Sirona, you said:
if you're going to argue about paganism or Wicca
If you'll recall, I was invited to express my view/experience. Here's what you said in the post that started this thread:
I'm starting to wonder if converting to paganism is something that many ex-jws do? If so, why?
You asked for input on the subject. Those who convert were invited to expound on why they do so; but I felt that your phraseology was broad enough to assume the reverse: "If not, why not?" And so I responded:
I came away with the knowledge that it, like Christian religions, is just another powerless superstition sidetracking humans from reality.
You responded with some questions and observations. I answered your questions and gave some observations of my own, as well as my assurance that I have no problem with you believing whatever you like:
Have fun with it, with my blessing.
You responded with further questions, and began to go defensive on us:
You seem to be assuming an awful lot here, Comf.
So I responded with further answers to your questions and examples to back up my point. Now you say I'm "arguing". I don't consider it arguing. I responded to a thread that interested me, giving my point of view. Questions were asked; I answered. Believe whatever you want to believe, Sirona. I am not insisting that you see it my way. I'm only stating what my way is.
As humans we cannot *define* reality because we can only possibly see things through our perceptive filters.
It is already defined. "That which exists objectively and in fact", or, in my own words, "the way things actually are." We may not know for certain the way things actually are, but we are aware that such a state exists, even as you acknowledge here:
The true "way things are" may never be known by any human being, because that human being cannot turn off their perceptive filter.
Yep, you've got it! There is a true "way things are", but we may never know it. That's exactly the point I was making.
Although we probably will never know the true reality for certain, we are occasionally able to get a clearer view. We know, for example, that cars don't run without fuel. We know this well enough that we anticipate it; we stop to fill the fuel tank before the car runs out of gas. Why? Because the reality is that cars without fuel do not go; and we know that this will be so now and in the future; we know that it's not just a matter of our perception, but is factual; we don't have to keep trying the reality by running out of gas to see if perhaps this time the car will keep going.
Likewise for praying, and for spells or rituals intended to produce a change in something outside ourselves. They don't work. That's the reality. If all you want to do is produce a result inside yourself, then you're on to something; go for it. I do that myself, with certain little rituals of my own creation. But making a guy love you, or stimulating material prosperity, or warding off evil spirits... please.
In this sense, OUR reality is based on OUR perception. Other than that, we can't have a clue what reality is...all we have is OUR reality.
You are talking about a perception, as you just acknowledged. You're wanting to change the definition of the word "reality" to apply to "perception". Fine, go ahead. I'm talking about objective reality, not subjective reality. You already know this, of course, as you acknowledged above: "The true 'way things are'". The fact that we may never know it doesn't mean it isn't something to strive to know. When I realize some small truth, some brief glimpse of the bigger picture, my choice is to act in harmony with that realization rather than shrug my shoulders and say, "I can never know the whole truth, so I'll stick with even those ideas I know to be false, and quit even trying to see clearly." Nope, I'm sure I'll never get it all; but I'm going to get as much of it as I can. When I figure out that some belief is erroneous, I'm not going to keep trying to get it to work.
You realize, of course, that you set the stage for me to go off on an idiotic tangent about how it's only in your subjective reality that Reality doesn't exist--in mine, it does; but let's just let that get by us.
While its true that there are many websites which give such information, that does not mean that that is representative of pagans. It means that you've come across some funny sites.
Of course it's representative of pagans. Who says you're the one who gets to define pagan? They're calling themselves pagans. You're saying they're not. Why are you the one who gets to decide?
However, should one choose to do a spell, in my definition of spell, I am PRAYING.
Ah, there's the rub! Your definition! Well, I'm going with the broader definition used by the rest of the wiccan community. Would you like some more quotes on that? Tell you what... give me the names of some published authorities you recognize, and I'll get you some quotes. Deal?
You seem to be confusing pagans with people who make money from trying to sell "spells" to people.
I've done enough research on wicca to know that a great deal of it has to do with ritual and spell-casting. I acknowledge the charlatan character of those doing it for money; but it is the act itself, in hopes of producing a tangible result, that was my focus. That website just happened to be an early one in the results of my search on the word "wicca".
Comf, I really think that if you're going to argue about paganism or Wicca, then you should at least know what you are talking about.
Yes, I think so, too. As I said, I spent a long time poring over a lot of books before I arrived at my conclusion.
...and then see if it works? I can guarantee you that it won't
You can guarantee me that what I've been asserting is true? Thanks!
because that is not what someone is doing in ritual and / or spellwork.
Okay, at the risk of having you again reject other pagans who say something that doesn't fit with your personal definition, here's a quote from http://www.pagan.com, which says of itself:
A complete source for Wiccan, Witchcraft and Pagan knowledge & supplies
A place where followers of Wicca, Witchcraft, Shamanism, Druidry and Pagan beliefs meet to celebrate the magickal life.
On the subject of "Basic Magickal Protection and Psychic Self-Defense", they say:
Magic works. This is the first thing you have to learn. If you don't believe that magic gives you the power to reshape the universe, you're wasting your time. Because if you believe a spell or ritual won't work, it won't. Period. And if you do believe in the power of magic, then you need to realize that when you use it you are putting your hands on the same forces that move the tides and spawn tornadoes. And that by doing so, you have the potential to harm yourself or others.
Spawning tornadoes... not quite the same as praying, is it.
I have to base my conclusions on a volume of stuff, Sirona. I can't just isolate you and your definition, and say, "There... that's what paganism is." There are lots of folks besides you speaking out about it. And the bulk of what I see has to do with magick. Yes, there are other things; the philosophy, the love of nature, the respect for others; those are good. But I can have those things without the nonsense.
Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits--and then
Re-mould it nearer to the heart's desire!