The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum (Archive Board)
June 21, 2021, 03:48:01 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: This is our Read Only Archive Board (closed to posting July 2011). Join our new vBulletin board!
 
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 21, 2021, 03:48:01 am

Login with username, password and session length
Donate!
The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.
TC Staff
Important Information about this Archive Board
This message board is The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's SMF Archive Board. It is closed to new memberships and to posting, but there are over 250,000 messages here that you can still search and read -- many full of interesting and useful information. (This board was open from February 2007 through June 2011).

Our new vBulletin discussion board is located at http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/ -- if you would like to participate in discussions like those you see here, please visit our new vBulletin message board, register an account and join in our discussions. We hope you will find the information in this message archive useful and will consider joining us on our new board.
Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9]   Go Down
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
Author Topic: Magic and Hubris  (Read 24974 times)
treekisser
Adept Member
*****
Last Login:July 30, 2011, 05:18:30 pm
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Religion: Bajoran
Posts: 1200


Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #120: July 26, 2009, 04:02:00 am »



Finally got round to reading this thread (was a bit put off by the huge number of replies, usually a sign of someone getting piled on). I dunno, as far as I can see your definition of magic centres on a particular attitude (ie arrogantly thinking of controlling the universe) while everyone else has been talking about magic in terms of forms (energy work, cards, etc). Sort of crossed wires.

I guess the question is whether one particular form of magic is inherently tied to an attitude of arrogance. Personally I don't think so (since I could do anything either with an arrogant or supplicatory attitude), but I have no idea about Hellenic perspectives so I'll shut up now.  Smiley
Logged

'Whatever such a mind sees is a flower, and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon.' - Basho

Welcome, Guest!
You will need to register and/or login to participate in our discussions.

Read our Rules and Policies and the Quoting Guidelines.

Help Fund Our Server? Donate to Lyricfox's Cancer Fund?

Lykos
Permanently Banned
Master Member
****
Last Login:November 04, 2010, 03:13:23 am
United States United States

Religion: Hellenismos
Posts: 749


Blog entries (5)



Ignore
« Reply #121: October 22, 2009, 04:47:38 am »

Finally got round to reading this thread (was a bit put off by the huge number of replies, usually a sign of someone getting piled on). I dunno, as far as I can see your definition of magic centres on a particular attitude (ie arrogantly thinking of controlling the universe) while everyone else has been talking about magic in terms of forms (energy work, cards, etc). Sort of crossed wires.

I guess the question is whether one particular form of magic is inherently tied to an attitude of arrogance. Personally I don't think so (since I could do anything either with an arrogant or supplicatory attitude), but I have no idea about Hellenic perspectives so I'll shut up now.  Smiley
You are right, it really is a question of what sorts of magic merit denunciation as impiety or hubristic.

Undoubtedly, the ancient Greeks, like most anvient civilizations, did practice certain forms of magic. Mostly, from what I understamd, this was im the form of charms and curse stones and similar objects given mystical meaning and/or power. I am quite sure that some Greeks would have practiced spell-casting, but this was largely avoided I believe.

The small charms and trinkets inscribed with words, symbols, or phrases, are more akin to lucky charms than to objects imbued directly with magical powers. It would have been the faith one puts in the object and in the gods that gives the item any perceived power. The same holds true for curse tablets and stones.

This is obviously a very different practice than formulating a spell and casting it to an observable effect. This woukd, usually, have been considered an expression of hubris (a cardinal sin in Hellenismos) because if indicates overweening self-confidence. One is claiming to have powers above and beyond normal human capabilities and is therefore hubristic of oneself

If one attempts to avoid hubris by attributing all hus power to the gods one is then betraying impiety or impiety and hubris combined This attitude presumes that the gods are at our call and must respond to our will.

 
Logged

Too much wisdom is an oxymoron; too much knowledge an imminent possibility often detrimental to one's health.

"What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself." Abraham Lincoln

Praise be to Apollon, Lord of music and creativity!
zoe
Apprentice
**
Last Login:December 18, 2009, 03:27:48 pm
United States United States

Religion: Hellenic reconstructionalist
Posts: 23

Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #122: October 27, 2009, 02:17:40 pm »

Most understandings of "spellwork" include "charms, blessings, divination, oracles" within its purview. 

Teasing out the fine lines between all of this stuff is important as it's clear the ancient Hellenes didn't lump it all together.  Every picture of a baby depicts the child draped in strangulation hazards (charms) and the army had professional divinators on the payroll.  (And for the record while charms may have been a mainstream practice, I didn't drape my kid with strangulation hazards!)

say it again!
Quote
*Hellenic culture itself* contained *numerous* variables, depending on the time, the place, the education level, the social group, and the individual.  There is *no such thing* as a singular, unitary, monolithic "Hellenic" perspective.  Your particular cosmology, etc., is definitely found in ancient Greece.  But the problem is the word "particular": you are projecting *one particular belief* -- a common one, at least in a lot of surviving sources, but certainly *not* the only one -- about the gods, the nature of the universe, etc., onto the whole of ancient Greek culture.  No one is questioning the historicity of your beliefs; your strain of belief is well-attested.  What I am pointing out is that the scholarship *proves* that there were a *variety* of beliefs about the gods, prayer, ritual, *and magic* floating around.  Greece wasn't quite as promiscuously pluralistic as Rome, but they got around a lot, and were constantly importing ideas, philosophies, shiny new gods and cults, etc., from everywhere they traveled:  "purely Hellenic" *anything* is a fantasy, so basing one's ideas on some notion of purity is a fool's errand.  The other factor here is that the Greeks were professionally contrary:  coming up with new schools of philosophy -- including new takes on religious belief and prayer -- was practically a blood sport. If anything, that variability and penchant for absorbing other stuff is the closest thing to "purely Hellenic."

And *again*, not everything that various ancient Greeks in various times and places understood as "magic" involved "influencing spiritual/supernatural forces":  the entire logic of "natural philosophy" runs counter to this.  And moreover, not all of this "influencing spiritual/supernatural forces" was considered a bad thing:  Sarah Iles Johnston's book Restless Dead deals with the figure of the "goes," a magic-worker who specialized in problems caused by the dead.  These figures, the "goetes," as experts on death and the Underworld, were often very strongly connected with mystery cults:  Orpheus, and the Orphic cult, are the major examples here. 

oh but it's worth repeating, as so many websites site the Athens view.

Quote
Yes.  And part of the reason I'm having this discussion is to point out that the Reconstructionist worldview -- or, more specifically, the *fundy* Recon worldview, which many of your statements about magic align with -- is, in many forms, a highly selective cherry-picking of ancient material that a) has solidified into a near-orthodoxy in many places, and b) often misrepresents its highly selective cherry-picking as The Whole Truth About Ancient Greek Religious Belief and Practice, The End.  In *direct defiance of the scholarship they claim to prize.*

A major chunk of Recon -- usually fundy, but not always -- attitudes about magic are *not* shaped by actual knowledge of the scholarship concerning the gazillion different kinds of magic in ancient Greece, and the gazillion different attitudes toward it.  Instead, they are driven by the political desire to differentiate themselves from Wiccans, who are the most visible Pagans.  There's nothing wrong with pointing out the differences:  ancient Greek religion, and Greek Reconstructionism, are nothing like Wicca, and not enough people are aware of that.  However, that is no excuse for the denial of Greek magical practices, or the misrepresentation of the ways in which it could and did interact with Greek religion.   

Well I am glad someone else figured this out.  Want to make that crowd froth at the mouth?  Quote sections of "Polytheism and Society in Athens" at them.  They have excuses for the divinator who was given citizenship in Athens for his work to the Army (a high honor).  They will twist and turn about the lead curse tablets for the aristocracy's legal battles found in graves.

Quote
J.C.B. Petropoulos says, "[W]hile Plato was expounding his (rather peripheral) philosophical religion, mainstream Athenians were cursing their neighbours through magical means" (Greek Magic:  Ancient, Medieval and Modern, p. 3).  Not surprising, as magic was often considered a private practice -- and when it called upon the gods, etc., it was doing so in a private context. 

I get tired of the misrepresentation and dogmatic dismissal of ancient Greek magic, especially since the scholarship that Reconstructionists claim to prize provides a great deal of information that complicates or outright contradicts certain fundy Recon orthodoxies.  So we're both tired.  And now, I am completely finished here.


Honestly, RC is starting to back off, and just leave it at "hey, we are not interested".  He doesn't want to really own that he is trying to come up his own Plato's Republic version of Santitized "WASP" respectable version of Hellenic Recon, but perhaps he will warm up to the CUPPS pagans who attend his rituals held at Unitarian Universalist churches.
Logged
Carnelian
Master Member
****
Last Login:January 15, 2012, 12:55:04 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Greek paganism
Posts: 289


Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #123: November 12, 2009, 03:41:57 pm »

Honestly, RC is starting to back off, and just leave it at "hey, we are not interested".  He doesn't want to really own that he is trying to come up his own Plato's Republic version of Santitized "WASP" respectable version of Hellenic Recon, but perhaps he will warm up to the CUPPS pagans who attend his rituals held at Unitarian Universalist churches.

Sorry, I think I'm out of the loop. Who is RC?

I'm not a fan of Plato at all, myself. Platonic Hellenismos really is sanitized and white-washed.

I *love* Reconstructionism as a methodology:  study the scholarship, and base your religious practice on the way things were done in ancient Greece.  Great idea!  However, Reconstructionism as a *belief system* gets really fundy, really quickly -- there are a *lot* of possible ways to "do things the way they were done in ancient Greece," but Reconstructionism as a belief community only allows a very narrow range of stuff

I agree with you on that.

Stuff like this is one of the reasons I've always called myself a Hellenic Pagan as opposed to a Hellenic Reconstructionist.

I tend to go with "Hellenic polytheist" myself. I find the word "pagan" kind of offensive  Cheesy

Honestly, I don't really care anymore about the place of magic in Hellenic religion. I think, for the most part, a lot of this debate has been about semantics, anyway. I think the Wiccan idea that people have power that the body emits and can be focused into spells is culturally incompatible with Hellenic religion, but I realize that the word "magic" can encompass many other practices, and that they aren't necessarily hubristic. The lovely thing about Hellenic religion is that there are no established moral codes, so a person has to come to their own conclusions about what is ethical based on traditional Hellenic values like piety, moderation, and hospitality, which have no rigid definitions.

Logged

Donor Ad: Become a Silver or Gold Donor to get your ad here.

Tags:
Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9]   Go Up
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

* Share this topic...
In a forum
(BBCode)
In a site/blog
(HTML)


Related Topics
Subject Started by Replies Views Last post
Does magic get better with age? « 1 2 3 »
Magic and the Occult for Beginners
Vanni 32 12779 Last post June 14, 2007, 03:58:47 pm
by Fausta
Key Magic « 1 2 3 »
Witchcraft, Hoodoo, and Folk Magic
Oaksworn 32 11695 Last post August 15, 2007, 09:46:15 pm
by Garnet
What is Magic? « 1 2 »
Magic and the Occult for Beginners
Mithril 27 8836 Last post August 24, 2007, 07:48:05 pm
by Journey
What do you use Magic for? « 1 2 3 4 »
Magic and the Occult for Beginners
Juniper 49 12912 Last post February 24, 2009, 11:17:32 am
by Star
Magic Within/Magic Without « 1 2 3 »
Magic and the Occult for Beginners
Juniper 31 10906 Last post March 24, 2009, 07:52:30 pm
by Juniper
EU Cookie Notice: This site uses cookies. By using this site you consent to their use.


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines
TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.076 seconds with 37 queries.