Does magic still have a role in Paganism?

I've never really identified myself as a Pagan. I think of myself as an occultist, when it comes to my spirituality, and I'd have to say that what primarily defines my spirituality is my practice of magic. To my perspective and experience with Pagans, there's been a tendency to treat magic as a religious practice. It's not a primary concern, and as such it hasn't surprised me when I see blog entries such as this one, which shows the deepening awareness that some pagans are turning away from magic. I think the reason for that is due to a desire to be perceived as a legitimate religion, and because magic always carries a stigma with it, some pagans want to divest themselves of it, and embrace more traditional religious trappings. Then too, the traditionalism that grips a lot of Pagan practices strikes me as similar to the fundamentalism that I've encountered in Christianity. I've encountered pagan fundamentalism at various times and usually it's been a reaction to magical practices that didn't toe the traditional line of thought and inquiry.

It seems to me there is a definite subcultural difference between occultists and pagans, as it applies to magic's place in spirituality, and for that matter experimentation with magic. When there is drive by some pagans to remove magic altogether from the equation, it seems like their also taking an essential part of Paganism out as well. But then again, are they really if magic is more of a secondary concern in paganism?

I couldn't imagine a life without magic or magical practices. For me, my spirituality is my magical practice, with all that entails. I've always identified as a magician and an occultist as opposed to a pagan, because of my own negative experiences with pagans. While the majority of experiences have actually been good, the experiences where pagans tried to naysay my approach and practice of magic have been experiences that demonstrated that what's really important is not the label so much as the practice, but that people will use your practice to label you and if they don't like what they see, they will attack it.

Does magic still have a role in paganism? It's up to the pagans who practice it to make a case for it. I hope they do, because I think getting rid of magic is getting rid of part of what has made different pagan traditions what they are.