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Dec 11, 2008

Various types of magic can also be categorized by the techniques involved in their operation. For example, there are contagious magic and sympathetic magic, one or both of which may be employed in any magical work. Contagious magic involves the use of physical ingredients which were once in contact with the person or thing the practitioner intends to influence. Sympathetic magic involves the use of images or physical objects which in some way resemble the person or thing one hopes to influence; voodoo dolls are an example.

Other common categories given to magic include High and Low Magic. Manifest and Subtle magic typically refers to magic of legend rather than what many individuals who practice the occult claim to use as magic, where Manifest magic is magic that immediately appears with a result, and Subtle magic being magic that gradually and intangibly alters the world.

Dec 11, 2008

More recent periods of renewed interest in magic occurred around the end of the 19th century, because Symbolism and other offshoots of Romanticism cultivated a renewed interest in exotic spiritualities. European colonialism, which put Westerners in contact with India and Egypt, reintroduced exotic beliefs to Europeans at this time. Hindu and Egyptian mythology frequently feature in nineteenth century magical texts.

The late 19th century gave birth to a large number of magical organizations, including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Theosophical Society, and specifically magical variants on Freemasonry. The Golden Dawn represented perhaps the peak of this wave of magic, attracting cultural celebrities like William Butler Yeats, Algernon Blackwood, and Arthur Machen.

Oct 9, 2008

Ancient history tells us a lot about formation of magic. Appearing from aboriginal tribes in Australia and Maori tribes in New Zealand to rainforest tribes in South America, bush tribes in Africa and ancient Pagan tribal groups in Europe and the British Isles, some form of shamanic contact with the spirit world seems to be nearly universal in the early development of human communities. I was observing with excitement at the office of my local web analytics company photos of the ancient cave paintings in France and Germany, that were widely speculated to be early magical formulations, intended to produce successful hunts. While going through other sources I could not help noticing, that much of the Babylonian and Egyptian pictorial writing characters appear derived from the same sources.

Although indigenous magical traditions persist to this day, very early on some communities transitioned from nomadic to agricultural civilizations, and with this shift, the development of spiritual life mirrored that of civic life. Just as tribal elders were consolidated and transformed into kings and bureaucrats, so too were shamans and adepts devolved into priests and a priestly caste. This shift is by no means in nomenclature alone. While the shaman's task was to negotiate between the tribe and the spirit world, on behalf of the tribe, as directed by the collective will of the tribe, the priest's role was to transfer instructions from the deities to the city-state, on behalf of the deities, as directed by the will of those deities. This shift represents the first major usurpation of power by distancing magic from those participating in that magic. It is at this stage of development that highly elaborate rituals, setting the stage for formal religions, began to emerge, such as the funeral rites of the Egyptians and the sacrifice rituals of the Babylonians, Persians, Aztecs and Mayans.


 

 
 
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Ekaterina G.
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Delray Beach, FL, USA
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