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One of the reasons I love my path is that I never feel "threatened" by scientific findings and advancements as I did when I tried to "self-brainwash" myself into believing things that seemed entirely irrational during the years I tried to fit into several variations of Monotheist paths.
I'm one of those skeptical people who has to ponder, analyze, study and find intelligent explanations for things before I can commit to believing they're true. I do this willingly and happen to enjoy the process of this sort of analytical exploration. So, if anything, when Science catches up with the things Witches have known for centuries...and can give merit to the reality of it all...it makes The Craft that much MORE Magical, valid and appealing (for me).
What IS Energy?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines energy as...
1a: dynamic quality energy
b: the capacity of acting or being active
c: a usually positive spiritual force; energy flowing through all people
2: vigorous exertion of power
3: a fundamental entity of nature that is transferred between parts of a system in the production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work
4: usable power (as heat or electricity); also, the resources for producing such power
Biology Online goes further to explain that...
"Energy exists in different forms but is neither created nor destroyed; it simply converts to another form. Examples of energy include: kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, elastic, electromagnetic, chemical, nuclear, and mass. Energy can be expressed in joules or ergs"There are two main types of energy; Kinetic (the movement of a propeller or a waterfall, and Telekinesis for examples), and Potential (or stored) Energy. Forms of Potential Energy includes Gravitational, Electrical or Electromagnetic, Elastic, Chemical and Thermal Energies.
Evidence of Energy:
Everywhere we turn, there is evidence of energy, from the light emitted when the computer monitor is powered on, to the sound we hear when we turn on the radio. The running water in a stream and the gravitational pull of the Moon on the ocean's tides are evidence of energy as well. The food we grow in our gardens uses photosynthesis (the chemical process of converting carbon dioxide into organic compounds) which is accomplished when plants harness the energy of the sun. These same foods fuel the cells of our bodies when we consume them, through chemical bond energy in the food molecules themselves.
Healing Touch, although not currently backed by scientific testing, is “an energy (biofield) therapy that encompasses a group of non-invasive techniques that utilize the hands to clear, energize, and balance the human and environmental energy fields”. (http://www.healingtouch.net/) Think of "the laying of hands" performed upon the sick, for an example, or look at the video series linked here showing thought-provoking experiments and results with Kinetic or Psychic Energy).
If anyone has ever seen this episode of Ghost Hunters, they would likely get a visual "idea" of how one human can potentially affect the energy fields of others and around himself. It is a very short clip, but essentially the Client, a man named Carol, was attempting to give Jason a psychic reading during an investigation. The thermal camera showed Jason's energy build and move from Jason as if it was being pulled toward the Psychic reader. During the reading, Jason admits to trying to "block" Carol from reading him, yet was unsuccessful. When Carol had finished, a slow wave of his arm toward the floor seemed to "stop" the energy flow to him from Jason. The energy appeared to diminish greatly and then return to Jason.
Further evidence is presented by Dr. Colin A. Ross, of the Ross Institute in Texas. He believes there is an Electro-physiological basis behind the phenomenon of the Evil Eye. If you have ever "felt" the intensity of someone (or something) staring at you, only to turn and find that you were correct, this is what many cultures refer to as "the Evil Eye" effect. After conducting studies in what he terms "Human Ocular Extramission", Dr. Ross has theorized that because the electromagnetic field of the brain emerges through the skull and is remotely detectable, then ocular extramission - which does not have to pass through the skull - would have a greater amplitude. His paper, "The Electrophysiological Basis of Evil Eye Belief", has been published in a recent issue of the Anthropology of Consciousness. Videos of Dr. Ross discussing his paper can be seen here on YouTube. Doctor Ross is the author of 23 books and 140 papers which have been published in professional journals. He is researching new science focused on the electromagnetic fields of the human body. More information can be obtained from the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma at http://www.rossinst.com/
How Energy Relates to Witchcraft and Magic:
Famous British occultist Aleister Crowley said it best when he defined Magic as "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will". Note that he included the phrase, "the Science", within his description. To me, this can be interpreted to mean that he understood Magic has the potential for being Scientifically explained, whether we can fully comprehend it yet or not. The phrase "causing change" is in line with the basic definitions of energy itself. Without energy, we simply wouldn't "be". There is no reason, in my opinion, to believe that we can't manipulate fields of energy we don't fully understand, just because we don't understand why our magical efforts work the way they do. After all, we can control energy in a myriad of different ways - from the effort we put forth physically and the mental concentration that allows us to learn and evolve, to figuring out how to harness energy to power superconductors and put shuttles into outer space. Personally, I don't have a clue how energy is manipulated to achieve flight, but on the most basic levels of existence, beginning with the tiniest molecules of life, energy IS present and CAN be wielded "in conformity with our Will". It doesn't take much of a stretch of imagination to consider the infinite possibilities.
Those who practice the Craft already have a good understanding of energy flow. Most know that it is possible to absorb, focus, manipulate, and direct energy fields toward achieving a goal - either within themselves or outside of themselves. Gaining greater knowledge regarding why - and how - this is possible will likely be a welcome advancement in our mystical, occult realms.
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA. She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.