I.5.6.2 MAGIC


Magic is practiced in many cultures, and utilizes ways of understanding, experiencing and influencing the world in a manner akin to that of religion. Hanegraaff argues that magic is in fact “…a largely polemical concept that has been used by various religious interest groups either to describe their own religious beliefs and practices or – more frequently – to discredit those of others”.

The belief in and the practice of magic has been present since the earliest human cultures and continues to have an important religious and medicinal role in many cultures today. Magic is the concept by which supernatural forces can be approached. The term “magic” has been derived from the French word “magi” which is used to refer the secret deeds. Unlike religion, the rituals are performed here in order to compel the supernatural power to act in particular ways. It never involves praising or praying, rather it commands on super nature to serve good or evil purposes. Magic and religion are though the opposite approaches but they seem have always existed together.

The imitative magic is based on the principle of similarity, whereas the contagious magic is based on the principle of contact. The first principles derived from the assumption that, like objects and acts has an affinity with each other. Contagious magic works in a different way. The non-literates are often frightened to use the other’s clothing. This is not for hygiene-consciousness, but for the anxiety of being harmed. Clothes are considered as parts of person’s body who use them. So evil can be done on them very easily and the user affected. This is also true for the nail cuttings, hair trimmings, bodily excretions and some other extremely personal belongings. Magicians are in the habit of collecting these things in order to harm an enemy or undesirable person. Sometimes the name of the person used in contagious magic.

Magic may be good or bad according to the values of the society concerned .the magic, which aim s at good ends, is called “white “magic, where as “black “magic has an evil objective. Both of them are found in all societies but the standards of judgment vary from culture to culture. The counter the “black magic”, the charms, amulets and spells are widely used. These are the protective devices against devils, sprits and other malevolent forces. Wearing of small objects like charm on talisman protects the believer from much danger. Sir Frazer equated magic with modern science he said that the cause- effect phenomenon of magic coincides with experimentations observation of science. Frazer not only reduced his magical principles into laws; he also distinguished a theoretical as well as a practical aspect of magic. Practical magic consists of some positive and negative devices include sorcery, witchcraft etc. while the negative devices contain a number of taboos. However, sorcery and witchcraft both are the symptomatic expressions of social tension and conflict.


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