I very much like the word “mystery”. Too often, terrible connotations of once noble words have corrupted and abused their purpose. I often find myself biting my tongue concerning certain beliefs in public because I do not want to be associated with the New Age movement, hack philosophy, or worst yet, lofty idealism. I respect and acknowledge astrology, follow many Eastern philosophies, perform various rituals and meditations, but I am not the same as an ignorant reckless person who latches onto every alternative theory that can be found in order to make themselves “different” or elitist. I am also not a gullible idealist, wanting to believe in ethereal powers to benefit my own self-destructive life.
The New Age movement has done wonders for introducing ancient traditions to the New World, but it has spiraled out of control. Now every philosophy or tradition that is not Christian is lumped into a single all-encompassing category and that is very detrimental to legitimate philosophies and traditions. Just because one practices Yoga does not mean one also believes in Ouija Boards and a Pagan and a Witch are not the same thing, further recognizing Genesh does not make one Hindu and being Hindu does not mean one believes in Western Astrology. One can practice acupuncture and not be Buddhist, one can practice Yoga and not be Hindu, furthermore one can practice alchemy and not be a witch. Finally, and most importantly, being a witch is not evil.
Throughout time, the Catholic Church has deliberately and systematically destroyed non-Christian beliefs in the western world. Firstly, by lumping any non-Christian religions or traditions into a single category called “pagan”, it dematerialized the various traditions and their purposes and origins. Being a wizard in Germany was a very different thing than being a Druid in England. Likewise, the Nordic gods were very different than the Roman ones. Just because a group of people did not worship Christ, than that made them one thing: non-Christians and there would be no subcategory.
Perhaps this subject is better suited for another discourse. The point I am reaching is that, despite completely different practices, cultures, histories, and beliefs, the word magic has come to apply to any ritual or practice by anyone not Christian. This is far too broad of a generalization to take the word seriously. Further, the systematic devaluing of pagan beliefs in the modern world has also applied the false connotation of evil with the word magic. If not evil, then the 20th century has applied the meaning “illusion” to the word magic. No matter the definition, the word is far too corrupted to be used in its purist form.
Alchemists practiced ancient versions of science. They also practiced magic, in its literal sense. The tradition of wizardry and alchemy lead to the tradition of modern science. It would be a mistake to call them magicians, even though magic was one of their tools. Instead of battling this word and its meaning, it is far better to choose a more fitting word for what alchemy, wizardry, and mysticism is all about.
Mystery is that word.
As the mystics teach, mystery is a word used by the ancients to describe knowledge. It was sacred knowledge that had to be earned through the rites of initiation and disciplined study. Mysteries were not to be taken lightly and carried the very truth of reality.
It must be made clear that I do not practice magic, New Age, or any religion. My whole purpose is to learn the mysteries. Mysticism is one integral facet to this and I am relearning what I once knew. To break the social bonds of ill-natured definitions, I must absolve myself of anything with a false connotation. I am not a wizard, witch, alchemist, devotee, druid, or magician. I am a student, learning the ancient mysteries.
--Laveaux 22:18, 29 May 2007 (UTC)