We Speak from Experience and Perspective

We Speak from Experience and Perspective April 15, 2024

In an age where we have so much information at our fingertips and the conditioned mindset of proving “truths” from a scientific standpoint, creates some interesting illusions. The illusion that if it is a published text, then it must be true. The older the text, the more trusted and untainted. That if a group of people agree and push certain texts or ideas, then they must be true. In all of this I am speaking from the magical, occult, pagan communities – the way we “vet” others, the way we judge texts, practices, and yes, even people.

Fire pit with a fire burning inside
Fire Scry – by Esa

In The Beginning

I have been part of this world and communities within it since the late 80’s. Before the internet, before social media, and before we had much beyond Wicca and Golden Dawn in widely available books. A time where we not only had to f**k around and find out – it was encouraged by the community. The act of experimenting, pushing boundaries, and relying on our actual experiences, and results in that, is what directed our “truths.” After all, it is what our ancestors did. They did not have instruction books – they figured it out through trial and error, using what they had on hand, and family/ cultural traditions and myths passed down.

We knew something back then, at least the people I was around – That everything that was written, everything that was shared, was someone else’s experience, what they discovered in their experimenting and work. When people spoke, it was from their experience and perspective. That understanding shaped how we looked at and received that information. Not as an absolute truth, but a place to start experimenting with to see if we would get some results from it. We felt the freedom to change it, go beyond it, and find our own ways of working with these concepts and ideas.

We understood that what we were receiving was someone else’s work, their practice, and what gave them results. A place to start from, an inspiration to give us ideas – but what comes from that depends on what we do with it, where we take it, how we experience it.

Boom of the Scholars

With the rise of the internet we started to move into a period of magical renaissance. Being able to connect with and share with practitioners all over the world. No longer restricted to what was being published in our own country, but now we had expanded views and a window into traditions across the globe. New ideas, inspirations, and structures to explore!

As our community expanded beyond the local. The focus was on sharing with each other. What we discovered for ourselves and seeing where we overlapped – giving us deeper understandings of the spiritual and magical realms. This opened the door for more books and works on magical practices beyond the limited scope of what we had before.

This also really opened the door for more public and widespread scholarship within the occult, magical practices, and pagan religions. People who dedicate themselves to research and deeper understandings of these worlds. To discover and bring forth to the masses, texts, stories, and traditions that many did not know existed. Giving glimpses of the depth and variety of magical and spiritual practices throughout history and in our world today. With every blessing though, there is also a curse.

The curse aspect is that all of that work is based upon their own perspectives and opinions of the information. Their interpretations of the texts, stories, and practices. In some cases, but not all, it also came from their own experimentation and results of the practices (not all scholars are practicing practitioners). This in itself is how it should be – the problem is, many of the people consuming this content do so from a mindset that what is written is universal truth. That a scholarly work is treated like they treat a scientific one, with absolutes and hard rules (that’s a whole other conversation). They lose sight that all of this is someone’s opinion, perspective, and personal understandings of the information being presented. Some of those scholarly people didn’t help that either – instead positioning themselves as an “authority.”

You can have three people from various backgrounds/ cultures read the same story, and there is a high likelihood you will get three different interpretations of the story, especially in the smaller details and symbolism. From a perspective they are all correct, because it is how they are seeing and perceiving the information given to them through the scope of their own history and understandings.

That also means that there are most likely differences in meaning and symbolism from the original writer of the text, living in a society, time, and culture that is long gone. We have clues about those people, based on assumptions, opinions, and later evolution of a culture – but we do not have absolute truth about them. We use anthropology and archaeology to help us fill in the gaps, but even those have a degree of assumptions, opinion, and historical community agreed upon perspectives. Previous assumptions are changed all the time when new information is discovered.

Extending into Practice

In this process of evolution within our community, I started to see shifts in approaches to practice. Our once flourishing independence and learning through experimenting, started to shift into a space of boxes and rules. As with all information, it is repeated by others. As that repetition grows, the community starts to adopt it as fact or agreed upon truth. This is a dangerous road.

This danger showed it heads in the late part of the first decade of the 2000’s as our community went through a boom of interest due to the interconnections of us across the globe. It really reared its head and came to life though in the more recent boom starting around 2020.

I think one of the biggest problems that I see is that we have had a trove of people moving from a Christian background into this space. They come with a lot of per-conditioned ideas, perspectives, and fears that take time and real effort to move past and heal from. Some even have true trauma at the hands of the church which layer a whole other issue on-top. Often though, I see them layering those onto their new path – especially the fear.

They have a hard time separating previous ways of thinking. They approach the Gods and Goddesses in manners and acts that mirror the christian ideas. They look at repeated “laws” in the community like gospel – a truth that must be worked within. The fear to explore and experiment on their own though is what I see as probably the biggest issue. They are afraid that if they make a mistake that they will do real damage to themselves or others. They are afraid that if they don’t follow someone else’s instructions they won’t get the result/ connect to their potential.

They are afraid they won’t be accepted and find community if they do not conform. No matter how you may feel, social connection is hardwired into humanity. We are social creatures – even most introverts have a want for a very small circle of people to connect and share with. Having just one person to talk with as we go through all of these new experiences and growth is comforting. Someone who can understand what you are going through, the experiences you are having – making you feel less crazy and more in-tuned with your craft can be extremely helpful.

three galss pillars with tea light candles burning on them

The Rules

We have all seen them … Posts, statements, and people trying to dictate rules and caution people in certain matters.

“Your tarot must be gifted.”

“Start with and master protection before anything else.”

“Don’t work with spirits – they are deceiving.”

“Deity work is for more advanced practitioners.”

“Don’t do magic during an Eclipse.”

“The Dark Moon is for releasing and letting go.” (not everyone sees the moon phases the same – some see the New Moon/ Dark Moon as a beginning – some see the new moon as when the sliver of it is lit again and the dark moon as what comes before the new beginning– different perspectives)

The list could go on forever.

All of these things are being said because one person had the opinion or perspective – hopefully based in their own personal experiences but no guarantees there. In a world of mass social media, reach, and now short form content – these personal perspectives get heard, adopted by others, and spread further. Moving from a place of someone’s experience, to a place of community “fact.”

Now imagine being a new person, especially one that has been raised in a culture that has been heavily influenced by christian/abrahamic ideals, and possible from the church itself. You have all the conditioning and fear we discussed above, and now a heap of warnings, rules, restrictions, and conflicting information – being presented as “facts” in the way they view facts.

It takes time to realize that everything we consume should be consumed from the perspective of “This is what they discovered, what they learned on their own journey, what they found to work and be true for them.” It is a shift in mindset when consuming any kind of content. This doesn’t mean the speaker of these is wrong – from their perspective and experience it is truth. We gleam wisdoms in the sharing. We get ideas and new understandings to work with, experiment with. We need to share as much as possible in my opinion, but how we consume what people share is the difference here.

Fear and Vengeance

We may not like it, but media in all forms have created fears around magic, the world of spirits, the occult, and pagan traditions for a very long time. Combine that with the points above and you have created a mixing pot of curiosity, fear of experimenting/ pushing boundaries, the desire for freedom, a desire for instructions, desire for control in world where they feel they have none and promises of just that if you do/ follow this exactly.

Fear is one of the most effective and easiest mechanisms you can employ to control a population or person. Governments, religions, and cultures have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years in different ways.

Those controls limit the freedom and will of the people under them. It creates empires, and those empires create groups of people who feel they have no control over what happens to them, how they are ruled over, all the way to their very survival. Magic was born from this oppression and separation between the ruling class and the ruled over. Magic gave Hope to the people. It gave them a way to harness and manipulate they energies in their favor.

Once again – Magic is the beacon of Hope for the people. Something they can learn, do, and use to tip the scales and gain freedom.

We see the rise in this fashion based upon what is popular, the spells people are searching for, and the types of communities they are seeking out. We see it in the Deities that are popular and the traditions people are gravitating to. They are seeking healing – vengeance – love – war – and the interactions of the unseen, beyond the physical world, including necromancy (communication with the dead).

The thought of Magic gives Hope. True magic, realized and felt magic, changes the world.

Think About It

Everything you hear, read, or learn from another is their own experience, perspective, and understandings. We can only speak from that which we know and have experienced for ourselves, otherwise we are just repeating another’s truth.

The foundations, structures, tools, and ways will work for some but not all. Be inspired by them. Let them give you a place to start from, but eventually you are going to have to climb out of their box – push the boundaries they found – to discover your own potential.

Look from a variety of perspectives and see where they overlap. In the space of overlapping we can find wisdom.

EXPERIMENT! Drop your fear. In my experience, you do not have access to or reach your true potential of magical ability, until you have gained some mastery/ wisdom through your own work. In the beginning the spells will either work or not. Stop letting the fear or failure or something going wrong hold you back. Stop letting others dictate your potential and rules. As you develop your skills, they will show you your limits. I came from the generation of magical users who embraced f**k around and find out. Yes we had failures, we ran into issues, we had to clean up messes – but we learned valuable lessons in all of it and we are still here. Our ancestors did the same – without books, without communities, without someone telling them how to do something. They thought about the effects they wanted, what energies and symbolism they felt would achieve it, and experimented until they got it right.

We are living in an age where we have more information and possibilities at our fingertips. That is giving us larger understandings and perspectives of magic, the soul, spiritual work, etc. More people openly sharing and showing what they have found to be possible and what has really produced results for them. Use it to your advantage – to build a larger view, deeper understanding, and places to help you get started on a certain path or type of magic – but do not confine yourself to their boxes.

antique mirror hanging on wall
About Esa
Author, Oracle, Guide, and Teacher of the Death's Emissary/ Death Doula course. "You are building your own path, your own connections, and shaping your own destiny. We can inspire others through sharing - we can Guide through our own experiences - but each of us must walk our own path." You can read more about the author here.

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