One of the most common things that pops up in that little “most searched things” in relation to my blog is “functionalism in witchcraft”. Which I’m not quite sure about, since I haven’t quite posted those words all together at once. I don’t know how that came up, but it did come up, so it was rather uniquely interesting. But, it did spark my curiosity to write a post, so I figure, it wasn’t too unusual to add this post to my blog.
I do have the interesting little dichotomy between my “pagan” practices and my “witchcraft” practices. I suppose that stems from some other parts of my personality and mentality, that I like order and function in my life, as I’ve already pointed out. So things work best for me when cleanly ordered and organized in ways that are convenient for myself. The more conveniently organized to my standards, the clearer I find everything to be. I wrote my last functionalism piece in dealing with mostly my daily life. It was not really anything much to do with my practices. That post was a bit more groundwork than anything else.
This time I want to focus on the more specific term that everyone keeps searching for, and on more pertinent examples that seem to draw people to my blog. I like relevance. And it seems people are interested in what I have to say, at least partially here, so I’ll share my personal opinions here.
Functionalism has far more to do with paganism/polytheism for me than it does with witchcraft. I am more fond of functionalism in things that do not require of experimentation. Polytheism for me has more functionalism to do with it than witchcraft does, because there isn’t as much experimentation to be done. There is some, absolutely no denying that fact, but it seems to me, rationally, that there is less experimentation there than in witchcraft practices. Perhaps that is personal bias or ideology, but that is how it has always seemed to me.
Since functionalism is to me based in being rational and functional, what is functional in its place, I don’t like basing anything in my life on this kind of relational thing that can’t actually be determined thus. I mean…experimental relations, such as witchcraft is for me, cannot be totally functional. There will be misfires, things that do not totally go as they should the first time, that go out of place…so it’s not functional, not fully. Therefore, for me, witchcraft is not functional, not as part of my “functionalism” as such. Because things are going to be off at the start, and therefore I cannot see there being, for my practices “functionalism in witchcraft”. It won’t exist, because witchcraft has too many unknowns, too many things that will change and warp, that are dependent upon other factors. That isn’t functional to place within a set and defined system, and therefore cannot then be totally part of any system.
However, polytheism for me can be functional.
In my view, the gods and spirits have various purposes that are unique and necessary within the system to their own. They might overlap at times, and sometimes might seem to contradict. Still, the purposes are set, and they fit within the system. Polytheism is easier to put within the framework of structuralism, which is my way of seeing the world. Things might sometimes clash within the system, but mostly they stay in their usual places. Functionalism in polytheism means, for me, that things have their place and purpose, that they sit where they ought and remain comfortably out of where they ought not. So, if something is certainly not a home spirit, it will not ever be a home spirit, whereas, if it is a god of prosperity, it will act in such a way that goes along that path.
Witchcraft however, is different, because unexpected events can unfold. One might do magic or a spell for one purpose, and unusual results can show up. Or also, as I think, it can show up in unintentional side-effects of sorts. Not always, but since experimentation is essential, things will crop up at times, and unintentional will happen on at least rare occasions.
So functionalism is not, for me, possible, in witchcraft. Experimentation makes it almost impossible in my worldview.∗