NOTE: This is my opinion, not the way it should be. If you get offended, this is an opinion only.
I've been on this Pagan journey for the better part of 18 yrs, while actively practicing for the past 4. Back when I was in college & exploring this path, I became enthralled with it. The mythologies, Deities, pantheons resonated with me on a level I never knew in my strict Anglican upbringing. I eagerly gobbled up what I could find on the Old Ways. In my naivete, I read books by less-than-stellar authors ($RW, for example) and in those early days of the internet, whatever I could find on the slow dial-up at the library.
There was a few things that I couldn't grasp in Paganism. Why was everyone so eager to jump on the crystal bandwagon?? When I look back to history and how the cunningfolk did things, they used what was around them: plants, kitchen implements, etc I don't think that they had access to crystals, like we do today and the means to extract crystals from the Earth is a harmful method. Why should we do harm to the Earth in order to aide on our path? Seems pointless to me. During the 20th century it has crept into Paganism from the New Agers. I do understand that there is a fine line between Neo-Paganism & the New Age movement, even books on Paganism are found in the New Age section in bookstores. Even in the Pagan bookstores, there is a huge crystal section. I try to honor the Deities with how I live, I am not be a person who has to do a ritual for everything or for every Esbat & Sabbat, but I do things that I feel are right for me.
I've tried to read books on crystals & their properties, what their correspondences are, which Diety they go with, but I never "got it" It never made sense to me. I know that to a lot of you, having a quartz or a piece of selenite as part of your workings works for you and that's great if it does. To me, they look pretty on an altar. I have tried working with crystals, but there was no spiritual connection there for me. So are crystals an enhancement to your practice, or something that was read in a book suggesting that you use them?
Ok, if that didn't squish your toes enough, how about Reiki. I see a lot of people using this form of Japanese healing to go along with their Pagan path. Reiki is great, I've tried it, very relaxing and refreshing to the energy field. But, along with crystals, it became popular with the whole New Age movement, where bodily energy fields became the "thing" to work with. I do know that in the Craft, we work with energy fields, but did the cunningwoman use a form of "laying on of hands" (to borrow a Christian term) to help those in need of her wisdom? I see that she may have used the herbs & plants around her to help with her workings/healings. Magic is working with the energies around us for a multitude of things. Reiki is a relaxation technique that also promotes healing. It was developed in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist and is used by a multitude of Pagans, but is not Pagan in origin, nor is it an ancient practice. So, I ask my question again, is this an enhancement to the Craft or just more New Age fluff that is making its way into Paganism? I find a lot of Pagans using things to enhance their path, but I wonder if this due to the large influence the New Age movement of the past century had on modern Paganism. Besides crystals, I have heard of the use of pyramids to keep one centered, the idea of people being defined as Indigo, Crystal & Rainbow, to use as some examples.
I was asked why I am against Paganism & Wicca. I'm not against Paganism, just the fact that it has gotten away from its roots. I'm also not against Wicca, just I have issues with Gardner & his thievery of other Hermetic orders to come up with a religion that is as rigid as some Christian faiths. As I stated at the start of this posting, this is my opinion and not the way it has to be, I may have stepped on toes, I may even have offended some, but I see no use for New Age things in my beliefs. I come to honor the Deities, live in harmony with Mother Gaia and I don't need pretty colored rocks to aid me or someone to place their hands in my energy to heal me. Does that make me cynical? Perhaps, but I like to think of it as getting back to the good old days of being Pagan, which a lot of us have forgotten to do.