Definitions
 

Definitions

Much disagreement in spiritual and religious matters (as well as many others!) is caused by misunderstanding the terminology used. We would like to offer the following definitions courtesy of the Collins English Dictionary:

Religion: 1. belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny. 2. any formal or institutionalised expression of such belief.

Spiritual: 1. relating to the spirit or soul and not to physical nature or matter; intangible. 2. of, relating to, or characteristic of sacred things, the Church, religion, etc.

Spirituality: 1. the state or quality of being dedicated to God, religion, or spiritual things or values, especially as contrasted with material or temporal ones.

Supernatural: 1. of or relating to things that cannot be explained according to natural laws. 2. characteristic of or caused by or as if by a god; miraculous. 3. of, involving, or ascribed to occult beings.

Divine: 1. of, relating to, or characterising God or a deity.

Mysticism: 1. belief in or experience of a reality surpassing normal human understanding or experience, especially a reality perceived as essential to the nature of life. 2. a system of contemplative prayer and spirituality aimed at achieving direct intuitive experience of the divine.

Occult: 1. of, or characteristic of magical, mystical, or supernatural arts, phenomena, or influences. 2. beyond ordinary human understanding. 3. secret or esoteric.

Esoteric: 1. restricted to or intended for an enlightened or initiated minority, especially because of abstruseness (i.e. not easy to understand) or obscurity.

Enlighten: 1. to give information or understanding to; instruct; edify. 2. to give spiritual or religious revelation to.

Enlightenment: 1. the act or means of enlightening or the state of being enlightened. 2. (Buddhism) the awakening to ultimate truth by which man is freed from the endless cycle of personal reincarnations to which all men are otherwise subject. 3. (Hinduism) a state of transcendent divine experience regarded as a goal of all religion.

Finally, for the definition of magic, we should look at the definition endorsed by writers such as Dion Fortune and W.E.Butler: Magic is the art of causing changes in consciousness at will.

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