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Magick Survey

weather: sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: okay

kiad posted an interesting poll today. She made the answers non-viewable, so I don't remember what exactly I said in the open answer ones, but, here are some of my answers:

Do you believe in Magic? Please define "Magic"

I believe there's something there. Whether it's really Magick or not and whether I or anyone else can harness it or not, I don't know. I think it's usually spelled "Magick" with a 'k' or capitalized to distinguish it from the "illusion" or "sleight of hand" type of "magic".

I have felt some form of energy running through me when I read an interesting spell. I get a tingling at the top of my head, it widens into a circle as it moves slowly down my body. It could just be some kind of hiccup reaction in my circulatory system every time I read something that I find truly meaningful, I'm certainly open to that possibility.

I don't know how to define "Magick". But I think the belief system just a different name for very familiar concepts. And just like popular, familiar concepts, there are vastly different opinions and practices.

The word "Witch" does not connote "evil" as popular children stories suggest. Most "witches" in kids' fairy tales are evil, which is very unfortunate. Thank you, Walt Fucking Disney. Almost no one remembers the Good Witches of the North and South or Glinda, the Good Witch, from The Wizard of Oz. Get a copy of Frank L. Baum's original unabridged text. Read the real story of The Wizard of Oz. I beseech you.

The pentagram is not necessarily a symbol of evil. It's a five pointed star in a circle. If the fifth point is pointing upwards, it's intended as a symbol of life and good. If the fifth point is pointing downwards, it's intended for evil - generally speaking, so I was told. Think of the star as a person, each of the points being the head, two arms and legs. Upright is a natural position for a human and therefore is "good". Upside down is an uncomfortable, unnatural position, sometimes associated with torture and therefore is "bad".

I was taught "An it harm none, do as ye will" as the only "rule". It's all about intentions. Sure, you can cast a curse on someone, but you can also stick out your foot and trip someone. And so on. There are all kinds of good wishes spells, protection spells, etc.

"Casting Circle", invoking and rituals are no more dangerous or mysterious than Christians praying before going to bed at night. We don't burn Christians and Catholics alive for prayer. Jehovah's Witness and Christian Fellowship door-to-door visits should be made illegal though. Not only for everyone else's 8-fucking-am Sunday morning peace, but for their own safety as well. Really, they need to knock it off before someone goes crazy and gets all wushu on their asses.

Do you believe in a Soul?

Again, there's something there. We are very clearly more than the sum of our biological parts. I don't know what it is. I have no interest in speculating. I call it a "soul" out of convenience and for lack of a better explanation. Doesn't mean I believe in anything.

Do you consider yourself a "Witch" or a "Pagan" ?

I don't anymore. I used to because the description of "a Witch" described me better than anything else had before. But then I find people so incredibly and offensively ignorant that it's really a waste of time to put a label on what I am. The most offensive thing I found when I said I was a Witch (and I only told good friends that I trusted) was "oh yeah, we all have our bad days". One of my best friends was the worst for this.

If you tell me you're Catholic, I don't respond with "Aaaw, you're not really an ignorant asshole, are you?"

As a side note, I was taught never to call anyone a "Warlock". A warlock is not a "male witch", as Harry Potter-lore suggests. "warlock" comes from a Scottish dialect and means "oath breaker" which is offensive - think "oh, are you a scumbag liar?". A male witch is just a "witch".

What system/religion/spirituality/etc. do you subscribe to?

Nothing. I'm not religious. I am intensely spiritual. There's a difference. The closest thing that I am is a combination of the Buddhism, Taoism and Confuscianism that is Chinese culture and philosophy.

I had an interest in Witchcraft or The Craft a while back. I had a friend who wrote all her own spells and they were absolutely beautiful. I loved reading her spells because she was such a thoughtful, generous and an all around nice person with an amazing command of artful language. She is well versed in Latin and middle English. Every one of her spells is a piece of lovely poetry on its own. The Craft really opened my eyes to spirituality. But I find that I am most comfortable with "my own kind" - meaning Chinese spiritualism. Which is why I decided to read works from my own culture. And I have found that I feel more at home with them than with The Craft.

I've never been able to identify with bible-based religions. My Mom tried to put me in a church organized pre-school when I was younger and was going to put me in a Catholic private school (St. Francis Xavier). I don't know why they didn't, but I'm glad they didn't. Every single time I'm invited to a Bible study session or a Fellowship, I get Mega Backpedalling vibes and just the general feeling of wanting to crawl backwards over my chair. This was way before I discovered The Craft.

Do you wear a cross or pentagram or some other symbol on your person as jewelry/tattoo/talisman?

I wear a bodhi seed wristlet. Originally, I wore it so that the Christian Fellowship kids wouldn't talk to me at the mall. I don't have a problem having a philosophical discussion about religion, but I don't want to talk to someone who is bent on recruiting me, clearly showing ignorance and intolerance towards everyone else's beliefs - especially the Chinese kids trash-talking Chinese Confucianism/Taoism/Buddhism. So, I'd rather not even begin.

I've been wearing my bodhi seed wristlet for a little over a year now. Lately, I've begun reciting the GuanYin Sutra with it. I get the same energy running through me.

Do you observe the astral positions as part of your observance?

No. But that may be that I just don't understand what it has to do with anything. I know my (Western) astrological profile - Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Aries, Ascendant in Leo, Sun in the Fourth House - and I've read the interpretations. But I still have control over my life. I can change what I don't like and use whatever traits in a positive way, to my advantage.

It's like a palm reading, your lines will change if you do. I used to have a perfect five-pointed star at the base of my right palm, aligned with my thumb and index/middle finger. It's indicative of sleep-related problems. Yes, I did have trouble sleeping, starting in my teen years. I turned into a complete workaholic in University, not sleeping for days on end and having very little blood in my caffeine system.

Recently, I've quit drinking both alcohol and coffee. I've tried to keep a sane work and sleep pattern. The star is now gone (or I have a really hard time finding it).

Do you observe with others?

No. I'm a lone practitioner. And I prefer it that way.


Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
katie_ah
Sep. 23rd, 2002 11:47 am (UTC)
Lately, I've begun reciting the GuanYin Sutra with it. I get the same energy running through me.

Now, I tried translating the one you posted, and I think I have a pretty good handle on what it means (not entirely though) so I'm curious as to why you recite it? Like, other that the energy, does it give you a sense of calmness...or?? I totally understand it's a personal thing so if you don't want to answer, it's cool. :)
bride
Sep. 23rd, 2002 11:51 am (UTC)
To practice my Chinese =) But, yes, it is very calming. I don't count beads or anything while I recite... mostly because I don't really understand when I need to push beads, but also because I don't feel the necessity.
ntang
Sep. 23rd, 2002 12:37 pm (UTC)
But by the same token if warlock can't be used then shouldn't the same be true of the term "witch" in your case? That's not exactly a "correct" term for someone who tends towards aspects of buddhism, taoism, and confuscianism. Right? Not trying to give you a hard time, just sounds like you've got a bit of a double standard, and it seems just as wrong to refer to someone who doesn't practice wicca or some form of "witchcraft" as a witch.

How about just referring to yourself as "Chinese"? ;)

Interesting poll, though, and interesting to see your reactions to the questions. I have to say I think your hostility towards Disney's a bit unfounded... not as if they started it. At least as far back as the Grimm fairy tales witches were shown as generally an evil and/or disagreeable lot, and I've read plenty of other fairy tales and myths that showed "witches" as being malevolent. Disney movies certainly haven't helped much, but it's all relative - they've had their share of good practitioners of magic(k), they just haven't generally been called witches (fairies (too many to list), wizards (at least a few), warlocks (Merlin called himself one, I believe, in Sword in the Stone), etc... ).

(Personally, I'm a fan of the Disney studio, and I think they get dumped on way too much... but that's neither here nor there.)

I've always wrestled with religon and spirituality a faith a lot; I'm a Christian but my beliefs aren't really all that Christian by most standards. I still identify with the religion, and call myself a Christian, but it's really my own breed of spirituality that happens to share a lot of the same beliefs and trappings as Christianity but with a slightly (more than slightly?) different philosophy.

Talking about the entire subject tends to be difficult, because it's hard to describe things without using labels - like Christianity, witch, warlock, religion, spirituality, or whatever - but it's such an intensely personal thing that most of the time labels just don't suffice. So, you're left with the choice of avoiding the subject, letting them get an inaccurate view of it by simplifying with labels and stereotypes, or getting into a huge, long (and sometimes onerous) discussion of it. I tend to do the first or the last, but it's hard not to follow each of the roads from time to time.

What's interesting is that I was considering making a post about /my/ spirituality earlier, as I just finished reading a Stephen King novel where it plays a pretty large role, and reading about it brought some of those thoughts to the surface.
bride
Sep. 23rd, 2002 12:55 pm (UTC)
I don't refer to myself as a Witch anymore. I did because it seems like a good description.

And, yes, I am Chinese =)

I have to say I think your hostility towards Disney's a bit unfounded... not as if they started it.

No, they didn't, they do some neat stuff. But I use them as an example all the time =) I dump on them quite a bit =D

but it's really my own breed of spirituality that happens to share a lot of the same beliefs and trappings as Christianity but with a slightly (more than slightly?) different philosophy.

I think it's important to think through your beliefs as well (just like you are) and find your own path to The Devine.
bellacrow
Sep. 23rd, 2002 02:29 pm (UTC)
two things

first - I *love* that user pic of you!!!

and two - I had to check the url to make sure this was you talking. For some reason *shakes head* I didnt know any of this about you. I've actually wondered about taming down some of my pagan stuff posts because I didnt want to turn ppl off
bride
Sep. 23rd, 2002 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re:
I *love* that user pic of you!!!

S'ank you =)

For some reason *shakes head* I didnt know any of this about you.

I don't think it's ever come up in our conversations =) But, yeah, I'm in it for the cool invocation poetry.
ugly_boy
Sep. 23rd, 2002 04:12 pm (UTC)
Wow, it never occurred to me that our beliefs would be so similar.

I believe that there is certainly magick in that there is energy which can be directed by human beings, but it's not a simple little trick. I believe in this, mainly, because I've seen it work for myself.

As or the Pagan/Witch thing...

I don't anymore. I used to because the description of "a Witch" described me better than anything else had before.

Same. I still describe myself as "ecclectic Pagan" because many of my beliefs are more Pagan than anything else, but my beliefs are sort of a miss-match of personal experiences and things I've read. I call myself a "skeptical believer" because I'm a huge skeptic and tend to believe selectively, often based on experience, which is why I have trouble identifying with one religion or another.

As a side note, I was taught never to call anyone a "Warlock".

Thank you for that! That's a rather important one. People get that mixed up constantly.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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