It’s been a few weeks since I popped up on the Pagan Blog Project and this is likely to be a shorter post than my other ones. I’m hoping to jump back in time and cover the “H” posts this weekend, on Saturday and one on Sunday because I actually have ideas for those (unlike the missing “F” posts).
What is Immanence
I’ve talked about the concept of immanence elsewhere on the site. In short, this is the belief that everything has within it at least some quantity of a creative force currently unknown to science. Those who believe in gods are may see this force as divine, but I don’t personally think one has to be a theist in order to believe that there are forces in this world that science has not fully described at this time. If one is a theist, then this creative/divine force might be seen to give rise to the gods or it could be described as a capability granted by the gods to some or all of creation.
Regardless of why it exists, I think that many Pagans believe that an immanent creative force is simply a part of our reality.
Immanence and Magic
I recently spent a chunk of a morning chatting with members of the Interfaith Youth Corps in an speed-faithing event. Speed-faithing is a term that I ran into first as a part of the Interfaith in Action student organization at the University of Illinois. I’ve seen others use it, too, but I don’t think it’s too common. Essentially, it’s a discussion on a specific faith where a group can ask questions of a member of that faith in a sort of rapid-fire way. The intention is to get a basic understanding of a faith as a jumping off point for further research and understanding.
Preparing for this event, I worked to anticipate what sorts of questions might be asked of me. This was, in some part, in the back of my mind when I wrote an essay on defining Paganism and why I’m a bit of stickler for (a) having a definition of it and (b) that definition being accurate and respectful of those who don’t use the term Pagan. As I wrote that definition, something struck me and it led to this part of my thinking:
This belief in an immanent divine force is made manifest by the commonly–but not universally–held practice of magic.
I had not, prior to thinking my way through things, about the theological basis for magic, but I think that, as I quoted above, it’s related to immanence. This relationship is as follows: if we have within us a quantity of creative/divine force, it is possible that we can use the force in some way.
This supposition doesn’t really define how it’s used or what manner of manifestation may result from it, but I don’t think it’s necessary to describe magic in that much detail. Consider this more of an elevator pitch the next time someone asks you how you can possibly believe in magic. If the conversation continues from this point, you can go into greater detail. I’ll be wrapping back around to this concept when we get to “M” in a few weeks….