air_n_darkness: (magical)
[personal profile] air_n_darkness
A friend has posed multiple questions to me of late that essentially amount to the same question, that being "How do I (we, you) know the gods and/or magic is real and I'm (we're, you're) not crazy? It is a hard question to answer, for such a question is distinctly personal and the answer is specific to each person. More accurately, how a person comes to his/her answer is often such a difficult and fretful journey that for one person to attempt to measure his/her own reasonings against another's is true folly. My answers to my friend's entreaties have, I am afraid, therefore been rather lacking in specifics or details, which know is frustrating, and not just for the querent. I am a creature of facts and proofs, one who bases her magic in science, not in faith, so to be unable to point to a formula to satisfy the question is more than a little troublesome.

I find it especially troublesome because so many people tend to chalk belief in magic, in god and/or goddess to that nebulous concept called Faith. I don't believe in Faith. I do not have Faith in gods, or magic, or deity/Deity. Rather I Know that god/desses exists, and I Know that magic exists for I have had their existences proven to my physical senses as much as to any other. I am, before all things, a critically thinking human being, a seeker, a questioner, and while I do not discount a person's Faith, I find the concept of blind faith and acceptance in anyone or anything to be abhorrent, an insult to the very breath of life from which we are formed. Once one stops questioning, stops challenging, one stops growing, and that is such a terrible, cruel loss to the Whole, a loss of Potential, and a loss of Life.

Let me return, however, to the question of real vs. imaginary, and not digress upon a discussion soley of my personal path. This question continues to press at me and demand of me a better answer than I have been able to give in either written or verbal form. I am unsure if I can ever fully satisfy the question for another, but herein are my attempts.



I shall look first at the question of magic, for it is, oddly enough, the easier to quantify and rationalize, the easier to pin down to a board and label Truth. The generally accepted definition for magic is the exertion of will to create an outcome. It is a definition I use myself, for it at once encompasses the whole of the idea of magic while removing the sparkly sprinkles and flash-in-the-pan theatrics. By that basest of definitions, every human being does magic every day, for each of us with our free will and individual desires exerts our will in some small way to create an outcome. It is how one exerts one's will to create an outcome that defines one's personal magic, defines one's very self, and defines one's path in life.

How can I, a person who has called herself (and been called by others) a science witch, a cynic, believe without doubt in magic? Simple. I believe in life. I live, I breathe, I bleed. The world lives, and breathes, and bleeds around me. I can point to formulas and proofs of the electrical fields and frequencies of the things within the world, and of myself. I know that if A is affected by B in C manner, D will result. My will is an extension of my body's own frequency, its electrical pulse, and that pulse can and does affect the fields around it. If magic is, as they say, an exertion of will to create an outcome then of course Magic is real.

Aside the First: Someone out there is playing devils advocate and crying out, "But, but, but- if that is the case than how come magic doesn't always work for everyone, hmmm? Why doesn't everyone get everything that he or she wants and asks for?" That, dear reader, is a question to do with Balance and a point of Order and not immediately pertinent to the issue at hand.

I've spoken to/read the accounts of many witches, pagans, practitioners, etc over the years, and no two have ever described magic in the same manner. Nearly every one, however, can point to a moment which cemented for them the truth of magic, and when they were in perfect synchronization with the World and knew beyond shadow their ability to affect said. What they felt at that moment is what they say they continue to feel to varying degrees when they work magic, or are in the presence of magic. A connection to power that is so poignant, so personal, that it can only be their and no other being but their link to the greater whole of the world, their doorway, their conduit.

I must get a bit more personal now, and I do apologize for the need. Despite the above, it is still impossible to tell another person how he should find his truth of magic. I can only recount how I find mine, and for that I must attempt to describe the nigh indescribable.

Magic, for me, is not this fantastical thing that is so often described by other practitioners. It is tangible, quantifiable. It has a smell, a taste, a sound, a look, and a weight, though not always all of these at once. Magic is something which I can, literally, hold in my hand and know as a solid and real thing. This is why I accept it without question, for as I have said previous, its truth has been proven to me in a way I can not deny. I have always believed in magic, from my youngest days, but now I do not just believe in magic, in the idea of something wondrous in this mundane world, but I trust in its truth. These are very different things, to me.

My Magic lives and breathes and bleeds. Should I feel need to touch it, it pricks back at my skin like steel wool, abrasive and biting, slightly uncomfortable under my hand, makes my skin itchy and even raw should I hold on too long. Should I feel the need to hear it, my Magic sounds like wind racing through a forest fire, crackling and violent. The taste of it is ashen and coppery, like smoke mixed with blood, and the smell peppery and sharp like clove and juniper berry. Should I need to see it (and this is both rare and difficult for me, as truly seeing beyond the mundane realm is very hard for me), my Magic is a roiling gray shadow shot through with threads of purple, silver, and black.

My Magic is an extension of my Self, a reflection of my Self. In truth, it is perhaps me at my most honest and unguarded, me stripped of my masks and walls. To deny the truth of it would be to deny the truth of myself, and if I do that well- I may as well not exist.

That is how magic is for me, why I trust it as truth and do not consider myself crazy for doing so. Again, magic is so deeply personal a thing. One must find his own truth of it, perhaps in study, in thought, or in the written word. One constant holds in my experience, however; if one truly wishes to find his magic, his magic will find him, but if he fears or scoffs even the smallest bit, his magic will forever be just shy of his grasp.

Now I shall attempt, somehow, to move to the question of gods, and for the sake of simplicity, I shall use "gods" to encompass gods, goddesses, and deities of whatever sort. This one is a bit more of a sticky subject, because when one talks of gods, one almost always talks of faith, and I have already made my views on faith rather clear. Rather than try and give some definitive, all-encompassing answer to the question of if the gods are real, I will simply talk through why I accept the truth of their existence, despite being of no pantheon or grouping myself.

My acceptance of the gods boils down to this idea: man created the gods in his own image. The gods are not the Divine, they are not Deity, they are beings without solid form, crafted from the same soul-stuff as ourselves by the power of man's will. They are the greatest products and proofs of magic as the exertion of will to create an outcome, for when man needed to look beyond himself for answers, he looked into a mirror and created a greater version of himself. This is why I do not worship, because I am not nearly so narcissistic as to wish to worship any aspect of myself. I'll also admit that I'm both arrogant and confident enough to touch divinity if I wish to do so without needing to go through an intermediary being.

Aside the Second: I am well aware that to many the above paragraph might be construed as either blasphemy or insult, or both depending on a person's personal views. Please know that I do not intend it in that manner, no do I try to say that my way is the "right" way to believe. It is merely my own beliefs, as I have formed them over my years of study, and said beliefs continue to evolve as I mature.

If one accepts the theory that gods are a manifestation of will given life, power, and (eventually) limited will of their own, then one might also accept that the gods are merely a great magic, a group working. Ergo, if one trusts in the truth and existence of magic, one might thereby accept the truth and existence of the gods. For me, the acceptance of one leads to the acceptance of the other. If I could not believe in magic, I could not believe in personified gods. Magic is a truth, not imagination. The gods are Magics. So the gods are truths, and not imagination.

Aside the Third: non-deity magical beings such as the Fey and other realm-based beings are a whole 'nother kettle of fish and I am so not getting into that discussion right now. Ask me later, if you want to me to expound upon that subject.

Relationships with one's gods are as deeply personal as one's relationships with our magics. In talking with people, it seems most people look for gods first and find magic second, as in most alternative religions magic is part and parcel of both worship and working. We, humanity that is, has this primal need to look further than ourselves, to believe in a power greater, someone/thing that gives us direction and strength. So we look for the gods, and they find us. Perhaps we choose them, perhaps they choose us. Some say that if one does not claim genetic heritage to a region, one should not claim that regions pantheon, but on that idea I call shenanigans. Everything's connected, and that includes souls and magics recreated and reincarnated across, time, space, and void. All hearts do eventually come home, you see.

Rereading my post to this point, I fear I still haven't answered my friend's question in any definitive way. I didn't truly expect to do so. What I have done is made clearer my own truths, and in doing so perhaps provided points of both discussion and consideration for others to ponder upon, hopefully without being too cryptic or confusing. I welcome any discussion on the subject, though I don't promise overly quick replies to comments.

Date: 2012-10-02 08:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wood-artist.livejournal.com
Not being schooled in the "Pagan" ways, I pretend to know nothing of what it espouses nor do I have any opinion regarding whatever "mystical" thoughts it entails. I was raised a Methodist, by parents who were very active in the church. My father came close to becoming a Minister, and was a CO during WWII, a difficult time to take that position. He served his alternative service fighting forest fires, and was even involved in extinguishing the one fire started by a Japanese incendiary balloon landing. After my parents married, he became a lay paster for the church, preaching from time to time as a "fill in" in various churches in the area. Later, after my father's death, my mother followed that tradition herself.

Oddly, although it may not have been odd at all, near the end my father began to question his beliefs. I think he felt betrayed by a series of strokes, heart attacks, and other medical afflictions that finally included Alzheimers. I really think he felt he'd done his best and God had abandoned him. I have no idea what conclusions, if any, he finally reached. I suspect he figured it just didn't much matter. My own beliefs are very simple, yet rather complex.

On the simple side, I am not a fan of "Faith"...blind or otherwise. When it comes to God, it's just about got to be blind in my book. I do believe in a sort-of God, but I think he's (it could just as easily be a she, or even a somehow neuter gender) inside each of us, and not necessarily a cosmic whole. I once read a book that postulated an intresting theory that makes a lot of sense to me. It is called The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. That's a long title, but in simple terms, the idea is this. When the human brain developed to have a "right side" and a "left side" (bicameralism) the two halves, needing to work together, began to "talk" to each other. Primitive man was somewhat aware of these goings on, and without any other understanding just assumed that when he asked a question (mentally) and seemed to "receive" an answer (mentally) it must be God talking to him, answering his question. When you think of it that way it makes perfect sense. Given verbal language probably lacked words to handle philosophical ideas, it makes even more sense. What sort of answer would you get if you asked a friend "Why am I here?" At least internally the person might receive some sort of thought response. See more below.

Date: 2012-10-03 06:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] air-n-darkness.livejournal.com
You say "see more below" and yet, I see no additional commentary. :(

Date: 2012-10-03 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wood-artist.livejournal.com
LJ wouldn't let me post the rest of it, and although I thought I saved it somewhere, I guess I didn't, or at least I can't find it. I don't think it was anything particularly profound.

Date: 2012-10-02 09:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragoness-e.livejournal.com
I was raised Christian, so I tend to call what has spoken to me in times of trouble and occasionally tapped me on the shoulder to say "Yer doin' it wrong, turn around and fix it", God and angels. Were I pagan, no doubt I would number them among my gods and spirits. In my opinion, some aspects of religion are just frames and handles to grasp the ineffable, not absolute taxonomies.

Some say that if one does not claim genetic heritage to a region, one should not claim that regions pantheon, but on that idea I call shenanigans.

Only someone who has not had a kami or angel or other spirit land in their head could say such foolishness. One doesn't claim a region's pantheon; they make themselves known to you if they choose.

Profile

air_n_darkness: (Default)
air_n_darkness

August 2017

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
2021 2223242526
2728293031  

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 08:23 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios