I came across a blog post a while back with several questions that I thought were interesting. One of them was this: Is practicing magick (or spellcasting) an important part of your Pagan Spirituality?
I have been thinking about this question for a while, and am still somewhat conflicted in my reply. As are most practices associated with Pagan Spirituality, I think that the answer will depend heavily on the practitioner and path.
For myself, I lean more towards ‘yes’, because of how I view spellcasting and the ‘practicing’ of magick. A spell is, for all intents and purposes, a way to put my desire or will into the Universe. Backed by actions that are in harmony with the goal of the spell, it becomes an avenue for enacting change upon the world. Much like Christian prayer, the casting of a spell, or working of magick (differentiated from fictional and fairy tale magic by the ‘k’) is similar to ‘putting it in the Gods’ hands’ or ‘letting go and letting God’… only Pagans tend to back that up with actions that are in harmony with the change they want to see rather than relying solely on the power of will and mind and desire to affect change, but that’s a wee bit off-topic.
Where I fall into the ‘no’ side of the question is that I don’t feel the need to rely on spellcasting on a daily basis to identify as ‘Pagan’. I am much more pragmatic and self-reliant when it comes to affecting change – there’s very little in my life at this time that I don’t feel has come about from focus and hard work (and a healthy dose of good fortune). I don’t feel like my spirituality is diminished if I don’t ‘practice magick’ for a while, nor do I feel ‘more spiritual’ if/after I cast. I feel more like it’s one of the many tools available to me to interact with deity/the Universe/energy…. no more or less vital than other tools. In fact, my daily practice (or rituals) keep me more in line with my chosen path than the production of a spell that’s cast.
So the bottom line, I guess, is… kinda. That’s not very helpful, I realize, but I think that when you are in charge of constructing your own spiritual identity and path, it’s okay to revel in the middle ground. There are no extreme viewpoints that must be taken or adhered to, and coming from a religious background that was very dogmatic and ‘black vs. white’ in its thinking, shades of gray can be beautiful.