Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

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Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by ShadowWeaver » 13 Feb 2011, 06:36

Skeptical Bit

I tend to follow a salad-bar Pagan path along with learning about Druidism. Perhaps eclectic is a better term. One of the things I am trying to wrap my head around is energies in stones and herbs. On a scientific level, I get that everything has energy/vibrations due to the subatomic particles spinning about and doing their thing. What I find difficult to grasp is that there is specific energy pertinent to specific correspondences in each stone and herb.

When it comes to doing spells, I've always used my words and energy without any stone or herb "boosters." I find it difficult to take it on faith that quartz has certain properties and amethyst has certain properties.

Then, I thought, "Okay, if I don't understand about the energy of these things, perhaps it's enough to just see them as symbols." For instance, if quartz can be used to boost magical energy, but I do not readily accept that, I can still use it as an aid to focus my intent by using it as a symbol of increased energy.

Does this make any sense? Am I on the right track, wrong track, or is there any track to be on at all? I'm asking, because a friend I respect very much seems quite horrified that I do not readily subscribe to plant and stone energy in a magical sense.

Rambling Bit


In a philosophical sense, I see them as having definite lessons to teach, depending on certain factors. Sedimentary rocks tell me about community, help me remain steadfast under pressure, etc. Igneous rocks, to me, are protective and purifying, burning away negativity and keeping it away. Metamorphic rocks teach me about change.

Plants are the same way for me. A cactus tells me about protecting myself, surviving in adversity, and adapting to circumstance, since their needles are leaves adapted to not let out water and to protect the tender innards.

I listen to what the plants and stones tell me. I know there are books of correspondences out there, but some of them just don't make sense. I'd rather work with stones and herbs by listening to what they want to tell me than by reading a book of someone else's thoughts on the matter. Research is great. It provides a jumping off point. I just don't think the messages from nature are going to be the same for everyone.

I am posting this here, because my skepticism has opened up a new world of thought and meaning for me that does not exclude the skepticism. It has also raised many questions. Each question brings more questions.

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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by Lily » 13 Feb 2011, 09:01

Actually I like your rambling bit more than the first.

I don't believe in crystals, in fact because of the way they are collected, which can be under very damaging conditions for the earth (read up on Madagascar if you wish), I try not to acquire any more.

I don't even believe in magical energy, and I believe when spells work, it is because they induce a change in the psychology of either the person who did it or any client present.
This is also how sympathetic or crystal magic or the magic of any other object used works.

However, believers (in anything) won't let go of their world view. so for your friend, it's probably best to argue along the line that it works for you without these special energies, and leave it at that.

So yes, it's all in your 'eid and I also prefer working with plain rocks.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by Bartholomew » 13 Feb 2011, 09:34

Quartz crystals have been used for many years in radios, computers, watches and other devices as an oscillator.an oscillator vibrates or moves back and forth and can create energy. Shaping a quartz crystal in a certain way can generate power differently due to the changes in oscillation. Hemetite has a natural magnetic field, so it may be worth looking into the use of magnetic bracelets etc to see what the effect is thought to be on the human body. Just a couple of thoughts.
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by mantis » 13 Feb 2011, 09:35

I agree with Lily about crystals,I won't touch them.
Being a skeptic is'nt a bad thing.But magic is all around us.However you do it,will power,direction and imagination are crucial.Whether you use stones,plants,fith faths etc it does'nt matter its the intention that matters.
I too enjoyed your ramblings,I could do with rambling more.Good luck on your quest

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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by DJ Droood » 13 Feb 2011, 15:05

ShadowWeaver wrote:Then, I thought, "Okay, if I don't understand about the energy of these things, perhaps it's enough to just see them as symbols." For instance, if quartz can be used to boost magical energy, but I do not readily accept that, I can still use it as an aid to focus my intent by using it as a symbol of increased energy.
I think I see magic the same way. I have an outsiders perspective, but I see a spell as a prayer, but with more props. And if the props help sooth you and put you in a "magical" head space (or encourages you and puts you in a job hunting head space, or whatever it is you are doing), you might then be more able to focus your actions towards accomplishing your goal. Maybe if you have a sore wrist, the bracelet will remind you to go easy on it, or encourage you to see a medical practitioner.
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by ShadowWeaver » 13 Feb 2011, 22:03

I feel more attached and attracted to stones I find on the ground (some hole-y stones I found in a creek too!!!) and plants I find when I'm out and about than mass marketed tumbled stones and dried out herbs in baggies. My husband and I had a crabgrass that was enormously spiritually moving to us. We live in a third floor apartment, and we have some planters on the balcony. Apparently a seed was carried by the wind or by a bird or something, but up here on the third floor, we had crabgrass! How cool is that? That little crabgrass meant more to us than the dried herbs we still have from herbal magic classes. I can't speak for hubbs, but that crabgrass taught me about finding a home, no matter how unlikely. It taught me about the beauty of what many people consider "undesirable." It taught me that there are some unconventional ways to get where you want to be (or that you can place roots wherever it is at least a teeny bit hospitable, even if less than ideal).

Store-bought dried lavender smells great, but it never spoke to me the way that little crabgrass did. Amethyst is beautiful, but a chunk of asphalt tells me stories about traveling, the people who walked upon it, being steadfast and strong, decay when uncared for. A chunk of brick that has fallen off a building tells me about the people who come and go from the building, how important one brick out of many can be to a structure, how to get stronger through the fires of adversity. These are "manufactured" stones, and they teach me so much more than a sterile piece of rock from an unknown mine in an unknown area. I can even use them magically with great success.

Thank you for your comments. I feel like I am definitely doing what is right for me in using found objects spiritually and magically.

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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by Lily » 13 Feb 2011, 22:20

ShadowWeaver wrote:Thank you for your comments. I feel like I am definitely doing what is right for me in using found objects spiritually and magically.
finding your own path through the forest is what matters.


I LOVE hole-y stones, ShadowWeaver.

in the german parts, they are called chicken gods (have NO idea why) and are supposed to bring luck.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by WrenWyrd » 14 Feb 2011, 10:33

Lily wrote: I don't believe in crystals, in fact because of the way they are collected, which can be under very damaging conditions for the earth (read up on Madagascar if you wish), I try not to acquire any more.
I find it disturbing that so many "esoteric fashions" which claim to support (and often make efforts towards it) the environment end up harming it in very obvious ways. I have never bought crystals, partly because it feels strange to go to a shop to select stones from across the world and pay large sums for them, no matter how beautiful they are. I probably shouldn't mention karma among skeptical druids :whistle: but those who believe in it will see the obvious implication of ignoring the provenance of minerals.

My dad gave me a stone from the Alps when I was a child; there is a small crystal on it and apart from the crystal "peak" which has been smoothed and shaped the stone looks very natural. I love it. Other than that I'd rather work with stones I've found that hold particular significance to me. Doesn't it make perfect sense if we're going to "work with the land" as we often put it?
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by DJ Droood » 14 Feb 2011, 14:12

Kima wrote:I probably shouldn't mention karma among skeptical druids
I personally sort of believe in karma, without any proof....perhaps it is a function of the "butterfly effect" (which I also don't understand) or perhaps doing crappy things to people plants a tiny seed of guilt in our tiny subconscious that comes back to sabotage us....I just know that if I treat someone badly, then something bad happens to me, I can't help but form a causality....I think skeptics think the same way as everyone else, we are just intellectually honest enough to accept the fact that there is no hard proof (or any proof) for some of our "feelings" and we freely admit it. (rather than doing what the religious do and calling their unsubstantiated feelings "faith", saying they are beyond questioning, then using it as a jumping off point to persecute homosexuals and women or disguise other political goals).

And slightly tangential, but what exactly does so called "earth based" spirituality have to do with the environment or ecology, etc.? Just because you dance around in a circle 8 times a year with a printed script in your hand or pray to some long extinct Iron Age goddess instead of some long extinct Iron Age drifter doesn't mean you are somehow more "earth friendly" than someone who goes to a church, or does nothing at all on long weekends....I've never quite understood why pagans think their spirituality is somehow more ecologically friendly or "in tune with nature" than any other religion. (if you need to do field testing, go to your next pagan gathering and see how many people arrive in single occupant vehicles blinged out in the above mentioned crystals and cook up some factory meat for lunch....a bumper sticker that says "My other car is a broom" does not an eco-warrior make.)
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by WrenWyrd » 14 Feb 2011, 17:11

DJ Droood wrote: And slightly tangential, but what exactly does so called "earth based" spirituality have to do with the environment or ecology, etc.? Just because you dance around in a circle 8 times a year with a printed script in your hand or pray to some long extinct Iron Age goddess instead of some long extinct Iron Age drifter doesn't mean you are somehow more "earth friendly" than someone who goes to a church, or does nothing at all on long weekends....I've never quite understood why pagans think their spirituality is somehow more ecologically friendly or "in tune with nature" than any other religion.
Well the argument that paganism constitutes a solution to the environmental crisis is regularly put forth. How I would like it to be true! But you are right in that being pagan does not in itself make you "green", and many pagans don't seem to be all that concerned. As such, adopting a romantic state of mind has very little to offer.
Hedge-bandit, song-bomb, dart-beak, the wren
hops in the thicket, flirt-eye; shy, brave,
grubbing, winter's scamp, but more than itself–
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by DJ Droood » 14 Feb 2011, 17:22

Kima wrote:Well the argument that paganism constitutes a solution to the environmental crisis is regularly put forth. How I would like it to be true! But you are right in that being pagan does not in itself make you "green", and many pagans don't seem to be all that concerned. As such, adopting a romantic state of mind has very little to offer.
My point exactly...in fact, it might be counter-productive....it might lead one to believe that having the Green Man tattooed on your butt or drunkenly singing John Barleycorn at a campfire puts you "in touch wth the nature spirits" so Gaia will give you a pass on the other stuff.
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by wolf560 » 14 Feb 2011, 18:41

Wow....

I could not agree more with "Pagan not meaning Green"...

I also do not like collecting crystals but I will make one exception; natural Geodes.

I do tend to collect geodes and the crystals I find within them are usually something I can "connect with" I suppose. I do use a lot of rock in my backyard altar and they are usually collected from dry riverbeds (which are abundant out here in Arizona). I also prefer to use slate or limestone altar pads and tops (also abundant out here) which I get from some of the local rock and gravel yards. For the most part what I find out here is taken from the surface and I find it very soothing to have in my backyard altar place.

As far as "storing energies" or "supplementing the energy flow" I will say that I do find the stones to be helpful. Whether this is due to them actually helping or it just being in my mind I have no way of knowing.

Here is my altar, everything was gathered locally except for the brick entrance path of course and the brick supports for the table itself. The bricks were from pulverized stone so even they were somewhat 'earthy'. Eventually the brick supports will disappear as I continue to collect stones to place around my altar. the flat approach stone in front is a piece of greenish red slate that I got from a stone yard.


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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by DJ Droood » 14 Feb 2011, 18:54

wolf560 wrote:Wow....

I could not agree more with "Pagan not meaning Green"...

I was thinking of you on the weekend, Wolf...I saw a reasonably bad movie called "The Eagle"...more lazy than bad...if filmmakers want to make westerns, they should just make westerns instead of using the props and extras from "Last of the Mohicans" and the script from "Fort Apache" and calling them Celts or Na'Vi or whatever....but anyway, they portrayed the druid as a warrior guy who wasn't afraid to mix it up in battle....the whole thing was probably anacronistic, but I remembered how you don't think all druids should be tofu-munching hippies :-)
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by wolf560 » 14 Feb 2011, 22:37

ROFLMAO..!!!

Yes, 'To Fu' is poison to us Mead-guzzling, Pork-eating, Sword-wielding, Spell-weaving, Magic-fingered, Rock-worshipping, and Crystal-licking Draoi of yesterday...!!!

I saw the movie "Centurion" about a month ago and thought it to be "Good" on a scale of Great-Good-Garbage. "The Eagle" seems to be taking a similar story and pursuing it as well.

How would you rate it on the 3G rating method above?


There does seem to be some evidence of at least the plausibility of this scenario as the Legio Nona Hispana seems to 'disappear' after about 177 CE. The disappearance may have been a reason for the construction of Hadrian's Wall starting about 120 CE.

As that same Legion was being crippled by the Bouddican Revolt the Legion X Gemina was busy fighting the Ordovices ("Voice of the Tribes" when translated). This 'Army of Celts' was comprised of 'Equites', 'Furies' and 'Druids' fighting to defend the Isle of Anglessey. There is no mention of the Druids during this battle sitting on the sidelines and the Romans certainly wiped them all out. Not sure if it was 10,000 or 30,000 on the island (some reports even go as high as 80,000), but the Romans left no one standing and then utterly destroyed everything in the island to include "stones with cryptic inscriptions all over them".
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by DJ Droood » 15 Feb 2011, 00:05

(I started a thread on the movie)
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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by grayjk » 26 Feb 2011, 09:40

I feel that, if anything, spells, prayers, and the like most likely work on a psychological level. I once had a Christian friend who was talking to be about some trouble he was having with a girl he wanted to ask out. I told him to pray about it. Surprised that his staunch Atheist friend would advise prayer, he asked me why. I explained that I believe that prayer is a psychological aid. Just like meditation and anything like that. To me, prayer is important, and works, because it turns your problems into actual, tangible thoughts. We all know we have issues. But most of the time, we don't stop and think about what's really bothering us. Prayer is a time during which we turn abstract, fleeting thoughts into functioning sentences. In order to interpret them in a way for our Gods to understand, we have to turn them into something we understand. I also theorize that this is why most people pray before bedtime. It would make plenty of sense to pray in the morning, or maybe while out to lunch, yet it seems like every Christian I know does most of his prayer at night. When sleeping, your mind mulls over the events of the day, and your conscious and subconscious sort of switch places, in effect, while your brain decides what to "save" and what to "delete". Since most dreams are formed in this manner, this would also explain why many people who pray just before sleeping then have dreams that contain solutions to their problems. It's not that a spirit intervened, so much as that their own brain took the most recent thoughts floating around, and used both the conscious (logic) and the subconscious (emotion) to divine a solution. Just my thoughts.
Although I must ask... If you are skeptical about the magic held within herbs and crystals, how do you practice magic at all? I mean, I figure you've probably already thought this through, I'm more curious than anything. Cause it seems to me that practicing magic while not fully believing its power would be like praying just in case. It doesn't work if God knows you're lying, and it doesn't work if you know you're lying too. Perhaps though, you believe in magic to an extent, such as power coming from the spirit to change the physical world, without believing that all things must have those same properties. Also, you seem very scientific-minded, so perhaps you've seen some proof of basic magic's functionality, and are now exploring whether there's proof of stones and herbs having properties of their own.
I do agree with you though. I think that herbs and stones are, for the most part, symbolic. They help make concrete an abstract ideal. And, if my theorizing in the first paragraph is correct, it certainly can't hurt to use them in your rituals. To me it seems as though they would probably help make your problems and solutions come to the conscious mind the same way that basic spellcraft and prayer would.
Let me know what you think, and if you find anything more about stones, herbs, and the 'energies' surrounding them

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Re: Is it all in my head? (a question of magic)

Post by Ghostrider » 13 Mar 2011, 05:25

Wat is magic...?

For me, the greatest Magic I was ever involved in, resulted in the birth of my 2 daughters.
It did not require chrystals, altars, prayers or wands.
If anything, the only 'tools' were a couple of bottles of Deperados with my eldest and a piss-poor Bon Jovi-concert for my youngest (long stories :grin: ). The Magic resulting from it was no less potent.

Magic for me, is effecting a CHANGE. Making changes happen is something we all do every day. There's nothing OOH-AAAAH-HOOOOOOLY about it :grin: We all do it, all the time. Sometimes it's small changes, some times they are huuuuge ( like my darling daughters :) ).
Now.. sometimes it helps if you focus on something to make sure a change / Magic is effective. So maybe then, meditation, chrystals, or other means of making you focussed could prove helpfull. Depends on what works for you.

Asking the Gods for favours usually won't cut it. If you are not willing to put in some effort to effect a change (= make Magic work), then why should they bother? For me, the Gods may provide the 'tools', but I still have to do all the WORK :wink:
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