PAGANISM & PSYCHOLOGY. Psychological Research on Spells, Magic, WitchcraftwithDr Charmaine Sonnex

What can psychology tell us about Paganism? Does science study Magic Spells and their effect? Are Pagans happier?

00:00 Dr Charmain Sonnex covers the following topics:

1:52 Spellcasting and the Efficacy of Pagan Healing Spells

3:47 Research Methodology

6:50 Search for core concepts of Pagan Spell Casting

8:54 Double-Blind Methodology

10:00 How the healing spells worked

11:23 Timing of Healing Spells

12:40 How were the people to be healed selected?

14:20 Research Findings and conclusions to the study

17:20 Relationship between religious orientation, nature connectedness and happiness

18:12 The concept of Eudaimonia. What is Eudaimonia?

24:00 Can Pagan Practices foster Eudaimonia?

25:09 Self-acceptance. How Pagans’ connection to Nature allows to embrace all the elements of the self and the body (e.g. sex, body positivity, ageing)

26:30 Autonomy and Environmental Mastery. Paganism highlights the personal agency

27:39 Positive Relations in Paganism and Sense of Community

28:23 Interconnectedness whereby Magic works

28:41 Purpose in Life

31:14 Why do people believe in and practise Paganism?

33:31 What’s the current state of research in the field of Psychology on the matter of Paganism and Magical practices?

34:50 The ‘Coming Home’ Theory. People report encountering Paganism made them feel like they were coming home

35:53 The concept of Flow

36:12 The importance of studying Paganism from a scientific and psychological point of view



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Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond boredom and anxiety. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Ezzy, D. (2014). Sex, death and witchcraft: A contemporary pagan festival. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Harrington, M. (2002). The long journey home; a study of the conversion profiles of 35 British Wiccan men. Revista de Estudos da Religião, 2, 18-50.

Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness Is Everything or Is It? Explorations on the Meaning of Psychological Wellbeing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081.


Roe, C., Sonnex, C., & Roxburgh, E. (2015) Two Meta-Analyses of Noncontact Healing Studies, EXPLORE The Journal of Science and Healing, 11 (1), 11-23

Sonnex, C. (2017) Testing the pagan prescription: using a randomised controlled trial to investigate pagan spell casting as a form of noncontact healing PhD thesis. University of Northampton.

Shadrack, J., Sonnex, C. and Roe, C. (2019) Ritual Occultation and The Space Between Worlds: Exploring The Discursive Nature of The “Flow” State in Black Metal and Pagan Performative Practice. In McLaughlin, C. (ed) Trans- states: The art of crossing over Fulgur Press .

Sonnex, C., Roe, C., & Roxburgh, E. (in press) Flow, liminality, and eudaimonia: Pagan ritual practice as a gateway to a life with meaning Journal of Humanistic Psychology special issue; Anomalous Lifeworlds: Mysticism, Magic and Expanded Consciousness.

Sonnex, C., Roe, C. & Roxburgh, E. (in press) Testing the pagan prescription: using a randomised controlled trial to investigate pagan spell casting as a form of noncontact healing. Journal of Complementary and Alternative medicine.

Music by Erose MusicBand. Check them out!

Published on May 30, 2020