Saturday, August 21, 2010

Teaching Children the Craft: Growing Up With A Magic(k)al Worldview (Part One)

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." - Tom Robbins
Recently, I was having a conversation with my Faery teacher about "magical thinking". To me, it is a positive thing. Having a magical mindset means that you understand that your actions and words have a great impact on the world(s) and that you can affect change. It means cultivating the ability to make that change count- doing your Work in the world. But she reminded me gently that term is used by those that would use my religious worldview against me- to call me crazy and even use it to thwart my autonomy. (Crossing the line too often in public or challenging the status quo with my worldview could wind me up in an institution!)
There are others in this world who have defined this phrase, "Magical Thinking" for me- and it is not a flattering picture. As one can imagine from a definition used by Richard Dawkins (and the rest of the fundamentalist atheist movement) and the warped psychologists who created the DSM (the very same folks who demonize trans gender expression and gate-keep its treatment; the same folks who until very recently classified homosexuality and bisexuality as a mental disorder; and the same folks who classify perfectly consensual sexual behavior among adults that is unusual as a type of "paraphilia"), "Magical Thinking", in their view, means that I suffer from delusions:
Magical thinking: A conviction that thinking equates with doing. Occurs in dreams in children, in primitive peoples, and in patients under a variety of conditions. Characterized by lack of realistic relationship between cause and effect.
Yaqui Deer Dancer
Anyone else see huge gaping problems with this definition? Shall we start with the overt racist/xenophobic bias against every indigenous religion on the planet?

Or that this definition is so overly broad that it encompasses any religion that believes in prayer or god(s)? (Hear that, Abrahamic religions? It's not just the crazy witches that they are after!)

We should probably acknowledge the paternalism (gendered word selected intentionally here) of (outdated) science run amok as well.
When I say outdated, I mean it. The folks who write the DSM are like Isaac Newton in their scientific view of the world*, whereas my religious tradition, Faery Witchcraft, is more like Steven Hawking.  There is nothing so far in quantum mechanics/physics that has contradicted my religion’s theology. And it turns out that many shamanic cultures and worldviews are finally being vindicated by this science. If anything, Faery is just a more poetic expression of what these scientists are discovering for themselves (because they were not going to take my religion’s word for it!). 

When I read physicists like Neils Bohr, Nikola Tesla***, and Werner Heisenberg , they do not contradict my religious worldview, quite the contrary.** Not all of them are as poetic as Albert Einstein though:
"Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for insects as well as for the stars. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper."

A card given to me by Eldri Littlewolf, a Feri elder.
That is not to say that my religion has all the answers. But unlike the old Newtonian scientific worldview (that rejects what it cannot see in order to prove), the new scientific view  and one of Faery embraces paradox.

So... how does this all tie together into a coherent theology that I am transmitting to my son? For that, dear reader, you must stay tuned for part two!


*(Although I know many "hard scientists" (biologists and chemists) who complain that psychology is a "soft science" at best, non-science at worst. And don’t get them started on when those soft science psychology folks try and bolster their arguments with hard science without doing proper research! Man, do biologists HATE evolutionary psychologists! I was married to a biologist for 10 years; so I have been privy to these discussions, believe me!)

** In Newtonian physics, particles - like billiard balls - were seen as hard, individual objects, specific to a particular space and time. On the other hand, waves - such as ocean waves or sound waves - were spread through space and time, blending and interpenetrating with each other. The two, particles and waves, were seen as completely different concepts.

This common-sense notion got turned on it head by quantum physics, which developed at the beginning of this century to account for the behavior of atoms and light. What was found then - and has since been confirmed by almost a century's worth of experimentation - is that the basic building blocks of the physical world (such as atoms, electrons, protons, light) behave in some situations like waves and in other situations like particles. The inescapable result is that in some mysterious way, they are both.

*** Did you know that most of Tesla’s amazing discoveries and inventions came to him, verbatim, in dream? How very shamanic!


  1. I really love the beginning quote of Tom Robbins - very nice and very right! ^^ I'm eagerly waiting for part two as well. :)


  2. Ha ha, your feri teacher loves the photo you chose for this one ;D


Comments are welcome but moderated. Please be respectful when leaving a comment.