The art of magic

Is there tolerance in the Pagan community?

I came across this article yesterday which focused on the lack of tolerance that arises between different Pagan groups, both towards each other and toward other religions. I think its an insightful article that captures an issue that is sometimes swept under the rug in Paganism. I found myself empathizing with the author, having had my own experiences with intolerance in the Pagan community. Indeed one of the reasons I tend to consider myself more of an outsider is because of those experiences.

I think that tolerance, as a skill, is something that people need to practice on a very conscious level. It is much easier to make fun of someone else's beliefs than to consciously accept a person's beliefs, even if you don't agree with them. And consciously accepting a person's belief doesn't mean you agree with that means you agree and accept that person has the right to belief what s/he will. The problem is that people are so invested in being right that instead of accepting that someone has different beliefs, they insist on shoving their own beliefs down your throat while also trying to prove that your beliefs suck.

Within the Pagan community I have been told at various times that I am a fluffy bunny, a flake, or that I'm reinventing the wheel. I even had a pagan podcast where the people involved decided to attack me on their show because I couldn't be a nice traditional pagan like them. And what all this taught me is that even within Paganism, if you aren't the same type of Pagan as others, then some people will take exception to it.

In the post I linked to the author notes the following:

I don't see how replacing 'One True God(s)' with another 'One True God(s)' is going to change anything. The persecution might switch for a couple of thousand years but after that, it's the same thing all over again. I wish we could all let go of 'One True'. Then there would just be God and Gods and we could finally stop trying to carve out a place for our religion from someone else's hands and focus on creating a space for ourselves separate from the religion of others

It's a good point and one worth considering. You don't have to believe what I believe, but you could accept that I believe it and practice it without judging it or me. The people who try to get others to believe what they believe or try and disprove someone else's beliefs are just creating more intolerance because of a need to have other people be like them, or because they think their God demands or, or they don't believe in any gods and think everyone should be just like them.

I'm of the opinion that you can believe what you want...I may not agree with your belief, but I do accept you have the right to believe it and I'm not going to try and argue against it or convince you my beliefs are better. I have better things to do than try and force my views on someone else. That's not what my spiritual path or life is about. I'd rather devote myself to my practice and share my ideas with whoever wants to discuss them in an intelligent manner. Isn't that better than all the fussin' and feudin'?

Book Review: Living Magical Arts by R. J. Stewart

This is a definite must have book in my opinion. I see it as a successor to William G Gray's "Magical ritual Methods" Stewart does an excellent job of discussing practical magical work, particularly in describing how magic works and what the practitioner can do to refine his/her approach to magical work. I liked the methodologies presented in the book as well as the author's perspectives on different topics within magical work. This book will provide a solid grounding in how magic works and will help you improve your practice.

A review of the Art of Magic series

I haven't written much on here lately, other than my most recent emptiness working posting. Life has been fairly busy, in a good way, with my business. A lot of my my efforts, magical and otherwise are going toward creating and sustaining my business, and the rest is going to the emptiness working, with a few parcels going to projects as and when I can get to them. Today I thought I'd provide a commentary on a series of videos I found on youtube about the art of magic. First a couple of links:

Lupa's article for the wild hunt blog, focuses on community building and hyper individuation.

A Facing North review of Pop Culture Magick.

And now on to the show:

There's a series of videos on youtube that I came across because someone in my twitter list happened to mention a video that focused on defining magic. I was curious and decided to check it out. Needless to say what I found was a series of videos that wasn't all that good because of how narrow the focus was and how sensationalistic the examples were.

The narrator of the video only used Crowley's definition for magic and applied only a psychological approach to magic, claiming at various times that magic wasn't supernatural. Whenever she talked about sex magic, she talked about how Crowley did sex magic as well as Anton Lavey, i.e. Satanists, but didn't focus on any other perspectives or approaches to sex magic. Her examples of magic usually focused on people trying to get laid or or trying to harm someone, essentially advocating an unethical approach to magic, without any real consideration on possible consequences or demonstration of whether magic can be used for anything beyond self-gratification. She also claimed that what the bleep do we know and the secret are examples of magic.

In the end I was decidedly unimpressed by this series of videos. Relying on on only one definition of magic and the psychological model of magic as well as a variety of poor examples, all it really portrayed was a lot of negative stereotypes about magic, and a rather simplistic understanding of how it worked. The lack of awareness about consequences, as well as narrowly exploring magic shows an unsophisticated awareness of the principles that inform magic, and also rather casually discarded alternative perspectives, cultural systems, and processes for how magic works.