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:
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?