What’s in a Word? (Metaphysics)

The dictionary definition of metaphysical is “of or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the sense”.1 What does that mean in layman’s terms? Essentially, it relates to all of the things that cannot be touched, seen, heard, smelled, or tasted. With that thought in mind, I’d like to challenge the perceptions of the terms “witch” and “witchcraft”, “hoodoo”, “folk magic”, “magick”, and “working with intention”.

Let’s define these words: Hoodoo: “a body of practices of sympathetic magic traditional especially among African Americans in the southern U.S.”1

Folk magic: “The term … encompasses a wide variety of diverse magical practices united only by the fact that they are the magical practices of the common folk, rather than the ceremonial magic that was worked by the learned elite. Folk magic is generally of a practical nature, meant to address the common ills of the community: healing the sick, bringing love or luck, driving away evil forces, finding lost items, bringing good harvest, granting fertility, reading omens and so on.”2

Magic: an interactive role-playing game where people go on quests, where people can use their imagination to create and work through different scenarios. 😉 (How many of you play Magic: The Gathering?) Back to the topic at hand lol – “the use of means (such as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces” and “an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source”.1

Working with intention: “Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought. Folk psychology explains human behavior on the basis of mental state, including beliefs, desires, and intentions.”3

Is this all sounding like ‘metaphysical’? Aristotle perceived of metaphysics (which is a word that did not exist at that time) as ‘first philosophy’ – or “being as such” and “first causes”.4 We could go on for days about metaphysics and the perception thereof, but we have one more word to define:

What is a witch, and how does he / she practice witchcraft? Witchcraft or witchery is the practice of magical skills and abilities. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision, therefore cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution.

In other words, prayers, sending love, hugs to cheer someone, well wishes to others, ‘wishing’ for something to occur, and setting an intention can all be seen as creating magic or practicing metaphysics. Any time people engage in mentally creating an image to work toward or sends good or ill intent to others by way of thought, they are practicing magic / metaphysics. So why then does society view the practice of metaphysics as something that should not be engaged in? It appears the answer is rooted in fear – that which we do not know becomes something to fear. Fear in itself is a powerful form of paralysis – living in fear prevents growth and understanding of ourselves and others.

I would encourage you to embrace all that you are, be cognizant of the things you do that affect your energy (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), do your research, and learn and grow. Don’t let words cause fear and restrictions – You are a witch, metaphysical practitioner, outcast, Soul (<–Divine being) living a human experience, and it’s okay to live ‘outside the box’!

1 Merriam Webster Dictionary online

2 https://www.learnreligions.com/folk-magic-95826

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intention

4 https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/

Further reading:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/witchcraft

https://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_metaphysics.html

https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-metaphysics-definition-examples-quiz.html

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witch

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft

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