Do You Believe In Magic?

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Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by StephenThomas » 29 Feb 2012, 14:12

First, an apology if you have that old song now stuck in your head.

I am asking a serious question. Do you believe in magic, and if so, what does that mean to you? How do you practice magic?

I was raised as a Christian and fully believed in prayer. I also began to believe that Christ was telling the truth when he said that we would do the miracles he was doing and even greater. Now I have chosen the Druid path, but find myself wondering if there is such a thing as magic and if so, how does it differ from Christian miracles, or new age intention?

Is magic simply ritual that brings us closer to the Divine through that ritual, or is it tapping into some spiritual power and changing things in the apparent world? Is magic something for parlor tricks and the only thing we can expect in this life is a crap shoot?

I have my own ideas about magic, but I want to hear what you think. I am new to the Druid path and there is much to absorb. This is one that is giving me some fits. Help an old man out!
Steve (Grayhawk) /|\

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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by DJ Droood » 29 Feb 2012, 16:07

StephenThomas wrote:Do you believe in magic, and if so, what does that mean to you? How do you practice magic?
Only in a poetic sense..."that sunset was magical"...."magic" in the occult, spell-casting sense is a way for powerless people to feel they have some control over their lives and environment..it is directed at their inner selves...like a form of meditation....and I can see a spell effecting another person psychologically if they are "believers" and think a spell has been cast on them. I was going to say I don't practice magic, but there is a little poem I say when I am looking for a parking space ..I also knock on wood frequently to ward off bad luck for saying the wrong thing....and I greet the sun ever day when i see it, as if it was happy to see me, too. And I did get a spell-caster to help me craft a spell years ago, concerning a situaion that upset me and I felt I had no power to influence...I think the spell helped me feel better...of course, it could have just as easily been a Christian prayer or reading poetry...

Now I have chosen the Druid path, but find myself wondering if there is such a thing as magic and if so, how does it differ from Christian miracles, or new age intention?
Driccan spell-casting, Christian miracles and prayer and New Age intention are all one and the same thing...louder than usual wishful thinking. (instead of using your inside voice)

Is magic simply ritual that brings us closer to the Divine through that ritual, or is it tapping into some spiritual power and changing things in the apparent world?
Neither...you are as close to the divine as you are ever going to get right now, doing nothing but reading this post. Congratulations! ...ritual is theatre....magic is like masturbation while you think about a supermodel (or the 'intention' of your choice. \)
Is magic something for parlor tricks and the only thing we can expect in this life is a crap shoot?
Well magic is well established entertainment...that is why people who want to seem "occult" and serious about it sometimes add a 'k' at the end...'magick'...and is life a crap shoot? In a sense....never know when that out of control car will cross the centre line, or years of smoking, eating bacon and drinking sugar water will catch up with your heart......on the other hand, I think we can do a lot to prepare and train ourselves for life's challenges..unfortunately, that usually means a lot of studying, hard work, commone sense and fortitude...but if lighting a candle and throwing salt over your shoulder gets you in the right frame of mind to face the day and move forward and actually do something, I don't see the harm. (just remember to blow out the candle before you leave the house)


(as an experiement, why don't you also put your post over in one of the more magick-friendly subforums, like Common Quest or Olde Timey Spells...you might get more sympathetic and esoterically-inclined responses....here, you will just get a handful of grumps, and then another handful of people who are offended and upset by the grumps...it won't end well...)
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by StephenThomas » 29 Feb 2012, 17:13

Thanks for your input, DJ. I may well take your suggestion to heart and post the same question elsewhere. I would like to hear from all sides.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Mountainheart » 29 Feb 2012, 17:47

StephenThomas wrote:Thanks for your input, DJ. I may well take your suggestion to heart and post the same question elsewhere. I would like to hear from all sides.
I think you will find that many druids aren't quite as skeptical.

Personally I think there is more power in the intention of the human mind than we realise and that much of what we call 'magic' or 'prayer' is a way of enabling us to focus this innate power.

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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Aynfean » 29 Feb 2012, 17:54

I don't have time to post a longer response to this, I have to head to work shortly. But after reading the response I wanted to assure you there are many who don't feel that way.
...occult, spell-casting sense is a way for powerless people to feel they have some control over their lives and environment...
While I respect everyone's right to have an opinion, and I certainly don't claim to have all the answers myself. I do find this response more than a little condescending. No disrespect meant, but I should hope that if I can respect your position of not believing in magic that the same courtesy would be returned. There's a difference, I think, between being sceptical and looking down on those who do believe.

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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Lily » 29 Feb 2012, 18:36

I found DJDroood's response hilariously refreshing....
particularly this part is actually rather deep:
...you are as close to the divine as you are ever going to get right now
and for the record, I don't.
I do the same though, knocking on wood, occasionally saying *oh please* - WISHING I could actually pray to a deity (in which I don't believe either in the sense of "active entity") - to do something for me.

I believe in the magic of being alive. that's it.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by StephenThomas » 29 Feb 2012, 19:40

Interesting dicotome. On one hand we seem to have those who do not believe in any sort of "power" or anything beyond their own abilities and beings. On the other hand, we have those who believe that there is something more.

Do those who believe in something more show weakness? Do those who don't show fatalism? I'm not sure either of those generalities are true. I do think that DJ's suggestion to take this discussion elsewhere is a good one.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by DJ Droood » 29 Feb 2012, 20:49

StephenThomas wrote:Interesting dicotome. On one hand we seem to have those who do not believe in any sort of "power" or anything beyond their own abilities and beings.
In this conversation? Who would that be? I personally believe in many sorts of powers beyond my own abilities and "being"...I think I mentioned the Sun.....'we are all made of stars', as Moby says....the hydro power that provides me with electricity...the list goes on and on....
On the other hand, we have those who believe that there is something more.
That 'more' being magic?
Do those who believe in something more show weakness?


I don't think I am showing weakness by believing in things more powerful, bigger and outside of myself....hello Law of Gravity, Evolution and my old friend Sun.
Do those who don't show fatalism?
I think everyone has beliefs..some are correct, some are incorrect (that the Earth is flat, for instance)...some people seem fatalistic, in the sense that they reject rationalism and have given themselves over to accepting things as 'Divine will', etc.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Lily » 29 Feb 2012, 20:54

you gave this topic one major response and four hours before you declared it over, think that's fair for a global online forum? and what do you expect elsewhere, a pat on the back that you didn't get here? if you want to study "stuff" then why just look for confirmation?

maybe those who use magic do admit their weakness in a positive sense - their humanity, their soft underside, and try to do something about it. fine. If attempts at magic, prayer make you feel better.... still doesn't make me believe in it, I have never seen it work beyond a form of self-affirmation, have you seen more? but it is weakness in the negative sense when you keep attempting stuff that doesn't actually change your situation. you just keep feeling miserable!

am I a fatalist because I CAN'T believe (trust me, I'm a doctor ack scratch that - trust me, I tried :whistle: )? no I am not. I will just try to make the best out of the real life I have, never mind my wishes for the occasional miracle. it's just not going to happen unless I suffer fron delusions. so far it's worked fine.

there is an adage that goes with magic: be careful what you wish for, as you might get it. so if I do not carefully phrase a spell to the effect that whatever the universe has in store for me is alright, it might work, but make me unhappy in the long term. where's the difference then between believing and fatalism?
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by StephenThomas » 29 Feb 2012, 21:20

DJ, I did not point any one out as "those who do" or "those who don't." What labels you take on yourself is your business. I do not mean to cast stones at anyone.

Lily, I do not need pats on the back, head, or any other place. What I wanted is discussion without heat. DJ Drood was the one suggesting I take this somewhere else so that there wouldn't be
DJ Droood wrote:(as an experiement, why don't you also put your post over in one of the more magick-friendly subforums, like Common Quest or Olde Timey Spells...you might get more sympathetic and esoterically-inclined responses....here, you will just get a handful of grumps, and then another handful of people who are offended and upset by the grumps...it won't end well...)
. I'll leave this up as long as anyone wants to discuss it.

Personally, I don't care which way anyone believes. It doesn't mater to me in the least.. I don't even know for sure what I believe myself so other people are on their own.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Lily » 29 Feb 2012, 21:25

maybe a better question would be, what is druid work if you assume there IS NO magic. what is the power of rituals then? I know that power exists but I am not quite sure myself what it can do. all I know is at ritual is part of being human and that OBOD ritual is highly satisfying to myself and others.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by treegod » 29 Feb 2012, 23:57

Magic is real. Magic exists. Even if its a few neurons connected with creativity, imagination and feelings of awe and wonder, that's magic. :poof:

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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Aemilius » 01 Mar 2012, 01:40

Hello Stephen (nice to meet you)....

StephenThomas "I am asking a serious question."

Not doubting that, but I am led to wonder what insight you could possibly have expected to gain by asking it. What motivated you?

Lily "maybe a better question would be, what is druid work if you assume there IS NO magic."

I would think "druid work" would be the same whether you assume there is magic or not.... An Earth friendly lifestyle, a community minded outlook, and a continued interest in self development....

Lily "What is the power of rituals then?"

That's a good question, there's no evidence there ever was any real power in ritual, aside perhaps from maybe the power of suggestion (as in individual/group self hypnosis).

Lily "I know that power exists but I am not quite sure myself what it can do."

Again, the "power" here appears to be the power of suggestion. I've never seen it "do" anything that would constitute evidence to the contrary.

Lily "All I know is that ritual is part of being human and that OBOD ritual is highly satisfying to myself and others."

I'm getting sleeeeepy, soooo sleeeeepy....

Emile
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by StephenThomas » 01 Mar 2012, 01:57

Well Emile, the insight I wanted was to see what others thought. As I change in my beliefs and look at this new path with a bit of skepticism, and a bit of wonder, I can't help but want to know what others who have walked it longer think. I have run the gamut from believing in nothing to believing in damn near anything. Now I find myself somewhere back in the middle. I've heard it said that the wisest sailors are ones who read the charts, but also ask those who have sailed there before.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Aemilius » 01 Mar 2012, 03:24

Hello Stephen....

StephenThomas “Well Emile, the insight I wanted was to see what others thought. As I change in my beliefs and look at this new path with a bit of skepticism, and a bit of wonder, I can't help but want to know what others who have walked it longer think.”

That sounds perfectly logical, but (as I’m sure you’re already aware), unlike most other religions and philosophies the path of modern "Druidry" is one seemingly marked by a complete lack of any but the most general of shared principles. This makes for a path as wide as the cosmos that goes in all directions at once, and any beliefs or tenets that do appear to actually teeter on being shared, upon closer examination, invariably vanish into a supernaturally ambiguous mist.... just like magic!

StephenThomas “I have run the gamut from believing in nothing to believing in damn near anything. Now I find myself somewhere back in the middle.”

And isn’t that, after all, really the best position to remain in when it comes to this sort of thing (magic), in the middle and impartially non-committal in the absence of any proof?

Stephen Thomas “I've heard it said that the wisest sailors are ones who read the charts, but also ask those who have sailed there before.”

Yes, I’ve heard that too, but, at least when it comes to something as subjective as the belief in magic, I should think you would find that the charts you have now in the form of your own life experience at the age of 62 trump any tales relayed to you at this point by other sailors. Just a thought.

StephenThomas “I have my own ideas about magic....”

Would you care to expand on that? I would like to know them.

Strength to you, Emile
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Explorer » 01 Mar 2012, 07:45

DJ Droood wrote:magic is like masturbation while you think about a supermodel (or the 'intention' of your choice. \)
WHAHAHAHAHA!!! Brilliant!! (and quite true, now I think about it).
I'm going to quote you on that (and pretend that I made it up myself).
DJ Droood wrote: (as an experiement, why don't you also put your post over in one of the more magick-friendly subforums, like Common Quest or Olde Timey Spells...you might get more sympathetic and esoterically-inclined responses....here, you will just get a handful of grumps, and then another handful of people who are offended and upset by the grumps...it won't end well...)
Apparently two different views.
But some manage to through a gateway of paradox to discover that both views describe the same thing, and that succesful reconciliation of these apparent opposites can lead to a longed for aha-erlebniss, sometimes called 'enlightment'. (but that's a secret).
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by DaRC » 01 Mar 2012, 13:53

We live in a magical world, as I tell the kids!
If you can assume, like the Cargo Cults, that any technology that you do not understand or cannot explain is magic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult
For me it provides short, easy answers to simple questions like "How does the cloud/internet work"?
What is on-line gaming?
How do I get money out of a hole in the wall?
i.e. Magic

It also means I can give them a better answer "than I work in IT", i.e. I'm a magician, to "What do you do at work". :grin:

However, there are other moments of magic often called coincidence that are less easy to explain.
Why do I see unusual groupings of animals at the birth of friends children?
This has happened at each birth.
Why do I sometimes get that moment of Flow (whilst cycling) and other times I don't, all other things being equal?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29

Then there are other moments:
Why did I get that completely empathic tranquil feeling from that Yew tree at the nadir of my life?

Those moments when coincidence combines with happenstance to create beauty & wonder.
The transrational experiences of life.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by DJ Droood » 01 Mar 2012, 15:02

Explorer wrote:Apparently two different views.
But some manage to through a gateway of paradox to discover that both views describe the same thing, and that succesful reconciliation of these apparent opposites can lead to a longed for aha-erlebniss, sometimes called 'enlightment'. (but that's a secret).
Here is another one you can steal from me...we are born with two eyes...the eye of reason and the eye of instinct and emotion...we need to look out of both eyes to see with depth.
DaRC wrote:For me it provides short, easy answers to simple questions like "How does the cloud/internet work"?
What is on-line gaming?
How do I get money out of a hole in the wall?
i.e. Magic

It also means I can give them a better answer "than I work in IT", i.e. I'm a magician, to "What do you do at work". :grin:
I was pondering this on my drive this morning...one thing I like about this board is it puts little wads of idea in your brain to ruminate over...anyway, why do I "believe" things I clearly don't understand...like how a car works, or gravity...and I think it is because I understand and respect the 'process' that was involved to engineer a bank machine, or formulate a scientific theory. I can grasp the idea of testing and re-testing and mathematical calculations and peer review. And if I really wanted to take the time, I could find out how the bloody thing works.

The things I have read about magic always emphasize 'will' and directing your will and making things happen according to your will (without having to leave your garden!) But for me, magic is the 'surprise' moments...seeing a breath-taking vista for the first time, or trying to create something and messing up, and coming up with something even better...we have all felt and seen magic, and created magic, too, but usually by accident....so I think it is safe to say that most of us agree that 'magic' exists....I think the only real area of debate is what causes magic to happen? Is it the end result of a misunderstood or unrecognized process or chain of natual events?

When I had a magic spell done, it was to get justice/revenge on people who broke into my home (and I was confident the spellworking would be more effective than the police working), and sure enough, 6 months later, the authorities accidently apprehended some people that were responsible for a series of break-ins in my neighbourhood. I will gladly chaulk that up to magic.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by Explorer » 01 Mar 2012, 15:48

DJ Droood wrote:
Explorer wrote:Apparently two different views.
But some manage to through a gateway of paradox to discover that both views describe the same thing, and that succesful reconciliation of these apparent opposites can lead to a longed for aha-erlebniss, sometimes called 'enlightment'. (but that's a secret).
Here is another one you can steal from me...we are born with two eyes...the eye of reason and the eye of instinct and emotion...we need to look out of both eyes to see with depth
I think you stole that from somebody else, it sounds too deep for you.
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Re: Do You Believe In Magic?

Post by treegod » 01 Mar 2012, 21:32

DJ Droood wrote:When I had a magic spell done, it was to get justice/revenge on people who broke into my home (and I was confident the spellworking would be more effective than the police working), and sure enough, 6 months later, the authorities accidently apprehended some people that were responsible for a series of break-ins in my neighbourhood. I will gladly chaulk that up to magic.
I don't believe in conformation bias. :old:

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