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Author Topic: The Power Of Imagination  (Read 642 times)

Donal2018

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The Power Of Imagination
« on: June 17, 2020, 03:09:15 pm »
I have been working on combining Rationalism and Paganism lately. I was wondering how to apply that to the idea of magical practice.

It occurs to me that Rational Magic might be a way to engage the power of the human imagination to make changes in oneself and the world around oneself. I view magic and ritual as creative arts designed to expand the mind and improve the self.

Anyway, these are just some rudimentary ideas. I imagine that this has been explained better elsewhere, but I am just trying to figure this out for myself. So it is just my two cents. I would appreciate constructive feedback. Thanks.

Donal2018

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 03:39:27 pm »
I have been working on combining Rationalism and Paganism lately. I was wondering how to apply that to the idea of magical practice.

It occurs to me that Rational Magic might be a way to engage the power of the human imagination to make changes in oneself and the world around oneself. I view magic and ritual as creative arts designed to expand the mind and improve the self.

Anyway, these are just some rudimentary ideas. I imagine that this has been explained better elsewhere, but I am just trying to figure this out for myself. So it is just my two cents. I would appreciate constructive feedback. Thanks.

I would also add that magic and ritual are similar to performing arts, theatre, dance, music, etc. Those arts may have evolved out of ancient religious practices. So it might help to look at ritual and magic through the lens of performance arts.

Caleb Oak

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2020, 06:29:00 am »
I would also add that magic and ritual are similar to performing arts, theatre, dance, music, etc. Those arts may have evolved out of ancient religious practices. So it might help to look at ritual and magic through the lens of performance arts.
Where did you get that from?

I am curious now.  :)

Donal2018

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2020, 03:51:22 pm »
Where did you get that from?

I am curious now.  :)

Unverified Personal Gnosis. It just occurred to me that religious ritual is a lot like theatre, and maybe ancient theatre arose out of that. Maybe   there is an archaeologist out there that studies that hypothesis, I don't know. So  lacking evidence it is just speculation on my part.

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2020, 04:07:27 pm »
It occurs to me that Rational Magic might be a way to engage the power of the human imagination to make changes in oneself and the world around oneself. I view magic and ritual as creative arts designed to expand the mind and improve the self.

Something about your statement above does resonate with me, but I'm having difficulty putting it into words (as with numerous other things making up my current path).  If I can I'll come back to this thread at a later date with any clearer thoughts (though it might be quite some time!  That's because these are matters I've been unable to express clearly for quite some time as it is.)
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Donal2018

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2020, 04:12:24 pm »
Something about your statement above does resonate with me, but I'm having difficulty putting it into words (as with numerous other things making up my current path).  If I can I'll come back to this thread at a later date with any clearer thoughts (though it might be quite some time!  That's because these are matters I've been unable to express clearly for quite some time as it is.)

Thanks for commenting. I would look forward to anything that you might have to say on this topic.

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2020, 04:19:20 pm »
Unverified Personal Gnosis. It just occurred to me that religious ritual is a lot like theatre, and maybe ancient theatre arose out of that. Maybe   there is an archaeologist out there that studies that hypothesis, I don't know. So  lacking evidence it is just speculation on my part.

This is something that's been under discussion in theatre history and Classics (at least for the Greek and Roman world) since at least the late 1950s. (And in bits and pieces before that, but mostly focusing on the text of the plays not the effects of performance.)

(I grew up with this: my father's dissertation and much of his subsequent academic career and publication was on staging of Greek plays as plays, and what the implications were. Citation not possible without outing my legal name, however.)

For the Greeks, the plays we have surviving copies of (Sophocles, Aristophanes, Euripides, Aeschylus) were all part of the Greater Dionysia festival, and it included a variety of dramatic forms (comedy and satire as well as tragedy), poetry, and we're pretty sure music and other such things.

Roman theatre was a bit more varied, in terms of what survived and what the goals were (some things are clearly more on the religious side, some are clearly more secular), and I'm less familiar with other places (such as say, Mesopotamia or Egypt in terms of the details). But it's clear that a lot of things we'd consider a subset of theatre in terms of pagentry, display, retelling of cultural or religious stories, etc. have been part of the mix for a very long time in human history. So it may depend on how you define 'theatre' here.
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Donal2018

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2020, 04:31:15 pm »
This is something that's been under discussion in theatre history and Classics (at least for the Greek and Roman world) since at least the late 1950s. (And in bits and pieces before that, but mostly focusing on the text of the plays not the effects of performance.)

(I grew up with this: my father's dissertation and much of his subsequent academic career and publication was on staging of Greek plays as plays, and what the implications were. Citation not possible without outing my legal name, however.)

For the Greeks, the plays we have surviving copies of (Sophocles, Aristophanes, Euripides, Aeschylus) were all part of the Greater Dionysia festival, and it included a variety of dramatic forms (comedy and satire as well as tragedy), poetry, and we're pretty sure music and other such things.

Roman theatre was a bit more varied, in terms of what survived and what the goals were (some things are clearly more on the religious side, some are clearly more secular), and I'm less familiar with other places (such as say, Mesopotamia or Egypt in terms of the details). But it's clear that a lot of things we'd consider a subset of theatre in terms of pagentry, display, retelling of cultural or religious stories, etc. have been part of the mix for a very long time in human history. So it may depend on how you define 'theatre' here.

Thanks for that comment Jenett. I figured that there were people out there that were more educated about this topic than I am. I wonder if there are any good books and articles out there on this specific topic?There must be, since you mentioned this has been discussed in the Classics field and Theatre History since the 1950s. I figured when I wrote the initial post that there was legitimate academic research on this topic. Again, thanks for the good comment.

Caleb Oak

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2020, 03:26:22 pm »
Unverified Personal Gnosis. It just occurred to me that religious ritual is a lot like theatre, and maybe ancient theatre arose out of that. Maybe   there is an archaeologist out there that studies that hypothesis, I don't know. So  lacking evidence it is just speculation on my part.
Well I do theatre but I nerver see it as religious.  :)

Haptalaon

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2020, 08:32:34 am »
It occurs to me that Rational Magic might be a way to engage the power of the human imagination to make changes in oneself and the world around oneself. I view magic and ritual as creative arts designed to expand the mind and improve the self.

There are definitely a lot of magical traditions which approach magic as a kind of psychological/imaginative tool to make personal changes.

You'll find a lot of the "magic isn't real, but it works" approach in Ceremonial traditions, and explicitly within Chaos magic. Ceremonial traditions also often draw from the history of Hermetic alchemy - the idea that the human soul/psyche is base lead that must through work and experiment be transmuted to pure gold, the magical process designed to purify and improve you. Either of those areas would be great to research to learn more about this kind of vibe.

But you also find it in paganism, for example, the Wiccan Wheel of the Year is often compared to a series of human emotions and experiences, which you can work through slowly.

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Donal2018

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2020, 12:50:20 pm »
There are definitely a lot of magical traditions which approach magic as a kind of psychological/imaginative tool to make personal changes.

You'll find a lot of the "magic isn't real, but it works" approach in Ceremonial traditions, and explicitly within Chaos magic. Ceremonial traditions also often draw from the history of Hermetic alchemy - the idea that the human soul/psyche is base lead that must through work and experiment be transmuted to pure gold, the magical process designed to purify and improve you. Either of those areas would be great to research to learn more about this kind of vibe.

But you also find it in paganism, for example, the Wiccan Wheel of the Year is often compared to a series of human emotions and experiences, which you can work through slowly.

Good comment, thanks. I am looking into Chaos Magick with its symbols/sigils. It seems closest to what I was imaging magic as an art and a psychological practice or operation. Maybe similar to meditation or trance work, plus words/spells, movement, ritual activity. Alchemical transformation of the spirit from lead to gold is a great metaphorical operation also. So a lot of interesting things to consider.

arete

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2020, 07:26:54 am »
It occurs to me that Rational Magic might be a way to engage the power of the human imagination to make changes in oneself and the world around oneself. I view magic and ritual as creative arts designed to expand the mind and improve the self.
Isn't that too the goal of science? Science expands the mind and causes improvement, no?  :)
I pray that religious animosity will end.

Donal2018

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Re: The Power Of Imagination
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2020, 01:49:03 pm »
Isn't that too the goal of science? Science expands the mind and causes improvement, no?  :)

I think that self improvement can be an effect of practicing science, but it is not the primary goal. The primary goal is to understand Nature and the Cosmos. Any other effect is secondary, I think. Understanding human nature might lead to self improvement, though.

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