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.

The Magical Experiments Radio Show

Today Bill Whitcomb and I recorded our first podcast radio show for Experimental Magic: Is Magic still Relevant. I've attached a player on the side bar of the blog, but you can also click the link and listen to it as well. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Experimental-Magic/va/2009/08/16/is-magic-relevant-to-modern-times

some thoughts on occult culture appropriation

In thinking about it further, I think that part of what bothers me about the video series by "college girl" is that this looks like just another case of someone who's dabbling in the occult who's decided to set herself up as an expert, or someone's who decided to capitalize off of being in the occulture, even if s/he doesn't really practice magic and in fact identifies as an ex-occultist. At times what I think I see in the occult community is a lot of people who want to slap on the label of being an occultist, but not put in the work. It's one thing to talk about something, but are you actually doing it, is another thing altogether. I see a lot of talk, but not a lot of walk. I see a lot of hype, and what I think of as an attempt to appear different, cool, elite, and whatever else, but I don't see how these people are really integrating any of the actual practice into their lives. I was talking with Bill W about this today and he said that the majority of people who identify as occultists don't really practice, so much as talk about it. Maybe's he right. Certainly I've seen that often enough. I know some occultists who practice, and a few who I'd actually work with.

What I dislike seeing, and I see it more is an appropriation of the occult, and occult culture by people who don't practice it, and are mainly using it for a social purpose and as a way of somehow distinguishing themselves from other people. Looking as it were to an outside source as a way of validating themselves, when instead perhaps they should look inward to validate themselves and focus less on trying to appear different, and focus more on contributing something of value that goes deeper than just appropriating a subculture to capitalize on it for the sake of promoting themselves.