Friday, July 4, 2014

PBP: Week 27- Nature (versus Technology)

I sort of touched on some of this in my Green Living post, but I really think that many Pagan's overlook a huge part of our world by putting such a focus on the Natural. I very much agree that there is something very magical about the wild, untamed places, and that for many of us (myself included) who live and spend most of their time in a city, taking a trip to someplace untouched by human hands (or even just more green and growing) can cause a huge mental shift.

It can definitely be easier to work in these places. The energy of them lends itself to a lot of wonderful workings. The separation from our daily life helps us to transition into sacred mental space. The isolation helps keep out distractions and interruptions.

If I think all of this, why then do I feel that we are missing out by putting so much focus on the natural world? Because most of my life is spent indoors, with machines and modern conveniences. If I were to exclude these things from my practice, I would rarely get to walk my path, and would probably not be very far along indeed.

I think that there is a learning curve involved here. When I first started, it was definitely easier to work in natural places and with natural things. But I also had to decide pretty early on to break from the “all tools must be made from natural products” if I wanted to have working tools. It always struck me as odd that the magical community finds some modern things okay and some aren't. Glass chalices and metal blades have always been okay, but plastic is avoided like the plague.

I also believe that as a magical community, we have grown to be more inclusive. Our path isn't modeled after other religions as much as it used to be. We don't typically reserve our workings to the holy days. Our faith is with us always, and that is why it makes sense to me that we should work with the things that are part of our daily lives.

I definitely feel that the modern things in my life resonate at a different level than natural ones. Some I don't mesh well with at all. The background hum of a lot of appliances makes me tense (though is much more tolerable if I can put on some music to drown it out).

I have heard a lot of negative ideas about modern things in the magical community. As I mentioned, it was a pretty popular thought for a while that plastic was a magical null: that it resisted energy and thus was horrible to use in ritual. However, for some things, that natural resistance might be useful. If you were wanting to shield, that property would fit right in. I have also heard a lot of people say that electricity and energy don't mix. I know a lot of people who have trouble with electronic devices (down to watches that will stop running if worn too long). I have always felt that electricity is a form of energy, and that it was the two forms of energy interacting that caused the problems. I am always very aware of the electronics around me when I am working with energy, especially since I tend to project through my hands (and I love my computer and other gadgets so I would be very put out if I accidentally fried one of them).

Things are changing though. I have seen a lot more magical and modern crossovers in the past years. It is no longer shocking to hear people talk about magical workings done with or on their phone (and really if you spend a lot of time away from your house, it is a good bed that your phone will be with you, so why not learn to work with it). I spend the bulk of my day on the computer, and definitely have explored ways to work with it in my practice. I am also quite the avid gamer, and it always makes me smile to see how other people have embraced meshing magic and faith with their games (I have seen some lovely in-game altar set ups, and have made a few myself). I even met a virtual coven who held their rituals in a game (which gave a lot more ambiance to a virtual ritual than the ones that I have attended in chat rooms).


  1. I smile about the "techno-pagans" .... but since so much of my own pagan life happens online, I have to smile tongue-in-cheek! I am one of those who kills watches; did it long before my initiation into pagan life in 1985/86. I think that is a simple matter of electromagnetic fields that are more than the usual force.

    I think any spiritual movement that does not evolve with the changing world stagnates and dies. Or gets to be so insufferable that some folks WISH it would die ALREADY. Things that began in the Middle Ages, for instance, and still cling to all those aged sensibilities. Thus, if paganism in its wide variation is to be a transformative force into the future, it needs to grow and be vibrant with novelty and invention instead of reifying the past and insisting on running backwards into the murk.

    One might consider that IF a system of belief in the past went "away" by whatever means, there was a REASON that happened -- it no longer had a coherence with the lives of it's one-time believers, perhaps? It had grown dogmatic and dictatorial and alienating, perhaps? Flexibility is a sign of health in a physical body; I try to keep in mind that flexibility is likewise a diagnostic of METAphysical health as well.

  2. I love the idea of using flexibility as a diagnostic! Reminds me of lessons learned from the willow... If you can't learn to bend, then when under pressure you break.