People unfamiliar with Paganism may think there’s a disconnect between ancient religions and systems of belief and what we think of as modern technology. In many ways this could not be farther from the truth. One of the reasons that these traditions are so popular in the modern world is that they are fluid and inclusive, embracing modern in every sense. As much as people want to think of the past as static and solid, nothing is farther from the truth. Contact between cultures have always meant fluidity of everything from belief, to food, to language, and more. While cultural appropriation may be the hot take of modern times, cultural appreciation has been going on for several Millennia. However, technology doesn’t come from a single culture, it comes from everywhere and everything.
The word Technology originates from the Greek language. It is a word blend of Techne, which means skill, craft, and art, basically a way of getting things done; and the word Logos, which is the word for word. It’s an old word which found it’s way into the English language around the 1600s. Technology pre-dated the age of enlightenment and the age of modernity. At it’s core Paganism is a way of getting things done too. I often explain to people that for me simply put magick and Paganism are creative ways to get things done. Paganism is in many ways inclusive, and by that I mean honoring and including the sacredness of nature as part of the religions. It doesn’t matter if we are looking at Norse Paganism, or Celtic, or Hellenic, or any of the numerous other systems they all salute the beauty and bounty of the earth and the elements.
When I started thinking about this complicated question of technology and paganism, I realized I’m probably one of the best bloggers to tackle it. Very often newcomers to Paganism refer to me as an OG Witch, and since I’ve been practicing for over 4 decades… I guess I own that. I did host the first searchable magical herb database back in the early nineties, and ever since they put forth the term Blerd I’ve embraced my Black Nerdiness. In addition to identifying as a Pagan and a Witch, I am also a Voodoo Priestess and a practitioner of African Traditional Religion. Here on this blog I have frequently written about technology and magick. In my post Techno-Voodoo 2.0 I explain “Like most kids, technology was mostly my master and sometimes my muse. I dreamed of a betamax, does anyone remember those ? I wanted to capture all the moments that were going missed. Never in my wildest imagination could I have dreamed of the possibilities we now have at our fingertips. Someone asked me once what my favorite magickal tool was and I said final cut ( the editing software.) Technology like magick expands exponentially everyday with each new participant, each new effort. The divine marriage of the two was inevitable.”
I guess what we are ultimately discussing here is a fusion of old and new. Paganism’s earth centered focus and inclusion of the divine feminine allows us to celebrate that everything old is truly new again. We were all born from woman and the religions of the sacred feminine celebrate this on absolutely every level. We wouldn’t be here without women, but we wouldn’t be on this planet either if we hadn’t embraced technology.
In Voodoo we even have a specific deity from Haiti known to govern technology named Simbi. Some even think that this is the origin of the popular word Zombi. Ironic when we think of how in modern day so many become “zombified” slaves to their phones, tablets, online games, social media and more. Simbi also represents quickness, like a snake they move from stillness to lightning fast speed. It makes absolute sense when we think of the internet granting us the magickal power to communicate across vast distances in an instant. Years ago we had a Simbi ceremony where we created a sacred altar in an old computer case. We covered it with foil, lights, and old circuits, and honored this spirit of magick and information. We saluted the power and possibility of technology in all it’s forms.
It is my hope that those reading this post finds ways to salute and celebrate the technology in our lives that allow us to survive and hopefully thrive. We can use both old and new techniques to help strengthen our religion and bring greater power to our practice, whatever the denomination.
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