The Role of Magick

Inspired by a recent forum discussion about the role of magic(k) in modern paganism:

My attitude to and belief in magic has changed. I got into Paganism via “nature worship”, that’s what really drew me in, and magic just happened to be a part of the whole Pagan thing (my first excursion into the subject was through Wicca). The magic side of things did interest me for a while, but I was more interested in its significance than its practice. My questions to myself “why do I need it? Do I actually need it?” I once read something that really changed my view of it, which was that I can make a spell but the result will not be the exact one I want; it will be an unconscious change of myself that influences how I act in my life. I can ask for love, wealth or health, but unconsciously I will be making changes to myself that will somehow draw these things into my life.

I think I was more for personal development, making changes within myself than making changes outside of me. And since I can make change within myself without magic, why bother? On the other hand Buddhism influenced my thinking: instead of changing things, maybe it is my perception of things that needs changing. So I left magic behind, though I still held symbolic actions important.

Nowadays I don’t believe that simply by ritualised intent I can make things change (except myself). I believe making symbols (artistically, ritualistically or otherwise) to symbolise my intentions or wishes is important, but these act more as a “mission statement” to myself, a plan or vision by which I can act… and then the changes occur.

For me “real magic” is art and creativity. It is the way we can apply our imagination and perception to transform the world. It the the transformation of inanimate elements into living beings, the transformation of reaction into reflection, the transformation of imagination into concrete reality. It’s an alchemy of the world and ourselves that involves our perception of it.

I may have let go of certain ideas about magic, but it’s become something else as my perception and understanding of it changed. Magic itself has undergone a transformation of alchemy.

Seeker of Knowledge, Seeker of Transformation

There came a time for me when I stopped seeking knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but instead looked to be transformed by information, that it would enter me and evoke some change. Each piece of information acts like a key deep within, unlocking something, and creating new pathways between neurons.

Curiosity led me not on a path of knowing but of transformation, which itself becomes a path of knowing as I gained the experience of navigating through a world replete with diverse information, and also gained insights into myself as to what and how I think. My old ways of thinking were questioned and disturbed until I had nothing to cling onto except my own sense of who I was and my experience. I wasn’t learning just to think new things but learning to think in new waystoo.

In the process of learning there is a deeper process of transformation and development, and expanding the horizons on the way we think. How can information be detached and objective when it affects us so deeply? Learning need not be dry intellectualism nor passive submission, there is a whole adventure to be had!