I am new to this site and, well, religion. I visited this site in hope of proving that my most yearned and wildest dream is real: Magic(k). I have been an Atheist for all of my life, so I have never believed in anything. However I have always hoped for magic to exist, in some form. A year or so ago I met a girl who is Wiccan, and we are pretty good friends, and I have tried casting spells with her, just to test them out. But only for a test. Then I thought that this may be the magic I was looking for. Though I've never truly believed it, and this seems to be the base of this religion. So I am so confused at what I should follow, what to believe, and if any of this is true. Like can magic(k) be put to a test to be true? I am really confused at who I even am anymore, and I would really appreciate some help from a Wicca follower, a fellow atheist, or possibly someone else out there with the same problem.
Thank you so much for any help!
Just to add, sometimes I feel ashamed to dabble in this religion because my family is very atheist and I don't want to look like the idiot teen girl falling for magic tricks ( I did not mean that in offense ) and also there's all the logic in the back of my mind saying: "This is to good to be true" "This is a scam to make me buy stuff" "We are all worthless in the universe, but religion purposely makes you feel special. It is clearly fake." "Everything that is fact says that this is most likely false" and, of course, "There is no god/goddess" I really do not want to offend anyone, but this is ALL religions basically from an Atheist's perspective. But at the same time, I think: "Well, there is no DEFINATE answer until I try it out." "I could run experiments on these spells, they may be real!" And mainly: "I really, REALLY want this to be true, so for now let's say it's real."
Magic is more belief than provable fact. Most results are in synchronicities. That is, a significant coincidence. Let's say you cast a spell to find a dollar on the sidewalk. A few days later, you find a dollar on the sidewalk. Is it because you cast the spell, or is it just a coincidence? That is up to you.
You do not have to follow any religion to practice magic. You do not have to cast spells or follow strict rituals.
There are many people around who believe that demons are aspects of one's self, and not actual spirits. Reading the spirits of the Goetia, for example, you may find how many of the entities are aspects of human nature. In summoning them, the magician may well be conjuring an aspect of self through a complicated self-hypnotic method, suspending disbelief about what is really happening.
When someone insists they communicate with a spirit, god, what have you, it falls into belief. The person may be experiencing Unverifiable Personal Gnosis (a term which I picked up on this site, and one which is very good to have), which is a personal experience, and cannot be proven or disproved. This is the most common type of experience people have.
Most broadly, magic is defined as change in accordance with will. Some insist the most important change is internal, changing oneself into a better person. Solomon is a very good archetype of this, being a person who not only faced, but gained control over his own internal demons. However, many people will still insist their practice extends into the world around them. These changes are more like changing probabilities, or as some have expressed it, asking the universe to bend the rules in your favor.
So begin practice! Keep an open mind. Read. Study. Learn. Decide for yourself what you believe works, and what does not.
I feel you are on point about atheists looking for some form of magick. The form that could be 'real'. I think those atheists are more intelligent than the few who spend most of their time debating with the 'religious'.
Speaking from the Wiccan perspective, I think it is very important in your situation to understand that one does not have to be Wiccan in order to practice magic. Magic is simply a craft that can be practiced by anyone of any religion or even of no religion at all. To say one has to follow a particular religion in order to practice magic would be like saying that one had to be a specific religion to practice the piano.
Yes, Wiccans do practice a form of magic that is heavily influenced by our religious beliefs. But for yourself there are plenty of ways to practice magic which does not include Gods, Goddesses, or religious beliefs.
Another morsel of food for thought; Not all magic needs to be magical. A large part of the tradition includes inward reflection, finding and overcoming personal bad habits, and over-all finding ways to create a sense of personal Wholeness and health. So magic is only one aspect of the practice really, and can even be wholly omitted if you favor a more scientific approach.
For example you could take other ideas from the faith such as introspection through meditation, herbal/naturopahic healing (herbs), and wholistic practices in general.
In the end, I consider the core of Wicca and other practices is to observe and relate the different natural cycles and patterns. IE; The cycles of nature, of the human body, emotional and behavioral tendencies, subtle natural energies, and even physics. Then working to find the common grounds among them and applying those into your daily life. It is a means of becoming a better person through understanding the things that influence who you are so you can take a more active part in making conscious life choices.