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     Some food for thought for those of us who are fond of the word

     "... as  the symbolic  background of  magical techniques  as well  as their
     deployment  in official ceremonies shows, the  transition between magic and
     religion is very  fluid.  Since  religious symbols are  always a  synthesis
     between the visible and the invisible, they may be looked upon as signposts
     in  the  search  for  religious  meaning,  or  misinterpreted  as  ends  in
     themselves.  In this sense each ritual may be either religious or magical,
     conditional upon the intention of the participants.

               Distinctionscan be made, as precise as the symbols and principles
     employed allow,  among various types of  magic.  Substitute  Magic is based
     upon the idea that a part  substitutes for the whole, thereby reversing the
     transcendental principle that the part may represent the whole.  Man seizes
     power over  someone  else by  possessing parts  of him,  e.g. bones,  hair,
     nails, etc.  Contagious magic obtains when the substitution of the part
     for the  whole is only partially  realized and integrated into  a scheme of
     causal  connection.   By touching  or wearing  power-laden objects  such as
     relics, fetishes, sacred stones, amulets, etc. or even by assimilating them
     as in the case of  cannibalism, man integrates him-self and his  deeds into
     the efficacy of an invisible power structure.  Sympathetic magic deals with
     symbols  and  their  supposed   unity  or  sympathy  with  that   which  is
     sympathized.   It differs from substitute magic by the ideational character
     of the substitution.  Examples are the anticipation of a successful hunt by
     striking a picture of the animal;  the manipulation of pictures and figures
     in general; the use of  curse figurines or dolls; the deployment  of arcane
     formulas,  both in  connection with pictures  and statues  or independently
     from them.    In  this latter  instance,  the practice  of  subjecting  the
     godhead, a ghost, or an individual to one's will by means of a name or
     proper formula should also be mentioned.   Gnoseological magic appears as a
     more  or less autonomous type  when the instrumental  function of knowledge
     and  reason becomes an end in itself.  The knowledge of the right time, the
     right setting,  the  godhead proper  in  a given  situation,  is in  itself
     sufficient reason to achieve the  desired goal.  The world of the sacred as
     a means of orientation for the growth and meaning of  the person turns into
     a  state of  impersonal  and  mechanically  effective anonymity.    Ascetic
     technique becomes its own end, effective by its very deployment.

               As  a technique of reaching  goals by means  different from those
     required by these goals, magic is of particular significance for the social
     life of  a  community.   In  this regard  we  have to  distinguish  between
     official and private magic.  Official magic obtains when public affairs are
     treated by help of magical techniques, e.g., when a drought is counteracted
     by the imitative act of sprinkling water, or when the office of a shaman
     is a generally recognized institution.  Private magic on the  other hand is
     a matter of individuals and/or exclusive groups who, often in deep secrecy,
     use  their knowledge  and techniques  in order  to pursue  their particular

     From the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion. 

     ..........  FROM RMPJ, 2/3/1987


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