Part of the reason that we as people create and adopt technology is because it can be useful in situations where the non-technological method is more difficult or filled with inherent problems. For example, although reading a spiritual bit of prose or poetry from a handwritten scroll can be quite atmospheric, it is also difficult to do in low light. A backlit eBook reader could solve this problem without resorting to the need of reading candles next to flammable paper.
As a whole, pagans and Craft folk especially can be rather twitchy about the idea of electronics and other forms of technology in circle. When I was first training in group work, I was told that bringing electronics into circle was a surefire way to have shorted out electronics. I've also known folks who can bring them into circle just fine. (From my experience, having electronics on one's person in a circle tends to make the electronics go wonky, but if they are not on the person, they tend to do fine.)
So what are your thoughts? What technology would you bring into circle and what do you think is either unwise, impractical, or just tacky?
I struggle with this too. On one hand, there are times the technology is really useful. On the other hand, there are so many ways it's entwined in our lives that I really value ritual without any of it, as a way to get back to a very internal perspective, the same way that we change clothes, or put on specific jewelry, or whatever as part of ritual.
In terms of technology in circle: my current home is very small, and there's really no way to avoid electronics in circle (the one place my printer fits, for example, is in my front room where we do circle, and it's the one location that works for my router, since I get my internet from the city-wide wireless network and need to have the router as close as possible to the nearest access point for good signal.)
And because the house is so small (20ft x 20ft), I often expand the cast circle around the entire space, not just the front room, so we have a little more flexibility. (Especially if we're working on a project where hands might need washing, etc.) And that obviously takes in my laptop, phone, iPod, etc. I've never had problems with my technology due to that. I do take some steps to help with that: my major technology gets a name and to some sense an identity, so that they become, in effect, magical tools in their own right, even if I use them only outside of formal ritual circles.
That said, I generally don't use the technology for anything in circle beyond playlists during longer tasks in some rituals (creating a talisman, preparing a candle for candle magic, that kind of thing.) I love that I can put together a suitable list of music and then shuffle it and trust that what we actually listen to will be the right thing. (Of course, one can do this with a CD player as well, for a solution that at least doesn't involve a computer or an iPod/speakers, but that's one more step in production, and it's limited in size.) I also will have music on when people arrive, that's suitable to the season or ritual focus.
I'm a solitary Dianic and Technopagan and if not on my person technology works fine. I frequently perform rites with my laptop smack in the middle of my circle. I do make sure to have a piece of quartz on it to act as a lightning rod. That's a good idea for any tech that you bring to circles, by the way, strap a piece of quartz to it. It'll be able to handle the energy shifts much easier then.
As for the twitchy reaction to technology in the circle by others, I tend to think of technology as an extension of the human mind. It's Spirit. If implemented correctly into a modern religion like Wicca it doesn't need to be a problem at all.
What a wonderful topic for a forum to discuss,
thank you for starting this thread.
My first comment would have to be that I am a self-confessed techno-phobe,
so the whole notion of me joining this part of the forum seems a bit of a silly idea, really,
but perhaps it's also my way of attempting to grasp the nettle and I would ask that you think kindly of me in that regard.
My second comment is that I am the kind of witch who unfortunately stops watches, sends photo-copiers off to photo-copier Summerlands in a cloud of smoke, has kettles that won't boil, lamps that won't light, can't retrieve messages from an answer phone to save her life (I just get clicks and static) and so on,
so the phobe in me has reason to be there, and it clearly isn't a one-way street!!!
The only thing I seem to have any level of success with is my Apple Mac, when FireFox isn't updating and making like hard for me that is.
I use it to keep in touch with the rest of my friends and to see what's happening in the world, and to source things including reference materials to support my learning, although I realize there's a lot out there one has to take with a pinch of salt these days as nobody Police's the tinterwebby and my gosh there's a lot of waffle out there...
I won't carry a mobile phone on principle.
I've managed without one all my life so far, I will continue to manage without one...
Don't know if it's as risky to one's health as some make out... but that's part of it.
But mainly it's because I can't be doing with all that charging it up, remembering where I've left it... loading information in it, deleting it when it's changed and updating it, the bills... lost signals... Not having the latest one.. having to buy this app and that app... geesh, it's worse than having a new born baby to contend with... well no, it's not for this old witch.
Having said all of that, I do love IPods because music is my life.
Not that I have one of my own, I borrow my Son's from time to time, so he does all the tecchie stuff with it for me...
I do prepare playlists on it which I use in solitary Esbats and Sabbats and I find that very helpful and fulfilling.
However, I really do miss sleeve art from the old days, when vinyl Albums came in big cardboard folders and sat in rows on the shelf so you could look at them anytime you felt like it...
As to Kindles etc over paper and written word, I can see how backlit scripture might be handy in some circles.. naked flame of fire, or candle, isn't always the best way to read a scroll that's blowing in the breeze, no, but I use a "daylight" style LED torch and manage just fine.
I love the smell and feel of old books, something sadly lacking from these new electronic gizmo's.
Some argue that having things plugged into a mains socket near where you try to meditate or sleep or perform ritual etc can disturb the proceedings on a metaphysical level somehow, I'm on the fence about that.
I think I can understand how some... sensitive types... might find it so, but I have no reason to say it's like that with me - so far! But we shall see... Things can change, I know...
Just a few of my ramblings on the subject!!!
I never thought about the idea of putting my ritual in pdf format for my kindle...I'm the type that has trouble seeing by candle light. It just puts too much strain on my eyes and I end up with a headache. I'll have to try that and see how it goes...
We talk about religion needing to be fluid and living and able to change with the times. I also know there is something to be said for holding to tradition. Maybe this is a place that's somewhere in the middle? There are people (like the previous poster) that have small homes or apartments and can't avoid having technology in circle. There are others that can't get away to be in nature and end up surrounded by their own (or neighbor's) technology whether they want to be or not. There is also something to be said for if its turned off, on, or on "standby".
If we figure out how it affects rituals and magic, then I don't see why it can't end up being incorporated and its use written into the magic intentionally.
I never really thought about it before, but I actually use technology quite a bit. I focus more on meditation in general than actual circles and spoken rituals, and usually visualize myself reaching out like walking a pathway in my meditation, but I use certain sounds an queues that I've downloaded and play aloud. I've gone as far as to pre-record a meditation guide (kind of like self-hypnosis i guess) and use it to help me focus in a deep meditation on a specific goal before. I guess it isn't quite the same as actual incorporation into a ritual though.