dieselsandwich: (pain)
[personal profile] dieselsandwich
As many of my friends know, I'm somewhat active (or used to be) on an online forum. The forum deals mostly with anime and video games but it has places for discussions of any topic and has a pretty hefty membership.

In a particular thread about magic use and witchcraft, I had only remained there because of one particular friend. All of my other friends in that thread had either left it, taken left the website or were so inactive that it wasn't worth bothering.

To give some background on this, I'm a member of a reasonably new (maybe 5 years old at most) religion called Etherism (which makes me an Etherist). It's sort of an arbitrary name for it but the basic idea is that the universe is a sort of folded mirror of energy which overall is called The Ether. One side of this fold is the physical or Material Ether. The other side is the metaphysical or Spiritual Ether. They reflect one another mostly without fail, but due to Dual Reflectivism (the concept that two mirrored things reflect each other equally) neither one is simply a reflection, both are real in their own right.

So this means that stuff can get severed from one reflection or another and float about until it realigns with something complex enough to match it. I guess a good way to tie it to something everyone else is familiar with is that realignment is a lot like reincarnation (except that everything can do it, not just us), getting severed ("breaking the mirror") is like death (except that it's based on a reflection undergoing a change too rapid for its dual reflection to catch up, which includes biological death) and realignment is based on energy affinities or resonance.

There's chaotic entropic affinity (matches the Void Aspect) and there's order inducing complexity boosting affinity (matches the "Evolution/Order" Aspect, there isn't a good name for it yet). Those are the most relevant to us and are often put into a positive/negative or good/evil duality. (Should be easy to figure out which is which.)

Etherism's philosophy orientates itself almost entirely around growing as a being, becoming greater but greater in your own right. Being absorbed into another being or working as a group towards elevating just the group doesn't really count towards this and is actually deeply morally abhorrent to Etherism. This includes worship, which is also regarded very negatively by Etherism's philosophy. This includes allowing others (through your own willful inaction) or encouraging others to worship you.

It also orientates itself around Wisdom and Power as well and generally is a very self empowering, self elevating religion. To folks in Christianity, for example, it would be seen as very contrary to their views.

There's a method of magic use called Etheristic Channeling (E.C.), that draws energy from the Ether through you and allows you to intersperse it with your own energies, which in turn allows you to control it as though it were your own energy (this allows you to achieve more than you can do with your energy alone). It often operates based on drawing the energy of beings called Aspects (either through barter, personal deals, friendship, partnership or simply from a nonsentient or inactive source). The Aspects aren't worshiped (and some of the sentient ones actually react pretty violently to being worshiped) and one can also use less powerful and major spirits called Essences. There's usually one Aspect per thing type, force type or energy type. So all Stars would relate to the Star/Radiance Aspect. But there are lots of star and light Essences of varying form and type.

And here is where the problem arises. E. C. is not witchcraft. This being because witchcraft is a collection of traditions that have their roots and heritage in the Western European folk magic practices of older days (don't remember the exact time frame). And a former friend of mine decided that decontextualizing, homogenizing and generally stomping on other cultures is just fine, just as long as a word she uses (improperly) for all magic can be used for all magic in every culture.

It led to a big nasty argument and I decided afterwards to leave the thread permanently and take a break from the site overall.

It just disgusts me how people can be so entitled and so culturocentric as to dismiss every other culture's word for magic use as irrelevant and impose the European and American primary word on them.

Just because it's her word, no joke. She cited her reasons as they understand English and she doesn't understand their languages, so they should use her word. How fucking disgustingly entitled and self centered do you have to be to 1: assume everyone knows your fucking language when English being a trade language does not mean its taught to everyone in a given foreign country and 2: assume that a word that does not properly or appropriately describe the concepts contained within a given magic or religious practice should be used for that practice just because it's easier for you?

There's a reason why I say former friend. I don't stay friends with people that pull this shit. On anything. Religion, personal practices, language, sexuality, race, anything. I won't be friends with an entitled piece of shit that doesn't care about homogenizing and delegitimizing cultures and people.

It's fucked up and people shouldn't do it. Is it so fucking hard to open your eyes and make the effort to research? I don't believe it is.

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Sophia Lafergola

October 2010

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