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Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 9,650,535  

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Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 33

Lurker/Post Ratio: 992 to 1

Question of the Week: 50 - 7/16/2001

What's Your Magickal Focus?

What is YOUR magickal specialty? Herbalism? Healing Magick? Directing Energies? Invoking the Nature Spirits? How did you come to choose/decide to develop this area of expertise? How long did you have to practice and study before you felt reasonably proficient in your magickal focal-work area? Did you have a natural talent for this to begin with or did you decide to study this particular area of magick for another reason? What advice for developing skills or expertise would give to someone who is considering entering into your particular magickal focus-work area? What are the 'neglected' areas of magickal Work-you know, the not so glamorous service-oriented stuff that is really needed, but for some reason or another, not too many Pagans are motivated to develop or are interested in studying?

 Reponses:   There are 33 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 


My Magickal Focus? I Would Have To Say Meditation And Connecting With... Jul 18th. at 1:17:49 am UTC

Angie McMullen (Montoursville, Pennsylvania US) Age: 22 - Email


My magickal focus? I would have to say meditation and connecting with the Lady and Lord. Sometimes I use candles for this but most of the time I use my mind. I see everything as connected and in some sort of harmony. Each living thing in the Dance of Life touches the other. It gives me a feeling of peace and joy.
Gentle Breezes!
Angie


Ever Since I Can Remember I Could Just Feel The Energys And... Jul 18th. at 8:05:32 am UTC

river walker (Smyrna, Georgia US) Age: 31


Ever since I can remember I could just feel the energys and "moods" of everything outside. I started my study trying to heal a broken heart that just would not go away. A focus on healing both body and soul began there. I work with herbs mostly, some stones. I do this because I almost feel directed to. THere was no dicision making, and I never thought of doing otherwise. I'm working up to healing on a larger scale : beyond people and on to the general bad attitude of the world. I don't think I can change the world, but even bringing a calm to three or four at time for a little while helps - especially during rush hour.

Advise on the subject - Read every little thing you can get your hands on, even the stuff you don't agree with, and then do what your heart says.


My Magical Specialty Is Probably Off-the-cuff Spells. It's Sort Of Odd, Since... Jul 18th. at 10:20:12 am UTC

Richard Gant (Erlanger, Kentucky US) Age: 29 - Email


My magical specialty is probably off-the-cuff spells. It's sort of odd, since I've mostly read up on ceremonial magic. I guess you could say that I'm a "MacGyver witch" - I take what I know and then improvise with it based on what I have on hand. So, the only thing I can recommend for others who want to do it as well is to read up on the theory of magic. A lot. (I personally recommend Frazier's _The Golden Bough_, Isaac Bonewitz' _Real Magic_, _The Magician's Companion_ and _The Magician's Reflection_ by Bill Whitcomb, and anything by Scott Cunningham.) Get comfortable with patterns and correspondences and symbols, and then practice until you are confident in your abilities (energy raising and manipulating exercises are a must).


Laugh If You Will--but The Phrase Which Comes To Mind Is... Jul 18th. at 11:03:25 am UTC

Cat (Asheville, North Carolina US) Age: 34


Laugh if you will--but the phrase which comes to mind is "mundane magic." Or, if you like it better, the magic of things which appear mundane. The great gift paganism has brought into my life is a reason to see so-called ordinary events as all magical, and all part of the same system. I'm thinking, even, of taking a basic physics course (which is saying a lot for someone of my mathematical NON-talents) because I'm thinking more and more about the (literal) forces which drive the creek downstream, shift the tide back and forth, hold us to the world. Watching my husband bake bread or a possum shamble through the yard, feeling the muscles fueled by oxidation when I walk or run, lighting a candle, getting an idea out of nowhere--what's more magical than that? Generally I feel like the most magical thing I can do is to watch, and record, and remember. To bear witness to the way things are, all the time.

To do that is to participate in something greater than the single self, and it's to change that self as well. I go back and forth on how much I expect magic to alter the external world or its denizens to suit my liking, but the one thing I know magic can change is me. It can help me live in this world, as it is.

Don't get me wrong; I doubt if most of us come to this faith without at least a mild taste for costumes and trappings and play. I like candles and pretty robes as well as the next witch, I really wish I had access to more group rituals, and a really dead-on tarot reading impresses the hell out of me. But when the chips are down, what's most magical is what's been there all along, and what's there every day.


My Magickal Focus Is Chi, The Oriental "life-energy", Also Loosely Translatable As... Jul 18th. at 4:55:39 pm UTC

Ethan McCool (Chattanooga, Tennessee US) Age: 24 - Email


my magickal focus is chi, the oriental "life-energy", also loosely translatable as chaos. my manipulation of chi developed spontaneously as a self-defense mechanism against various emotional difficulties i faced as a teenager. I am not and never will be "reasonably proficient" in working with chi; the idea of controlling it is contradictory to the necessary mindset required to even notice it. I do not advise anyone to study chi; spending your life studying life rather than appreciating it is your loss. IMHO, most of the neglected areas of magickal work are neglected for very good reasons.


Folk Magick Imho Of All The Approaches To Magick, This Is The... Jul 19th. at 12:55:33 am UTC

Trish Telesco (Amherst, New York US) Age: 41 - Email


Folk magick

IMHO of all the approaches to magick, this is the one that has remained the most consistent and perhaps has the longest legacy as the magick of the common people. In the superstitions and beliefs of "everyday" folk, we find a wealth of magickal ideas hidden neatly in the guise of custom. No one thinks anything of blowing out candles on a cake, or tossing a coin in a well -- these actions aren't magickal - they're "tradition" which is exactly why they're user friendly.

You need nothing more than good collections of folklore and superstition to study this system, and better yet it can be tailor-made for cultural overtones! Every culture had these - there is no exception. Ok, so I'm enthusiastic, but I really feel that this is the place where nearly everyone can meet on common ground. Our grandparents still gardened and baked by the moon and never thought it magickal - it was natural, as it should be.


Plsease Remove Last 2 Posts, Was Testing. My Magical Specialty Is Directing... Jul 19th. at 1:42:58 am UTC

David (OZ, North Carolina US) Age: 1


Plsease remove last 2 posts, was testing. My magical specialty is directing energies but I wouldn't call myself an expert. The Gods and Goddesses I use are love, meaness and hate. A lifetime of practice is needed, natural talent is human nature. Advice, you have to show your own faults or give openings that show them to truly move the scene. Some of my handy work can be seen at (www.thedesertsun.com) in the forum area, if its still up. I wrote a piece that completely shreaded Zendik Farm even though I have not been there. But I changed my mind not to do it because I'm just trying to get power from being mean, cause it works, but thats not the best way.. Neglected areas of service oriented magick would be distant healing. I have talked to Thelma magick people, witches, voodo women, Christ people, either turn me down to set something up or what they have is not quality. Meaning no one is getting healed. I would really like the Witches Voice to look into Agnihotra, like do a feild test.


Good Golly, I Don't *have* A Magical Focus. Generally, I Just Try... Jul 19th. at 11:13:17 am UTC

John (New Naumkeag) Age: 34 - Email


Good golly, I don't *have* a magical focus.

Generally, I just try to live the Craft . . . or, put another way, I just try to Craft my life into a continuous act of magic/prayer.

When I work specific acts of magic, I use a variety of techniques, forms, etc., but I am not student of or developed in any one. (I am very eclectic in this regard.) Sometimes I use a bit of ceremony, sometimes herbs and incense and whatnot, sometimes other forms of natural magic, sometimes trance-states / meditation . . . In short, I use these and the like (and the concepts supporting them) as tools.

The tools of magic (physical and conceptual) together help me do three things: 1) to become aware of the interconnectedness of all, 2) thence to become aware (in a special way) of the One that is all, and is in all, and is beyond all too, and 3) by and through and because of that Reality which I am aware of, to cause needed change to occur in conformity with will . . . for the good of all, the harm of none, in accordance with free will and subject to the Divine will.

But, crafting specific acts of magic are few and far between for me.

And while that's just me, not a norm for all people, I suggest that specific acts of magic are just a part of the Pagan path . . . like specific prayers are just part of some other religious paths. These --prayer and magic-- are real, and sometimes they are really efficacious in their outward results. But, when they are only seen and used as substitutes for technology, there is (in my opinion) error. Technology is technology - physical tools to help us do physical work. Prayer and magic, while they can sometimes produce results like that, are far more than that. Put another way, prayer and magic are indeed tools, but their work (their craft) is not just the transformation of specific or outward events. Rather, their work is to help us transform ourselves into our Truest Selves.

And for those who would think that such a remark is essentially a selfish or passive remark, it is not. The true nature of action is an aspect of being becoming. Put in conventional, western terms, "creation" (of which we are part) can be seen as a Divine act that takes place in infinity but which is experienced within as occurring through time and space. In both ways of expression, action is ... active, and it (including human living) is not predicated on selfishness but instead in recognizing that the same "self" that makes me myself is also infinitely present in every other "self" (human, animal, plant, whatever).

Hence, prayer, magic and especially daily life are not, therefore, just means for achieving a specific act or goal. They can achieve those, but they are not limited to those. Instead, the very basis of prayer and magic is (through transcendence in the former, immanence in the latter) a greater realization of the interconnectedness of all . . . including our individual selves. That basis (the interconnectedness of all) is also the means for "effective" prayer and magic; it is also the result of effective prayer and magic.

Put another way, then, the "threefold rule" of Witchcraft is the basis, the means and the result of magic . . . and prayer . . . and daily living. As C.S. Lewis once said, "We pray not to change God's mind but to better allow God to change us." Or, as Scott Cunningham wrote, "Magic is a Divine act." Take it from whatever perspective works for you --the transcendent perspective or the immanent perspective-- the gist is the same.

The Veil is real, and once we peer behind the it to see what is there, we discover that that there is simply more "there" there, including the Veil. The World Between the Worlds, thus, is not just a place crafted when casting a circle (though it is that); it is also a summary reality of human existence: the "there" where we are, the "there" that seems separate from where we are (but which is interconnected with everything else), and the there which seems beyond all of that too; it all . . . is. Realizing that from within is, thus, active; it is thus prayer; it thus magic; it is thus living the Craft in daily life as well as exceptional moments of life. In Crafting prayer and magic, in Crafting our lives, in Crafting ourselves into our Truest Selves, we Craft not just our own real, individual selves but also everything else.

In my opinion, it is that simple truth --the simplicity of Truth Itself and its seeming complexity-- that we who are Witches celebrate, observe, struggle through and live. It is the Formless through Forms. It is the phases of the moon, the wheel of the year, through the spiral of time. It is the finitude within infinity that we not only access when we craft specific acts of magic but which we *are* through our existence and which we should seek to better realize so as to better be and live and give it.

So, when asked what is my focus of magic, I usually say "none" or "living the craft." That's not to dismiss any particular discipline of magic. Rather, it's because of what I attempted to communicate above and what I here reiterate:

Usually, I focus upon trying to cultivate a constant magical awareness and lifestyle; by the way, this is also the flip side to something else I do, cultivating a constant prayerful awareness and lifestyle. Of course, I am nowhere near perfection in these exercises. But the gist is the same: to increasingly Realize Truth and to thereby increasingly live a life of Truth . . . by, through and because of the interconnectedness of all.

I could go on and on; if anyone is still reading this far, thank you. If you're interested in reading more, I am working on writing a philosophy for the new Pagans of the West, and I would appreciate your input on what *you* think should be addressed in such a work and how.

Meanwhile, I'll sum up with a quote from pagan scriptures (from Hinduism) that helped me see in words what I had been Crafting and seeking to Craft as a Witch. (Just substitute whatever your term is for Ultimate Reality, the One, the Lord and Lady, the Self, etc. for "God" if you feel so inclined.)

"Realize that God is the ultimate magician,
and by His magic of things appearing to be separate,
He brings forth all the worlds out of Himself.
Therefore, all that exists
partakes of the Divine splendor."

(Shvetashvatara Upanishad, chapter 4, verse 10. Quoted and adapted from the translation by Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri Press, copyright 1987, ISBN: 0-915132-39-7)

Blessed Be.

--John


I Would Have To Say My Special Magickal Ability Is Healing. Ever... Jul 19th. at 11:28:30 am UTC

Nidawi Badria (Dexter, Maine US) Age: 15


I would have to say my special magickal ability is healing. Ever since I was a very very young child I have been interested in fixing anything that was hurt. Whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally. When I was no older than 2 years old I would heal sick plants and trees. Granted my methods were bumbling and crude, but they always seemed to work. My mother noticed it and grew very suspicious, calling it the work of the devil. I didn't understand why she got so angry at me for making the plant feel better. But then her mother, my grandmother, got in a bad accident when I was about 5 years old. She broke dozens of bones, and I would give her massages with my little hands and her fast recovery shocked the doctors. After that my mother grew less angry about my talent, she even supported it in a way by trying to interest me in medical camps and programs for young kids. I wasn't interested in being a doctor or practicing my talents for the masses. Truthfully, I doubted if I could heal someone or something I didn't know. But by this time my aunt had begun to notice my knack with the plants in her garden. She is a certified herbalist and began to teach me herbal craft. She is also a Pagan. So from a fairly early time in my life I was taught to use my talent and not to be ashamed of it. But my powers were not limited to the physical. I have always been a comforter to anyone in distress and always the problem-solver. I realized this was linked to my healing skill and developed it further. I think that is an element of the craft that is often forgotten, that you can help comfort and calm someone, you can give them peace of mind. I will always use my talents on those in need, but I feel my calling in life is not to practice these arts directly, but to promote understanding and appreciation of diversity and culture of any kind. That is what I have dedicated my life to do.


I Am Not One That Works Heavily With Magic. Sometimes I'll Do... Jul 19th. at 2:13:29 pm UTC

Heather (Milton, Florida US) Age: 19


I am not one that works heavily with magic. Sometimes I'll do a ritual for the full moon, or for a Sabbat, but most of my magic is done by simply raising energy, light a candle and look at the flame as I speak to the Goddess or God. I'm Eclectic, and that is most of what I do. And I find that it works very well. Divinity is everywhere, within and without, all the time, and I don't believe in all the conditions, such as time of the day or the month, etc. Divinity is always there, all you have to do is open up yourself and talk, mentally or physically, and you will be heard. Magic happens everywhere, all the time. Life is magic.


My Specialty Lies In The Practices Of The Less-tread Areas Of My... Jul 19th. at 2:50:27 pm UTC

9;2;2 (Derby, Kansas US) Age: 16 - Email


My specialty lies in the practices of the less-tread areas of my path: the shadows, darkness, chaos. These things are unfortunately grasped by the community as "evil" or "something to be avoided." People first accept me as the "teenaged idiot out for a curse." Sure, if you say so. I don't study curses whatsoever, I tune myself more toward the philosophies, theories and practices of the darker side of things. I study the nature of darkness.

Sure, darkness should be avoided if one cannot handle it. If this is the case, then one should exercise him / herself so they CAN handle it. Too many people avoid the darkness, try to live away from it. This is a very sad case. The Crone, the Dark God, Thanatos, Hel, Kali, the Kings and Queens of the Underworld are all waiting and watching. All I can say is, if you don't eventually face yourself and look into the darkness, learn to walk without the night-light and grow, then when you finally face death you are going to meet this neglected bunch. Then you will face the music.

Some advice. Don't dive into these areas until you've had years of experience to toughen yourself up. Remember the Descent of Inanna? The Goddess of Light eventually walked into the darkness. When you walk the path of shadows and twilight, you may leave in a better shape. You can say we're all lumps of mishappen metal, inert and unchanged. The descent will bring you poundings of a hammer and the flames of the forge. If you don't turn back, if you don't jump out of the forge, then all the beating and flaming will turn you into a fine sword.


Being More Of The Treehugging Earth-worshiping Type Of Pagan, My First Thought... Jul 19th. at 11:39:14 pm UTC

Secular Pagan (Minneapolis, Minnesota US) Age: 37 - Email


Being more of the treehugging Earth-worshiping type of Pagan, my first thought was that I don't really practice "magick, " per se. But then again, if one considers magick the art (however explained) of creating change, shaping reality by power of will and intention, then I'd have to say that's something I've been doing all my life, and quite taken for granted.

Early on in my young adult life I was drawn to books about life and career that were based on a simple fundamental premise: Assuming harm to none, it's O.K. to want what you want. You can, and should, base your life's decisions upon being keenly attuned to your "inner voice, " your deepest desires and motivations and passions and pleasures. If you like to sing, then you must sing. If you like to write, then you must write. If you like sociability, seek a sociable job. If you like solitude, then don't beat yourself over the head for not being extroverted; seek a job in which a penchant for solitiude (in mind, if not in literal physical circumstances) is a strength and an asset.

Now, that may seem rather simple, the sort of observation that elicits a chorus of "Well, DUH." ;-) However, in my decades upon this planet, I have observed time and again that one thing that holds so many of us back is a failure to give ourselves "permission" to articulate what we want and to go after it. We're hesitant to say that simple: "I WANT."

I am convinced that nothing is more powerful than a keenly-honed, precisely-focused, true-to-ourselves-100% INTENTION. Once you KNOW what it is you want, on a small daily scale or on a grand life-path scale, and you have got all of your personal and emotional energy behind it, change happens. Explain it how you will; metaphysicalists and naturalists can co-exist peacefully in their different understandings of the whys and wherefores. All that really matters is that you truly grasp hold of the knowledge that the power to shape your own life lies in your hands, mind, heart, and will.


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