Magic is a word that is used to describe a wide array of cultural practices. From Houdini-style magic and summoning demons to divination and healing, there’s just no sense in narrowing down what magic is into a single description.
So it leads to the age-old question: Is magic real? Well, practitioners of modern Paganism think so.
“Neo-pagans,” as most of them choose to be called, are aware of the misconceptions surrounding their religious movement. The idea of magic has to be one of the most talked about topics when it comes to paganism. In retrospect, a significant number of pagans believe in magic but their description of it may span to a variety of very complex ideas.
To simplify things for you, here is a look on how most pagans have integrated the concept of magic as part of their spiritual growth.
Modern Paganism: Magic in the Real World?
English occultist Aleister Crowley, who founded the religion Thelema, once described magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will.”
If there was anyone who knows about magic, it had to be Crowley. As a young boy, he was trained in ceremonial magic and later joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an organization that not only paved the way to Crowley’s philosophy for Thelema but to contemporary Wicca as well.
Crowley believed in magic so much that he chose to spell it as “magick,” an older and more archaic variation of the word. According to his view, magic is something human beings are all born with. To put this supernatural force to use, one needs to get formal training and then put it into the practice. By using magic, the practitioner can make a connection with the energies of nature and cause changes in the material world.
Dion Fortune, co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light, adapted the idea given by Crowley and gave her own perspective on it. Fortune believed the use of magic can be used to bring about change within one’s self instead of merely causing an impact on the material world. Experts have perceived her view of magic as a form of psychology. However, there is one major difference between the two: magic is supposedly drawn from supernatural forces, while psychology does not.
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In modern Paganism, magic isn’t just the art of illusion or the mere sleight of the hand, it is the “art of causation.” Most practitioners have adapted Crowley’s ideologies, believing that human beings are indeed born with the innate ability to create magic by connecting with the energies of nature.
The energies of nature exist in all things. Solid matter is made of atoms, sub-atoms particles, and below this level is pure energy. Once an individual reaches this level of pure energy, he or she connected everything by the threads of energy.
Can modern pagans perform magic?
Modern pagan magic is performed in a number of ways. Among those who practice magic are Wiccans, who identify as neo-pagan witches, and practitioners of neo-druidism, much of which are rituals based on ceremonial magic and freemasonry.
Wiccans, on the other hand, cast spells using incantation, amulets, talismans, and other actions or objects. Because of the belief that human beings born with the ability to do magic, spells can be cast once the practitioner learns how to properly harness the right amount of energy.
Finally, modern Paganism does not condone vengeful magic practices as opposed to what most Christian fundamentalists have been saying. In fact, it is written in the Wiccan Law/Rede, “An it harm none, do what ye will.” This means magic shall not be used to cause intentional or unintentional harm.