View Poll Results: Which is more important? The specific Item or the Idea it represents?

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  • Item

    3 3.41%
  • Idea

    85 96.59%
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Thread: The Item, or the Idea?

  1. #1
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    The Item, or the Idea?

    The Heathen Q&A discussion made me think about this as a topic for discussion...

    When it comes to performing a rite, or a bit of magic, a spell, ritual, etc...is it the specific item called for that makes it effective, or is it the idea that the item represents?

    In a changing culture, where different items have more or less meaning than they might have at one time, should practitioners use the item, or should they use something of the same importance and symbolism in the context of a modern life (or just the different culture that they may be part of)?
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  2. #2
    Cannibal Rights Activist Ophidia's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    I worship the deity, not the little ceramic statue on my mantelpiece. The statue just gives my mind a concrete visual concept to go along with the greater abstract concept of God/Goddess/All That Is.

    When it comes to spellwork or magical work, things are great. You can focus magical energy on them and take them somewhere else to unleash that energy, you can use them for storage (mojo bags), you can be reminded of a person, place or thing.

    It's when people forget that the thing is not actually the thing, like people mistaking the flag for the country, or the Bible for God - that's when problems occur.
    Last edited by Ophidia; 30 Jan 2012 at 08:33. Reason: Seeing if I could fix the apostropocalypse

  3. #3
    Copper Member Dufonce's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    the object is only a tool, a focus, to help a person to concentrate on a given thing, its not really necessary to have anything. but it helps the human mind to focus on it to remove distractions. the human mind is made to multitask, so the more things you are doing involving the one task, the more you will put into it.
    "Sometimes bad things happen, and theres nothing you can do about it, so why worry?" ~ Timon

  4. #4
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    I voted the item because I think the item has to have some representation of the idea I'm connecting to it to make it work. I just can't make anything to work for some certain purpose - it has to have some properties of the idea to make it work for me.

    So technically the idea is more important, but as I can't have it with all kinds of stuff, I think the item comes first. But the item isn't enough by itself and like Perzephone said, you don't worship to the statue but to the idea. But the statue has to represent the idea somehow from my point of view. I also think many items have or don't the energy naturally, I just have to use that energy. So it's not just my idea which makes it work, but you need the idea to work with that energy. (Am I being confusing again? Sorry.. )

  5. #5
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    I think that most religion, in most times and places, is about people using a previous idea, and then pragmatically working with what they've got. Religion is always in flux. It's part of human nature.

    If you don't have something, you should do your best to use something similar, but I don't think most gods punish for a decent effort.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member Clive's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    [quote author=perzephone link=topic=278.msg2841#msg2841 date=1287106431]
    I worship the deity, not the little ceramic statue on my mantelpiece. The statue just gives my mind a concrete visual concept to go along with the greater abstract concept of God/Goddess/All That Is.

    When it comes to spellwork or magical work, things are great. You can focus magical energy on them and take them somewhere else to unleash that energy, you can use them for storage (mojo bags), you can be reminded of a person, place or thing.

    It's when people forget that the thing is not actually the thing, like people mistaking the flag for the country, or the Bible for God - that's when problems occur.
    [/quote]

    This.
    Children love and want to be loved and they very much prefer the joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure. Do not mistake a child for his symptom.
    -Erik Erikson

  7. #7
    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    Idea. Symbolism of different things changes across time and cultures. It's the idea that counts the most.

  8. #8
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    I went with "idea" but really it depends, and that wasn't an option.

    As much as the item, whatever it is and however it's supposed to *represent*, isn't as important there is also the "correct tool for the job" going on here. Something less deity involved, like scrying, for instance, doesn't matter what you use, what matters is what works for you.

    On the other hand, picking up a petrified pile of dog doo, in my back yard, is not a good item for representing one of my deities (...with maybe one exception). As such, it would be important to use something "fitting" or appropriate. So the item IS important; often, nearly as important and sometimes more important that the idea behind whatever ritual or what-have-you.

    The thing is, like for me, certain deities/recipients, to a ritual I may be performing, have *kind of* a specific preference. Heathen, for example. But generally? I'm a bit more generic, in which gods I'm making a request of or paying homage to, so the item becomes less important and the intent becomes central.

    Regarding the above, however, one should keep in mind that I have bastardized more than one dogma to arrive at this path. So that might explain why items and ideas can vacillate in their importance.




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  9. #9
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    [quote author=ChainLightning link=topic=278.msg3065#msg3065 date=1287160352]
    I went with "idea" but really it depends, and that wasn't an option.
    [/quote]

    shh!!!

    that was part of my evil plan!

    :P
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  10. #10
    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: The Item, or the Idea?

    For me it's always the idea... the mind is the greatest tool we possess.... (and no sniggering at the back, thank you! )
    www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

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