your view of the divine, and the cosmos, and the magico-religious beliefs that may accompany them.

Magic(k) can work in relation to deity, and religion, or a secular art no different from playing the harp. In the later, one would assume such an art or craft is related to what has been labelled the supernatural, or an a-empirical dimension of life. Also, the kind of magic(k) performed by atheists seems to be viewed as an art, or science, that subconsciously works in uniting the microcosm and macrocosm, thus working. Therefore assuming God Forms, vibrating names, e.t.c, are tools working in unison with the magickal "Will."(Whatever one believes that may be)

More on the religious aspect, and the magico-religious practices associated with them, it again depends on your cultural view. Magic originally being a term that the Greeks used to label the foreign practices of what popular thought of the time(not universally shared, as indeed many top philosophers travelled to learn it) believed about practices related to Zoroaster, rendering them "hubris", as well as any art that appears to impiously manipulate deity, which is another religious view towards magic. However there have also been people in many cultures that have had people considered part of the priestly caste that take it upon themselves to know the Will of the Gods, and be a mediator between God&man(most Christian Priests, Ministers, e.t.c do this same thing) In pre-Christian Irish society for example, brief ex. being from Dáithí Ó hÓgáin's The Sacred Isle: Belief And Religion In Pre-Christian Ireland.

"the simplest, and yet the most telling, evidence for the supernatural skills of the druids in ancient Ireland is furnished by the word for druidry itself, druídecht. This (in modern spelling draíocht) has always been the ordinary term in Irish for magic."

It is indeed hard to separate what is "magic", and what is "religious" in pre-Christian beliefs and practices, but the native Irish term for the practices of what can be consider a priestly caste has been labelled magic, another example of the above term hasn't changed in modern usage, as is here in Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla by Niall Ó DÓnaill, considered "The bible" Irish dictionary from native speakers, " draíocht, f. (gs and pl.~a) 1.Druidic art, druidism Lit.~a druadh, druidic arts. 2. Witchcraft, magic; charm, enchantment." The same can be said of people considered druids, which translates to sorcerers, wizards, witches, magicians in modern usage, and rendered Magus in Hiberno-Latin texts. Indeed any pre-existing equivalents of supernatural practices opposed to Christianity is considered magical by the church.

It should also be worth noting that the view of magic as impious ways of manipulating, or bribing deities isn't shared in the religious traditions that practice such, a common belief being that man cannot manipulate deities, that the power of a god isn't distorted for a personal purpose, rather, a deity is sought that is naturally aligned with the purpose, and the self is offered as the vehicle. However, this is still considered hubris by cultural traditions that deem it such.
   
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« Reply #8: December 12, 2010, 04:22:45 am »

"Thaumaturgy," by definition, is magic that works with gods, usually within the confines of a specific religion.   
I think you mean "theurgy"?

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« Reply #9: December 12, 2010, 09:30:50 am »

That's a limited view of magic that relies primarily upon modern ceremonialist ideas about the primacy of the "Will."  It's also insulting to those magical traditions that *are* deeply entwined with a particular religious system, and are designed to work *within* that system.  "Thaumaturgy," by definition, is magic that works with gods, usually within the confines of a specific religion.   
Sorry, wasn't meant to be insulting... I was trying to post from an ipad, which makes detailed replies slower... I only meant to say that the practitioner should decide what method and powers to draw on. By will, I did not mean in the Crowleyian definition, I just meant it all starts from the practitioner's will -- without some kind of stated intention, there's no magic, really (I know, I'm being a little narrow, I was just trying to distill). But that will can (often should, and does in my case) connect to deity, to life energy, to elemental energy, and many other forms, including non-conscious and conscious deity (in my case all of the above). When I mentioned religion, I was referring to authority-based religions (and how it is not a bad thing to rely on this authority if that is your path), not religion in general. It was not intended in any way to be a criticism (more a: all paths are good, results are what matters). I honor deities daily, and it brings a lot of love, energy and healing into my life. I'm not a ceremonial magician primarily and didn't mean to present that point of view at all. I just expressed myself clumsily. Apologies.
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« Reply #10: December 12, 2010, 10:33:25 am »

I think you mean "theurgy"?

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