I live in my head a lot. Having worked by myself for so long, often from home, then having retired, I have lots of time to think. This also leads to lots of reading. I enjoy reading about other Pagan and magical paths. There are times though, that I over-think stuff, and that can lead to a bit of mental wear and tear.
Lately, I’ve been looking into Humanistic Paganism. There is a wonderful blog, operated by B. T. Newberg. I was reading this post, by guest author Drew Jacob. While his article is very interesting, I found the comment section fascinating. Take a look at it when you have some extra time, as it is 109 comments long. Long comments. The general gist of the whole thing was this; is magic real?
This ties into my reservations about jumping into humanistic Paganism with both feet. Humanism, in my mind, is a tick or two away from atheism. It’s a fine line, but even with religious humanism, there is supernatural non-belief. Now, I will admit that there are times that I have doubts about the existence of deity. Are they real, if so, where do they exist? Or are they simply archetypes of human behavior and natural occurrences? Do deities need to exist to aid in magical workings?
I’m a college educated 50-something. I believe in science. The Big Bang Theory, evolution, the whole works. I understand that in the days of actual Pagans, they had no science to explain stuff that happened, so they used deity as explanation. So is it important or even realistic for me, in 2012 to still believe in a god or goddess that ancient people used as an excuse for lightning, storms, droughts, etc.? This is the million dollar question. This doubt keeps leading me to humanistic Paganism.
But what of the magic? Isn’t magic a supernatural act? It’s certainly not something that occurs just because you light a green candle or utter a few sentences. You really have to manipulate energy and burst it out into the ether. Doesn’t what happen next require some supernatural help or belief? Logically, ritual magic shouldn’t work. But the thing is, I’ve experienced it having worked. Certainly not every time, but often enough to lead me to believe in it.
There is a lot of stuff that science just can’t explain. Take the water experiments of Masaru Emoto. He demonstrated that water molecules respond to prayer, emotions, music, and thoughts. Then you have science now catching up to what occultists and New Age thinkers have used for years, the parallel universe. If you watched the PBS series, The Elegant Universe, written by theoretical physicist Brian Greene, you would have heard him say that it is possible to have another universe right at the tip of your nose. Hey, maybe that’s where the deities reside! I’m just saying that science is not necessarily the last word in explaining everything.
So I guess it comes down to faith and my vision of reality. Apparently, we do make our own realities. For my mental health sake, I choose to believe in some form of the existence of gods and goddesses. I don’t think they are personal deities, caring about what I do, having any influence on my life, or sitting in judgment of me. That’s a Judea/Christian belief. Can they aid in your magic or your life if you ask? Maybe is the best answer I can come up with.
While I see the merit and understand the concept of humanism and/or atheism, I find it comforting to be a polytheistic Wiccan who practices magic. Is it nonsense? Perhaps, but because I believe it to be my reality, it then becomes real, and as demonstrated in the past, actually works for me.