Practicality and Belief

It is hard to be a skeptical person and a pagan. It is hard to find that sweet spot between knowing science and wanting to believe in the magical.

I love tradition and ritual. I love the act of doing something for the spirit on a daily basis. I love the idea of incorporating nature and its amazing properities into my life. I love the idea of magic and using nature and everything around me to create and imbue my life with its mystery. But I also believe in science and reality. it is often almost impossible for these to coexist, no matter how much I want them to.

When I was growing up, I fell in love with Norman Vincent Peale. I loved his idea that positive thoughts created positive lives. That we brought into our lives the things we wanted, the perspectives we wanted to see, and how we moved through this world through our thoughts, ideas, and then our actions. The one problem: Affirmations. I can’t do them, no matter how much I want to, understand how they work and have seen some amazing things because of them. They make sense. They tune you into noticing the things you want while helping you work through the things you don’t. They provide goals, visions, ideas, and inspiration to attain what you want. It’s all amazing. Except the having to do it. (I am the same way with gratitude lists and journals. I understand they help you appreciate everything in your life and to be grateful for the present, but…I hate that mine always look exactly the same every single day. After a while, it feels redundant and kind of ridiculous.)

Every day that I can, I light a candle on my altar. I skip the days when I know there won’t be anyone in the house because that’s just smart. The light symbolizes casting a light on the negatives, bringing into view the positive ways to change, adjust, and proceed. That the Universe is shining a light to my path, providing and giving as I do the work. I used to have a mental thing I would say every day, which is problably as close to an affirmation as I have ever gotten, but even that has gone to the wayside as I already know, this is what the light represents. I have an app on my phone that drops affirmations, suposedly every hour or so, but it’s really random and sometimes, I will have 2 or three waiting for me at a time, they come up every hour or two, and up to ten during the night, so I wake up to a flood of them. I do read each one of them before clearing them because that’s an important part. To read them, at the very least. Do they help? No idea, but I keep with it.

I also cleanse my crystals in the full moon, even though my scientific mind recognizes these crystals grew in total darkness, deep in the earth, and never touched light till man dragged them out. That alone makes the practice seem silly, but I do it anyway. I also laugh at the idea that crystals have entities attached to them for the same reason. They were deep in the ground. I feel sorry for the poor, lonely entities attached to them. Either they wanted the solitude or were being punished for something by being banned to live within the darkness. It just seems ridiculous to me to put any real merit to it. But, I do believe it is possible for the items to become affected by negative energy. I don’t think of them as energy sponges, but it may be a recepticle, so they go out every now and again into the moonlight with sea salt. It can’t hurt, so no harm.

So I subscribe to a little bit of woo, or, more to the point, I engage in it, even if I still think it’s kinda silly. Mostly, I think the concept of magic is creating a process of intention. To create a ritual to help the life of an intention to continue. To provide the inspiration and motivation to become eager to do the work towards what you want to manifest. These magical moments are a tool to help you reach where you want to be, get what you want, find better pathways to get there, and appreciate the process.

While I want all the magic to be real, I know it isn’t. But I know the work to create the things I wish magic would procure is. Being a child of Norman Vincent Peale, I already have all the groundwork for that magical intention making. I often wonder if I hadn’t been introduced to his book if magic would have a different place in my life. As opposed to being this thing that I do all the work, from start to finish, top to bottom, utilizing the idea that the Universe hates a lie, would magic have become that view instead? Would my skeptical mind not be as sketpical but open to the positibility of things beyond reality? I find myself wondering what the possibilities are now if it really is just because of my own mental blocks.

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