Friday, October 26, 2007

Religion and Magic

This isn't new, but it will stand as my provocative quote on religion and magic for the Halloween season:

Is there a difference between magic and religious practice? Those who say such a difference exists point out that magic does not require a community. Many witches, for instance, are solitaries. Magic has less firm doctrine than organized religion. It requires no conversion experience and--perhaps most marked--it requires no humility or repentance. The magical practitioner may worship, but he is likely to see himself as summoning the gods or evoking powers through actions rather than through any purity of heart or righteousness of petition.

I have found far less bad or black magic being performed than I expected. Western magical traditions and Wicca seem to hew pretty close to Christian ideas about pursuing good and eschewing evil. As Cat Yronwode put it, “Wicca is just Christianity with a goddess.”