Re: Not a Believer....??
I have a little trick I play with on Howls - I play with the stream of smoke coming off the fire. But what happens is that, after a while it starts working contrary to how I want it to work.
In other words, magic tends to backfire on me.
Now, what I believe is happening is that I play with chaos - the flow of smoke is very sensitive to forces working in the environment. Bodies are very energetic things with lots of infra-red, static, and electrochemical things going on all the time and, to a certain extent, those energies can be projected.
The human brain is an exquisite pattern prcessor that can take input from incredibly complex processes, make some sense out of them suconsciously, and do what needs to be done to affect a desired change.
The brain itsef is a continuous (analog) machine. It doesn't break things down into steps and it doesn't analyze them so that we get a readout of how to do things or why things are happening. Pattern in - pattern out. We do have peripheral equipment associated with the brain that can, to a certain extent, break things down into discrete, linguistic information, but it doesn't work well on the subconscious. The subconscious works best if you just leave it alone and let it do it's work. That's why it's not a good idea to over think intuition.
I believe that there are four kinds of magic:
Language magic - informaton, both verbal and nonverbal, has effects on the world. When you send out a message, it doesn't come back void. People are suggestible and, to a certain extent, so are other minds, like local and planetary minds. Language works on densely connected systems.
Natural (pre-scientific) magic - Some magic workers may be working with completely natural principles that science hasn't elicidated yet. Contrary to populat opinion, we don't know it all ye, and probably never will.
Invocative magic - The calling up of entities to do what we want.
Projective magic (includes divination). Projecting those subtle energies that we have into chaotic situations and projecting what our minds know subconsciously onto objects to allow us to come up with linguistic interpretations for what's in our subconscious.
As for God and magic, the language used in the Bible for magic is very specific - there are certain things that it rejects - using chemical substances for selfish means - one word that translates into witch or sorcerer has the same root as our word "pharmacy". Divination is also frowned upon, not because it's divination but because God wants us to trust Him.
In other words God doesn't care whether we use magic or not. The maji that came t see Him at His birth were, after all, literally, magicians. He cares about obedience and trust.
A related issue is how science has finally begun to realize that it has limits. One is that it can only make short term predictions about how chaotic systems are going to work. Weather, ecology, the human body are all chaotic systems and science is limited on how much control it can exert on them. For instance, trying to calculate the amount of hunting to contol wild game populations is ludicrous. That's why you can't drive sometimes in Alabama for the deer - science keeps trying to control deer populations with hunters.
THe subconscious mind is ideally suited to deal with chaotic systems so, where science finds its limits, a well trained intuition can manage situations. The way to control a chaotic system is to get inside it, become a part of it, and, instead of controlling it, influence it.
So, whereas magic can be imperfect science (in the sense of pre-science), it can also be the transcendence of science because it can go where science can't.