From Taliesin!somewhere!Taliesin!Melisande Wed Apr 26 13:49:52 1989
Subject: Re:witchcraft
  Jrohr states that"Magic to a witch is the same thing as prayer to
a Christian" Then jrohr goes on to say"A witch would use magick in
the form of a spell or a circle to focus the power of mind that is
within us all."
  Magick is not the same thing as prayer!Prayer is not used to focus
the power of mind that is within us all.Prayer is sent to outside
forces.The benefits are attributed to whatever god or gods the
supplicant believes in.It is also used without much hope of success.
It is considered "God's will",no matter whether your god is benevolent
or a zealous tyrant.I'm speaking in general about religions,not just
  If a ritual{such as the one's described}were being used to augment
the psychic abilities of us all,given that they exist,I fail to see
in what way it would be related to prayer,religion,or any sort of
 If a spell or circle were being used to achieve the desired results
by calling on gods or goddesses in a carefully proscribed way,intending
to enforce their aid,willing or not,to enforce you will,I would not
call that prayer either.
  I have read the Mists of Avalon.I thought it was a very interesting
book,both for her ideas on religion and feminism.I think it helps
make witchcraft very attractive as a religion.But is it really a religion?
Is it a science based on natural abilities?What is the role of magic
in witchcraft?
  Many people object to witchcraft from a religious point of view.It
doesn't fit their beliefs or cultural biases.Others object to it
from a scientific point of view because they don't believe in magic.
Is a belief in magic necessary to embrace witchcraft as a religion?
Is a belief in religion {,mysticism,enlightenment}necessary
for the practice of the craft{magick}?

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Taliesin!Sam Fri Apr 28 13:11:08 1989
Subject: inspection
First, there is a world of difference between faith and BLIND faith.

Second, I have seen no one on this board express a belief that witches
are evil. The only message that came even close to being inflammatory was
left months ago by an anonymous guest who (to my knowledge) has never
returned, so I am not sure who you are afraid of foisting their beliefs onto
All I find is friendly discussion among rational people.

The impression I have gotten from your last two messages is that you do not
wish to continue this examination of the foundations of pagan beliefs. If
this is so, then please do post on pagan monogamy! If my impression is
incorrect, I will stand happily corrected.

P.S. Pardon my blind eyes, but I took the quote from message #30 directly
from the original file. I did remove the line left by an editing error.
I apologize if this was a faux pas, and will remember to reproduce (quotes)
faithfully and accurately from now on.


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From Taliesin!somewhere!jezebel Fri Apr 28 23:41:23 1989
Subject: What the occult is (or may be)
  Sorry, I guess my last message wasnt too clear.  It was mostly a stream-
of-conciousness knee-jerk reaction to the preceding message.  (My last message
was #6)
  As a practising witch (and I do need the practise!) I simply cannot allow
a charge (as I saw it) of Satanism to go unanswered.  I dont know if
the guy was trying to be funny or what, but it did get some disculssion
going, so thats something.
  What I was trying to get at (reading it back) was just how little
the occult has to do with religion.  Most of the occult is tied
up in religous beliefs, true, but then so was most of science back
before the Rennaisance and Copernicus.  Before then, the greatest
.  If we begin to treat the occult the same
way we would treat investigations int o physics or biology, then we
Parapsychologists are studying
occult and psycic phenomena, and coming up with some very interesting
results.  True, they have not been able to definitivly prove or dis-
prove anything, but please keep in mind that they are working under
a tremendous social attitude that "theres some reasonable explaination
for all of this."  I think, that given the nature of this particular
conference, we can make the assumption that occult and psychic phen-
omena exist, and can be worked with at a practical level., and therefor
we can go from there.  (Something I picked up from religon class...
to keep people from nit-picking over minutiae, you list your assumptions
at the top of the page.)
  So there we are.  THE OCCULT EXISTS.  The next step is to come up
with a satisfactory definition.  To me, the occult consists of the
entire set of ritual and ritualized behaivors intended to promote
a particular psychic or psychological result.  This can range from
ritual magic (Beltaine gatherings and the Catholic mass) to personal
rituals intended to help you get through an ordesal (sports figures
preparing to go into a game, or me preparing ot recieve a shot.).
to receive a shot).
These rituals (for lack of a better word, forgive) result in a
change in state, of the people involve as well as possibly a
d and possibly in the world
around (if such was the intent.)
  That may not satisfy you.  Remember that at this stage, definitions
are a highly personal thing., rather like your own personal philosophy.
I also write this under trying circumstances (a friend is loudly
championing her views as I type).
  A word about bookstores.  Remember, bookstores cater to the public,
and try to keep anything contriversial off the shelves.  Unless they
are occult bookstores, DO NOT TRUST THE SUBJECT HEADINGS.  Be careful
what you buy.  Fluf and bunnies Shirley McLain is next to The Necro-
nomicon is next to 1400 Ways to Read Your Future in an
n Ordinary Deck
of Playing Cards is next to...  You get my meaning.  Your best bet
is to find a book someone else has read and liked and to special
order it.  It may be more expensive, but you know what you are getting.

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From Taliesin!somewhere!jrohr Fri Apr 28 23:41:30 1989
Subject: Occult (sigh)
It seems that thoughout history diiferent words have been given meanings that
are not really what they mean. The word "occult" is one of them. The word as
Jezebel pointed out means "hidden" or "secret".  In fact early christianity
was a "occult religion" (I find it interesting and sad that a religion that was
so pursecuted in its infancy has turned around and in its power pursecuted othe
victim of bad press. The word "witch" and "faggot" are other examples. Did
you ever wonder where that word fag come from?? Well its because they used to
burn the homosexuals before that witches (hence "flamming faggot") To a Brit
the word means " a small thatch of kindling" I could go on but I will spare
you all.... Please keep in mind that langage is a powerful thing.

Enough of my babblings..end note.. I personally hope for the day when people
can reach a level of open mindedness that no positive religion must be hidden
or secret and must spend all this time and energy saying what they are NOT.

By the way speaking as a future librarian, most bookstores need to have a
intensive course in cataloging. I, who can find my way around Watson with
no problem get lost at Town Criers!!

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From Taliesin!somewhere!jrohr Fri Apr 28 21:15:33 1989
Subject: witchcraft
I hope this helps to clarify a few points. Magick to a witch is basically
the samething as prayer is a christian..again evidence of langage. A witch
would use magick in the form of a spell or circle to focus the power of the
mind that is within us all. For example I have a object that when I feel some
real negitive energy I concentrate that energy and "put" it into the object
then I ground out the object... another example is the burning of loveletters
after the relationship has gone away. This is a way of purging the focusing.
What I want to stress is that Wicca is the religion and witchcraft is the
practise. A good book to read is Marion Zimmer Bradleys "The Mists of Avalon"
It is basically a retelling of the Arthurian Legend though the eyes of the
women. It gives a good feel of the spirit of Wicca and its conlict with the
church (notice I said church not Christ) In fact Morgaine says "I have no
quarrel with the christ only his priests" Please keep in mind that the book
desciptions of the rituals are what it might have been like in the 6th century
Witches celebrate the holidays in a more modern manner. Just as the christians
celebrate edited versons of the orginal mass.

About the word "faggot" I will have to confer with my oxford at work and my
gay friend that informed me of the conection more on that at a later time.

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Melisande Fri Apr 28 23:41:45 1989
Subject: RE:What occult is
   I don't think that I can leave Jezebel's basic assumptions unchallenged.
I don't think that they are the minutiae but rather the basics of this
   I still think that you are stirring religion,mysticism,parapsychology,
and magic into one large cauldron of ideas and beliefs.It's rather more clear
to me that your definition of "occult"is closer to my definition of magic.
I'm not at all sure that you can give magic {or magic}the categorization
of a science.
   Let's start with parapsychology.Parapsychologists do not consider their
field as having anything to do with the occult.They feel the same way about
being confused with magic or witchcraft{or ufology or cryptozoology or
\033fortune-telling,etc.}as witches do about being confused with Satanists.
They're having a difficult enough time being accepted as a legitimate
science as it is,due to the subjective and elusive nature of "psi"and
it's inability to be reconciled with what we know to be true of"normal"
laws of nature.
   Their are three main areas of paranormal study.Informational psi
{telepathy,clairvoyance,precognition,retrocognition},expressive psi
{psychokinesis and related effects}and survival-related experiences.
These are rather arbitrary divisions since it is often impossible
to determine which category of psi may be in effect.
 If we have the given that people have psi experiences in all cultures
and that they are a common and normal part of human experience although
difficult to understand,it still requires a large conceptual leap to
conclude that one could influence their world through the use of magick
or ritual.
  Witchcraft also has much to do with religion.Many religons have promoted
and accepted the inborn psi abilities of people,often without the trappings
or belief system associated with ritual magic.In fact,one anthropological
division made between magic and religion is the idea that religions use
prayer{politely asking the god or gods to intercede on their behalf]and
magic uses ritual designed to coerce or persuade the gods to act{or,if
you prefer,the universe to change itself to suit you.}Either way,both of
these things are quite different from the idea that people can sometimes
know or do things in ways that are as yet inexplicable,but will someday
be known.
   If you accept the presence of psi as an innate human ability,it still
doesn't prove the existence of any god or gods,the efficacy of magic or
magical laws or rules.It doesn't justify one belief system over any others
although I can understand the temptation to point to PK and say,"see,people
can move things with their minds,therefore magic works."
What would be a good example of proof that their is something to"the
craft"in witchcraft?I don't know.Maybe jezebel or jrohr can answer that.
Does the acceptance of the existence of magic justify a belief in witch-
craft as a religion?I don't think so.I think that that is an entirely
different concept.If witchcraft is a religion at all,a belief in magic
would just be another part of that religion,although it may be necessary
to it.

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From Taliesin!somewhere!jezebel Fri Apr 28 21:35:58 1989
Subject: RE: what
No, we do not worship Satan!  The occult (the word means "hidden")
was a perfectly legitimate field of study among the Magi before and
during the Rennaisance.  But with the birth of "science", notably
physics and chemistry (from alchemy), the study of the occult fell
into disfavor because it couldn't be "proved" in the same way that
the "hard" sciences can.  Remember, the driving quest of the alchemists
was to discover how to turn lead into gold.  That is now possible.
It's not easy, but it's now possible.  the study of the occult has
been revived and renamed "parapsychology", and there are serious,
documented cases of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, the
existence of ghosts, etc..  So there is some scientific (unless
you don't consider psychology to be science) evidence of "supernatural"
phenomena, which may prove to be a set of very natural occurences
after all.
If you are studying the occult as a non-scientist, you are probobly
studing ways in which a person can expand her own psychic powers.
Religon has little to do with it!  Admittidly, the Christian church
attempts to discourage people from experimenting, but the Jewish
tradition has a splendid tradition of occult study in the Caballah.
It is important to realize that the occult is a tool by which many
things can be accomplished.  THE OCCULT IS NOT EVIL IN AND OF ITSELF!
A hypodermic needle, for instance, can cause great harm, by being used
to inject poison or intravenous drugs (and helping the spread of such
diseases as hepatitis and AIDS.)  But a needle can also be used to
inject vaccines, and antibiotics, and noone considers banning needles
simply because of the potential harm they can "do".  The same is true of
the occult.  It is not the fact of its use that is important, it is
rather the use to which it is put.  An evil action is an evil action,
whether it is by spell or by physical means.  The Wiccans have but one
law: An it harm none, do as you will.  The Wiccans are also great users
of positive magic.
  For a good, non religious look at the occult and its potential, I
suggest Marian Weinstein's book POSITIVE MAGIC.  I found it at
Adventure here in lawrence, and I understand it can also be gotten
through Lamplighter Books.

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Melisande Fri Apr 28 21:35:55 1989
Subject: What is the "occult"?
  I'm sorry,jezebel,but your reply to "guest"left me a bit confused.
Are you trying to define occult,or defend and rationalize belief
in the paranormal,or give a discourse on the ethics of the use of
ritual magic?
   It seems to me that there are several issues here{admittedly,none
of which have anything to do with devil worship}."Occult" is a very
catch-all term.It seems to have been used for everything from
the Necronomicon to Shirley McClaine.{Have you ever looked in the "occult
section"of your local bookstore?"}
  I"d really be interested in seeing more conversation on these

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Sam Fri Apr 28 23:41:55 1989
Subject: occult
Well, Melisande beat me to it - I too felt that jezebel had magic and the
occult confused. The occult concerns those forces/phenomena not explained
by science (if/when they are explained they won't be "hidden" anymore,
right?). Magic is the ritual manipulation or use of these forces. This, of
. Psi is a group of related forces (which may or may
not be used in a magical sense). Religion is not necessarily associated with
any of the above. HOWEVER, belief in "supernatural" forces is just that,
*belief*, and if you believe that when you practice magic, you affect people/
the world about you, then you are accepting belief in these "supernatural"
forces. I feel that this belief presuposes a "religion" of sorts. I.e. if you
hold an unfounded belief (not supported by science) then you have "faith" and
"faith" begets "religion". So, can there be such a thing as an atheistic

Go ahead, blast away. This was intended to provoke some comment!
All of the  above represent my own opinions which are subject to change
without notice.

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Taliesin!jrohr Fri Apr 28 23:42:34 1989
Subject: inpection
There is a world of differnce between a little inpection and outright
dissection. \027It seems to me that people must have "proof" in order for
something to be considered valid. That is the point that I am trying to
get across.  Education is a good tool for showing people every side of
an issue. But if their faith (not some half-baked preacher) tells them
that something is wrong or right that also is valid. The issue is
freedom of choice (sound familar??) Although this person may feel one
way, he/she has no right to impose that on another person. The country
that we live in is based on the seperation of church and state. Period.
Is a person truly beleives that witches are evil and after been presented
with our point of view still believes this that is his right. But that
person does not have the right to take the freedom from another person
I guess that what i am trying to say in a long-winded fashion is TOLERANCE
is needed on both parties. Why can't we live and let live as long as
there is no harm being done.

P.S. the quote above is not quite correct. Please refer to message #30.
(the librarian comming out in me)

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Taliesin!elspeth Fri Apr 28 21:36:17 1989
Subject: 'occult' -- religion vs prayer vs magick
I, and several other posters, have thus far been playing in the shallows of
this interest area;  I'm not the only one who's been avoiding the deeper
issues here set afloat.   I understand the relevance of getting the basics
out in the open, where we may discuss them;  I admire honest curiosity;  and
I respect most sincerely the desire to understand each other's points of
view.  So:  All right, Melisande!  I'll swim out to meet your questions
trusting to some of that faith in Providence that I'll not stray too far off
the course of logic nor yet be caught by the undertow of over-reaction.  But
help me out if I start to stray *too* far from solid ground, hey?

jrohr is quite right in pointing out that language is a powerful tool.  It
can be a powerful nuisance also, at times.  I doubt that any two or three of
us share precisely the same definitions -- both in denotation and connotation
-- for any randomly chosen set of words.  That is in the nature of human
thought, and thus of human language;  and I think it is no bad thing, in
itself.  I would find it very boring to see the world always through the same
eyes as everyone else, with no more sudden surprises nor the delicious
strangeness of another's way of seeing.  I've always preferred predictability
in moderate doses only.   Generally our definitions have enough common ground
that we can communicate well enough;  when we fail to quite understand what
is meant, we certainly ought to ask!  And indeed we have some slippery terms
before us -- religion, magick, prayer.  I've thought on my own meanings for
these, and reached somewhat of the premises and beliefs underlying them.  I
do feel them to be separate and different things.  Sam, your input regarding
faith, belief in the irreproducible and unprovable, strikes a very loud
chord.  And by my definition, to be 'religiously' scientific is to accept the
results and some of the method of science on faith -- as those who believe
that psi cannot exist 'scientifically', considering not the difficulties of
proving a negative hypothesis.  But to me faith is a necessary but NOT
sufficient condition;  I've put off entering this discussion largely because
the other half of my understanding of religion is difficult to articulate.
To me, religion must have also an element of worship, of appreciation or love
for the object of that faith, removed from all expectations of gain or
profit.  Prayer can be an act of worship -- but "Oh Deity or Deities, in your
infinite wisdom and grace and general wonderfulness, could you possibly
assist your humble servant?" is not in that category, while "Hey, nice
universe you got here, God(ess)(es), really awesome work, like wow" is.

Prayer to me is essentially an attempt to communicate with the object of
faith and worship.  (By the bye, I'm sorry if 'object of etcetera' is
beginning to wear on you all, but I do believe that the object of worship and
subject of religion may take any number of forms for any number of people.)
Prayer can attempt to communicate only faith or worship, or it can attempt
to communicate a desire or request.  But as a purely communicative, not an
active, phenomenon, prayer cannot guarantee results, nor promise miracles.
If there really are a bunch of Christian pro-lifers out there praying for the
death of a pro-choice judge (I read that somewhere, but I've no idea if it's
a real-world example), they may be disappointed if s/he doesn't die off soon,
but it is an outcome they are prepared to accept.
Magick, on the other hand, is an attempt to DO something.  A properly
structured spell performed under the right conditions is expected to have
certain results.  Granted that there's more art than science to it, it has
still that element of expected repeatability, and of action.  Magick may
certainly have a place in religion, and it may play an important role.  For
example, when a clergymember of a faith that takes the literal view of the
sacrament of the eucharist performs that rite, he or she is indeed performing
a magickal act.  I'll grant you freely that I have my doubts about the
cookies and grape juice really truly transubstantiating themselves into flesh
and blood, and frankly I'd not care to partake if I did believe it.  (Just
squeamish, I suppose!).  But that's not the issue.  The issue is that it is
real to the person doing this, and that he (or she) expects it to happen --
nay, KNOWS that it will happen, if the thing is done correctly.  The
rationale for this expectability can vary -- to said clergymember, it's a
matter of right, and a promise made, and a covenant agreed to.  All perfectly
reasonable reasons to expect it to work, in the framework of that belief.
It can just as well be rooted in a belief that the operator is exercising
some natural ability, just as s/he might push a car or dial a telephone on
a more mundane level -- although in the latter case, the magick need not be
part of a religion.  (By this definition, psi may be treated as magick -- my
apologies to any parapsychologists out there, in advance!)  It could be
derived, to the practitioner, from a bargain or from some aspect of the laws
of the universe that allows him/her to coerce a power to act.  I follow
beliefs that do somewhat concern me regarding the source of the expectability
in magick;  but we should perhaps discuss that separately, if anyone wishes
to, after we have agreed on definitions of terms.  The current point, for me,
is that the rationale behind it doesn't make it magick;  it's the presence
of that rationale, whatever it is, combined with the fact that the operator
expects results.

Now, then.  Here are my definitions, and several of my precepts, as best I
understand them.  What do the rest of you think concerning them?  Do you
differ on some points?  Which ones, and why, and precisely how?  Do you feel
that I've missed something?  And again, where, in what manner, and why?   Do
you found your definitions from other lines of thought entirely?  Once more,
what are those lines of thought, exactly how do they treat the subjects to
hand, and why do you feel that way about it?

Whether you agree or disagree, I would like to read of it.  I would like to
know if we are stymied by essentially different views on how the world works,
or merely each by our own assumptions of what the other means.  If any feel
threatened by this invitation to investigate further, my apologies:  I intend
none, nor do I perceive any in this request (or Melisande's, or Sam's).  The
one who does not care to examine his beliefs is trapped is as narrow a world
as he who declines to dream of anything intuitive and irreproducible in his
philosophy:  a world view that can't stand to be looked at once in a while
makes a very poor window indeed to view the world through!  Some of you have
said you are active in Wicca or the craft;  I'm curious to know if you were
raised in the craft?  If not, what belief system did you grow up in?  Didn't
you look at those beliefs, new and old both, before you chose your path?
Don't be afraid to continue thinking, then, and to continue to examine what
you believe and why.

Well, I've said my piece and then some more;  I'll shut up now, thank you
all.  So come on in, people -- the water's fine!

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Taliesin!jrohr Fri Apr 28 21:35:51 1989
Subject: witchcraft
     I really must stick to my statement that a spell is very much like a
prayer. The diffition of stems from magick bringing about a altered state
of conciosness.  I would not say that they are indentical. Each form fits the
needs of the population that uses it.

There are some who say that science is a religion..If I could answer why people
need that facet in their life i would win the Nobel...I can anwser only for my-
self. Why must we disect things in order to understand them?? I have seen more
things torn apart because of human fear. Why can't we as Starhawk says "dare to
dream the dark" Living in such a technological and hard scientific world (as I
sit a a terminal ) i find some solace in that there are things that man
can not define to his(or her) satifaction. Thus prehaps the basis for the place
of religion.

Have fun with this and please excuse my spelling-- it is late and I am on heavy
drugs in order to help my allergies which are h*** this time of year.

NEXT TIME !: WITCHES AND MONOGAMY!!!- breaking down the assumption that just
because you are a witch mean that you are promiscous!!! I say NO! We as witches
enjoy sexual freedom. One of my petpeeves is that when I meet a man and he
discovers that I am a witch he automatically assumes that i am a wench (I am
trying to be polite) Someof us choose the path of  a "closed relationship"
We are free in the fact that we CHOOSE not to carry the burden of "original
sin" ---more on that later....

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From Taliesin!somewhere!Taliesin!Melisande Fri Apr 28 23:42:40 1989
Subject: Oh,coome on,people
      I have NOT been dissecting or tearing apart{through fear}
anyone's beliefs.And yes,I'm well aware that I haven't been directly
accused of doing so,but jrohr's message contained a heavily weighted
presupposition that I had.
   I'm sorry,jrohr,that I threatened your religion {against it's
constitutional rights.}My intentions were purely honorable;that is,
to make some conversation,throw around some philosophical ideas,
and maybe learn something in the pe
process.I have asked questions for the sake of knowledge;I have attempted
to examine for the sake of speculation;and I have done so simply because
I believe that a life unexamined is alife unlived.I did not realize that
in your particular brand of paganism or witchcraft that it was "tabu"
to learn about,discuss,or examine your own faith-and the doctrines
  I have only asked your {witchs'}opinion because I respected it;only
argued to gain clarification,so that I might more readily understand;
and only sought from a desire to know.

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From pars!salgamma
Subject: Where to jump in?
Greetings!  After reading all of the new messages from the Tallesin side of the
house, I feel led to post my feelings.  Firstly, I am the sysop of The Gates
of Delirium, a Wiccan/Pagan/Occult/New Age BBS here in KC.  Secondly, I catch
a lot of the messages that pass through MagickNet.  But that's "6 of one and
a half dozen of the other".
   One of the questions brought up on MagickNet was the difference between
Magick and prayer, and how this ties into the scheme of things in general.
Well, I feel that prayer and magick are only loosly connected.  In prayer,
a person pleas with their deity for assistance.  Energy wise, the person
praying is asking that something be changed, and believes that the request
will result in a change.  
   In magick, we use out inner energy, combined with earthly and elemental energy and Diety energy, and send this forth do accomplish the goal of our spell.  I think it's like "breaking" in the game of pool.  We are controlling stick (our spell), while we gather the energy to push the stick/spell.  Our Cone Of Power is like the cue ball, and the racked balls are the target, which effects a change (breaks, or the goal of our spell) from the force of our energy.  There may be a point where prayer becomes a type of magick (or, a psychic event) if the person knows of the personal energies involved, and releases them with the prayer.
   I feel that a prayer works the opposite way.  The prayer is a request to effect a change in the ambient energy and involk God (using the Christian form).  This change in energy is slower because it is "diluted" in the surrounding energy and depends solely on faith ("I believe it will happen, so it will"). 
   Am I out in left field or just being redundant?  I forgive if I'm "running
at the mouth".  Now I'll try and tie in Parapsychology.  Magic and psi are
very closely related in that (aside for leaving out the 'k' in magicK) the
same form of energy is used.  It's just on a different 'frequency'.  When I do
an object reading or empathic reading on someone/thing, I'm recieving a type of
energy.  When I send a Cone of Power, I'm using the same type of energy, but
on a (higher?) wavelength and with greater force and higher power.  Grounding
negative feelings is an example of converting one form to the other.  Auric
healing is the opposite.  So, I feel the energies are inter-changable.
   I ask, as Elsbeth has, "What do you think of THIS?"  As someone stated
before, the definitions we are trying to define and clarify are our own,
much like our beliefs- our own.  We are trying to find, I believe, common
ground between the nuances of our definitions and beliefs.

Blessed Be!