Exercising Your Will

07 15b dry stacked stone

Rhyd Wildermuth has a long and thought-provoking essay on Saturday’s Wild Hunt titled Manifesting An Other World.  In it, he argues that beliefs should mean something – they should cause us to take action to manifest the kind of world we say we value.  This is particularly true for those of us who worship Gods we believe are real, distinct, individual beings – Gods who are capable both of blessing us immensely and of making our lives as miserable as Prometheus.Many Pagans don’t seem to take t … [Read more...]

Poor Magicians, Good Magicians

Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC

The recent post asking if a poor magician is a poor magician has generated what for Under the Ancient Oaks is a ton of comments.  Most make valid points, although some have wandered away from the gist of the initial essay.  That theme was succinctly summarized by Phaedra Bonewits when she said “he seems more to be talking about the difference between a life in perpetual chaos and one where the magician has his or her crap reasonably together.”For another perspective on this question, read thi … [Read more...]

A Poor Magician Is A Poor Magician

The Magician

“A poor magician is a poor magician.”I hear this phrase from time to time.  Sometimes it’s proclaimed as a self-evident truth:  if your ordinary life is a mess, you obviously aren’t much of a magic worker or you’d do something to get it in order.  Other times I hear it slammed as victim-blaming of people who are dealing with economic or other problems not of their own making.Right or wrong, the phrase remains in use and it’s worth exploring in a little more depth.First of all, if the … [Read more...]

Purpose and Will

desert road SW Colorado

An old friend from college (who is not Pagan) read my last post and asked what made me think we’re here for a reason.  Here’s the part of my post he was referring to: Beyond all of this, you can trust your true will.  You’re here for a reason.  Maybe you have to discover that reason or maybe you have to create it (that’s another one of those questions that are beyond the gods), but there is something in this life you need to accomplish, or learn, or facilitate.  You can do this great work not be … [Read more...]

Returning to Center

late afternoon at ECG 2012

We all have a center: a core, a place deep inside where the essence of who we are resides.  This is our true will, our destiny; it’s who and what we’re called to be... and who and what we want to be.Finding this center is a challenge.  From the day we’re born until the day we die there are people telling us who and what we should be.  Some are helpful, some mean well but are misguided, and some simply try to mold us into what they want us to be.  Our environments influence us, as does our evo … [Read more...]

The Challenges of Free Will

Expecting everyone to scramble up these rocks is neither fair nor reasonable.  But if you can, the experience is amazing.

Last week I made a strong case for acting as though we have free will even though we can’t be sure if we do or not.  I really do think it’s the best way to order your life.  But like so many strong statements, the fact that it’s generally true doesn’t mean it’s always true.Msironen left a comment that illustrates this complexity, first quoting me and then adding his concerns: “But as I said in the post, whether we have free will or only the illusion of free will, we’re better off ordering ou … [Read more...]