Atheism and magic

Posted on November 23, 2009
Filed Under entities, Magic, occult culture | 4 Comments

I’ve noticed with some interest an increasing intersection of Atheism and magic. A number of magicians I know have mentioned they are atheists. I see some of this rise in Atheism as a result of the psychologizing of magic, wherein magical practices and results are explained from a psychological perspective. When such a perspective is applied to spirits, entities, and gods, they are explained as psychological constructs, and as such no longer possess an objective existence. Instead they are subjectivities of the human experience or representations of deep constructs given a form and mannerism that’s easy to interact with.

I can see the appeal of such a model, and also why it’s lead to an atheistic perspective. I can also understand the appeal of atheism in terms of the rationalistic perspective it offers, but I also find it an interesting shift and I will admit that while I understand it, I don’t necessarily agree with it. My own perspective is not one of religion (which I don’t agree with either) but rather of perceiving spirits as objective beings that happen to have a different reality than my own. I don’t think they need my worship, but I do have respect for them.

I don’t think atheism and magic are incompatible. I find it to be an interesting mix and I’ll be curious to see what the results are, although I’ve already seen some of those results in how people approach magic, and the culture that is emerging over the last couple of years.

Comments

4 comments
Dark Arckana
Dark Arckana

Ooops, I forgot to get to my main point! I guess that's what I get for not recovering after practice. My main point is that a practicing Magician will find their perspectives changing from time-to-time. This can apply to Atheists as well. Atheists will often ask for "evidence" the realities of magick. However, when they practice, they will find this evidence. Atheists mostly use the Scientific Method to draw their conclusions about the world, and the Scientific Method starts with a hypothesis first. The atheists who confuse Science with debunking are nothing more than a different breed of reverse Christianity, but instead of becoming "Devil Worshippers" they simply become "non-believers". However, many Atheist are more than just Christian Rejectionists. Many of them become Atheists because they see the value of logic and reason and feel no need to embrace things that just don't make sense to them. These Atheists, being true adherents of the scientific method RESERVE their judgment until after the facts are in. They also continually update their hypothesis, as Science demands. What better a foundation for Magickal practice? Eventually, when they EXPERIENCE the reality of Magick and investigate it further, they'll update their hypothesis accordingly.

Dark Arckana
Dark Arckana

Wow, this is surprising! Atheist practicing Magick? Well, honestly I do believe they do have some compatibility, in fact MORE compatibility than religion. I also believe that these entities are objective, but this was not my original belief. Rather this is something I discovered through experience. In fact, it was my studies in science that allowed me to embrace the Occult. My mentor claimed that this was not empty worship but rather an actual study that produce results. I figured "the proof is in the pudd'in" and if it were nonsense I would find out. When I found out that it WAS a real study, and that it WAS a real phenomenon I got SUPER EXCITED and the rest is history. I do consider myself humanist and also a materialist. In fact, I believe that the Occult of today is the science of tomorrow. I've also developed my own system of Magick called "Psychomancy" and one of the tennets is that Occult phenomenon actually takes place at levels of existence more subtle than the atomic or even the subatomic and that spirits can be seen once the eyes and psychic body have been developed enough to see at levels of the color spectrum BEYOND the ultraviolet and the infrared. This is actually the same materialist reductionist paradigm that mainstream science dogmatically clings to, but at a whole different level of reduction and, of course, without the dogma. Also, I do not feel the need to categorize the spirit beings I work with as "Gods". I even use the words "Devil" and "Djinn"
as slang for "Daimon", but all are still catch-all terms. My own personal experiences lead to believe that the spirits in the grimoires are almost all entirely different than the way the grimoire describes them with notable exceptions, but I guess that's why they survived. In times when Christianity ruled, the "Holy Spirit" was the only kind of spirit that would've been acceptable as a benign guide to humanity. However, to say that the Daimons of the Grimoires are "EVIL" and only obey because they're afraid of "God" is to find a loophole in that system. You can still practice "magick" and call it something else, even using "The Gift of Distinguishing Between Spirits" listed in Corinthians 12:10 as a way to appease The King [and then roll your eyes at how ridiculous it all is when you're home free HAHA!].

TaylorEllwood
TaylorEllwood

I find the theistic approach to be disconcerting as well, especially since I've seen the extreme of it. But I've also seen what's happening with the confluence of atheism and magic and I have definite reservations about it as well.

Kiya
Kiya

Honestly, I'm far more nonplussed by people who consider magic intrinsically theistic/religious than people who don't... Most of the stuff I've done, historically speaking, doesn't address entities at all, let alone depend on a position about gods, so whether a given person doing that stuff is theistic or atheistic is about as relevant as their status on vegetarianism or favorite colour!