What is the appeal of tarot, wicca, druids, etc

Not sure I get that

Omg I love that ant-analogy.

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Is it basically just trying to offer a perspective shift?

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Going back to our small discussion about the Sabbath being on Sunday, I think that if certain rituals were handed directly to us from a god it would be to our benefit but the specifics are not something that entity is hung up on.

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My experience is similar to Greyweld’s (I think). Because I use a full deck of Major and Minor arcana, and because I do a Celtic Cross spread (10 cards) there are nearly innumerable combinations of cards, and one is highly unlikely to ever repeat a spread, and the different positions of the cards lets you think about different aspects of the question in your mind. I don’t believe they have the ability to predict the future (but, I don’t believe serious adherents do either, precisely), but it’s more like the trick with flipping a coin to make a decision. You have a question in your head and then flip the coin for a yes/no answer. But you don’t necessarily take whatever the coin flip says, but rather, reflect on how that answer made you feel. (Eg. in a simple example, if you were disappointed in the result you should obviously do the opposite.) The cards allow me to bring to the surface thoughts about questions, situations, and issues that might not ever be brought to the surface otherwise. The very things that are brought up in my mind when prompted by the cards are in fact noteworthy in that they may be aspects of whatever the question is simmering below the surface. I think maybe it is somewhat like active journaling (though I don’t really know, I don’t do that).

I think tarot, wicca, and druidism are being conflated though. Wicca and druidism are religions, or at the very least a system of spirituality. Tarot is not.

I also have a stronger connection to the earth/planet/nature than organized religion. I grew up as a member of an organized religion but did not partake in most aspects. I now consider myself agnostic and have been leaning toward secular humanism as a worldview (not religion).

(You made a comment about the Matrix and I just had to add this for the lols, though it is unrelated to tarot or earth based systems of belief at all - there is nothing suggesting that we aren’t in a Matrix… we cannot prove it either way. Simulation theory (and variations) states that we are in fact “living” (if it can be called that) in a simulation. I suppose you have heard of this before having studied philosophy, but maybe others have not. In fact, this this theory might provide the answer to the Fermi paradox, although many explanations have been hypothesized. We believe the world to be “real” but we cannot know it to be true. I suppose when you think about it, this can be somewhat related alllllll the way back to the allegory of the cave as well.)

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Not trying to conflate them, just throwing them out there as examples? I could have maybe titled the thread New Age or alternative spirituality, etc but wasn’t sure if that carried an implicit judgment in the phrasing.

Yes, precisely. Or, rather, there are multiple forms of knowledge. Metaphysical, logical, mathematical, empirical, aesthetic, love, etc. The validity of empirical knowledge has its grounds outside of empirical knowledge itself.

I am, for example, fascinated by the evolution of science but many people do not seem to be aware of the inherent limits of scientific knowledge as well as the way it always carries a “true until further notice” expiration date, to quote famous human physiology researcher Dr Rhonda Patrick. Many people think science is the be all and end all of all knowledge but there’s so much it cannot tell us.

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So, I am in the process of initiation into a druidic order.

For me, it’s about a huge nexus of things. I’ll go in little sections to make it easier.


First, I concur with others that I have a dismal view, at best, of most organized religion. Some of this is personal experience; some of it is the experience of others. I think attempts at orthodoxy/praxy tend to yield abusive systems. I have literally no idea how you avoid having organized religion without creating spaces that are ripe for abuse. So, I steer clear of organized religion.

The only reason I’m seeking initiation in this particular order is because they are explicit about people seeking their own paths – that not only do they not want to shove anyone down any particular road, but that to do so would be to the seeker’s detriment.


Second: I’m an atheist. I just don’t believe. Whatever belief box people have – mine is broken. I don’t see deity anywhere. It just doesn’t compute.

However, I do see the sacred, which is why I pursue an earth-based spiritual practice. I see the sacred, and I see it everywhere – it’s in the grains of sand on the beach and the kelp in the ocean, and in the redwoods and the lizards doing pushups in my yard, and in the spark of conversations like this one. Deity makes no sense to me, but I can see how precious and important the living world is. I am awed by the intricacy of our natural systems, by the size of the universe and the delicate fine hairs on a spider’s two tiny clawed toes. I feel intimately connected to and part of something so so much bigger than myself. That feeling lights me up . At bad times, it has kept me alive.

I don’t have any belief in the supernatural whatsoever. I have tried so many fucking times to believe; I don’t. When push comes to shove, what I believe in are a spider’s little toes.


So, my practice is not at all focused on the supernatural/magic. I’ve played around with tarot as a reflective tool, but for the most part don’t use it. It can be helpful at times, but is more likely to send me down unhelpful ruminative paths.

Instead, my practice focuses on caring for the natural world around me and trying to truly live in step with and as a part of it – trying to move away from the civilization v nature mindset I grew up in into a mindset where I am a part of the big whole. It also focuses on bringing more love, joy, and creative bounty into the world.

A lot of that practice is really mundane. It’s stuff like “learn more about the natural world” and “use less plastic” and “walk more” and “be good to your friends” and “make a tasty meal to share with others.”

I also use ritual that would look supernatural to others, because I think that particular types of ceremony are vital as a sort of framework for getting back in step. The manipulation of symbol while knowing that you are in the presence of the sacred (for me, the world itself) – it’s literally a practice. It’s practicing my full attention, my full care, my full respect for what I’m doing, a way to help me bring that into the entirety of my life. If I do a ritual that involves calling the elemental quarters, it’s because giving full respect to fire and water and air and earth is part of having full respect for the bay I live by and the atmosphere I breathe, the soil in my backyard and the wildfires that come yearly. The more I have that respect, the better I become at living in step with the world and bringing better things to it.

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What does sacred mean without the supernatural? My understanding of something being sacred is that in seeing it, you’re seeing more than just the physical object, you’re seeing the object cowitnessed with something transcendent. To use an analogy it is like two images superimposed or light shining through stained glass.

Can you unpack more of what you mean by sacred without that?

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:point_up_2: You did say “explain it like I’m five/ELI5” Not “define with academic terminology”.

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The sheer force of being.

When I see the sacred, it’s about seeing the weight and worthiness and beauty of a thing’s being, and the weight and worthiness and beauty of the ways in which it is tied to everything around it. That it exists, and it is special because it exists and worthy because it exists, and that that is true of everything that exists.

It does feel transcendent. I’m often not thinking about the sacredness of the world – of the worthiness of everything around me. Lots of times kind of the opposite, really. But the transcendence that I feel isn’t about me seeing something besides the object itself. It’s about me finally seeing the object for what it really is.

To me, that has absolutely nothing to do with a creator/animator, with anything omnipresent or omnipotent, nothing to do with beings wielding some sort of magic or impossible power, nothing to do with any sort of consciousness, nothing to do with spirit, nothing to do with anything that is not of this world. It’s just about the world itself.

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Lol, fair point!

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That was beautifully put.

To me many things are sacred, and nothing is divine or supernatural. Even in christianity, the word sacred is used to describe non-supernatural things, like life.

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Interesting, I’ll try to grok that. A sacral view of the world more like what I described in my first response comes so naturally to me that I’ll admit I have a hard time picturing this.

For me (just to explain further where I’m coming from) I find the metaphysics of the ground of being, the question of “why is there anything versus nothing at all?” progresses in my mind naturally to the postulation that there is a source of being outside of the world, Being-as-such. There’s a lot of nuance involved that I’m not able to present competently but in the briefest form it would be something like the “proofs” of God’s existence you see in Aquinas, which in turn is drawn from Aristotle.

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Life is sacred in that view because all things point back to God

I changed the thread title

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That’s legit. First, I’m guessing it’s not familiar to you, so of course it’s hard to picture, lol. Like you’ve mentioned before, words are bad at this stuff.

Second, your belief box functions. Mine doesn’t. I think it’s really hard to grok at a visceral level the beliefs of someone with the other setting. I’m really familiar intellectually with belief, so I understand it at that level, but I definitely don’t understand it at the visceral level. It’s not part of my lived experience, so some part of me is always just like “waaah???” And that’s okay! I don’t have to make that leap. And you don’t have to be able to make the leap the other way, either. I’m always happy to describe further what I mean, if it helps in getting that intellectual familiarity, but it’s totally legit to just be like “yeah that makes no sense for my lived experience.”

I have the opposite experience. I have never found Aquina’s proofs particularly proof-y. The only one that is remotely compelling to me is the argument from first cause, because I do find it mind-bending to think about existence coming out of non-existence. However, to me that’s part and parcel of being a Newtonian creature living in a quantum world – there is plenty of shit about the quantum level which is mind-bending to me, even more mind-bending in some ways than “what the heck was going on before the universe began?” Like, quantum symmetry breaking, what the actual fuck is that. So, I guess I’m mostly non-plussed, lol.

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If you ever did want to explore that topic further, my current favorite book on the topic is David Bentley Hart’s “The Experience of God”. I honestly need to re-read it myself now that my metaphysical brain pathways have recovered a bit more from my long post-grad school period. When I read it a couple months back I definitely didn’t fully grasp all of it because it had been such a long time since I’d thought in that way.

If you have the time to explain I would definitely find it interesting. No worries if you don’t though :slight_smile:

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A friend of a friend did tarot readings for a bunch of us on a camping trip, and I suddenly understood why people see psychics. I’m sure many of them do believe it’s supernatural, and to each their own, but my take was that she was doing s great job reading me, using the cards as a prompt, and bringing my hidden thoughts, feelings, etc to the surface where I could process them. Very similar to what my therapist did for me years later…

I’m a happy non-Christian believer. I believe in Life, because it’s unique and interesting and worth protecting and sustaining. I believe in Knowledge, and the scientific method as our best means so far for acquiring it. I believe in Beauty, and Love, which cannot be explained by Knowledge. I believe in Change, as they say, “the only constant in the universe.” But I don’t believe in a deity. I think it’s even more marvelous that our existence is the product of infinite improbability. :dolphin: :mouse: :alien:

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I will probably pass for now – I find that I often lose patience now with Christian authors writing about pan-religious concepts/other religions (combo of author arguing for Christianity and/or the author having a Christian viewpoint that functions as a pair of blinders, meaning they lose out on important aspects of other religions/other religions’ takes on things). If I move past this stage, though, that book looks interesting.

I don’t know if I have better words right now to express an atheistic concept of the sacred/my total lack of concern for “where did it all come from?!” If you have specific questions, that’s probably helpful, otherwise I’ll see what might pop up as helpful for someone coming from a Christian perspective understanding this particular atheistic druid’s perspective.

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I can’t really answer your initial query as stated, because I’ve never had a negative experience within organized religion.

Other than required study in college from an anthropological view, I’ve not studied any religion, so I know my terminology is not correct (my former partner majored in religion and philosophy so I’m aware that the words I use aren’t accurate within the context of discussing either topic).

My own spirituality is not linked to faith, and certainly not to a moral framework. I do not think my life is more or less important than any other living thing. Honoring myself as a human in this time and space, honoring every living thing around me, honoring the Earth as a living organism, through how I conduct myself and how I treat the entirety of the world around me- those are the bones of my “spirituality”.

I have no allegiance to particular rituals, but the rituals that resonate with me are those marking seasons changing (planet seasons, but also life seasons). Thanking animals for giving their life to sustain me. Listening to the redwoods before the mist is absorbed for the day. Marking the yearly passing of life with a celebration. Watching insects emerge in the spring. Noticing how an old woman’s face looks like tissue paper, crinkled up then smoothed over her bones. To me these are all part of the same thing: finding how my humanity fits into the universe at large.

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