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An introduction and a question

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  • Mary Whelan
    Hello. I m pretty much new here. I think I ve been a member of this group for a week or so, but I haven t had a lot of time to read or to post. So now I am
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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      Hello. I'm pretty much new here. I think I've been a member of
      this group for a week or so, but I haven't had a lot of time to read
      or to post. So now I am giving you my belated introduction. Which
      I am actually surprised I am giving, since on most groups I tend
      to lurk and would rather see what all the other members have to
      say. But anyway. I do have a question. It's about Lord of the
      Rings and harry potter. Firstly, let me say that I am a Christian,
      and I stand against witchcraft. Are there any other Christians
      here interested in fantasy writing, though? I am not into witchcraft
      at all: I used to read it (before I did some deeper reading in the
      Bible and found how ungodly it was) but now I shun it. um... don't
      hate me for it, 'k? (I know it sometimes can cause disruptions in
      groups and whatever. I hope it doesn't here). Anyway. Is there a
      difference in the "magic" used in h.p. as compared to LOTR?
      Because I haven't read h.p. yet I have a strong stand against it
      because of the witchcraft aspect, but I am really into LOTR.
      If anybody wants to toss their two cents worth into this, I'd be glad
      to have you do it.
      Blessings,
      Mary
    • Margaret Dean
      ... Speaking as a fellow Christian and fantasy fan, I have to say this aspect has never bothered me. What you have to understand, and what I think you will
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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        Mary Whelan wrote:
        >
        > Hello. I'm pretty much new here. I think I've been a member of
        > this group for a week or so, but I haven't had a lot of time to read
        > or to post. So now I am giving you my belated introduction. Which
        > I am actually surprised I am giving, since on most groups I tend
        > to lurk and would rather see what all the other members have to
        > say. But anyway. I do have a question. It's about Lord of the
        > Rings and harry potter. Firstly, let me say that I am a Christian,
        > and I stand against witchcraft. Are there any other Christians
        > here interested in fantasy writing, though? I am not into witchcraft
        > at all: I used to read it (before I did some deeper reading in the
        > Bible and found how ungodly it was) but now I shun it. um... don't
        > hate me for it, 'k? (I know it sometimes can cause disruptions in
        > groups and whatever. I hope it doesn't here). Anyway. Is there a
        > difference in the "magic" used in h.p. as compared to LOTR?
        > Because I haven't read h.p. yet I have a strong stand against it
        > because of the witchcraft aspect, but I am really into LOTR.
        > If anybody wants to toss their two cents worth into this, I'd be glad
        > to have you do it.

        Speaking as a fellow Christian and fantasy fan, I have to say
        this aspect has never bothered me. What you have to understand,
        and what I think you will understand as soon as you start reading
        the books, is that the magic in the Harry Potter books is NOT
        REAL. I mean, personally I am as much of a rationalist as my
        faith allows me to be, and I don't believe in the efficacy of
        what other people regard as "real" magic (meaning no offense to
        people who do -- different worldviews, what can I say?), but
        that's beside the point. Even if I did, the difference between
        what I've read about that and what occurs in the HP books is
        marked. The latter is =so= obviously storybook magic,
        trick-or-treat-it's-Halloween magic,
        wave-the-magic-wand-and-say-Abracadabra magic, that it's
        obviously not meant to be taken seriously =as magic.= (As a
        multivalent symbol for a variety of other things, yes!) And I
        think the majority of readers, including children, understand
        this, instinctively even if they don't articulate it.

        I would say that one of the major themes of the Harry Potter
        books, as in LotR, is =power,= its use and misuse. Magic in
        fantasy stories has always been a useful symbol for that, and in
        most cases I don't think it's meant to be taken as more than
        that.

        My two Knuts... :)


        --Margaret Dean
        <margdean@...>
      • SusanPal@aol.com
        In a message dated 6/25/2003 8:10:57 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... Welcome, Mary! This list is devoted to fantasy writing -- particularly by the Christian
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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          In a message dated 6/25/2003 8:10:57 AM Pacific Standard Time,
          rebelanointed@... writes:

          > do have a question. It's about Lord of the
          > Rings and harry potter. Firstly, let me say that I am a Christian,
          > and I stand against witchcraft. Are there any other Christians
          > here interested in fantasy writing, though? I am not into witchcraft
          > at all: I used to read it (before I did some deeper reading in the
          > Bible and found how ungodly it was) but now I shun it. um... don't
          > hate me for it, 'k? (I know it sometimes can cause disruptions in
          > groups and whatever. I hope it doesn't here). Anyway. Is there a
          > difference in the "magic" used in h.p. as compared to LOTR?
          > Because I haven't read h.p. yet I have a strong stand against it
          > because of the witchcraft aspect, but I am really into LOTR.
          >

          Welcome, Mary!

          This list is devoted to fantasy writing -- particularly by the Christian
          Inklings -- and a number of us (me, for one) are Christians ourselves.

          I have a question for you: how can you take a "strong stand" against a book
          you haven't even read, and about which you therefore know nothing firsthand?
          (Please go read Milton's Aereopagitica, his defense of freedom of the press.
          He was Christian, too.) I'm truly baffled by this. I'm a college English
          professor, and I always tell my students that they can't speak intelligibly about
          texts they haven't read for themselves. If you read something and dislike
          it, that's FINE. You can stop reading it, or you can finish it and denounce it
          based on your *knowledge* of it. But how can you know that you hate it if you
          haven't looked at it for yourself? Haven't you ever had the experience of
          going to see a movie someone else hated and loving it -- or vice versa? I sure
          have!

          Anyway, my answer to your question (others will probably have different
          answers) is that the highest magic in Harry Potter is love. Friendship and loyalty
          are really important, too. Sound familiar? Having said that, there's much
          more emphasis on what I'd call "magic as technology" in the HP books than there
          is in Tolkien; but the HP books are certainly just as concerned with
          discerning and resisting evil as LotR is. And the basic situation is somewhat
          similar: a terribly evil force, once overthrown, is struggling to come back into
          power, and the kind and good and loving characters have to fight it. (That, at
          least, would be my series summary as of the end of the fourth book; I haven't
          had time even to buy the fifth yet.)

          Rowling isn't nearly as good a writer as Tolkien is on a line-by-line prose
          level, but the books are fun and involving and not one bit harmful to children
          or anyone else, unless you consider love and friendship and loyalty -- or
          imagination itself -- dangerous. And if you were in that category, surely you
          wouldn't enjoy LotR, either!

          Again, welcome to the list.

          Susan Palwick


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • dianejoy@earthlink.net
          ... From: Mary Whelan rebelanointed@yahoo.com Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 13:44:29 -0000 To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: [mythsoc] An introduction and a
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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            Original Message:
            -----------------
            From: Mary Whelan rebelanointed@...
            Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 13:44:29 -0000
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [mythsoc] An introduction and a question


            << Hello. I'm pretty much new here. I think I've been a member of
            this group for a week or so, but I haven't had a lot of time to read
            or to post. So now I am giving you my belated introduction. Which
            I am actually surprised I am giving, since on most groups I tend
            to lurk and would rather see what all the other members have to
            say. But anyway. >>

            Welcome aboard!

            << I do have a question. It's about Lord of the
            Rings and harry potter. Firstly, let me say that I am a Christian,
            and I stand against witchcraft. Are there any other Christians
            here interested in fantasy writing, though? >>

            A good number of us are Christians interested in fantasy, and though not
            all of us are Christian, we are all interested in fantasy! Good fantasy,
            of the level of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and Charles Williams.

            The Christians on this list all hail from different stripes of
            Christianity, so our doctrinal understanding will be across the board;
            some may be more liberal than others. (Same is true for the Christian
            Fandom list, which I invite you to explore at christian-fandom@....)

            <<I am not into witchcraft at all: I used to read it (before I did some
            deeper reading in the Bible and found how ungodly it was) but now I shun
            it. um... don't hate me for it, 'k? (I know it sometimes can cause
            disruptions in groups and whatever. I hope it doesn't here). >>

            I can understand your dilemma. God gifts each of us differently, and may
            well ask someone else to shun something I regard as innocuous and vice
            versa. The principles Paul outlined (1 Cor. 8) in terms of the eating of
            food offered to idols applies here. I would say that if you were once
            deeply involved in the occult and might be tempted to return to it by
            reading certain books (not necessarily HP, which is not occult), I'd
            counsel you to forgo reading them, at least until God strengthens you in
            this area.

            OTOH, that is not the case for most of us here, and if that's not the case
            for you, I would argue that reading HP is no more dangerous than reading
            LOTR. Both mention magic, which I think is not related to the occult at
            all: I'd argue that the kind of magic being discussed in these books is a
            literary metaphor for gifts and talents, and that it is no more harmful
            than reading *Black Beauty.* In LOTR, Gandalf practices magic (though very
            little, in actuality), and in HP, Harry is born with magical powers. In
            the "Potter universe," those without magic (Muggles) could not be wizards,
            no matter how much they wished to be. Is there a difference? Well,
            Gandalf is a special case---but so is Harry. In general, the "magic"
            practiced in most fantasy is usually a special case, even if the writer
            chooses to use the terms "witch," "sorcerer," "enchanter" or "mage."

            Charles Williams (one of the Inklings and friend to C. S. Lewis and
            Toliien, also Christian) wrote a book called *The Greater Trumps* which
            figures around a deck of Tarot cards. I think he might have been a member
            of the "Order of the Golden Dawn," a group from the 1920s; I think he got
            out of it eventually---possibly at CSL's and / or JRRT's urging. (I wonder
            just what this group was; it might have been something like the Masons,
            for all I know.) I'll let more knowledgeable people than I speculate on
            that.

            I strongly hold the opinion that those who judge a book by rumor, without
            reading it themselves, are foolish (and make Christ and the body of Christ
            look foolish in turn). I don't place you in that category by any stretch,
            for you are open to the notion of reading and are asking questions.

            Welcome to the list! ---djb



            The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

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          • Croft, Janet B
            I think you would find the use of magic in Harry Potter to be very different from the witchcraft you used to read. I was rereading one of the Mythopoeic
            Message 5 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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              I think you would find the use of magic in Harry Potter to be very different
              from the witchcraft you used to read. I was rereading one of the Mythopoeic
              Society Awards nominees, Schakel's "Imagination and the Arts in C.S. Lewis,"
              and he has this to say:

              "Young readers sense that magic in the stories is a narrative prop and tool.
              If they begin investigating witchcraft and the practice of magic in our
              world, they will quickly find that this is not what they are looking for:
              they want the power of imaginitive experience, not the power of occultish
              experience. The stories may well have the effect of making children less
              susceptible to 'magick' and the occult in our world, not more susceptible."
              (p.184) And the lesson learned from those who go over to the dark side is
              the evil of "making self and power the center of one's life" (185)-- a
              lesson not incompatible with "The Lord of the Rings" by any means. In both
              works, it is the intentions of the magic-user that make all the difference
              -- magic is a neutral symbol for power, as Margaret Dean said.

              If you like Tolkien and Lewis then they are at least worth an honest try.
              Enjoy!

              Janet Croft

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Mary Whelan [mailto:rebelanointed@...]
              Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 8:44 AM
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [mythsoc] An introduction and a question



              Hello. I'm pretty much new here. I think I've been a member of
              this group for a week or so, but I haven't had a lot of time to read
              or to post. So now I am giving you my belated introduction. Which
              I am actually surprised I am giving, since on most groups I tend
              to lurk and would rather see what all the other members have to
              say. But anyway. I do have a question. It's about Lord of the
              Rings and harry potter. Firstly, let me say that I am a Christian,
              and I stand against witchcraft. Are there any other Christians
              here interested in fantasy writing, though? I am not into witchcraft
              at all: I used to read it (before I did some deeper reading in the
              Bible and found how ungodly it was) but now I shun it. um... don't
              hate me for it, 'k? (I know it sometimes can cause disruptions in
              groups and whatever. I hope it doesn't here). Anyway. Is there a
              difference in the "magic" used in h.p. as compared to LOTR?
              Because I haven't read h.p. yet I have a strong stand against it
              because of the witchcraft aspect, but I am really into LOTR.
              If anybody wants to toss their two cents worth into this, I'd be glad
              to have you do it.
              Blessings,
              Mary



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            • David S. Bratman
              Hello, Mary W., and welcome to the list. The major difference between the way Rowling and Tolkien use magic is that the HP books are prominently about
              Message 6 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                Hello, Mary W., and welcome to the list.

                The major difference between the way Rowling and Tolkien use magic is that
                the HP books are prominently about spellcasting as a formal art. There's
                lots of "magic" in Tolkien, but it's more in the background; and magic of
                the more obviously supernatural sort (the palantiri, Bombadil stopping Old
                Man Willow and the Barrow-wight, etc.) melds imperceptably with the
                everyday magic of nature. (See Frodo and Sam's argument, at the start of
                Book IV, over whether the Elven-rope unhooked itself and came when Sam called.)

                HP (vols. 1-4 at least, I haven't read 5) is much more clear-cut. If a
                person with the proper skills (i.e. talent and training) says the right
                words, things happen almost automatically and straight-forwardly, though
                results are sometimes unexpected. It's rather like a chemistry experiment:
                if a person with the proper skills adds the right chemicals, you get the
                right result. (Or sometimes an unexpected result.)

                What neither Rowling nor Tolkien has is demonic invocational magic.
                Tolkien's characters may invoke the names of Galadriel or Elbereth, which
                is like a Catholic praying to a saint or the Virgin Mary. But no good
                character (at least) in either author ever calls on a demon or a pagan god
                to work magic. _That_ would be witchcraft, and I would understand a
                Christian wishing to avoid stories in which good characters do that. (Some
                of the most vehemently Christian authors around, like C.S. Lewis and Frank
                Peretti, write books in which _bad_ characters do that. It would be silly
                to avoid them for that reason.)

                But as Susan says, magic isn't really what HP is about: she says it's about
                love; I'd amend that to say it's about the application of morality to tough
                questions of friendship and loyalty. If you're anxious about the HP books,
                before reading them you might want to look at _A Charmed Life: The
                Spirituality of Potterworld_ by Francis Bridger (a nominee for the
                Mythopoeic Scholarship Award this year, and it's easily available), which
                explains the moral and spiritual virtues of the books splendidly. It will
                help put you in the best frame of mind to approach the books.

                Which leads me:

                At 08:28 AM 6/25/2003 , Susan wrote:

                >I have a question for you: how can you take a "strong stand" against a book
                >you haven't even read, and about which you therefore know nothing firsthand?
                >(Please go read Milton's Aereopagitica, his defense of freedom of the press.
                >He was Christian, too.) I'm truly baffled by this. I'm a college English
                >professor, and I always tell my students that they can't speak intelligibly
                >about
                >texts they haven't read for themselves. If you read something and dislike
                >it, that's FINE. You can stop reading it, or you can finish it and denounce
                >it
                >based on your *knowledge* of it. But how can you know that you hate it if
                you
                >haven't looked at it for yourself?

                I'm not sure how true that is. I've seen some mightily distorted
                criticisms of LOTR from people who only read part of it, or who evidently
                read it with great haste or with lack of attention. (Discernable because
                of the number of facts they get wrong.) This is quite different from just
                not liking it, because I've seen criticisms of that kind too, many of them
                quite fair.

                But even someone with a reasonable dislike of the book might have liked it
                better with a greater understanding of what the author was trying to
                accomplish. Which is why I think a hesitant reader might be better off
                starting with a good commentary or other secondary source, rather than
                plunging straight into the book. Sure, if you haven't read LOTR you can't
                speak intelligibly about it for yourself; but if you've read Shippey you
                may be able to speak intelligibly about what _he_ has to say about LOTR.
                In this imperfect, time-limited world, that's sometimes enough. And lord
                knows that are people who _have_ read LOTR, or think they have (maybe their
                eyes glazed over?) who cannot thereby speak intelligbly about it. I've had
                that problem myself with some books I was totally unsympathetic towards,
                some of which I learned to like better later on _thanks to a good critic_.
                (I didn't immediately take to Jane Austen, for instance; and while I liked
                Shakespeare from the start in high school, I had a difficult time
                understanding him at first.)

                For Rowling, Bridger's book may be that useful introduction. The ideal
                introduction to Tolkien has yet to be written (or at least yet to be
                published); Shippey is brilliant but rather bristling.

                But still ... here's a reasonable criticism of LOTR, from Peter Bagge:
                "This book goes on forever. Just toss the ring and go home, ya stupid
                hobbit." Do you think Bagge might have liked the book better if someone
                had led him to understand that the story isn't about getting it over with,
                it's about the quest?

                - David Bratman
              • Stolzi@aol.com
                In a message dated 6/25/2003 11:21:09 AM Central Daylight Time, ... Somebody remind me what comes in between Galleons and Knuts? Isn t there a third,
                Message 7 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                  In a message dated 6/25/2003 11:21:09 AM Central Daylight Time,
                  margdean@... writes:


                  > My two Knuts... :)

                  Somebody remind me what comes in between Galleons and Knuts? Isn't there a
                  third, medium-value coin?


                  Diamond Proudbrook



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Croft, Janet B
                  It s sickles. And here s the currency convertor you need before visiting Diagon Alley: http://cgi.money.cnn.com/apps/hpcurrconv/
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                    It's sickles. And here's the currency convertor you need before visiting
                    Diagon Alley: http://cgi.money.cnn.com/apps/hpcurrconv/
                    <http://cgi.money.cnn.com/apps/hpcurrconv/>

                    Janet

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Stolzi@... [mailto:Stolzi@...]
                    Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 4:05 PM
                    To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [mythsoc] An introduction and a question


                    In a message dated 6/25/2003 11:21:09 AM Central Daylight Time,
                    margdean@... writes:


                    > My two Knuts... :)

                    Somebody remind me what comes in between Galleons and Knuts? Isn't there a
                    third, medium-value coin?


                    Diamond Proudbrook



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                  • jamcconney@aol.com
                    In a message dated 6/25/2003 11:13:57 AM Central Daylight Time, ... I don t set myself up as one of the knowledgable people but I believe the Golden Dawn was
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                      In a message dated 6/25/2003 11:13:57 AM Central Daylight Time,
                      dianejoy@... writes:

                      > Charles Williams (one of the Inklings and friend to C. S. Lewis and
                      > Toliien, also Christian) wrote a book called *The Greater Trumps* which
                      > figures around a deck of Tarot cards. I think he might have been a member
                      > of the "Order of the Golden Dawn," a group from the 1920s; I think he got
                      > out of it eventually---possibly at CSL's and / or JRRT's urging. (I wonder
                      > just what this group was; it might have been something like the Masons,
                      > for all I know.) I'll let more knowledgeable people than I speculate on
                      > that.
                      >

                      I don't set myself up as one of the "knowledgable people" but I believe the
                      Golden Dawn was a group started and helmed by A.E. Waite and, if one can put it
                      into a category, had a gnostic thrust centered on the concept of the Grail.
                      (Waite wrote several books IIRC that presented the Grail rituals as a sort of
                      esoteric super-Christianity). The Golden Dawn seems to have been one of those
                      intellectual/spiritual fads that come along. Not only Charles Williams but W.B.
                      Yeats and Evelyn Underhill were members for a time.

                      It's interesting that both Williams and Underhill moved on to traditional
                      Christianity quite quickly and both seem to have had a lifelong aversion to the
                      occult--though whether this had anything to do with their Golden Dawn
                      experience would be uncertain. Both seem to have been well informed about it; Williams
                      uses occult practices by the villians, who misuse holy things for their own
                      ends, in nearly all his books; he seems to me to be quite clear that it is not
                      the thing itself (the Tarot deck, for example) that is evil but the use that
                      is made of it. Underhill devotes an entire chapter in Mysticism to 'Magic and
                      Mysticism,' making much the same definition--that magic is about taking and
                      controlling while spirituality is about giving and serving.

                      I'm sure, however, that there are a lot of people on this list who know more
                      than I do about this!
                      Anne


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • SusanPal@aol.com
                      In a message dated 6/25/2003 2:57:35 PM Pacific Standard Time, ... Wow -- what a great, pithy distinction. I ll remember that one! Thank you! I d add,
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                        In a message dated 6/25/2003 2:57:35 PM Pacific Standard Time,
                        jamcconney@... writes:

                        > Underhill devotes an entire chapter in Mysticism to 'Magic and
                        > Mysticism,' making much the same definition--that magic is about taking and
                        > controlling while spirituality is about giving and serving.
                        >

                        Wow -- what a great, pithy distinction. I'll remember that one! Thank you!

                        I'd add, though, that both of these things can exist within any tradition. I
                        have several good, honorable, caring friends who are Wiccans, and whose
                        practice is very much about giving and serving. And we all know that there are
                        Christians who, unfortunately, want to take and control. (In fact, at least two
                        of my Wiccan friends began life as Christians, and were driven away from the
                        church by abuses of power.)

                        Anne, I guess that's just more emphasis on your point, or Williams', that
                        what matters is the use you make of something, not what the "something" is.

                        Susan


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Kevin Bowring
                        ... Waite was a later member of the Golden Dawn, later even than Yeats, if my memory doesn t fail me. I found a brief overview on the web at:
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                          Just a couple of minor adjustments:

                          > but I believe the
                          > Golden Dawn was a group started and helmed by A.E. Waite

                          Waite was a later member of the Golden Dawn, later even than Yeats, if my memory doesn't
                          fail me. I found a brief overview on the web at:
                          http://www.hermeticgoldendawn.org/Documents/Bios/GDhistory.htm
                          (Sorry, I haven't figured out how to actually link the text.)


                          > It's interesting that both Williams and Underhill moved on to traditional
                          > Christianity quite quickly and both seem to have had a lifelong aversion to the
                          > occult--though whether this had anything to do with their Golden Dawn
                          > experience would be uncertain.

                          Charles Williams, as I recall, always kept his regalia from the Golden Dawn days and even
                          made occasional use of it. I am not sure (I would have to look all this up), but this may
                          be Alice Hadfield's biography of Williams; it may be elsewhere. I think Williams is
                          wonderful--perhaps the Inkling who has affected me most deeply--but he's always a little
                          off center (I do not intend this as a criticism).

                          Now I feel like I've got to hit the library to nail this down.

                          By the way, has anyone read William's book on Witchcraft lately? I read it some 15-20
                          years ago, but don't really remember it.

                          Well, library card 's in my pocket. I'm off . . . .
                          Kevin
                        • Berni Phillips
                          From: Mary Whelan ... Welcome, Mary! ... Many of us are Christian. Many others are not. I think we re all interested in fantasy
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                            From: "Mary Whelan" <rebelanointed@...>


                            > Hello. I'm pretty much new here. I think I've been a member of
                            > this group for a week or so, but I haven't had a lot of time to read
                            > or to post.

                            Welcome, Mary!

                            > But anyway. I do have a question. It's about Lord of the
                            > Rings and harry potter. Firstly, let me say that I am a Christian,
                            > and I stand against witchcraft. Are there any other Christians
                            > here interested in fantasy writing, though?

                            Many of us are Christian. Many others are not. I think we're all
                            interested in fantasy writing (some of us just from the reader's
                            perspective).

                            >Anyway. Is there a
                            > difference in the "magic" used in h.p. as compared to LOTR?

                            I would compare the magic in Harry Potter to the magic in "Bewitched" or
                            "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and the magic in LOTR more like "Buffy the
                            Vampire Slayer." What I mean by this is that HP's use of magic is for the
                            most part light-hearted and fun. Rowling uses a lot of clever word play --
                            if you decide to read the books, you're really in for a treat. You know the
                            magic wouldn't work in real life because it's mostly made-up Latin. (If
                            Latin truly were magical, I'm sure people would be flocking to Latin Masses
                            again!)

                            The magic in LOTR is of a more serious nature. I liken it to magic in BtVS
                            because you get the impression that under the right circumstances, it could
                            work in the real world. (Not to mention that, like the magic of Galadriel,
                            it maybe isn't really magic but just how the world works at that place and
                            time.) But the *type* of magic used in LOTR and BtVS is very different --
                            much of the magic in Buffy is invocational (which LOTR and HP definitely are
                            not), calling upon pagan gods and demons to do the magic-user's will. This
                            is the sort of magic that is a real no-no for Christians as it is an attempt
                            to play God oneself. (However I find much of value in BtVS that outweighs
                            this improper use of magic -- and the show itself has made a major point
                            about how wrong that sort of magic is as well.)

                            Back to Harry Potter, I would highly recommend _A Charmed Life: the
                            Spirituality of Potterworld_ by Francis Bridger, an Anglican minister. If
                            you haven't read the books, it will spoil a number of plot things for you,
                            but if you have read the books and are concerned, this is an excellent book
                            to read. He goes through the first 4 books, pointing out how consistent
                            with Christian theology they truly are. He answers many of the questions
                            brought up by people who fear they aren't good for Christians.

                            > Because I haven't read h.p. yet I have a strong stand against it
                            > because of the witchcraft aspect, but I am really into LOTR.

                            In HP, it's more "wizardry" than witchcraft. The genre is basically British
                            boarding school and Hogwarts is a specialty school for kids who have a
                            special talent for science -- in this case, magic.

                            Berni
                          • jamcconney@aol.com
                            In a message dated 6/25/2003 6:23:25 PM Central Daylight Time, bowring@bc.edu ... Please share what you discover! Anne [Non-text portions of this message have
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jun 25, 2003
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                              In a message dated 6/25/2003 6:23:25 PM Central Daylight Time, bowring@...
                              writes:

                              > Well, library card 's in my pocket. I'm off . . .

                              Please share what you discover!
                              Anne


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • dianejoy@earthlink.net
                              Yours was a most informative reply. Thanks very much. ---djb ... From: jamcconney@aol.com Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 17:49:27 EDT To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jun 26, 2003
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                                Yours was a most informative reply. Thanks very much. ---djb

                                Original Message:
                                -----------------
                                From: jamcconney@...
                                Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 17:49:27 EDT
                                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] An introduction and a question


                                In a message dated 6/25/2003 11:13:57 AM Central Daylight Time,
                                dianejoy@... writes:

                                > Charles Williams (one of the Inklings and friend to C. S. Lewis and
                                > Toliien, also Christian) wrote a book called *The Greater Trumps* which
                                > figures around a deck of Tarot cards. I think he might have been a member
                                > of the "Order of the Golden Dawn," a group from the 1920s; I think he got
                                > out of it eventually---possibly at CSL's and / or JRRT's urging. (I
                                wonder
                                > just what this group was; it might have been something like the Masons,
                                > for all I know.) I'll let more knowledgeable people than I speculate on
                                > that.
                                >

                                I don't set myself up as one of the "knowledgable people" but I believe the
                                Golden Dawn was a group started and helmed by A.E. Waite and, if one can
                                put it
                                into a category, had a gnostic thrust centered on the concept of the Grail.
                                (Waite wrote several books IIRC that presented the Grail rituals as a sort
                                of
                                esoteric super-Christianity). The Golden Dawn seems to have been one of
                                those
                                intellectual/spiritual fads that come along. Not only Charles Williams but
                                W.B.
                                Yeats and Evelyn Underhill were members for a time.

                                It's interesting that both Williams and Underhill moved on to traditional
                                Christianity quite quickly and both seem to have had a lifelong aversion to
                                the
                                occult--though whether this had anything to do with their Golden Dawn
                                experience would be uncertain. Both seem to have been well informed about
                                it; Williams
                                uses occult practices by the villians, who misuse holy things for their own
                                ends, in nearly all his books; he seems to me to be quite clear that it is
                                not
                                the thing itself (the Tarot deck, for example) that is evil but the use
                                that
                                is made of it. Underhill devotes an entire chapter in Mysticism to 'Magic
                                and
                                Mysticism,' making much the same definition--that magic is about taking and
                                controlling while spirituality is about giving and serving.

                                I'm sure, however, that there are a lot of people on this list who know
                                more
                                than I do about this!
                                Anne


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                              • Mary Whelan
                                Just so you know, I ve never been deeply involved in occult practises or anything like that. I was raised a Christian. But some of the things I read when I
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jun 30, 2003
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                                  Just so you know, I've never been "deeply involved" in occult
                                  practises or anything like that. I was raised a Christian. But
                                  some of the things I read when I was a preteen (I have always
                                  been an avid reader) were about witches and stuff like that. I
                                  never wanted to be involved in that stuff. For many years I
                                  avoided LOTR. I still don't think I want to read any of the "harry
                                  potter" books. Personal choice. I am not basing my opinions on
                                  rumors. I have heard Rowling read a passage out of one of the
                                  books, and it terrified me, which is one of the reasons I avoid it.In
                                  fact, I've not picked up LOTR for a couple weeks now, mostly
                                  because I've got a summer reading assignment for school
                                  which involves a totally different book, and that I am
                                  arachnaphobic and got to the part about Shelob. :p
                                  So... I don't know if all of h.p. is as frightening as that one part
                                  was that I heard read aloud, but I still don't wish to read it for that
                                  reason and other varying reasons (not all having to do with
                                  magic).
                                  Thanks all for your response.
                                  Blessings,
                                  Mary


                                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "dianejoy@e..."
                                  <dianejoy@e...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Original Message:
                                  > -----------------
                                  > From: Mary Whelan rebelanointed@y...
                                  > Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 13:44:29 -0000
                                  > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Subject: [mythsoc] An introduction and a question
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > << Hello. I'm pretty much new here. I think I've been a member
                                  of
                                  > this group for a week or so, but I haven't had a lot of time to
                                  read
                                  > or to post. So now I am giving you my belated introduction.
                                  Which
                                  > I am actually surprised I am giving, since on most groups I
                                  tend
                                  > to lurk and would rather see what all the other members have
                                  to
                                  > say. But anyway. >>
                                  >
                                  > Welcome aboard!
                                  >
                                  > << I do have a question. It's about Lord of the
                                  > Rings and harry potter. Firstly, let me say that I am a Christian,
                                  > and I stand against witchcraft. Are there any other Christians
                                  > here interested in fantasy writing, though? >>
                                  >
                                  > A good number of us are Christians interested in fantasy, and
                                  though not
                                  > all of us are Christian, we are all interested in fantasy! Good
                                  fantasy,
                                  > of the level of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and Charles
                                  Williams.
                                  >
                                  > The Christians on this list all hail from different stripes of
                                  > Christianity, so our doctrinal understanding will be across the
                                  board;
                                  > some may be more liberal than others. (Same is true for the
                                  Christian
                                  > Fandom list, which I invite you to explore at
                                  christian-fandom@s...)
                                  >
                                  > <<I am not into witchcraft at all: I used to read it (before I did
                                  some
                                  > deeper reading in the Bible and found how ungodly it was) but
                                  now I shun
                                  > it. um... don't hate me for it, 'k? (I know it sometimes can cause
                                  > disruptions in groups and whatever. I hope it doesn't here). >>
                                  >
                                  > I can understand your dilemma. God gifts each of us
                                  differently, and may
                                  > well ask someone else to shun something I regard as
                                  innocuous and vice
                                  > versa. The principles Paul outlined (1 Cor. 8) in terms of the
                                  eating of
                                  > food offered to idols applies here. I would say that if you were
                                  once
                                  > deeply involved in the occult and might be tempted to return to
                                  it by
                                  > reading certain books (not necessarily HP, which is not occult),
                                  I'd
                                  > counsel you to forgo reading them, at least until God
                                  strengthens you in
                                  > this area.
                                  >
                                  > OTOH, that is not the case for most of us here, and if that's not
                                  the case
                                  > for you, I would argue that reading HP is no more dangerous
                                  than reading
                                  > LOTR. Both mention magic, which I think is not related to the
                                  occult at
                                  > all: I'd argue that the kind of magic being discussed in these
                                  books is a
                                  > literary metaphor for gifts and talents, and that it is no more
                                  harmful
                                  > than reading *Black Beauty.* In LOTR, Gandalf practices
                                  magic (though very
                                  > little, in actuality), and in HP, Harry is born with magical
                                  powers. In
                                  > the "Potter universe," those without magic (Muggles) could not
                                  be wizards,
                                  > no matter how much they wished to be. Is there a difference?
                                  Well,
                                  > Gandalf is a special case---but so is Harry. In general, the
                                  "magic"
                                  > practiced in most fantasy is usually a special case, even if the
                                  writer
                                  > chooses to use the terms "witch," "sorcerer," "enchanter" or
                                  "mage."
                                  >
                                  > Charles Williams (one of the Inklings and friend to C. S. Lewis
                                  and
                                  > Toliien, also Christian) wrote a book called *The Greater
                                  Trumps* which
                                  > figures around a deck of Tarot cards. I think he might have
                                  been a member
                                  > of the "Order of the Golden Dawn," a group from the 1920s; I
                                  think he got
                                  > out of it eventually---possibly at CSL's and / or JRRT's urging.
                                  (I wonder
                                  > just what this group was; it might have been something like
                                  the Masons,
                                  > for all I know.) I'll let more knowledgeable people than I
                                  speculate on
                                  > that.
                                  >
                                  > I strongly hold the opinion that those who judge a book by
                                  rumor, without
                                  > reading it themselves, are foolish (and make Christ and the
                                  body of Christ
                                  > look foolish in turn). I don't place you in that category by any
                                  stretch,
                                  > for you are open to the notion of reading and are asking
                                  questions.
                                  >
                                  > Welcome to the list! ---djb
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                                  >
                                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                                  http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
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                                • Margaret Dean
                                  ... A-ha. Well, there s definitely a scene or two in the HP books (specifically the second) that I wouldn t recommend for an arachnophobe, either. ... That s
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jun 30, 2003
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                                    Mary Whelan wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Just so you know, I've never been "deeply involved" in occult
                                    > practises or anything like that. I was raised a Christian. But
                                    > some of the things I read when I was a preteen (I have always
                                    > been an avid reader) were about witches and stuff like that. I
                                    > never wanted to be involved in that stuff. For many years I
                                    > avoided LOTR. I still don't think I want to read any of the "harry
                                    > potter" books. Personal choice. I am not basing my opinions on
                                    > rumors. I have heard Rowling read a passage out of one of the
                                    > books, and it terrified me, which is one of the reasons I avoid it.
                                    > In fact, I've not picked up LOTR for a couple weeks now, mostly
                                    > because I've got a summer reading assignment for school
                                    > which involves a totally different book, and that I am
                                    > arachnaphobic and got to the part about Shelob. :p

                                    A-ha. Well, there's definitely a scene or two in the HP books
                                    (specifically the second) that I wouldn't recommend for an
                                    arachnophobe, either.

                                    > So... I don't know if all of h.p. is as frightening as that one part
                                    > was that I heard read aloud, but I still don't wish to read it for
                                    > that reason and other varying reasons (not all having to do with
                                    > magic).

                                    That's quite understandable. Not all of HP is scary -- in fact,
                                    a lot of it is funny; Rowling is good at broad, almost slapstick
                                    humor -- but there are definitely hair-raising sections in all of
                                    the books so far, and they get progressively darker. Rowling's
                                    own position: "If you're going to write about evil, you really
                                    do have an obligation to show what that means."


                                    --Margaret Dean
                                    <margdean@...>
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