Technology Is Neither Anti-Pagan Nor Anti-Witchcraft

Technology Is Neither Anti-Pagan Nor Anti-Witchcraft September 25, 2018
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It’s weird as someone who is both a software engineer and a witch to see people who believe that technology is either conflicting or negatively impacting our craft. And yet, as Vice reports, there are people who are upset at the existence of occult related apps. “We’ve been doing divination person-to-person for centuries; we’ve been doing this for so long in this way. There is no need to add technology” is a direct quote from said article.

Just because it’s the “way it’s always been done” doesn’t invalidate new approaches, and appealing to tradition as the basis of the argument is a terrible approach. The reality is that we live in the twenty-first century and there are numerous modern day concerns that the ancients never would’ve dreamed up. And the reality is that most of them would be embracing what we have, not rejecting it. For instance, in Hellenism alone we have gods explicitly associated with science and technology: Apollo, Hephaistos, and Hermes are excellent examples. Embracing the new doesn’t mean rejecting the old; it just means that we have new ways of doing old things.

There are a fair number of us who actually use technology in our practice: who do spell work in our code or on it, have our Books of Shadows on our iPads and other tablets, our occult libraries on our Kindles, and so forth. I’m definitely in that camp. I grew up on technology and have written countless posts on not only how it impacts our craft, but also how very similar spellcraft is to writing code in not just one but multiple articles, including one on how magic and communication within it is very similar to coding with programming languages. Those who think like I do would find taking on the notion of writing code vs spells to be fairly intuitive, and a great way to explain why spells sometimes don’t work as we wanted it too. Like with code, it’s not that the program doesn’t work–we told it just what to do! We just told it to do the wrong thing to what we had intended.

Granted, not everyone is as tuned into technology as I am–nor does everyone need to be. But what I do with my work invalidates the notion that technology is somehow at odds with magic and witchcraft, or conflicts with what we do. Not all of us lives out in the woods away from civilization; a fair number of witches live and work in urban areas and spaces, and deal with such environments every day. I have found that nature spirits are just as a part of urban spaces as they are in the woods; like us they have adapted and know how to hide. And in these spaces I live and continue my work. I remain a witch while at work, coding software, riding the subway, walking down the streets of Boston, or engaging with the rest of the world around.

Our world is not inherently less magical for having technology.

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  • Anne Hatzakis

    Technology and apps direct the flow of energy in the form of electrons. Spells direct a different form of energy. Just because the form is different, doesn’t mean that the methods are incompatible.

  • I too, keep a lot of info and ebooks in my Kindle, but have also been using Pinterest as well for collecting specifics pertaining to a few aspects of my spiritual life.

    I don’t know how many others around here use Pinterest, but would be nice to connect seeing that I have ditched FB for good.

  • Where I think technology currently fails is that it cannot convey things like tone, body language and other non-verbal forms of communication. I think this limits what we should use it for to be certain, but there is nothing wrong with having technological tools in the tool box. they just need to be used properly.

  • Edward Morbius

    I couldn’t agree more. I have been in the Craft since ’77. Trained & initiated. Met my wife of over 40 years in our training coven. Both of us are retired nurses. My specialty area was psychiatry. I was also a certified computer technician. My father was a system engineer at the doctorate level. My mother’s twin sister was married to a psychaitrist

    I do believe in science, but my view of Magick is a bit different than most.

    From my perspective, Magick is science out of context. It is all natural, highly plausible and that everyone is born with the ability to use it.

    Either people are unaware, afraid or hostile to what they have no referrence to.

    With that in mind, if yoy had a cigarette lighter in 13th century Europe or the UK and used it, there would be the strong likelyhood of being put to death for practicing the dark arts

  • kenofken

    I would agree that technology itself is not anti-witchcraft. That said, the way it has been adopted in our society often is. As much as witchcraft is a set of techniques for effecting change in conformity with will, the foundation of it all is consciousness – deep awareness of the patterns at every level of nature, starting with knowledge of one’s own mind and heart and soul. There is no way to attain that without spending serious and consistent time with oneself and the wider world, including nature. This cannot happen when all of a person’s waking hours are spent obsessively staring at a phone or tablet living their life through a screen and checking social media 500 times a day. For all of its benefits, technology has narrowed people’s field of vision to a four-inch screen. They spend most of their lives blind to almost everything and everyone around them. They have the attention span of a fruit fly and cannot even maintain their equilibrium without a constant stream of sensory input from some device or another. It is the epitome of the misuse of technology which profoundly disenchanted the western world and left us struggling for ways to reconnect to the forces our pre-industrial ancestors were immersed in. I cannot take someone seriously when they say they want to be a wtich, or better still, a “shaman” but they cannot survive a single night or even an hour alone with their own thoughts or the sounds of nature.