Monday, 26 March 2012

Some simplistic but helpful definitions

Spiritual Belief (or "Faith") : An acceptance of a non-physical principle or concept as true without the neccessity for objectively empirical provability to others

Spirituality: What we choose to do in a non-physical way about our spiritual beliefs

Religion: A defined set of practices designed to enable one to follow a particular spiritual path to a further understanding of one or more spiritual beliefs (ie. what we choose to do in a physical way about our spiritual beliefs)

Animism: The belief that ALL things are part of a natural world and have a non-pysical part of their nature through which they are connected and can communicate
An extension of animism is that SOME beings may have a purely non-physical nature, and we can descibe these as gods and goddesses . . or angels and devils, ghosts, powers, forces . . or (my favourite) energies, universal energies, life-force energies and spirits . . .

Paganism: An unbrella term for a wide variety of animistic beliefs, ideas, spiritual paths, religions and practices, often with roots in antiquity and typically (but not exclusively) used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions

Magic: The art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with will

Witchcraft: One or more of the following:
1. A pagan religion - being the survival and/or revivial or northern european, indiginous, pre-christian spiritual beliefs and religious practices
2. The practice of magic (as defined above)
3. The practice of magic (as defined above) performed in conformity with a will other than God's
4. The practice of magic (as defined above) for harmful purposes

(1. and 2. above are generally the views of those who call themselves witches and there is a great deal of crossover, most believing witchcraft is a combination in differing proportions, whereas 3. and 4. are generally the views of non-practitioners of witchcraft, 3 being the "Church View" and 4. the "Lay View")

Magic (as defined above) is a non-physical manipulation of reality (whatever THAT is!) and has no inherant morality, any morality comes the intent behind the magical act - one can work magic to help or to harm, the magical act of and in itself is ambivalent to the intent. However the traditional "negative" view of witchcraft is 4. (above)

Virtually ALL religions utilise magic as a technique - eg Transubstantiation in Catholicism IS an act of magic but ALL "church magic" is exclusively performed in conformity with God's will - or at least that particular religion's perception of God's will . . .thus the church defines witchcraft as 3. (above)