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The Internet as a Magical Tool
by Link   

Ever consider the internet as a magical tool?  Often the most magical of tools are not the ones we keep on our altar, but the ones that surround us every day, in places we never thought to look.  The internet is one of the fastest growing "entities" in today's culture.  Is it magical?  Try it and decide for yourself. 

What is the Internet?

If you're new to this, here's a simple explanation of the internet:  via computers and telephone lines, just about anyone has the ability to store pictures and text for others to access.  How does it all work?  (Who knows.  I say it's magic!)

The internet is no more complicated than a big ol' magazine rack.  It's merely a way to find information on thousands of special interests, from bicycling, to beer, to Buddhism.  But not only can we read this information -- we can publish our own!  For the first time in history, anyone can put their thoughts and ideas into the public domain.  This creates many exchanges that otherwise would not occur, taking freedom of the press further than you could ever imagine!  You don't even need to own a computer, since internet access is available from many libraries, schools and shopping malls.  Some trendy restaurants have even jumped on the bandwagon, offering internet service right at the dinner table!  (Would you like fries with that?)

The internet is linked together in what we call the World-Wide Web (www for short).  What a wonderful analogy to the way all things link together in nature.  Each "place" on the web (known as a website) has a unique address, similar to the way a phone number is unique.  And just like making a phone call, you can reach places both domestic or international via the internet.  You can get to a website by typing in its unique address.  Don't know the address?  The internet has a variety of "search engines" that act like online directory assistance when you enter a topic or key word.  For example, if you search under the word "Pagan" you will find hundreds of Pagan websites!  (You will also find things like Pagano's Deli or other non-related sites that just happen to have similar words.  Asking for things on the web is like any other form of magic.  Thoughtfully choose the words you use, and be careful what you ask for...)

A wide variety of Pagan groups and personalities have created their own websites.  Want to find out more about a specific Tradition, pantheon or holiday?  Want to learn more about a specific author?  Looking for a hard-to-find book or ritual item?  Maybe you'd like to find other Pagans nearby, or around the globe?  Go online.  Touch the web, and let it touch you.  You may be surprised with what you find.  Don't take this tool for granted.  Communication is especially valuable in towns where there are no openly Pagan activities.  The internet helps expand our community, similar to the good done by Pagan books, newsletters and other forms of communication. 

The Nature of the Internet

Following a nature-based religion provides lessons by seeing beauty in the world around us.  We can learn much by looking at how seeds sprout or how rivers flow.  It is equally important to remember that "human nature" is a part of nature, not something separate.  And thus, so are the things we create.  It is our nature to create things, like the way a forest makes trees and the way trees make leaves.  This includes art, music, science -- and even things like the internet.  When you think about the internet -- thousands of data networks all linked together -- see it as an analogy to the way all things interconnect with one another.  You may find it similar to other aspects of nature that branch out and flow.  (As online, so offline?) 

Is the Internet Magical?

 After the break-up of the Bell System in 1984, the federal government decided that new telecommunications technologies (like the internet) were valuable investments in society's future.  The government helped fledgling data communications providers companies grow by keeping them exempt from certain phone costs, known as access charges.  Today, this is how internet companies can afford to provide you with "unlimited usage."  The point is, something new was conceived, nurtured and helped to grow.

As it grew, each person who used the internet helped shape it, whether by reading or writing or creating colorful artwork.  Some say a basic definition of magic is the focusing of energy to cause change.  The energies of government planning, personal creativity, and diverse interests oy millions of users all became focused in concert to make the internet happen.  Is this any different than magic?

When people can share new ideas, they find many new ways to grow.  They find new friends, teachers and students; they share new types of union.  They cause change.  And if that's not magic, what is?   

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