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Author Topic: Terms and definitions - Prayer, Worship, Magick, Witchcraft, Spellwork, Energy Work  (Read 1381 times)

Zephyrine

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I'm just wondering what it all means. Can you use magick without spellwork? What is energy work? How is prayer different from magick? Is magick necessary or is prayer enough?

Jenett

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Quote from: Zephyrine;183326
I'm just wondering what it all means. Can you use magick without spellwork? What is energy work? How is prayer different from magick? Is magick necessary or is prayer enough?

 
Different traditions, religions, and philosophies are going to use terms differently, so there isn't one single answer to your questions - generally, you need to double check that you're using words the same way with the people you're talking to if you're going to get into complex discussions.

My background is in religious witchcraft, and the way I use these terms is:

Energy work: Recognising, reacting to, and affecting the energy in your body and around you to help you manage your own well-being, set boundaries, and recognise what is you and what isn't you, so you can make better decisions, do more effective magic, and generally live a better life.

For me, it encompasses concepts like centering, grounding, shielding, some kinds of purification and cleansing, and some other things of that kind.

Magic: One of the most common definitions of magic is 'change in accordance with will' with the implication that you're not just talking about physical real-world actions (though that may well be part of the magic.)

It relies at least in part on the energy, skill, and desire of the person doing the magic, though they may also ask for help, guidance, or energy from other entities (like deities, elementals, spirits of a particular place, etc.)

There are a number of forms of magic that don't involve spellwork: many forms of energywork are not necessarily spells. I usually define spellwork as having a form or a ritual intended to create a particular goal (sort of like a recipe, in cooking), where you combine the steps of the recipe, your intention and energy, and other ritual or magical techniques to make the thing happen. Other kinds of magical work that may not involve spells include some kinds of meditation or astral travel, divination, dreamwork, and various others.

Prayer:: There are a bunch of different kinds of prayer, and different religions divide them out differently, but some common types include:

- Praise (what it sounds like)
- Petition or supplication (asking for something that's needed)
- Intercession (asking for what someone else needs)
- Thanksgiving (giving thanks for help in the past)
- Faith (asking for guidance, giving yourself over to a deity's hands)
- Contemplation (reflection, self-understanding, understanding of religious concepts)

Pagans might add invocation (asking a deity or entity to be present in them or in ritual, depending on the individual's use of the word invocation), evocation (asking a deity or entity to be present in the ritual space), consecration, or other concepts that aren't a part of other religions (or are only done by clergy or in limited circumstances, like building a new church.)  

They're different than magic because you're asking an entity outside yourself to make things different. (Obviously, magic in a religious context and prayer are very interwoven concepts and realities sometimes.)

Often, prayer doesn't have a specific desired outcome, too: you might be looking for peace or understanding or something else like that, but don't have a clear idea how it might happen. Usually in spellwork or magical work, you have a better idea of the likely process, even if you don't know all the details of how it's going to come about.

An example: I spent 15 months job hunting before getting my current job (which I've now had for 7 months) and it was a big part of my magical work focus for that time.

I did energy work on a daily (or more than daily) basis to make sure I was reacting to the ups and downs of the job hunt as best I could: these included centering, grounding, self-awareness journalling and adjustments, and a lot of self-care things that also tied into cleansing and banishing stuff that was making the job hunt difficult (as much as I could.)

I did some specific spell work when I started looking to clarify what I wanted in a job, and what I wanted the outcome to look like. Some things I was specific about: I wanted a library job, not another job that might value my MLIS degree. Some things I left very open ended (what kind of library, a lot about location) and basically went for "I want a place I can do X, Y, and Z and be happy." Some things were in the middle.

When I prepared cover letters and resumes, I often did some small magical acts to help me concentrate and put my best foot forward (particular perfume, music, setting, etc.) Before travelling to interviews, I'd do more of that (specific playlists, for example). But of course, I also did my research about the library I was interested in, what else was going on in the area, and so on.

I also asked the deities I work with primarily for help - prayer - but it was not so much "Find me a job!" as "I want a place where I can be happy and do your work, and I don't know what that is precisely, so please help me find the right place and know when I've found it." (So, more faith than petition.)

When I got to the job I am now in (and love) it was really clear that things were lining up smoothly very early on, and it was very easy to accept their offer and then figure out how to make the practical stuff work out (it involved a couple of hundred mile move, into the Boston area, which is not a great place to be looking for housing on short notice...)

I believe that all of the things I did - magic, prayer, energy work - had a part in that, including the fact that I managed to get through what turned out to be a long and really frustrating slog without losing it entirely, and continuing to be able to be optimistic and engaged with the process for that long.
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Zephyrine

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Quote from: Jenett;183333
Different traditions, religions, and philosophies are going to use terms differently, so there isn't one single answer to your questions - generally, you need to double check that you're using words the same way with the people you're talking to if you're going to get into complex discussions.

My background is in religious witchcraft, and the way I use these terms is:

Energy work: Recognising, reacting to, and affecting the energy in your body and around you to help you manage your own well-being, set boundaries, and recognise what is you and what isn't you, so you can make better decisions, do more effective magic, and generally live a better life.

For me, it encompasses concepts like centering, grounding, shielding, some kinds of purification and cleansing, and some other things of that kind.

Magic: One of the most common definitions of magic is 'change in accordance with will' with the implication that you're not just talking about physical real-world actions (though that may well be part of the magic.)

It relies at least in part on the energy, skill, and desire of the person doing the magic, though they may also ask for help, guidance, or energy from other entities (like deities, elementals, spirits of a particular place, etc.)

There are a number of forms of magic that don't involve spellwork: many forms of energywork are not necessarily spells. I usually define spellwork as having a form or a ritual intended to create a particular goal (sort of like a recipe, in cooking), where you combine the steps of the recipe, your intention and energy, and other ritual or magical techniques to make the thing happen. Other kinds of magical work that may not involve spells include some kinds of meditation or astral travel, divination, dreamwork, and various others.

Prayer:: There are a bunch of different kinds of prayer, and different religions divide them out differently, but some common types include:

- Praise (what it sounds like)
- Petition or supplication (asking for something that's needed)
- Intercession (asking for what someone else needs)
- Thanksgiving (giving thanks for help in the past)
- Faith (asking for guidance, giving yourself over to a deity's hands)
- Contemplation (reflection, self-understanding, understanding of religious concepts)

Pagans might add invocation (asking a deity or entity to be present in them or in ritual, depending on the individual's use of the word invocation), evocation (asking a deity or entity to be present in the ritual space), consecration, or other concepts that aren't a part of other religions (or are only done by clergy or in limited circumstances, like building a new church.)  

They're different than magic because you're asking an entity outside yourself to make things different. (Obviously, magic in a religious context and prayer are very interwoven concepts and realities sometimes.)

Often, prayer doesn't have a specific desired outcome, too: you might be looking for peace or understanding or something else like that, but don't have a clear idea how it might happen. Usually in spellwork or magical work, you have a better idea of the likely process, even if you don't know all the details of how it's going to come about.

OK, so which practices would make one a witch as opposed to a Pagan layperson?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 09:59:19 pm by Zephyrine »

Darkhawk

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Quote from: Zephyrine;183336
OK, so which practices would make one a witch as opposed to a Pagan layperson?

 
This is, again, a question that needs more specificity.

None of the above is necessarily witchcraft; all of the above is common as part of witchcraft.

Further: what do you mean by 'pagan layperson' and why do you appear to think that the options are 'pagan layperson' and 'witch'?  There are many pagan religions that have nothing to do with witchcraft at all.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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