Hi everybody, I'm starting this thread because I've heard a few different opinions about it and I want to collect as many of them as possible. My question is, how accurately D&D manuals describe the "magic side" of reality? Could such manuals be a general guide for a practitioner? And what about magical creatures?
The thing about the way D&D's magic system works is that it's based almost entirely on magical combat. That's why they have the line/cone/area of effect system. As far as things like enchantment and such, there's not really any other way to explain it; you do a ritual, add an effect to an object, and bam, it's enchanted. So no, D&D can't teach you magic anymore than it can teach you to fight with a sword or move effectively in armor.
I have never actually played Dungeons and Dragons but both of my sisters have, and my brother in law runs a group, and from what I have heard from them, my sister and in law being Pagan, I can safely say it does not show in any way real magic. It is a game in a world of fantasy, so it embellishes to bring a layer of adventure to the players game world. If Dungeons and Dragons were at all accurate in portraying real spiritual magic, your mage would spend most of the game meditating and sitting in front of a vision board visualizing the desired outcome then working to achieve their goal. They could not shoot fireballs from their staff, or heal your party with a ray of light, or anything else that would seem impossible by the standards of reality. Real witches who cast real magic do so in the realms of reality. Like someone praying to win the lottery, you need to buy a ticket. If a witch cast a spell to win the lottery, they too need to buy a ticket, it will not start raining cash money from the ceiling of your house.
Now, going out on a limb, if you find a chant particularly moving, you could work it into a ritual, but don't expect some physical manifestation to appear. As for magical creatures, it is believed they exist on the astral plane which is like a parallel dimension. We have the ability to project ourselves spiritually to this plane, not physically, and we can ask these beings for help, but like Deities, they would speak to us in visions, meditation, or dreams, not through physical manifestations in our plane of existence.
With all this said, I do hope you separate the fiction of D&D with the reality of Paganism. Even today people think both are evil and pro Satan, go back 20-30 years and you'll find Satanic hysteria where many people feared Satanic cults lurked in their neighborhood, some disguised by Dungeons and Dragons players, when in reality they were killing babies and drinking blood and insert other scary things for middle america in 1980 to convince themselves was totally happening when it really wasn't.