Real Magic

Reality. It’s filled with marvels!

It is not, however, filled with every marvel we can imagine. There are no dragons, nor unicorns. There are no pixies or fairies. And there is no “magic” in the sense of spellcasting, “charging” items with “power” or “energy”, hexes, curses, or otherwise affecting the course of events without material cause.

Just as there are no gods, there is no magic. If we soberly consider the evidence, the conclusion is inevitable.

Except…well, wait a minute.

When a ritual adds to your confidence and performance in a job interview, is that magic? When a ceremony breaks open longheld rage and transmutes it to grief and healing? What about when a wedding binds two people to one another before their communities and loved ones?

Are not these things “magical”, in the sense that they surprise and delight us with effects psychological and meaningful?

Well, certainly they are.

Atheopagans can do magic just as effectively as anyone else…which is to say, not at all effectively. Except insofar as our “spellwork” is intended to change our own attitudes, emotions, and behaviors.

But for those purposes, ritual is powerful technology for transforming the mind.

Be warned: don’t expect your supernaturalist friends to get this. For whatever reasons, they subscribe to belief in phenomena for which there is little to no scientific evidence. There’s no point in arguing, so don’t.

Ritual “spellcasting” in Atheopaganism can include many of the elements that come to mind when you think of such things:  the use of ritual tools, candle “magic”, sacred/”magical” symbols and sigils, etc. I find that my rituals of intention, which is what I call them, bring me into a powerfully Present trance state of calm, intent focus and concentration on the goal.

But these goals are very specifically about the changes in me that I am working to bring about. I don’t “do a spell to get a job”—that’s useless. I will do a ritual to align myself in all ways with an effective and successful job search. This means that the ritual begins the work of getting a job, rather than ending it. It means I am tasked to act by the ritual itself.

Atheopaganism is a path of effort and clarity. We don’t pretend that our religion will give us an afterlife, nor  powerful Entities with whom to ally, nor magical powers. Ours is life in this world, with its constraints, its challenges, its injustices…and its magnificence, its opportunity and its joy.

It is enough. The real kind of “magic” we can make is magical enough. The real powers and forces of the world are enough. The glorious stars, the deep-rooted trees, the shining faces of our community are more than enough.

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10 thoughts on “Real Magic

  1. As Dion Fortune reportedly put it: “Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will”. That’s how I use ritual/magical technologies, not to try to change the world but to change how I see the world.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes. Starhawk uses that definition in “The Spiral Dance’ as well. There are many who have understood that “magic” is figurative, not literal. But unfortunately, there are many who have not.

      Liked by 3 people

    • This is how I’ve done magik for years. I prefer this spelling for “magic” so the idea won’t be confused with actions of some mystical power outside of myself.

      I confuse my more mystical pagan friends because I read tarot but only for myself as an aid in my own meditations. I’m comfortable with the cards from years of experience with them. I’ve even setup a Tarot reading place in a virtual world called Second Life. I try to go once a day and read for myself. It gives me a place to go and look inside myself. As well as having a place to go to have some me time away from the frantic activity of the real world.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Since I’ve dipped my toes into pagan waters I find the concept of magic and spell casting fascinating, but a bit tough for me to swallow! Your approach to it makes much more sense, and I’ve put to use myself, and found it helpful. That piece of tiger’s eye I wear has no real magical power, but I feel more confident when I wear it. The rose quartz I keep on my desk doesn’t itself affect anything, but seeing it reminds me to be more loving and patient with those around me. These are a few examples, and in their own way, pretty darn magical. Thanks for a great post! 🙂

    PS, sorry of this gets posted twice; I wasn’t sure if my first comment went through!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, you just tickled the hell out of me, since that’s the way I’ve been defining “magic”, for years. Plus, I could swear we had a mildly heated discussion about this, a few years ago- but I may have expressed my position badly, or maybe I’m just misremembering.
    In any case, I agree… but I continue to hedge my bets, just in case I’m wrong, and it’s actually the fooking Fairies that are constantly hiding my cell phone from me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Whooshing around the metaverse and commented:
    This is how I’ve done magik for years. I prefer this spelling for “magic” so the idea won’t be confused with actions of some mystical power outside of myself.

    I confuse my more mystical pagan friends because I read tarot but only for myself as an aid in my own meditations. I’m comfortable with the cards from years of experience with them. I’ve even setup a Tarot reading place in a virtual world called Second Life. I try to go once a day and read for myself. It gives me a place to go and look inside myself. As well as having a place to go to have some me time away from the frantic activity of the real world.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice! As a recovering evangelical, I find your perspective very helpful and empowering. No I don’t believe in many things, but I have come to believe that magic, the way you described it, is everywhere which makes me a magician. ❤

    Like

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