A great blog post that does an excellent job of articulating some things I’ve been fumbling to try to say for some time.
“Historically, natural magic engaged directly with the powers and properties of substances ( planets, stones, metals, herbs, resins etc ), whereas ceremonial magic called upon the assistance of discarnate spirits. Natural magic can therefore be seen as a disowned ancestral relative of natural science (think of astrology/astronomy, alchemy/chemistry, herbalism/botany). Despite attempting to master material circumstances however, Renaissance magic was unambiguously transcendental. It was preoccupied with spiritual ascent. “
Natural magic sounds as though it should be compatible with animism. Marian Green, in her introduction to the subject, writes that Nature, our mother, ‘mistress of arcane alchemy’, has all the answers. ‘We are the stuff of stars … every tree, plant, animal, jewel, and other person shares this ancient heritage’. Natural magic reconnects us with natural cycles. Likewise, Nigel Pennick writes that natural magic teaches us we’re not separate from nature, and that we have no special privileges. The earth, plants, and animals, have as much right to exist as we do. ‘To practice natural magic is to respect one’s fellow humans as well as all sentient beings in the Cosmos’. So far, so very good. Why then, despite being an astrologer, benefiting from herbal medicine, meditating, working with dreams, dowsing, and so forth, have I never wanted to describe what I do as magic? Why does Nigel Pennick’s…
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