A few kind folk have been wondering what i have been doing of late, not being very active on this blog. Well, bits and pieces really. Much Tibetan Buddhist practice taught and guided by the Ven Thupten Lodey. A few bits of comments on other blogs. Wander over to Mishkan ha-Echad for the purpose of the Golden Dawn 🙂
And then there’s Philip Carr-Gomm’s blog. Now Philip is a prolific writer and Druid and has done much for the revitalization of the Druid path over the last 30 or so years. He was kind enough to link some posts on Magic of the Ordinary to his blog and people commented over there, so scoot on over if you’re interested.
Philip posted an extract of a book he is writing on English magic, which i just had to comment on. It exalted a psychological viewpoint over the traditional magical worldview. Philip took my criticisms well and changed a few bits and pieces, but really it is still obviously written by a non-magician. Of course this irks me a little. There are plenty enough public magicians out there now which publishers can access without resorting to psychologists. Not all are loonies to the max-max. And and a few can actually write 🙂
One of the things i pointed out to Philip is the tendency for modern New Age spirituality and “transpersonal” psychology to take only the “good bits” from traditional spirituality. Connecting with the earth, respect for nature, the interdependence of life, animal totems etc have all been extracted by psychology/the new age from traditional and “shamanic” cultures. However, the equally important traditional concepts of evil spirits, spirit sickness, ghosts and sick areas of land etc are not. Why not? Because they scare the poop out of us. And besides, it’s kinda hard to market commercial tours to places that are likely to make you sick as a dog, or to run weekend workshops that allow which get you possessed by a demon.
I suspect that transpersonal psychology is nothing more than a sop to modern secularism which admits nothing that cannot be explained into ‘reality’ – unless it is inside our own skulls or perhaps, if we are daring in our view, “the collective unconsious”. This view has been extolled in recent years by the likes of Richard Dawkins and his buddies in the ‘new atheism’.
As part of my interest in this i’ve been watching from afar the US and UK atheist bus campaigns and their fallouts and wondering why it hadn’t reached our shores yet. Then I heard the WA head of the Atheist Foundation of Australia explaining that the national bus advertising company refused to accept the Atheists’ ads. No reason given. They just didn’t want them.
Now fair’s fair; if the Catholic Pope, in all his finery and promotion of infallibility and other doctrines to curl the toes, can get ad space, so should the atheists. And really, when it comes right down to it the secular values promoted by the likes of Richard Dawkins are what allows us weirdo esoteric, pagan, magical folk to avoid the lynch mob anyway. Try worshipping naked in the backyard or practicing magic in most theocracies and see what happens!
My only beef with the atheist movement in recent times is its lack of self reflection and tarring of all religious and spiritual expression with the same “irrational” brush. The motivation behind most militant atheism is often one of thinly suppressed anger at the ‘nonsense’ that religions promote and the abuses and brainwashing they undertake. Of course secularism and atheism are often as fundamentalist as any religion, as aptly demonstrated by St Bob in the New Inquisition as well as many other authors.
I am a little sad we will not be seeing the bus ads in Australia, but even more sad that this spoof will never see the light of day 🙂