I’ve had something stirring in my mind that I really wanted to put down into words, and since I just broke 550 followers, I figured now was a good time to do it! This post is going to get pretty long as I work through all of my ideas, so:
tl;dr: Magic and magical beliefs across the world has similarities in belief that, to me, validate the existence of greater powers to my often skeptical modern mind.
As an eclectic witch, I study lots of different kinds of magic and religions to composite my beliefs. I highly admire the Buddha, and I practice a lot of qigong, as well as studying traditional Chinese medicine.
Part of why I do this is because, when researching so many different kinds of magic and spiritual beliefs, I find there are certain common through-lines from cultures widely separated in their development that are hard to calk up to just a common cultural ancestor, like the Chaldeans or Indo-Europeans.
And I think that, in a practical sense, this syncretic nature to magic can be used to combine concepts from different systems into witchcraft. Druidism, for instance, is so syncretic with Wicca due to the reverence for nature and divination. Why, then, shouldn’t Onmyodo be possible for the same, in its intricate divination techniques and Shinto’s worship of the natural world?
One prevailing concept is the idea of the Power. The Power is an energy that runs through all things in the universe, be they the largest of stars or the smallest of atoms. All things have the Power within them, including flowers, crystals, trees, insects, dogs, cats, humans, even clothes and computers! Some things, however, have more power and exert more influence when used for magic, such as using certain herbs or certain crystals whose Power aligns to a certain purpose.
When you use a crystal to attune to your chakras, light a candle for a spell, observe the position of the planets for the purposes of casting. say a prayer to whatever deity you associate with, or meditate to find inner peace, you are fostering an interaction between the Power within and without your body. Whether you believe that there is a thinking, feeling spirit in everything around you or not, it is hard to refute that the Power is the basis of all magic.
The idea of the Power is not so different from the Tao, the power that upholds all in the universe in Taoism and keeps all things in balance. The natural world is in balance, and when humans live in balance, they are happy and healthy. When humanity tries to upset the balance for selfish ends, they just bring misery to themselves and others in the long run. I feel like this is something many Wiccans would agree with: that there is balance in nature, and balance is the key to happiness, health, and spiritual growth.
It should be noted that balance is not unique to Taoism. Indian beliefs hold that every god is balanced with their counterpart goddess, with some even having a combined deity that is goddess and god all in one! And although the evidence is, at times, questionable, there is indeed evidence for a Meso-American deity known as Ometeotl that is goddess and god, masculine and feminine, light and darkness, and the duality of all things balanced.
Certain Buddhist doctrines, meanwhile, hold that magic spells are not even necessary because there is, in effect, magic in all things in life. The smallest of ants, the shape of the clouds, the simple act of chopping firewood to burn for heating the tea kettle… All things have a certain magic in them, and if one moves too quickly and does not open their perception, they will miss entire worlds of happiness and possibility all around them.
Moreover, my research has shown that from Africa to the Middle East to Asia, there is a precedent for asceticism permitting one to gain supernatural powers which magical formulae and the like help to focus. Shamans, gurus, shugenja… They have all, through ascetic training, attained a kind of power that goes even beyond witchcraft. This post is getting extraordinarily long as it is, so I’d just recommend reading Idries Shah’s work Oriental Magic if you’re interested in learning more. He glosses over a lot of aspects of African and East Asian magic in favor of the Middle East and India, but it’s still a very engaging, powerful read for anyone who wants to do some study outside of European magic traditions.
So yeah! That’s the long and short of my beliefs on magic! I’ll probably go into more detail with different posts in the future, but my next project is to start trying to make my posts on herbs and crystals more often. I know you guys love those, so look forward to more in the future!