Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England by T.M. Luhrmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It was back in the 1980’s that Ph.D candidate Tanya Luhrman left her home in the United States and went to Great Britain in order to study up close the magical communities of England. She lived and practiced magic immersing herself into the environment of the magician. She told them what she was up to and she was accepted although she only rarely brought in a tape recorder, often times jotting down notes after the ritual or mediation or teaching. Among the orders or covens that she was with were Marian Green’s “Green Circle”, the Hornsby Group, Gareth Knight’s group and the Glittering sword.
While she herself did not believe in magic she did have healthy dose of respect for those who did. She went in as an anthropologist seeking to live the life of the community. Her study does not cover paganism per se or devil worship just magic. I am glad that she kept that line very clear. There are some magicians who work with Aruthurian mythos, others with angels and some with planetary powers.
Most of those involved in magical groups tend to be middle class or upper middle class and have a great deal of education under their belt. They are usually employed in the computer industry where creativity and deciphering things can be of use. Some are teachers and others are therapist. What leads them to magic is often a search for more control in their life or some deeper spirituality without joining a new religion or a cult. Many people are led to the magical path after reading fantasy book written by JRR. Tolkien, CS Lewis, Ursula Leguine, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Need I forget to mention that many computer geeks and magi are involved in the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons?
Of course doing a ritual or spell or any other act of magic for that matter puts one in a different world or a different plane of reality. Entering different realities oft times involves spiritual practices like pathworking, mediation and certain breathing exercises. But also included in the techniques are using different names and casting a circle.
While for witches the purpose of magic maybe to alter reality according to their will. Ceremonial magicians are using magic to help evolve humanity. Since the Ceremonial outlook is judeo Christian there is an emphasis on ritual and moral purity. The practitioner should be sinless. In witchcraft no such moral compasses are present.
How to tell if your ritual or spell was effective? That is a good question that often times involve adjusting how you view reality. You can alter your view of reality to make magic look like it worked. This view is very subjective of course. To feel if a ritual is working you might feel your body temperature rise or fall, time might stand still and the watch your are wearing might speed up and tell the wrong time. Sometimes you might see series of coincidences as meaning that your ritual was only partially effective. If your ritual did not work then usually it meant that you did not do something right not that the ritual did not work
Let me finish off by saying that this book though meant to be a study on magic helped clarify where I stood on the issue. It opened my eyes to be aware of self deception and know what magic is really being used for these days. It seems that one viewpoint of magic is that it is supposed to change you not your situation. Of course the only way to change your situation is to change yourself. Perhaps I need to change my self but any non-magical spirituality can do that as well as any self help program. Finding out what is most powerful for me seems to be drawing the power from within like witches do yet the keys to that power lie with the Egyptian deities and Kabballah. I plan on practicing magic for the near future. But now I know the path upon which I must tread.
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