Magic words, huh?
A little abracadabra here… some wingardium leviosa over there…
Maybe an amen or a blessed be in the mix, too.
What’s that? Don’t think those 2 phrases belong in the same sentence? Ah… but that’s what’s so interesting about words… they are tools! What are you using your tools for?
An Unpopular Idea
I have a theory that occurred to me a few years ago and I’ve yet to be able to prove or disprove it. I’ve managed to make some people upset with it, but that’s what happens when you question a closed mind. It’s a theory based both on logic and feelings, of opening our mind to see our similarities amid the differences and a desire for tolerance, a common ground.
Basically, I think a spell is just another type of prayer.
To Those who Depend on Only One Way
I grew up in church. By choice (my mother did not attend) I went every Sunday and some Wednesdays as I got older from the age of 8 to 18 and then during various periods after.
I grew up understanding the concept of one narrow road, requiring sacrifice and strict obedience, that our way was the only true way. Even though the church down the road a bit was mostly the same and only differed on one or two points, ours was the only way.
I grew up and wondered just how arrogant that sounded to everyone else.
Questions Were Not Welcome, So I Asked Them of Myself
What makes one person’s method of asking wrong and another’s right?
Seriously, what’s the difference?
- Ask for something or are done in reverence–be it a request for physical health, in praise of something good, we’re all going to someone or something for some reason
- Appeal to a higher power–we can all use a helping hand; granted, some believe that power of a deity resides in them, but I find that on both sides of the Christian/non-Christian fence
- Can be free-form or scripted–spontaneous spell-work and prayer both exist, as do rituals that include lit candles, sacramental wine and bread, and patterned responses at either end of the spectrum
- Are part of a spiritual practice–I don’t see as this point needs additional explanation.
Is the Devil in the Details?
Yes, it’s true there is a commandment that states “Thou shalt have no gods before me.” As such, it’s a tiny leap (more like a silent shuffle) to the thought shared by many of my former pew-mates that all other deities were false, evil and wrong.
And, yet, I remember sitting in church several Sundays in a row as the preacher, our Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher, going through his series of the names of god–that there were different ones for different places and situations throughout the Old Testament. He was given the names of the Provider, the Healer, god of the battlefield and god of peace, among others. And then there’s the whole idea of the trinity, separate entities with different purposes but all, ultimately, part of the same whole.
Is it really a stretch, then, to consider the possibility that everyone is looking to the same force, just under different names? That having a god of the battlefield (Jehovah-Nissi) is that different from the God of War (Ares/Mercury)? That the duality of god and goddess is any more difficult to understand than that of the trinity?
Or is it a Dependence Thing?
Some joke that religion is an exercise in co-dependency. Some do more than joke.
Maybe the biggest difference I see between the two sides is the belief by one that we are not enough, ever, and that it’s totally up to that higher power to make it happen. On the other side is the belief that power lies within us all and that we have the ability to manipulate that power, that energy (remember we talked about energy being neither destroyed or created?) to our purposes with, maybe, the help of others whether they be in-the-flesh or of the spirit.
But, you know, the Baptists I know say you had to “put feet to prayer,” too.
One Destination, Many Roads
For the record, I’ve become quite comfortable with the idea of a Universal Divine–a creator force, a higher power, that goes by different names depending on the culture or situation you find yourself in. And that’s about as close to a label as I get, these days. I think any time the human mind–with it’s flaws and agendas that might seem well-intentioned but almost always go too far–tries to organize something so organic as beliefs we muck it beyond reason.
But that’s the wonderful thing: we have choices. Which road is right for you?
Because that’s what I’m after here, today: a little creative thinking, a little understanding, a little tolerance.
Why should the word–tool–we use to describe an action make it acceptable or not if it means the same thing? How do we presume (sometimes assume, with all the implications accepted) to know that our way is the only way. If we’re lucky, we do our best with the information we’re given and hope we’ve got it right.
We won’t know until it’s too late, after all. Might as well use this time the best we can, be nice to one another, accept–even glorify–our differences and use that mind that we were granted by someone or thing–that mind that is equipped for thinking and reason and making connections, and accept that there’s more than one way to live this life.
Let’s spend our time creating, not tearing down, the things and ideas that make this life special.
What common ground can you find with someone, today?