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Use of props in religion


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#1 anasuya

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 08:33 AM

http://www.witchvox..../e_aware04.html

In the practice of Wicca today, are props necessary, on either a solitary or coven basis? This goes for any religion, really, such as Catholicism, where mass incorporates a great deal of props, perhaps to set the mood, perhaps to act as some conduit to a higher being. What's your opinion.

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#2 Alsie R.

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:17 PM

cool article ana and good question. i'm just starting out in wicca and haven't really had much of a chance to do rituals or anything of the sort yet. as of right now, its mostly reading and doing very tiny minor spells. i don't really like using props. all i use is incense and a candle (i just kind of have an affinity for fire) for my very tiny minor spells. i don't really understand WHY you "need" all the props and tools for wicca. i just don't like a lot of clutter around me.
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#3 anasuya

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 01:49 PM

From a person who has incorporated props in circle, as well as performing ritual and spellwork without the aid of such items, there are several reasons one might feel these items are necessary.

1. In a group atmosphere, props often help "set the mood" and allow people the opportunity to tune into the Divine by significantly affecting all six senses.

2. Props can also be used as a physical extension of ones own inherent power. This is generally used by those who aren't quite confident enough in their own abilities or who lack the necessary visionary skills that is helpful in the more esoteric traditions. Not to say it's a bad thing if you can't meditate all that great, or hold a specific image in your mind for any great length of time. Some people just can't, and tools often help maintain a needed thought or image necessary to make a spell or ritual work.

3. Props such as candles, cords, herbs and stones can be used in a type of sympathetic magick in which the actions done to the items are manifested in reality. Consider the sacred great hunt rites that were performed by neolithic people. They would literally inact a hunt, except add a successful capture and kill, thus "charging" their weapons, so to speak, and ensuring a positive outcome.

The article I supplied was greatly one-sided, but still offered valid points. Again, I see no reason why props can't be used, so long as it's not just for the reason of "Oooh... look at the 200.00 crystal wand I bought at the local metaphysical store". I sincerely believe props should be those gathered or collected by your own hand, or given as gifts. Spending a ridiculous amount of money on something that looks pretty certainly does little to enhance magick or rites.

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#4 Vampchick21

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 05:42 PM

The use of props depends on what I'm doing actually.  Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't.

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#5 aloha_spirit

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 07:35 PM

We use a ton of symbolism in Mormonism, and even a few props.

In our weekly services, our props are limited to trays for the Sacrament and (sometimes) paintings that depect a story we're going to discuss in Sunday School.

We use ceremonial clothes in our temples (sorry, it's an oath-bound thing, so I can't go into details).  In our "sealing" rooms (where we perform weddings) we have mirrors on opposite walls so that you can see into eternity (Mormon weddings don't include the phrase "until death do us part").

Outside of organized worship services, we still surround us with props.  Most Mormon homes have at least one photo (or painting) of the closest temple, the current Prophet, and often one of the temple where the parents were sealed.  Elders generally use olive oil when giving blessings.

I believe that for the most part, props are used to set the mood or help us remember things.

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#6 Vampchick21

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 05:28 AM

They can also be used as a teaching tool, such as your mention of the painting or picture of the subject of your Sunday School topic.  

When I was in Catholic School, much of what we were taught about our religion started with a painting or picture or other item.  For example, the Stations of the Cross, which was used to teach us about Christ's journey to his crucifixtion.  Or one nun would present us children with one or another print of a famous religious painting and teach us about the Biblical story behind the image.

Most humans, going back into the mists of time, seem to need/require/prefer the use of props and images within their spiritual life.  

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#7 whispers_of_fire

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 06:52 AM

Okay, maybe its my inability to multitask ;D but I don't use a lot of props in spell or ritual, in fact the simpler the better, you don't want to break concentration to remember to add dried violet to rosemary and then add a pinch of Dragon's Blood after every stanza. I'm not saying it should apply to everyone, it works for me to keep things simple...mainly because I've had some really unfortunate results when I've broken concentration :-/
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#8 anasuya

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 07:58 AM

lol. Whispers, I can understand that. Of course, when I use props, the use of that prop itself because a sort of ritual. Just the action of lighting a candle, or raising an athame is a ritualistic act specifically planned to honor diety. The more elaborate my rituals, the more, I feel, I've show the Divine my respect. Then again, it depends on the circumstances.

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#9 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 08:20 AM

WEll I've used wooden swords before... and silly 2D trees...

oh....  

hmmm... props...
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#10 whispers_of_fire

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 03:47 PM

Hey, Ana, I know what ya mean. Have you ever kind of felt you were overdoing the devotion during the ritual or spell? I mean okay, you are asking the Divinity/ies to bring an effect into being, so respect's essential, but there have been time's I've asked my Patrons and kind of got an impression of "DUDE...just ask!" even the candles seem to melt faster. Not in a way of 'Hey, you're annoying!' Of course there have been a few times it didn't work, but I always was told why
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#11 anasuya

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 05:40 PM

lol Whispers. Well, I usually reserve my props for major holidays, set aside only to show my honor of the Divine. I generally limit my tools to the barest essentials when working magick.

Ana
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