Now, on to the meat and potatoes of it...
I’m frustrated. I feel as though Wicca and the overall idea of doing spells and magic (with a k) has gotten out of hand and become just plain silly. I don’t think Pagans will ever be taken seriously if we don’t lose some of the Dungeons and Dragons type mentality that seems to infest our communities. I’m not saying playing D&D is a bad thing. In fact, it's a great social pastime. I am only saying that I believe that type of fantasy has no place in religion.
Spells were cool and exciting when I was a teenager. Now I consider them prayer with props. Why then don’t we just call it prayer or petitioning? At some point we may have to come to terms with not being able to "take back" all the terminology we use. When people hear the word "spell" along the same vein as religion they immediately think crazy. This is especially the case when there are a ton of role playing games utilizing the idea of our prayer system as a way to do battle with enemies. Harry Potter has added fuel to that fire as well.
I’ve met people who believe in dragons, fairies, gnomes, bigfoot, etc. When I speak with them for the first time I have to fight to keep a straight face. Actually, what I want to say is "Go sell crazy to the Fundies. They're always looking for more and we have all we can handle here."
I think there is a certain amount of hypocrisy at work in the D&D minded Pagan crowd too. For example, I have heard more than one of them say that the Bible is archaic and its ideas ridiculous. They speak of how it is impossible to part the red sea or turn water to wine, etc. Okay. Then why in the world would you believe in mythological creatures?
Reality sucks sometimes. I get that and I’m totally on board with having a healthy fantasy life. But at some point in your life you have to face reality. I would prefer that my religion be firmly rooted in the real world so that I'm fully prepared when reality rears its ugly head.
Children should be able to maintain a belief in fantasy. I would never want to rob my child of the magic of Santa or the idea that there are little beings that watch over her. One day I can explain to her that these are metaphors that represent wonderful aspects of nature and the Goddess.
Look, I really want to believe unicorns are real. I still turn to look at every apple orchard I pass in the hopes that somewhere within the mists there will be a gorgeous, one-horned white horse with a mane that ripples in the wind. I want to believe. But I have yet to see a unicorn whinny at the moon and I have yet to speak with a faerie.
On the other hand I have taken in the scent of the summer breeze on my face, felt the heat of fire on my skin, held the earth in my hands, and drunk deep of the purity of water. I have witnessed the changing seasons and watched the moon wax and wane. I have felt the rhythms of the Earth within me and noticed my connection to all things. Nature is real. Nature I can touch, see, taste, smell, hear, feel, and sense.
To sum up, I am not saying we should not hold on to the hope that some of these things can exist – at least in some other realm, the astral, or whatever. I am simply saying that there should be more reality rooted in our religious practices. If one more person asks me if I can feel the trapped spirit in their (insert mundane object here) I may just have to let the giggles escape.
In my opinion, superstition and ideas originating in fantasy have not been something the human race typically deals well with. Those ideas usually come to an end with someone getting burned at the stake.