discourse communities

The discourse of the Pagan Bubble

Paganbubble On the wild hunt blog, Teo Bishop posted about living in a Pagan Bubble, and mentioned his concern when he realized his step dad didn't understand what he was writing about when he read his blogs. I thought it was an interesting post, because it highlighted how a specialized community can have a discourse that doesn't allow just anyone access into the community. Such discourses exist not just in Religion or spirituality, but also in academic disciplines, subcultures, and any other type of community that is created. And much like Teo, I had a similar experience once where my mother told me she'd bought one of my books and read it and found that she didn't understand it.

A while back I wrote a post about discourse and the self-secret language that people develop and learn when they want to enter into a specific community. While I recognize the concern that Teo feels about the discourse and resulting Pagan Bubble that appears, I'd argue that such a bubble is an inevitable conclusion of entering into any specialized community. There is a level of discourse, of specialized language, that needs to be learned in order to effectively enter into the community. And I think this is a good thing in the sense that such a discourse encourages a certain level of knowledge and experience, while also providing people a shared sense of communal identity.

At the same time I recognize Teo's concern that such a discourse ultimately creates an insular community, where people are isolated because they aren't able to relate to others. There is a need to have a dialogue between communities, an inter-faith dialogue in the case of Paganism and other types of spiritual beliefs, and as such we can't become too insular. Plus if we do live in such a bubble we cut ourselves off from inspiration. My own solution to this has been to cultivate an interest in a wide variety of disciplines and some other discourse communities, which in turn provides me perspectives outside of the Pagan Bubble. For example being a small business owner provides access to a different discourse community, which has intersections with a variety of other discourse communities as well.

I think the way to pop the Pagan Bubble is to simply be involved in the world around you, and in interests that aren't always Pagan-centric. Indeed I think if I spent all my time focused on being around pagans, I'd find some of the insularity and limitation that Teo is concerned about, if only because exposure to one perspectives limits us to a rather myopic view of the universe.

What's your magical language?

What's your magical language? What terms do you use to describe and define your magical workings? This post is prompted by Mike Sententia's writings about etheric software. What I've recognized is that he's drawn on software programming terminology to help describe his approach to magic. I've seen him draw on some other discourses as well, most notably from the medical community. For that matter I also draw on different terminology that's not traditionally occult oriented to help explain my approaches to magic. Whether its linguistics or culture studies or something else, the different discourses I've had access to influence my explanations about magic to other people, as well as how I construct magical workings.

What disciplines do you draw on? What terminology do you use to explain and define magic, both for yourself, and others? It's a good idea to look at those questions and do some work with them. The language we use can simultaneously open us to possibilities we hadn't considered, even as it also limits us by nature of how it frames our model and application of magic.

One of the reasons I've diversified my reading and exposure to a variety of disciplines is to keep myself open to new ideas and challenge the models I rely on. While a model can provide a useful explanation, it also creates tunnel vision that funnels our acceptance of a given situation into specific lines of inquiry that rule out anything that doesn't fit the model. The terminology we use needs to be carefully examined for not only what it allows us to explains, but also how it can limit our explanations.

Language is powerful, and often times we don't realize how powerful it can truly be. The reason a person can nitpick a definition speaks to the power of language, because a definition defines a person's perception of reality about what its defining. Testing your terminology makes you aware of how it can help you and allows you to critically examine where its failing you.

Book Review: The Wealth Magick Workbook (Affiliate Link) by Dave Lee

This is probably the best book on wealth magic I've found, mainly because the author does such a good job of differentiating between what wealth is and what money is. His approach, consequently shows the shortcomings of enchanting for money without really understanding how that money will apply to your overall sense of wealth. He provides some excellent exercises, which I highly recommend doing. I only wish the wealth section of the book preceded the money magic section, but overall its an excellent book for anyone who wants to do wealth magic.

5 out of 5