Baphomet appears in numerous occult contexts, often aligned with demonology, medieval witchcraft, or Satanism. The contemporary Church of Satan features its image in their insignia. It represents the Devil on Trump XV of the Major Arcana in the Rider-Waite deck. Ceremonial magicians in lineages from Eliphas Levi to Anton LaVey encounter Baphomet as a demonic name, a symbol of alchemical or arcane concepts, and a power to invoke.

Nevertheless, Baphomet originates in a phonetic corruption of “Mahomet” or Muhammed. Allegations against the Knights Templar included participation in the foreign “cult of Mahomet.” Islam was cast as an Old Testament paganism by racist imaginations to fuel lurid stories about the Templars worshipping “Baphomet.” The accusations became charges of heresy and witchcraft, ultimately bringing about the end of the order and the execution of its last grand master.

Baphomet is only one example of entropy in occult traditions. The history of magic is entwined with religion, science, and fraud. Occult fraudsters drape themselves in whatever will lend them credibility, instill fear, or enhance their stature, yet some of their marks are true believers who practice sincerely. A critical pagan values detecting entropy and sifting truth from lie. In that way one can embrace the organic change of a living tradition, acknowledge fraudulent accretions, and rest on a solid foundation.

The Meaning of Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner provides some interesting insights into the founding of modern Wicca. Gardner begins each chapter by introducing a feature of witchcraft, paganism, or the occult, but he avoids fitting any of those concepts into a unified framework for Wiccan theology. Instead, the concept becomes a springboard for winding stories that weave witchcraft into history and folklore. While there is an implied theology that one can infer from ritual forms, Gardner devotes his writing to seeding the historicity of a continuous witchcraft tradition rather than establishing pagan epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics.

Much of The Meaning of Witchcraft contributes to the Wiccan founding myth by presenting interpretive evidence of a continuous witchcraft tradition existing in secret alongside and being persecuted by Christian institutions. Each narrative frames a belief about witchcraft, traces evidence of that belief in history, and interprets symbols, events, and motivations to support the framing. The resulting digressions suffer from all of errors Gardner inherits from discredited folklore theories such as the Murray Thesis and other frameworks no longer widely accepted. Many later Wiccan and Pagan writers follow a similar pattern in their books.

Gardner neglects any pagan account of epistemology or metaphysics in favor of a loose collection of themes. There is emphasis on communion with the God and Goddess through ritual without an account of how one has knowledge of the God and Goddess. Karma anchors ethics without any normative theory that defines good. Reincarnation supplies an answer for the afterlife, but Gardner does not supply an ontology that explains that nature of whatever provides continuity between lifetimes.

In the absence of these accounts, the Pagan community embraces a loose federation of beliefs supplied by European occult traditions, Asian religious traditions, and cradle religions. Fusion with the New Age contributed additional layers as Wicca crossed the Atlantic Ocean. In this unstructured tradition, Pagan practice has more consistency than Pagan belief.

Examining the principles underlying belief through philosophical inquiry or scholarship in history, anthropology, or archeology risks challenging the same brittle foundations as the Wiccan founding myth. Tolerance of diverse beliefs allows the community to unite across lineages and define a pluralist religious community. Pagan pluralism itself provides a refuge for inquisitive seekers who feel confined by overly rigid traditions.

On the other hand, the absence of direction on what Paganism is rather than what it should not be leaves a seeker at the mercy of whatever resources they find. A local community must find its ways of discouraging abusive behavior and ensuring that uninformed seekers have access to guidance. In this capacity, pluralism limits the community’s response because it motivates a reluctance to challenge brittle and self-serving beliefs. While the Wiccan Rede would appear to provide this standard, in the absence of a normative theory to define harm, its application becomes a matter of interpretation.

Is the absence of a unifying and prescriptive theology a problem for modern paganism? The Buddhist tradition is carried by a wealth of lineages not formally organized but all tracing themselves back to the Buddha. Lineages do monitor their teachers by endorsing teachers and enforcing codes of behavior. All Buddhist traditions have a robust tradition of ethical scholarship, extending back to the Pali Canon. One may hesitate to pass judgment on incomplete information, but a Buddhist can explain very clearly the boundaries of moral behavior so that an individual can draw correct inferences.

Pagan covens lack a unified ethical tradition. One may derive ethics from a combination of acculturated norms, general principles, and personal gnosis, but there is no shared framework to provide consistency of judgment. While all religious organizations are vulnerable to corruption and abusive individuals, mature traditions have developed means for mitigating those harms by warning newcomers and censuring abusers. To mature in this way, modern paganism needs a robust ethical framework that defines harm while embracing pluralism. The framework should answer:

• What actions, intentions, or traits constitute harm or facilitate harm?
• What responsibilities do we have toward one another?
• How do we come to know morality?
• How are moral judgments formed and justified?

Addressing these questions would give greater weight to the Wiccan Rede, resist spiritual bypasses that circumvent moral introspection, and discern abuse from difference of opinion.

The phrase “sixth sense” entered wide usage in English through the writing of Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. Blavatsky appropriated concepts from Indian traditions such as yoga and Buddhism and crafted them into an occult movement. Distorted ideas about karma and reincarnation stem from Blavatsky’s popularity, and the “sixth sense” suffered a similar fate.

Scientists who study perception and sensation identify far more then five senses in human anatomy. In addition to those listed above, humans have a sense of balance, a kinesthetic sense, and several others. Theosophy’s “sixth sense” must be understood as a framework for sensation and perception, appropriated from Indian philosophy to enhance Blavatsky’s mystique.

Buddhist philosophers recognized six senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, small, and mind. The last sense refers to the awareness of thoughts, memories, imagination, and other cognitive phenomena. Metaphysical arguments in Buddhist sutras describe experience as requiring a sensory organ, sensory stimulation, and sensory consciousness. Since one experiences thoughts and memories, one must also have a sense that enables the experience. The “sixth sense” here is a straightforward way of talking about mental experiences like dreams or imagination.

In the Buddhist framework, the six senses are part of a naturalistic phenomenology that rejects distinguishing between “internal” and “external” phenomena. The European philosophical tradition often frames mental phenomena against mind-body dualism, a view that “physical” and “mental” phenomena consist of fundamentally different substances. Buddhist phenomenologists instead frame all objects of experience as sharing the same essential substance. A subject experiences sight, sound, and thought through different sense modalities, but the Buddhist framework does not infer differing substances from differing modalities.

Differentiating experiences as “internal” or “external” is not coherent because the subject experiences all sense modalities as a uniform flow of sensory stimulation. As a consequence Buddhist metaphysics rejects mind body dualism. The subject knows themself a continuity of sensory organs, sensory consciousness, and sensory stimuli, a fundamentally non-dual metaphysics. By framing “the sixth sense” as extrasensory perception, Blavatsky reintroduces dualist metaphysics to an account of sensation that should reinforce non-dualism.

A Pagan with a bias toward scholarship tends to encounter difficulties belonging with the wider community. Founding members of the movement built their frameworks with faulty scholarship and fantastic claims. As fictions become beliefs, people hold them too dearly to revise or challenge them. When intuitive and mystical ways of knowing ground belief, academic analysis is rejected as reductive and disenchanting. Nevertheless, the scholar sees their investigation as a form of veneration. Insofar as one confronts one’s truths in the sacred space, one must acquaint oneself with the means to find truth. Studying immerses the scholar in the subject and changes them as well. While untruths of the subject are cut away, the untruths of the scholar are cut likewise. The subject and the scholar emerge more whole from this process.

Where one’s practice includes operant magick, one should have an internally consistent framework. The framework should account for the limits of magic, its necessary conditions, and how to interpret results. Logical consistency does not require a strict commitment to empirical science, but it does require that all claims made by the framework can be true without causing a contradiction. Adopting as principles poorly interpreted claims from natural science weakens a framework, making it reliant on something that can be determined true or false, and often a pseudoscience that has been determined false. Logically consistent principles allow one to draw inferences from the framework to explore the logical space it defines. Otherwise, the magician does not learn about themselves through their framework and therefore never develops.

Mystical insights and personal gnosis should be part of every practice. Through critical reflection on those insights, one engages with the divine and develops their relationship to the sacred. Uncritical acceptance does not allow the insight to take root deeply, leading to a shallow pursuit of experiences whenever the previous bliss is spent. Asserting the truth of one’s personal gnosis as binding on a third party may help a person reinforce a shallow belief, but one can only make epistemic judgments on their own experiences.

Revival of ancient Paganism requires evidence-based investigation such as archeology, history, and linguistics. While experts may offer different interpretations, they also acknowledge the limits of what we can glean from evidence and what we can only speculate based on broader patterns. Scholarship in these fields requires rigorous attention to detail, evidence, and bias. Grounding our beliefs in the on-going academic search for truth gives contemporary Pagans a firmer foundation than amateur speculation and debunked theories.

The practice should work inward, not outward. Beginning magick, ritual, or any working with the intention to create external changes results in delusion and disappointment. Ceremonial magick works change on the magician, encouraging the development of insight and understanding. When witchcraft aims for external results, it works the way nature works. Witchcraft seeks the necessary and sufficient condition, the smallest movement for the greatest change. One must first learn patience, observation, and diligence. On either path the initiate should focus on introspection and personal development and follow those paths into mastery.

While many introductory sources teach protection magick as a safe introduction, focus on wards and protection leads to paranoia. One focuses anxiety or depression on an external cause, a magical or psychic attack, and then employs ineffective external responses. The adversary is the inexperienced mind, clinging to material explanations for mental phenomenon, seeking easy answers over honest introspection. Mindful awareness in meditation serves as a safer introductory practice that teaches investigation of sensation and feelings that encourages steadiness of mind.

When seeking deeply meaningful symbols, one should remember that behind each mythic figure stands an ocean of local cults, personal shrines, and unrecorded re-tellings. A living culture changes as its participants change, as their needs, hopes, and dreams change. By embracing reinterpretation and retelling, one can explore the idiosyncrasies of their personal experience of the divine. Renewed practices should be grounded in the past but should not be confined by it.

In a mass media saturated culture, one encounters the monolithic image first and foremost. In the recorded performance or the perfect copy, one sees the idealized abstract. When encountering a local incarnation such as a cosplayer or fan drawing, the comparison favors the monolith because it is the basis of their experience. The tendency to revere abstraction reinforces the hierarchy of monolith over local expression. However, when reflecting on the prehistoric experience of the divine, a contemporary person must imagine their accustomed hierarchy reversed.

Patterns of worship in the ancient world appear to be very localized. While everyone in a region may venerate the same god, local cults may have different idols, epithets, or rituals. The available evidence suggests that gods had epithets specific to local worship. One might think of gods as local expressions of common concepts. One does not first learn the common aspects and then encounter the local expression. The expressive form serves as the primary introduction to the underlying concept.

“Mythology” is derived from poetry, drama, and other means of artistic expression. The hymn that one village uses to worship Athena might differ from the one used by a nearby village. Each hymn may offer a different introduction to Athena, a different honorific, or different attributes that suit the local cult. One who travels between villages learns about the differences as changes relative to their experience. The abstraction shared between the two villages grows from recognition of attributes shared across both local cults. When that recognition is elevated, stories summarized, and epithets aggregated, the abstract eclipses the specific.

Since contemporary paganism lacks a singular theology, every pagan must develop their own account of gods, spirits, and other supernatural beings. A detailed ontology might enumerate hierarchies of entities and their domains, but any ontology must be grounded in a coherent metaphysical explanation of such beings. For the purposes of a general account, one can ignore the vagaries of category and hierarchy and focus only the principles that make supernatural beings possible. The term “Powers” used here will represent an inclusive set of gods, totem spirits, demons, fairies, and other unseen entities that attract veneration, supplication, or appeasement.

While “Powers” must be defined over a wide set, all members of that set share the characteristic of sacredness. Whether benevolent, malignant, or neutral, Powers belong to the non-ordinary space and time of the sacred. One does not experience Powers as one does fellow humans, animals, or plants, so a metaphysics of Powers is needed. A metaphysics of Powers does not need to prove that such entities exist per se, but it does need to address how their existence is possible and how one would gain knowledge about them.

Without some argument in favor of their existence, developing a metaphysics of Powers lacks a immediate significance. To motivate a general account, one needs only a weak existence claim such as existing as phenomena. Whether or not Powers exist as independent entities, their associated traditions and communities demonstrate that they are experienced. If one can grant that subjective experience includes entities described here as Powers, one should also grant that a metaphysical account of Powers must be possible to set boundaries for existence claims.

Assuming that Powers exist as experiences allows one to derive a few characteristics. Powers resemble thoughts, beliefs, fantasies, and other “mental” constructs in that they are experienced as immaterial substance confined to the cognitive landscape. While conventional idioms would describe such apparitions as existing “in the head,” immaterial substance lacks extension in space or time. By definition, material substance is extended in space and time and available to sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Immaterial substance contrasts as not extended in space and time and unavailable to the coarse senses. Strictly speaking, Powers have no location and take up no space.

If Powers have no location, one must also infer that the potential to experience Powers is not bounded by the individual body, brain, or mind. There is no reason to think that one person’s experience of a Power is necessarily experience of a different Power, as if each subject manifests a Power anew in each experience. If two subjects would agree that the objects of their separate divine experiences are the same, one can infer that they experience the same Power, much as one might say two people share an idea.
As the shared perspective of a power grows and changes, the power can be said to develop accordingly, containing the multitudes of its past and present. The collective creation of Powers distinguishes them from other immaterial objects. When immaterial objects find themselves available to an engaged collective that attaches significance to them, they become Powers in an apotheosis of ideas.

Taking these characteristics together, Powers represent the individual’s encounter with collective ideas. They are real insofar as they are experienced as real, insofar as ideas are real. Powers serve to remind the individual that they are also members of a collective, that they stand in the shadow of something greater, that we are waves in the ocean. The Powers reminds us that we are water.

As capitalism orders the world around its economic rhythm, holidays become pulled into the five day work week. Workers taking off at the beginning or end of a week causes less disruption than a midweek holiday, and the most sacred holidays demand observance even when they fall on a weekend. To address these issues, contemporary governments normalize observing a holiday at the end or beginning of a week rather than on its appointed day.

To put this practice in perspective, one should consider that the single day of release offered for most holidays represents a diminished standard from agrarian societies where major festivals could last multiple days. The Catholic Church maintains seasonal periods that culminate in the supreme feast day, but the capitalist engine thrives on continued motion. Secular society then strangled holidays down from a week to a single day and maintains control over the timing of celebrations.

Neopagans tend to celebrate the solar cycle, the ever-turning wheel of year. Solar festivals are unsurprisingly common among agrarian cultures that must plan according to the seasons. At the appointed time one venerates the gods whose powers are needed for the next phase of the cycle. The times are appointed by the Earth and Sun, and calendars are made to follow them.

In ceremonial magic time often serves as one component of ritual. The working must begin, culminate, or end at the proper time, during the correct phase of the moon or position of the sun. Like most ritual components, time imposes discipline and sacrifice that call the magician’s focus to the ritual and its intentions. It requires the magician to be mindful of celestial movements as well as their own movements on the terrestrial plane. The magician must bring themselves into alignment with time, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon to propel their intention into being with the force of those movements.

The habit of shifting observances draws the magician out of alignment. Instead, one lets the celestial sphere runs its course and work only within the terrestrial plane. One sets aside the sacrifice and discipline required to align with time, and one thereby sets aside the potential to utilize that power. When one works only within the regulated structures of capitalism and secular society, one loses the grace of the sacred.

Capitalism thrives on alienation. The worker becomes alienated from their fellows, their community, and their labor. In driving the calendar capitalism also alienates us from the sacred, from the opportunities to unite with the rhythm of the world at large. Traditional festivals of colonizer cultures are reduced to regimented observances. The traditions of colonized cultures go unobserved unless they can be molded to the colonizer framework. Reclaiming festivals and leisure time is a revolutionary act, a struggle to bring our communities into harmony with themselves and the world.

Contemporary occultists generally agree that belief is a key component for magic. The magician must believe in the methods, the symbols, and the potential for results. Symbols and other occult metaphors require sincere invocation in order to have the desired effect. Phil Hines, among others, centralized the role of belief in the tradition dubbed “Chaos Magic.” The Chaos approach invites the magician to incorporate any element of recreation, occupation, or popular culture into their magical belief system. If focused belief is the core requirement, one can invoke superheroes through playing video games just as one might invoke an ancient goddess with chanting, candles, and incense.

Unpacking the phenomenology of belief shows that the Chaos Magic account remains incomplete. Reducing operative magick to wielding belief as a tool discounts the subjective feeling associated with a belief sincerely held. Holding a belief entails maintaining a propositional attitude toward a statement of fact. William James argues that volition plays a significant role in adopting belief, but will alone is not a sufficient condition for belief. The belief must also feel plausibly true, and it must resolve a significant concern. According to James, belief formation sits at the intersection of reason and subjectivity. For a belief to be sincerely held, the believer must feel the gravity of the settled matter.

While popular culture may hold deep meaning, the economic structures that produce it strip symbols of gravitas. North Americans born in the late 20th and early 21st century have access to a wide array of superheroes, literary protagonists, and beloved childhood cartoons. Unlike the mythos of Ancient Greece, all of these contemporary figures are owned and controlled by corporate entities. They were created to generate profit, and they appear in multiple iterations and adaptations in order to generate further profit. Sophisticated media corporations engineered increased popularity, ensuring that their intellectual property has a place in hearts and minds to motivate further spending. As North Americans we do not possess the mythos of our popular culture. We are not free to adapt stories to new media, to rearrange events, or to imagine new stories. Our heroes are given to us, but not made ours.

Beneath then surface of popular icons lies a web of deeper significance. The mythic traditions of the world provide themes, tropes, and archetypes that inform the creation of contemporary heroes and villains. Following these symbols back in time creates a connection with concepts fundamental to the human experience. Furthermore, these symbols escape tight intellectual property protection due to their great age. They belong to their people unlike the proprietary celebrities that populate our screens.

Traditions and their symbols must live alongside those who held them dear. Tying ourselves too tightly to the past invites stasis, but without any connection to the past, belief is left unmoored. Nothing essential hangs on images promoted in order to separate an audience from its money. If popular culture and Chaos Magic provides an entry point into the occult, the seeker must eventually grow beyond them.

In contemporary Paganism, theism generally means polytheism. Some polytheist Pagans view the various gods and goddess of different traditions as merely facets of an archetypal God and Goddess, enabling them to validate all traditions equally. Both frameworks contain echoes of colonizing Christianity. Collected mythology summarizes content by removing the original voice of the text. The recounted stories are filtered through the Christian worldview, and in some cases no pre-Christianized examples exist. Abstraction opens the way for the reductive collapse of a diversity of symbols and archetypes into two, a single binary around which the world turns.

One might frame theism as belief in the divine as framed by a specific tradition. A strong theist not only believes in the existence of the divine but can also describe the object of their belief. Weak theism would require only the belief, allowing that one may be open to different views of the divine. Christian theists tend to be strong theists as their specific concept of “God” serves as the object of their belief. While potentially open to different views of their “God”, Christian theists all agree that the object of their belief is “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who sent his son to die for all sins and be resurrected.” Pagan theists tend to be weak theists in that they embrace theological pluralism. The Pagan community remains unified in part by admitting multiple, sometimes mutually exclusive, concepts of the divine.

Both strong and weak theism make an ontological claim about the divine. They claim that at minimum one concept of the divine refers to a real entity that exists in the world. An atheist would deny that ontological claim, rejecting as epistemically invalid all personal experience of the divine. If the divine exists, one can infer that experiencing the divine is likewise possible. If the divine does not exist, purported experiences of the divine cannot be more real than dreams.

Ontological claims concern existence and the kinds of entities that exist, but the limits of ontology are not also the limits of truth. Phenomenal claims concern experience and the contents of experience. A phenomenal claim of the form, “I experienced X” would be true if and only if I had indeed had experienced X. An experiencing subject can make true claims about ontologically false entities insofar as they are phenomenal claims. One who believes that experiences of the divine are phenomenally real but does not take any position regarding the ontological status of the divine could be called a “phenomenal theist.”

While phenomenal claims may not or may reveal any ontological truths, they may still be intensely meaningful for the experiencing subject. Ecstatic states of consciousness can help the subject reorganize their view of themselves and their place in the world, their aesthetics, and their morality. An individual’s experience of the divine can clarity their values, their understanding of beauty and good, and change the course of their life. Phenomenal claims may not have a bearing on ontology, but they can have a bearing on self-knowledge and value, both key facets of the human experience.

Buddhist missionaries carried their tradition across the world since the time of the Buddha. Lineages took root far beyond the boundaries of India, often syncretizing with complimentary local elements to form new and distinct approaches to core Buddhist philosophy and practice. Buddhism arrived in North America in several waves as immigrants brought their lineages with them. Teachers in some lineages opened meditation halls to anyone and wrote books to introduce Buddhism to a wider audience. Zen teachers are particularly well-represented in this group, continuing the missionary legacy of that tradition. Some teachers in the 21st century begin to use the phrase “American Buddhism” to describe the syncretic lineages that have taken root in North America.

American Buddhism can be distinguished from Asian lineages by the absence of elements deemed superstitious by Modern sensibilities. Recognizing a distinction between “religion” as sacred and “philosophy” as secular, Americans tend to associate Buddhism with the latter due to the absence of a deity as a focal point. The Zen tradition’s iconoclasm assists this framing as Zen often introduces Americans to Buddhism generally. Devotional observances like chanting and offering incense tend to be framed as cultivations of mindfulness rather than generating merit to ensure a more fortunate future life. Days of observance like Vesak are often absent from American Buddhist calendars. Instead, the holidays celebrated by semi-secular Christian North America such as Thanksgiving and Christmas mark the passage of the time. Since North American secularism retains many implicitly Christian values and aesthetics, the Buddhist elements most complimentary to that tradition spread more widely as uncontroversial alternative interpretations of similar values.

Modern Paganism in North America shares a similarly awkward relationship with Christianity. The first generations of both American Paganism and American Buddhism largely converted from Christianity. When Pagans look to the past for help reconstructing pre-Christian beliefs and practices, they find a lack of information beyond traces left in syncretized holidays such as Christmas and Easter, traces usually impossible to separate from later Christian contributions. The Pagan Wheel of the Year aggregates different pre-Christian festivals and solar observances, but it maps well onto the progress of seasons in North America and Europe. Most associated customs have been lost or transformed by Christianity, so Modern Pagans rebuild with the material they have, including Christian aesthetics and values.

Given Paganism’s shared lineage with the New Age, Buddhist beliefs and practices often resonate with modern Pagans. If one goes beyond the appropriated versions of these concepts, a Pagan can find complimentary concepts in formal Buddhist philosophy. The Zen tradition places a high value on practice and direct experience, as does modern Paganism, but it also supplies techniques and conceptual frameworks to support those experiences. The mystical traditions of pre-Christian Europe have been erased or subsumed into Christian mysticism, so the modern Pagan is very much in need of guidance that does not presuppose Christian concepts of divinity and faith. Zen teachers push students toward direct insights, but the tradition also provides epistemic and logical boundaries to test and refine insight derived from mystical experience. Paganism lacks such material in the absence of unbroken tradition.

Furthermore, the Zen tradition provides those barriers without rejecting the pluralism that Pagans value. Zen philosophy assumes that a teacher’s awakening cannot be the same as the student because each event takes place in a unique time, place, and perspective. One must see for oneself. Attempts to intellectualize and align personal insights indicate mistaken thinking according to the Zen tradition. Reconciling mystical experiences by reinterpretation hinders rather than aids the student’s progress.

A Zen approach to Paganism would emphasize direct experience and insight into gods, nature, reality, and oneself. Cultivating mindfulness through regular meditation practice helps clarify the mind and trains the focus needed to investigate experience at a very fine grain. Regular ritual practice trains thoughts and behavior to direct effort toward moral goals, self-development, and rigorous inquiry. Compassion forms the foundation of morality because every individual exists in the web of interdependence, so the well-being of each one influences the well-being of everyone. Regular meditation practice and self-reflection identifies patterns of thought and behavior that interfere with well-being. One must then investigate experience of the self, the natural world, and the human world to find and establish patterns that promote personal and collective well-being. Knowledge must be based on direct experience or coherence with overall patterns anchored by direct experience. What is true is what is experienced.

Zen Paganism would share features with Daoism given Daoist influence on the foundation of Zen in China and Paganism’s positive view of the natural world. Daoist philosophy emphasizes careful study of nature and the complex causal relationships of ecosystems. Working with the active causes of nature offers a path of least resistance when accomplishing any aim. In such cases success hinges on a deep humility and trust that playing the right small role in a complex event will bring more beneficial results than ego-centric control and interference. Pagans who value cultivating awe in complexity and power of the natural world would logically embrace such ideas as well.

The practice of magick may also be framed by Zen Paganism. Finding the path of least resistance and the smallest but most effective intervention places a boundary on operational magic. A Zen Pagan witch should employ their investigative practice to identify the right nudges to achieve their desired result without trying to control every element of the causal chain. Overly specific requirements or attempts to control the process and the outcome should be avoided as wasteful and poorly informed.