You may remember many moons ago (about a year and a half) when I began to read “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. Wow, it’s almost been two years. To give you a bit of background, if I pulled you in on a google search… About 2 years ago, a close family member of mine passed away, and I got very, very angry at the Universe. I stumbled upon “The God Delusion a few months later and began to devour it. Richard Dawkins is a well known atheist scientist, and this book in particular is an argument against religion. He is a very reasonable person, and as hurt as I was by what was happening around me, I think that my ears were open to his message.
So, I need to address three separate ideas with this post. One: How can an atheist relate / communicate with the Gods? And two: How can an atheist practice magick? And three: Do Wiccan atheists exist in our community?
How can an atheist relate/communicate with the Gods?
Atheists can relate and communicate with the Gods, because their definition of “the Gods” differs. For most of us, “the Gods” are seen as, prayed to, and worked with by visualizing them as an external force. Yet, from the “Charge of the Goddess,” we know that “if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.” If you can’t find it inside of you, you’ll never find it outside of you. If you can’t find the divine inside of you, you’ll never find it outside. The Gods are always there, inside you, ready to lend a listening ear.
Let’s extend this a little further. If the Gods are inside you, are you not them? Are they not you? So really, when you’re praying, or communicating with the divine, you’re just talking to yourself. No, don’t shy away from this post: you always talk to yourself. Reading this post, you’re essentially talking to yourself.
We know from science and psychology that rituals, mind tricks, meditation, and visualization all help us achieve our goals. Some suggest that this sort of conscious thought about a goal will help align your subconscious with your conscious. Others believe that by focusing on it, you’re better able to train your mind to move towards those goals. Think about all of those motivational quotes: If you can believe it, you can achieve it!
So, when you’re praying to “the Gods,” in essence, in the strictest, most atheistic view of the world, you’re communicating your conscious desires to yourself. You’re affirming your hopes and dreams. And it doesn’t take a belief in the supernatural to pray or meditate effectively.
How can an atheist practice magick?
Well, to answer this question, we simply need to extend the “speaking to yourself” hypothesis a little farther. We then begin to understand that sympathetic magick works by training our minds to our goals. If you put the effort in to plan and execute a ritual, chances are that you want to succeed. You will take that effort into account and work towards your goals more efficiently.
And what about rituals celebrating the passing of the seasons? Well, honestly, why not celebrate the passing of time? Why not celebrate spring? You’re alive — how great is that? Why not honor our ancestors by keeping their traditions alive through the generations? Why not explore new ways to celebrate and gather as a community? Humans are social creatures. You don’t have to have an external belief in discrete entities to enjoy the power and mystery of ritual.
Do Wiccan Atheists exist?
Obviously, I’ve thought this through, and you can guess why. I’m pretty atheistic. I believe that the gods that I speak with are reflections of my inner self, and reflections of the Universe, in the sense that we are all connected / all made of the same stardust. I believe very strongly in my magickal doings as a way to reinforce my own goals, hopes, and dreams.
I also believe very strongly in practicing what you preach. If you do a spell to bring more money into your home, and you live on a fixed income… it’s time to search for another job. If you do a healing spell for yourself or another, make sure that you work to do what you can (rest, take medicine, or bring flowers and kind words to the ill person) to ease suffering.
I also think that blind faith isn’t… required by our Gods and/or religion. Not like Christianity, which is so focused on “saving” unbelievers and confirming belief within the social group. Think about these words,
“Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.”
They were inspired by the Goddess/Universe, but they were written by a woman. Doreen Valiente. And what a wise, wise woman she was. Love and pleasure are how we worship. Living is our worship. Laughing, and dancing, and feasting are the ways that we connect to the sacred. And these are things that everyone – even atheists – can do.