Magic (paranormal)

Magic (paranormal)

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Encyclopedia
Magic is the claimed art
Skill
A skill is the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills...

 of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult
Occult
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

 laws unknown to science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical analysis, whereas practitioners of magic claim it is an inexplicable force beyond logic. Magic has been practiced in all cultures, and utilizes ways of understanding, experiencing and influencing the world somewhat akin to those offered by religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, though it is sometimes regarded as more focused on achieving results than religious worship. Magic is often viewed with suspicion by the wider community, and is commonly practised in isolation and secrecy.

Modern Western magicians generally state magic's primary purpose to be personal spiritual growth
Spiritual formation
Spiritual formation is the growth and development of the whole person by an intentional focus on one’s* spiritual and interior life* interactions with others in ordinary life...

. Modern perspectives on the theory of magic broadly follow two views, which also correspond closely to ancient views. The first sees magic as a result of a universal sympathy within the universe, where if something is done here a result happens somewhere else. The other view sees magic as a collaboration with spirits who cause the effect.

Etymology


Through late 14th century Old French magique, the word "magic" derives via Latin magicus from the Greek adjective magikos (μαγικός) used in reference to the "magical" arts of the Magi
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

cians (Greek: magoi, singular mágos, μάγος); the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 astrologer priests. Greek mágos is first attested in Heraclitus
Heraclitus
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom...

 (6th century BC, apud. Clement
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

 Protrepticus 12) who curses the Magians and others for their "impious rites".

Likewise, sorcery was taken in ca. 1300 from Old French sorcerie, which is from Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

 *sortiarius, from sors "fate", apparently meaning "one who influences fate".

Rituals


Magical rituals are the precisely defined actions (including speech) used to work magic. Bronisław Malinowski describes ritual language as possessing a high "coefficient of weirdness", by which he means that the language used in ritual is archaic and out of the ordinary, which helps foster the proper mindset to believe in the ritual. S. J. Tambiah notes, however, that even if the power of the ritual is said to reside in the words, "the words only become effective if uttered in a very special context of other action." These other actions typically consist of gestures, possibly performed with special objects at a particular place or time. Object, location, and performer may require purification
Ritual purification
Ritual purification is a feature of many religions. The aim of these rituals is to remove specifically defined uncleanliness prior to a particular type of activity, and especially prior to the worship of a deity...

 beforehand. This caveat draws a parallel to the felicity conditions
Felicity conditions
In J.L. Austin's formulation of Speech act theory, a performative utterance is neither true nor false, but can instead be deemed "felicitous" or "infelicitous" according to a set of conditions whose interpretation differs depending on whether the utterance in question is a declaration , a request ...

 J. L. Austin requires of performative utterances. By "performativity" Austin means that the ritual act itself achieves the stated goal. For example, a wedding ceremony can be understood as a ritual, and only by properly performing the ritual does the marriage occur. Émile Durkheim stresses the importance of rituals as a tool to achieve "collective effervescence
Collective Effervescence
Collective effervescence is a perceived energy formed by a gathering of people as might be experienced at a sporting event, a carnival, a rave, or a riot...

", which serves to help unify society. Psychologists, on the other hand, describe rituals in comparison to obsessive-compulsive rituals, noting that attentional focus falls on the lower level representation of simple gestures. This results in goal demotion, as the ritual places more emphasis on performing the ritual just right than on the connection between the ritual and the goal. However, the purpose of ritual is to act as a focus and the effect will vary depending on the individual.

Magical symbols



Magic often utilizes symbols that are thought to be intrinsically efficacious. Anthropologists, such as Sir James Frazer (1854–1938), have characterized the implementation of symbols into two primary categories: the "principle of similarity", and the "principle of contagion." Frazer further categorized these principles as falling under "sympathetic magic
Sympathetic magic
Sympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence.-Similarity and contagion:The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough...

", and "contagious magic." Frazer asserted that these concepts were "general or generic laws of thought, which were misapplied in magic."

The Principle of Similarity


The principle of similarity, also known as the "association of ideas", which falls under the category of sympathetic magic, is the thought that if a certain result follows a certain action, then that action must be responsible for the result. Therefore, if one is to perform this action again, the same result can again be expected. One classic example of this mode of thought is that of the rooster and the sunrise. When a rooster crows, it is a response to the rising of the sun. Based on sympathetic magic, one might interpret these series of events differently. The law of similarity would suggest that since the sunrise follows the crowing of the rooster, the rooster must have caused the sun to rise. Causality
Causality
Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

 is inferred where it might not otherwise have been. Therefore, a practitioner might believe that if he is able to cause the rooster to crow, he will be able to control the timing of the sunrise. Another use of the principle of similarity is the construction and manipulation of representations of some target to be affected (e.g. voodoo dolls), believed to bring about a corresponding effect on the target (e.g. breaking a limb of a doll will bring about an injury in the corresponding limb of someone depicted by the doll).

The Principle of Contagion


Another primary type of magical thinking includes the principle of contagion
Contagion
Contagion may refer to:In medicine:* Infectious disease, also known as contagious disease, with infection, or the infectious agent, also known as contagionIn media* Batman: Contagion, a story arc in the Batman comic book series...

. This principle suggests that once two objects come into contact with each other, they will continue to affect each other even after the contact between them has been broken. One example that Tambiah gives is related to adoption. Among some American Indians, for example, when a child is adopted his or her adoptive mother will pull the child through some of her clothes, symbolically representing the birth process and thereby associating the child with herself. Therefore, the child emotionally becomes hers even though their relationship is not biological. As Claude Lévi-Strauss would put it: the birth "would consist, therefore, in making explicit a situation originally existing on the emotional level and in rendering acceptable to the mind pains which the body refuses to tolerate…the woman believes in the myth and belongs to a society which believes in it."

Symbols, for many cultures that use magic, are seen as a type of technology. Natives might use symbols and symbolic actions to bring about change and improvements, much like Western cultures might use advanced irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 techniques to promote soil fertility and crop growth. Michael Brown discusses the use of nantag stones among the Aguaruna
Aguaruna
For the Aguaruna people's language, see Aguaruna language.The Aguaruna are an indigenous people of the Peruvian jungle. Historically, they lived primarily on the banks of the Marañón River, a tributary of the Amazon in northern Peru near the border with Ecuador...

 as being similar to this type of "technology." These stones are brought into contact with stem cuttings of plants like manioc before they are planted in an effort to promote growth. Nantag are powerful tangible symbols of fertility, so they are brought into contact with crops to transmit their fertility to the plants.

Others argue that ritualistic actions are merely therapeutic. Tambiah cites the example of a native hitting the ground with a stick. While some may interpret this action as symbolic (i.e. the man is trying to make the ground yield crops through force), others would simply see a man unleashing his frustration at poor crop returns. Ultimately, whether or not an action is symbolic depends upon the context of the situation as well as the ontology of the culture. Many symbolic actions are derived from mythology and unique associations, whereas other ritualistic actions are just simple expressions of emotion and are not intended to enact any type of change.

Magical language


The performance of magic almost always involves the use of language. Whether spoken out loud or unspoken, words are frequently used to access or guide magical power. In "The Magical Power of Words" (1968) S. J. Tambiah argues that the connection between language and magic is due to a belief in the inherent ability of words to influence the universe. Bronisław Malinowski, in Coral Gardens and their Magic
Coral Gardens and their Magic
Coral Gardens and Their Magic, properly Coral Gardens and Their Magic: A Study of the Methods of Tilling the Soil and of Agricultural Rites in the Trobriand Islands, is the final book in anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski's ethnographic trilogy on the lives of the Trobriand Islanders...

(1935), suggests that this belief is an extension of man's basic use of language to describe his surroundings, in which "the knowledge of the right words, appropriate phrases and the more highly developed forms of speech, gives man a power over and above his own limited field of personal action." Magical speech is therefore a ritual act and is of equal or even greater importance to the performance of magic than non-verbal acts.

Not all speech is considered magical. Only certain words and phrases or words spoken in a specific context are considered to have magical power. Magical language, according to C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards
I. A. Richards
Ivor Armstrong Richards was an influential English literary critic and rhetorician....

's (1923) categories of speech, is distinct from scientific language because it is emotive and it converts words into symbols for emotions; whereas in scientific language words are tied to specific meanings and refer to an objective external reality. Magical language is therefore particularly adept at constructing metaphors that establish symbols and link magical rituals to the world.

Malinowski argues that "the language of magic is sacred, set and used for an entirely different purpose to that of ordinary life." The two forms of language are differentiated through word choice, grammar, style, or by the use of specific phrases or forms: prayers
Prayers
is an anime set in the year 2014 where the young of Japan have rebelled against the government for segregating Shibuya and declared themselves to be independent of Japan...

, spells, songs, blessings, or chants, for example. Sacred modes of language often employ archaic words and forms in an attempt to invoke the purity or "truth" of a religious or a cultural "golden age". The use of Hebrew in Judaism is an example.

Another potential source of the power of words is their secrecy and exclusivity. Much sacred language is differentiated enough from common language that it is incomprehensible to the majority of the population and it can only be used and interpreted by specialized practitioners (magicians, priests, shamans, even mullahs). In this respect, Tambiah argues that magical languages violate the primary function of language: communication. Yet adherents of magic are still able to use and to value the magical function of words by believing in the inherent power of the words themselves and in the meaning that they must provide for those who do understand them. This leads Tambiah to conclude that "the remarkable disjunction between sacred and profane language which exists as a general fact is not necessarily linked to the need to embody sacred words in an exclusive language."

Magicians


A magician is any practitioner of magic; therefore a magician may be a specialist or a common practitioner, even if he or she does not consider himself a magician. All that is required is the possession of esoteric knowledge, traits, or expertise that are culturally acknowledged to harbor magical powers.

Magical knowledge is usually passed down from one magician to another through family or apprenticeships, though in some cultures it may also be purchased. The information transferred usually consists of instructions on how to perform a variety of rituals, manipulate magical objects, or how to appeal to gods or to other supernatural forces. Magical knowledge is often well guarded, as it is a valuable commodity to which each magician believes that he has a proprietary right.

Yet the possession of magical knowledge alone may be insufficient to grant magical power; often a person must also possess certain magical objects, traits or life experiences in order to be a magician. Among the Azande
Azande
The Azande are a tribe of north Central Africa. Their number is estimated by various sources at between 1 and 4 million....

, for example, in order to question an oracle a man must have both the physical oracle (poison, or a washboard, for example) and knowledge of the words and the rites needed to make the object function.

A variety of personal traits may be credited to magical power, though frequently they are associated with an unusual birth into the world. For example, in 16th century Friuli
Friuli
Friuli is an area of northeastern Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the province of Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia, excluding Trieste...

, babies born with the caul
Caul
A caul is a thin, filmy membrane, the amnion, that can cover a newborn's head and face immediately after birth.-Obstetrics:A child "born with the caul" has a portion of the amniotic sac or membrane remaining on the head. There are two types of cauls. The most common caul is adhered to the head...

 were believed to be good witches, benandanti, who would engage evil witches in nighttime battles over the bounty of the next year's crops.

Certain post-birth experiences may also be believed to convey magical power. For example a person's survival of a near-death illness may be taken as evidence of their power as a healer: in Bali a medium's survival is proof of her association with a patron deity and therefore her ability to communicate with other gods and spirits. Initiations are perhaps the most commonly used ceremonies to establish and to differentiate magicians from common people. In these rites the magician's relationship to the supernatural and his entry into a closed professional class is established, often through rituals that simulate death and rebirth into a new life.

Given the exclusivity of the criteria needed to become a magician, much magic is performed by specialists. Laypeople will likely have some simple magical rituals for everyday living, but in situations of particular importance, especially when health or major life events are concerned, a specialist magician will often be consulted. The powers of both specialist and common magicians are determined by culturally accepted standards of the sources and the breadth of magic. A magician may not simply invent or claim new magic; the magician is only as powerful as his peers believe him to be.

In different cultures, various types of magicians may be differentiated based on their abilities, their sources of power, and on moral considerations, including divisions into different categories like sorcerer, witch, healer and others.

Witchcraft



In non-scientific societies, perceived magical attack is an ideology sometimes employed to explain personal or societal misfortune. In anthropological and historical contexts this is often termed witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

 or sorcery
Sorcery
Sorcery may refer to:* Magic * Maleficium * Witchcraft* Sorcery , a video game for the PlayStation 3 utilizing the PlayStation Move* Sorcery , 1995* Sorcery , 1974...

, and the perceived attackers 'witches' or 'sorcerers'. Their maleficium
Maleficium (sorcery)
Maleficium is a Latin term meaning "wrongdoing" or "mischief" and is used to describe malevolent, dangerous, or harmful magic, "evildoing" or "malevolent sorcery"...

 is often seen as a biological trait or an acquired skill. Known members of the community may be accused as witches, or the witches may be perceived as supernatural, non-human entities. In early modern
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

 Europe and Britain such accusations led to the executions of tens of thousands of people, who were seen to be in league with Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

. Those accused of being satanic 'witches' were often practitioners of (usually benign) folk magic, and the English term 'witch' was also sometimes used without its pejorative sense to describe such practitioners.

Definitions of relevant terminology


The foremost perspectives on magic in anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 are functionalist, symbolist and intellectualist. These three perspectives are used to describe how magic works in a society. The functionalist perspective, usually associated with Bronisław Malinowski, maintains that all aspects of society are meaningful and interrelated. In the functionalist perspective, magic performs a latent function in the society. The symbolist perspective researches the subtle meaning in rituals and myths that define a society and deals with questions of theodicy
Theodicy
Theodicy is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence , omniscience , and omnipotence . Theodicy is usually concerned with the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, due to the relevant...

 -- why do bad things happen to good people. Finally the intellectualist perspective, associated with Edward Burnett Tylor
Edward Burnett Tylor
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor , was an English anthropologist.Tylor is representative of cultural evolutionism. In his works Primitive Culture and Anthropology, he defined the context of the scientific study of anthropology, based on the evolutionary theories of Charles Lyell...

 and Sir James Frazer, regard magic as logical, but based on a flawed understanding of the world.

Magical thinking



The term 'magical thinking
Magical thinking
Magical thinking is causal reasoning that looks for correlation between acts or utterances and certain events. In religion, folk religion, and superstition, the correlation posited is between religious ritual, such as prayer, sacrifice, or the observance of a taboo, and an expected benefit or...

' in anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, and cognitive science
Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed , represented, and transformed in behaviour, nervous system or machine...

 refers to nonscientific causal reasoning often involving mistaken associative thinking, such as the perceived ability of the mind to affect the physical world (see the philosophical problem of mental causation
Problem of mental causation
The problem of mental causation is a conceptual issue in the philosophy of mind. That problem, in short, is how to account for the common-sense idea that intentional thoughts or intentional mental states are causes of intentional actions...

) or correlation
Correlation
In statistics, dependence refers to any statistical relationship between two random variables or two sets of data. Correlation refers to any of a broad class of statistical relationships involving dependence....

 mistaken for causation
Causation
Causation may refer to:* Causation , a key component to establish liability in both criminal and civil law* Causation in English law defines the requirement for liability in negligence...

. Perceived causal associations between actions or events may derive from symbolic associations such as metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

, metonym, and apparent synchronicity
Synchronicity
Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance and that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner...

.

Psychological theories of magic



Psychological theories treat magic as a personal phenomenon intended to meet individual needs, as opposed to a social phenomenon serving a collective purpose. The explanatory power of magic should not be underestimated, however. Both in the past and in the modern world magical belief systems can provide explanations for otherwise difficult or impossible to understand phenomena while providing a spiritual and metaphysical grounding for the individual. Furthermore, as both Brian Feltham and Scott E. Hendrix argue, magical beliefs need not represent a form of irrationality, nor should they be viewed as incompatible with modern views of the world.

Intellectualist perspectives



The belief that one can influence supernatural powers, by prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

, sacrifice
Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

 or invocation
Invocation
An invocation may take the form of:*Supplication or prayer.*A form of possession.*Command or conjuration.*Self-identification with certain spirits....

 goes back to prehistoric religion
Prehistoric religion
Prehistoric religion is a general term for the religious beliefs and practices of prehistoric peoples. More specifically it encompasses Paleolithic religion, Mesolithic religion, Neolithic religion and Bronze Age religion.-Burial:...

 and is present in early records such as the Egyptian pyramid texts
Pyramid Texts
The Pyramid Texts are a collection of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the time of the Old Kingdom. The pyramid texts are possibly the oldest known religious texts in the world. Written in Old Egyptian, the pyramid texts were carved on the walls and sarcophagi of the pyramids at Saqqara during...

 and the Indian Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

.

James George Frazer asserted that magical observations are the result of an internal dysfunction: "Men mistook the order of their ideas for the order of nature, and hence imagined that the control which they have, or seem to have, over their thoughts, permitted them to exercise a corresponding control over things."

Others, such as N. W. Thomas and Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 have rejected this explanation. Freud explains that "the associated theory of magic merely explains the paths along which magic proceeds; it does not explain its true essence, namely the misunderstanding which leads it to replace the laws of nature by psychological ones". Freud emphasizes that what led primitive men to come up with magic is the power of wishes: "His wishes are accompanied by a motor impulse, the will, which is later destined to alter the whole face of the earth in order to satisfy his wishes. This motor impulse is at first employed to give a representation of the satisfying situation in such a way that it becomes possible to experience the satisfaction by means of what might be described as motor hallucination
Hallucination
A hallucination, in the broadest sense of the word, is a perception in the absence of a stimulus. In a stricter sense, hallucinations are defined as perceptions in a conscious and awake state in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of real perception, in that they are vivid,...

s. This kind of representation of a satisfied wish is quite comparable to children's play, which succeeds their earlier purely sensory technique of satisfaction. [...] As time goes on, the psychological accent shifts from the motives for the magical act on to the measures by which it is carried out—that is, on to the act itself. [...] It thus comes to appear as though it is the magical act itself which, owing to its similarity with the desired result, alone determines the occurrence of that result."

Theories on the relationship of magic to religion



Magic and religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 are categories of beliefs and systems of knowledge used within societies. While generally considered distinct categories in western cultures, the interactions, similarities, and differences have been central to the study of magic for many theorists in sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, including Frazer, Mauss
Mauss
Mauss is a surname that may refer to the following people: , German-Austrian Roman Catholic priest and journalist , Austrian politician , French rock singer...

, S. J. Tambiah, Malinowski
Malinowski
Malinowski is a Polish surname. It may refer to the following:People:*Bronisław Malinowski , a Polish anthropologist.*Bronisław Malinowski , a Polish athlete.*Donald Malinowski , a Catholic priest and politician....

 and Isabelle Sarginson. From the intellectualist and functionalist perspectives, magic is often considered most analogous to science and technology.

Marcel Mauss


In A General Theory of Magic, Marcel Mauss
Marcel Mauss
Marcel Mauss was a French sociologist. The nephew of Émile Durkheim, Mauss' academic work traversed the boundaries between sociology and anthropology...

 classifies magic as a social phenomenon, akin to religion and science, but yet a distinct category. In practice, magic bears a strong resemblance to religion. Both use similar types of rites, materials, social roles and relationships to accomplish aims and engender belief. They both operate on similar principles, in particular those of consecration and sanctity of objects and places, interaction with supernatural powers mediated by an expert, employment of symbolism, sacrifice, purification and representation in rites, and the importance of tradition and continuation of knowledge. Magic and religion also share a collective character and totality of belief. The rules and powers of each are determined by the community's ideals and beliefs and so may slowly evolve. Additionally neither supports partial belief. Belief in one aspect of the phenomena necessitates belief in the whole, and each incorporates structural loopholes to accommodate contradictions.

The distinction Mauss draws between religion and magic is both of sentiment and practice. He portrays magic as an element of pre-modern societies and in many respects an antithesis of religion. Magic is secretive and isolated, and rarely performed publicly in order to protect and to preserve occult knowledge. Religion is predictable and prescribed and is usually performed openly in order to impart knowledge to the community. While these two phenomena do share many ritual forms, Mauss concludes that "a magical rite is any rite that does not play a part in organized cults. It is private, secret, mysterious and approaches the limit of prohibited rite." In practice, magic differs from religion in desired outcome. Religion seeks to satisfy moral and metaphysical ends, while magic is a functional art which often seeks to accomplish tangible results. In this respect magic resembles technology and science. Belief in each is diffuse, universal, and removed from the origin of the practice. Yet, the similarity between these social phenomena is limited, as science is based in experimentation and development, while magic is an "a priori belief." Mauss concludes that though magical beliefs and rites are most analogous to religion, magic remains a social phenomenon distinct from religion and science with its own characteristic rules, acts and aims.

Tambiah


According to Tambiah, magic, science, and religion all have their own "quality of rationality", and have been influenced by politics and ideology. Tambiah also believes that the perceptions of these three ideas have evolved over time as a result of Western thought. The lines of demarcation between these ideas depend upon the perspective of a variety of anthropologists, but Tambiah has his own opinions regarding magic, science, and religion.

According to Tambiah, religion is based on an organized community, and it is supposed to encompass all aspects of life. In religion, man is obligated to an outside power and he is supposed to feel piety towards that power. Religion is effective and attractive because it is generally exclusive and strongly personal. Also, because religion affects all aspects of life, it is convenient in the sense that morality and notions of acceptable behavior are imposed by God and the supernatural. Science, on the other hand, suggests a clear divide between nature and the supernatural, making its role far less all-encompassing than that of religion.

As opposed to religion, Tambiah suggests that mankind has a much more personal control over events. Science, according to Tambiah, is "a system of behavior by which man acquires mastery of the environment." Whereas in religion nature and the supernatural are connected and essentially interchangeable, in science, nature and the supernatural are clearly separate spheres. Also, science is a developed discipline; a logical argument is created and can be challenged. The base of scientific knowledge can be extended, while religion is more concrete and absolute. Magic, the less accepted of the three disciplines in Western society, is an altogether unique idea.

Tambiah states that magic is a strictly ritualistic action that implements forces and objects outside the realm of the gods and the supernatural. These objects and events are said to be intrinsically efficacious, so that the supernatural is unnecessary. To some, including the Greeks, magic was considered a "proto-science." Magic has other historical importance as well.

Much of the debate between religion and magic originated during the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church was attacked for its doctrine of transubstantiation because it was considered a type of sacramental magic. Furthermore, the possibility of anything happening outside of God's purpose was denied. Spells were viewed as ineffective and blasphemous, because religion required belief in "a conscious agent who could be deflected from this purpose by prayer and supplication." Prayer was the only way to effectively enact positive change. The Protestant Reformation was a significant moment in the history of magical thought because Protestantism provided the impetus for a systematic understanding of the world. In this systematic framework, there was no room for magic and its practices. Besides the Reformation, the Renaissance was an influential epoch in the history of thought concerning magic and science.

During the Renaissance, magic was less stigmatized even though it was done in secret and therefore considered "occult". Renaissance magic was based on cosmology, and its powers were said to be derived from the stars and the alignment of the planets. Newton himself began his work in mathematics because he wanted to see "whether judicial astrology had any claim to validity."

The lines of demarcation between science, magic, and religion all have origins dating to times when established thought processes were challenged. The rise of Western thought essentially initiated the differentiation between the three disciplines. Whereas science could be revised and developed through rational thought, magic was seen as less scientific and systematic than science and religion, making it the least respected of the three.

Bronisław Malinowski


In his essay "Magic, Science and Religion", Bronisław Malinowski contends that every person, no matter how primitive, uses both magic and science. To make this distinction he breaks up this category into the "sacred" and the "profane" or "magic/religion" and science. He theorizes that feelings of reverence and awe rely on observation of nature and a dependence on its regularity. This observation and reasoning about nature is a type of science. Magic and science both have definite aims to help "human instincts, needs and pursuits." Both magic and science develop procedures that must be followed to accomplish specific goals. Magic and science are both based on knowledge; magic is knowledge of the self and of emotion, while science is knowledge of nature.

According to Malinowski, magic and religion are also similar in that they often serve the same function in a society. The difference is that magic is more about the personal power of the individual and religion is about faith in the power of God. Magic is also something that is passed down over generations to a specific group while religion is more broadly available to the community.

To end his essay, Malinowski poses the question, "why magic?" He writes, "Magic supplies primitive man with a number of ready-made rituals, acts and beliefs, with a definite mental and practical technique which serves to bridge over the dangerous gaps in every important pursuit or critical situation."

Robin Horton


In "African Traditional Thought and Western Science," Robin Horton compares the magical and religious thinking of non-modernized cultures with western scientific thought. He argues that both traditional beliefs and western science are applications of "theoretical thinking." The common form, function, and purpose of these theoretical idioms are therefore structured and explained by eight main characteristics of this type of thought:
  1. In all cultures the majority of human experience can be explained by common sense. The purpose then of theory is to explain forces that operate behind and within the commonsense world. Theory should impose order and reason on everyday life by attributing cause to a few select forces.
  2. Theories also help place events in a causal context that is greater than common sense alone can provide, because commonsense causation is inherently limited by what we see and experience. Theoretical formulations are therefore used as intermediaries to link natural effects to natural causes.
  3. "Common sense and theory have complementary roles in everyday life." Common sense is more handy and useful for a wide range of everyday circumstances, but occasionally there are circumstances that can only be explained using a wider causal vision, so a jump to theory is made.
  4. "Levels of theory vary with context." There are widely and narrowly encompassing theories, and the individual can usually chose which to use in order to understand and explain a situation as is deemed appropriate.
  5. All theory breaks up aspects of commonsense events, abstracts them and then reintegrates them into the common usage and understanding.
  6. Theory is usually created by analogy between unexplained and familiar phenomena.
  7. When theory is based on analogy between explained and unexplained observations, "generally only a limited aspect of the familiar phenomena is incorporated into (the) explanatory model". It is this process of abstraction that contributes to the ability of theories to transcend commonsense explanation. For example, gods have the quality of spirituality by omission of many common aspects of human life.
  8. Once a theoretical model has been established, it is often modified to explain contradictory data so that it may no longer represent the analogy on which is was based.


While both traditional beliefs and western science are based on theoretical thought, Horton argues that the differences between these knowledge systems in practice and form are due to their states in open and closed cultures. He classifies scientifically oriented cultures as ‘open’ because they are aware of other modes of thought, while traditional cultures are ‘closed’ because they are unaware of alternatives to the established theories. The varying sources of information in these systems results in differences in form which, Horton asserts, often blinds observers from seeing the similarities between the systems as two applications of theoretical thought.

Ancient Egypt


Egyptians believed that with Heka
Heka (god)
In Egyptian mythology, Heka was the deification of magic, his name being the Egyptian word for magic. According to Egyptian writing , Heka existed "before duality had yet come into being." The term "Heka" was also used for the practice of magical ritual...

, the activation of the Ka
Ka
-Language:* Ka * Ka * Georgian language, ISO 639-1 code ka* A glyph in the Brahmic family of scripts-Media and entertainment:* Ka * Kà, a Cirque du Soleil show* Mister Mosquito, a video game, known in Japan as Ka...

, an aspect of the soul
Egyptian soul
The ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body...

 of both gods
Egyptian mythology
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals which were an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with a multitude of deities who were believed to be present in, and in control of, the forces and elements of nature...

 and humans, (and divine personification of magic), they could influence the gods and gain protection, healing and transformation. Health and wholeness of being were sacred to Heka. There is no word for religion in the ancient Egyptian language as mundane and religious world views were not distinct; thus, Heka was not a secular practice but rather a religious observance. Every aspect of life, every word, plant, animal and ritual was connected to the power and authority of the gods.

In ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, magic consisted of four components; the primeval potency that empowered the creator-god was identified with Heka, who was accompanied by magical rituals known as Seshaw held within sacred texts called Rw. In addition Pekhret, medicinal prescriptions, were given to patients to bring relief. This magic was used in temple rituals as well as informal situations by priests. These rituals, along with medical practices, formed an integrated therapy for both physical and spiritual health. Magic was also used for protection against the angry deities, jealous ghosts, foreign demons and sorcerers who were thought to cause illness, accidents, poverty and infertility. Temple priests used wands during magical rituals.

Mesopotamia



In parts of Mesopotamian religion, magic was believed in and actively practiced. At the city of Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

, archaeologists have excavated houses dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE in which cuneiform clay tablets have been unearthed containing magical incantations.

Classical antiquity




In ancient Greece magic was viewed negatively because it was foreign, but over time the view of magic involved negative connotations (malign magic) and positive ones in the practice of religion, medicine, and divination.

The Greek mystery religions
Greco-Roman mysteries
Mystery religions, sacred Mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious cults of the Greco-Roman world, participation in which was reserved to initiates....

 had strongly magical components, and in Egypt, a large number of magical papyri
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

, in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

, and Demotic, have been recovered. They contain early instances of:
  • the use of "magic word
    Magic word
    Magic words are words which have a specific, and sometimes unintended, effect. They are often nonsense phrases used in fantasy fiction or by stage prestidigitators. Certain comic book heroes use magic words to activate their super powers. Magic words are also used as Easter eggs or cheats in...

    s" said to have the power to command spirit
    Spirit
    The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

    s;
  • the use of wand
    Wand
    A wand is a thin, straight, hand-held stick of wood, stone, ivory, or metal. Generally, in modern language, wands are ceremonial and/or have associations with magic but there have been other uses, all stemming from the original meaning as a synonym of rod and virge, both of which had a similar...

    s and other ritual tools;
  • the use of a magic circle to defend the magician against the spirits that he is invoking
    Invocation
    An invocation may take the form of:*Supplication or prayer.*A form of possession.*Command or conjuration.*Self-identification with certain spirits....

     or evoking
    Evocation
    Evocation is the act of calling or summoning a spirit, demon, god or other supernatural agent, in the Western mystery tradition. Comparable practices exist in many religions and magical traditions.-Evocation in the Western mystery tradition:...

    ; and
  • the use of mysterious symbol
    Symbol
    A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

    s or sigils
    Sigil (magic)
    A sigil is a symbol created for a specific magical purpose. A sigil is usually made up of a complex combination of several specific symbols or geometric figures, each with a specific meaning or intent.- Name and origin :...

     which are thought to be useful when invoking or evoking spirits.


The practice of magic was banned in the Roman world, and the Codex Theodosianus
Codex Theodosianus
The Codex Theodosianus was a compilation of the laws of the Roman Empire under the Christian emperors since 312. A commission was established by Theodosius II in 429 and the compilation was published in the eastern half of the Roman Empire in 438...

states:
If any wizard therefore or person imbued with magical contamination who is called by custom of the people a magician...should be apprehended in my retinue, or in that of the Caesar, he shall not escape punishment and torture by the protection of his rank.

Middle Ages


Several medieval scholars were considered to be magicians in popular legend, notably Gerbert d'Aurillac and Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus, O.P. , also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, is a Catholic saint. He was a German Dominican friar and a bishop, who achieved fame for his comprehensive knowledge of and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. Those such as James A. Weisheipl...

: both men were active in the scientific research of their day as well as in ecclesiastical matters, which was enough to attach to them a nimbus of the occult.

Magical practice was actively discouraged by the church, but it remained widespread in folk religion
Folk religion
Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices...

 throughout the medieval period.
From the 13th century, the Jewish Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 exerted influence on Christian occultism, giving rise to the first grimoire
Grimoire
A grimoire is a textbook of magic. Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons...

s and the scholarly occultism that would evolve into Renaissance magic. The demonology
Demonology
Demonology is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology relating to superhuman beings who are not gods. It deals both with benevolent beings that have no circle of worshippers or so limited a circle as to be below the rank of gods, and with malevolent...

 and angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

ology contained in the earliest grimoire
Grimoire
A grimoire is a textbook of magic. Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons...

s assume a life surrounded by Christian implements and sacred rituals. The underlying theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 in these works of Christian demonology encourages the magician to fortify himself with fasting
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

, prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

s, and sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

s, so that by using the holy names of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 in the sacred languages, he could use divine powers to coerce demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s into appearing and serving his usually lustful or avaricious magical goals.

13th century astrologers include Johannes de Sacrobosco
Johannes de Sacrobosco
Johannes de Sacrobosco or Sacro Bosco was a scholar, monk, and astronomer who taught at the University of Paris and wrote the authoritative mediaeval astronomy text Tractatus de Sphaera.-Origins:Although described as English, his birthplace is unknown because Sacrobosco is...

 and Guido Bonatti
Guido Bonatti
Guido Bonatti was an Italian astronomer and astrologer from Forlì. He was the most celebrated astrologer in Europe in his century.-Biography:...

.

Renaissance



Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 saw resurgence in hermeticism
Hermeticism
Hermeticism or the Western Hermetic Tradition is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs based primarily upon the pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus...

 and Neo-Platonic varieties of ceremonial magic. The Renaissance, on the other hand, saw the rise of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, in such forms as the dethronement of the Ptolemaic theory of the universe, the distinction of astronomy from astrology, and of chemistry from alchemy.

The seven artes magicae or artes prohibitae or arts prohibited by canon law by Johannes Hartlieb
Johannes Hartlieb
Johannes Hartlieb was a physician of Late Medieval Bavaria, probably of a family from Neuburg an der Donau. He was in the employment of Louis VII of Bavaria and Albert VI of Austria in the 1430s, and of Albert III of Bavaria from 1440, and of the latter's son Sigismund from 1456.In 1444, he...

 in 1456 were: nigromancy (which included "black magic
Black magic
Black magic is the type of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers or is used with the intention to kill, steal, injure, cause misfortune or destruction, or for personal gain without regard to harmful consequences. As a term, "black magic" is normally used by those that do not approve of its...

" and "demonology
Demonology
Demonology is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology relating to superhuman beings who are not gods. It deals both with benevolent beings that have no circle of worshippers or so limited a circle as to be below the rank of gods, and with malevolent...

"), geomancy
Geomancy
Geomancy is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand...

, hydromancy
Hydromancy
Hydromancy is a method of divination by means of water, including the color, ebb and flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool....

, aeromancy
Aeromancy
Aeromancy is divination conducted by interpreting atmospheric conditions. Alternate spellings include Arologie, Aeriology and Aërology.-Practice:...

, pyromancy
Pyromancy
Pyromancy is the art of divination by means of fire.-History of pyromancy:Due to the importance of fire in society from the earliest of times, it is quite likely that pyromancy was one of the earlier forms of divination...

, chiromancy
Chiromancy
Palmistry or chiromancy , is the art of characterization and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as palm reading, or chirology. The practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations...

, and scapulimancy
Scapulimancy
Scapulimancy is the practice of divination by use of scapulae...

 and their sevenfold partition emulated the artes liberales and artes mechanicae
Artes Mechanicae
"Mechanical arts": a medieval concept of ordered practices or skills, often juxtaposed to the traditional seven liberal arts Artes liberales. Also called "servile" and considered "vulgar", from antiquity they had been deemed unbecoming for a free man, as ministering to baser needs.Already Johannes...

. Both bourgeoisie and nobility in the 15th and 16th century showed great fascination with these arts, which exerted an exotic charm by their ascription to Arabic, Jewish, Gypsy and Egyptian sources. There was great uncertainty in distinguishing practices of superstition, occultism, and perfectly sound scholarly knowledge or pious ritual. The intellectual and spiritual tensions erupted in the Early Modern witch craze
Witch-hunt
A witch-hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials...

, further reinforced by the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, especially in Germany, England, and Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

.

Baroque




Study of the occult arts remained intellectually respectable well into the 17th century, and only gradually divided into the modern categories of natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

, occultism, and superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

. The 17th century saw the gradual rise of the "age of reason
Age of reason
Age of reason may refer to:* 17th-century philosophy, as a successor of the Renaissance and a predecessor to the Age of Enlightenment* Age of Enlightenment in its long form of 1600-1800* The Age of Reason, a book by Thomas Paine...

", while belief in witchcraft and sorcery, and consequently the irrational surge of Early Modern witch trial
Witch trial
A witch trial is a legal proceeding that is part of a witch-hunt. * Witch trials in Early Modern Europe, 15th–18th centuries** Salzburg witch trials - 1675-1690, Salzburg, Austria** Spa witch trial - 1616, Belgium...

s, receded, a process only completed at the end of the Baroque period circa 1730. Christian Thomasius
Christian Thomasius
Christian Thomasius was a German jurist and philosopher.- Biography :He was born at Leipzig and was educated by his father, Jakob Thomasius , at that time head master of Thomasschule zu Leipzig...

 still met opposition as he argued in his 1701 Dissertatio de crimine magiae that it was meaningless to make dealing with the devil a criminal offence, since it was impossible to really commit the crime in the first place. In Britain, the Witchcraft Act of 1735 established that people could not be punished for consorting with spirits, while would-be magicians pretending to be able to invoke spirits could still be fined as con artists.
"Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians." — John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...


Romanticism


From 1776 to 1781 AD, Jacob Philadelphia
Jacob Philadelphia
Jacob Philadelphia was a Jewish magician, physicist, mechanic, juggler, astrologer, alchemist, and Kabbalist.- Biography :He is believed to have been born on August 14, 1735 and given the name Jacob Meyer....

 performed feats of magic, sometimes under the guise of scientific exhibitions, throughout Europe and Russia. Baron Carl Reichenbach
Carl Reichenbach
Baron Dr. Carl Ludwig von Reichenbach was a notable chemist, geologist, metallurgist, naturalist, industrialist and philosopher, and a member of the prestigious Prussian Academy of Sciences...

's experiments with his Odic force
Odic force
The Odic force is the name given in the mid-19th century to a hypothetical vital energy or life force by Baron Carl von Reichenbach...

 appeared to be an attempt to bridge the gap between magic and science. More recent periods of renewed interest in magic occurred around the end of the 19th century, where Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

 and other offshoots of Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 cultivated a renewed interest in exotic spiritualities. European colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 put Westerners in contact with India and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and re-introduced exotic beliefs. Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Egyptian mythology
Egyptian mythology
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals which were an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with a multitude of deities who were believed to be present in, and in control of, the forces and elements of nature...

 frequently feature in 19th century magical texts. The late 19th century spawned a large number of magical organization
Magical organization
A magical organization is an organization created for the practice of magic or to further the knowledge of magic among its members. "Magic" in this case refers to occult, metaphysical and paranormal activities, not to the performance of stage magic...

s, including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a magical order active in Great Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which practiced theurgy and spiritual development...

, the Theosophical Society
Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society is an organization formed in 1875 to advance the spiritual principles and search for Truth known as Theosophy. The original organization, after splits and realignments has several successors...

, and specifically magical variants on Freemasonry
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

. The Golden Dawn represented perhaps the peak of this wave of magic, attracting cultural celebrities like William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

, Algernon Blackwood
Algernon Blackwood
Algernon Henry Blackwood, CBE was an English short story writer and novelist, one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. He was also a journalist and a broadcasting narrator. S. T...

, and Arthur Machen
Arthur Machen
Arthur Machen was a Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella The Great God Pan has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror...

.

Animism and folk religion




Appearing in various tribal peoples from Aboriginal Australia and Māori New Zealand to the Amazon
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

, African savannah, and pagan Europe, some form of shamanic contact with the spirit world seems to be nearly universal in the early development of human communities. Much of the Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

ian and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian pictorial writing characters appear derived from the same sources.

Although indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 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 changed 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
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

'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 codified and 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.

In 2003, Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti
Mbuti
Mbuti or Bambuti are one of several indigenous pygmy groups in the Congo region of Africa. Their languages belong to the Central Sudanic and also to Bantu languages.-Overview:...

 pygmies, told the UN's Indigenous People's Forum that during the Congo Civil War
Second Congo War
The Second Congo War, also known as Coltan War and the Great War of Africa, began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power; however, hostilities continue to this...

, his people were hunted down and eaten as though they were game animals. Both sides of the war regarded them as "subhuman" and some say their flesh can confer magical powers.

On April, 2008, Kinshasa, the police arrested 14 suspected victims (of penis
Penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

 snatching) and sorcerers accused of using black magic or witchcraft to steal (make disappear) or shrink men's penises to extort cash for cure, amid a wave of panic. Arrests were made in an effort to avoid bloodshed seen in Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 a decade ago, when 12 alleged penis snatchers were beaten to death by mobs.

Native American medicine



The Shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 practiced by the indigenous peoples of the Americas
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 was called "medicine" and was practiced by medicine men. In addition to healing, medicine served many other purposes, for example among the Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

, one of Plains Indians
Plains Indians
The Plains Indians are the Indigenous peoples who live on the plains and rolling hills of the Great Plains of North America. Their colorful equestrian culture and resistance to White domination have made the Plains Indians an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.Plains...

 that lived in the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 of North America, medicine such as war paint, war shields, war shirts, and war bonnet
War bonnet
Feathered war bonnets were worn by honored Plains Indian men, sometimes into battle, but most often for ceremonial occasions, and were seen as items of great spiritual and magical importance...

s, such as the famous war bonnet of Roman Nose
Roman Nose
Roman Nose, a.k.a. Hook Nose , was a Native American of the Northern Cheyenne, and possibly the greatest and most influential warrior during the Plains Indian War of the 1860s...

, served to protect a warrior from wounding during battle.

Magic in Hinduism


The Atharva Veda is a veda that deals with mantra
Mantra
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation"...

s that can be used for both good and bad. The word mantrik
Mantrik
A Mantrik or mantric is someone who specializes in practicing mantra. In India the word mantrik & similar names are synonymous with magician in different languages. Generally a mantrik is supposed to derive his powers from the use of charms, mantras, spells and other methods...

 in India literally means "magician" since the mantrik usually knows mantras, spells, and curses which can be used for or against forms of magic. Tantra
Tantras
Tantras refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions rooted in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Although Buddhist and Hindu Tantra have many similarities from the outside, they do have some clear distinctions. The rest of this article deals with Hindu...

 is likewise employed for ritual magic by the tantrik
Tantra
Tantra , anglicised tantricism or tantrism or tantram, is the name scholars give to an inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, expressed in scriptures ....

. Many ascetics after long periods of penance
Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

 and meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

 are alleged to attain a state where they may utilize supernatural powers. However, many say that they choose not to use them and instead focus on transcending beyond physical power into the realm of spirituality. Many siddhar
Siddhar
Siddhars are saints in India, mostly of the Saivaite denomination in Tamil Nadu, who professed and practised an unorthodox type of Sadhana, or spiritual practice, to attain liberation. Yogic powers called Siddhis are acquired by constant practice of certain yogic disciplines. Those who acquire...

s are said to have performed miracle
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

s that would ordinarily be impossible to perform. The Aghori
Aghori
The Aghori or Aghora are a Hindu sect believed to have split off from the Kapalika order in the fourteenth century AD. Many mainstream Hindus condemn them as non-Hindu because of their taboo violation of orthodox practices...

s consume human flesh in pursuit of immortality
Immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

 and the supernatural. They distinguish themselves from other Hindu sects and priests by their alcoholic and cannibalistic rituals.

Western magic



In general, the 20th century has seen a sharp rise in public interest in various forms of magical practice, and the foundation of a number of traditions and organisations, ranging from the distinctly religious to the philosophical.

In England, a further revival of interest in magic was heralded by the repeal of the last Witchcraft Act
Witchcraft Act
In England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland a succession of Witchcraft Acts have governed witchcraft and provided penalties for its practice, or for pretending to practise it.- Witchcraft Act 1542:...

 in 1951. In 1954 Gerald Gardner
Gerald Gardner
Gerald Brousseau Gardner , who sometimes used the craft name Scire, was an influential English Wiccan, as well as an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist, writer, weaponry expert and occultist. He was instrumental in bringing the Neopagan religion of Wicca to public attention in Britain and...

 published a book, Witchcraft Today
Witchcraft Today
In the book Gardner also repeats the claim, which had originated with Matilda Joslyn Gage, that 9 million victims were killed in the European witch-hunts." Current scholarly estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft during this time period vary between about 40,000 and 100,000.The...

, in which he claimed to reveal the existence of a witch-cult that dated back to pre-Christian Europe. Although many of Gardner's claims have since come under intensive criticism from sources both within and without the Neopagan
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

 community, his works remain the most important founding stone of Wicca.

Gardner's newly created religion, and many others, took off in the atmosphere of the 1960s and 1970s, when the counterculture
Counterculture
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior...

 of the hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

s also spawned another period of renewed interest in magic, divination, and other occult practices. The various branches of Neopaganism
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

 and other Earth religion
Earth religion
Earth religion is a New Age term used mostly in the context of Neopaganism.It is an umbrella phrase that is used to cover any religion that worships the Earth, Nature, or fertility gods and goddesses, such as the various forms of goddess worship or matriarchal religion. Some find a connection...

s that have emerged since Gardner's publication tend to follow a pattern in combining the practice of magic and religion, although this combination is not exclusive to them. Following the trend of magic associated with counterculture, some feminists
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 launched an independent revival of goddess worship
Goddess worship
Goddess worship may be*the cult of any goddess in polytheistic religions*worship of a Great Goddess on a henotheistic or monotheistic or duotheistic basis**Hindu Shaktism**the neopagan Goddess movement**Wicca**Dianic Wicca...

. This brought them into contact with the Gardnerian
Gardnerian Wicca
Gardnerian Wicca, or Gardnerian Witchcraft, is a mystery cult tradition or denomination in the neopagan religion of Wicca, whose members can trace initiatory descent from Gerald Gardner. The tradition is itself named after Gardner , a British civil servant and scholar of magic...

 tradition of magical religion (or religious magic), and deeply influenced that tradition in return.

Some people in the West believe in or practice various forms of magic. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a magical order active in Great Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which practiced theurgy and spiritual development...

, Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley , born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist, astrologer, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. He was also successful in various other...

's Thelema and their subsequent offshoots, influenced by Eliphas Levi, are most commonly associated with the resurgence of magical tradition in the English speaking world of the 20th century. Other, similar resurgences took place at roughly the same time, centered in France and Germany. The western traditions acknowledging the natural elements, the seasons, and the practitioner's relationship with the Earth, Gaia
Gaia (mythology)
Gaia was the primordial Earth-goddess in ancient Greek religion. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods and Titans were descended from her union with Uranus , the sea-gods from her union with Pontus , the Giants from her mating with Tartarus and mortal creatures were sprung or born...

, or a primary Goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 have derived at least in part from these magical groups, and are mostly considered Neopagan
Neopaganism
Neopaganism is an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe...

. Long-standing indigenous traditions of magic are regarded as Pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

.

Allegedly for gematric
Gematria
Gematria or gimatria is a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other, or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to a person's age, the calendar year, or the like...

 reasons Aleister Crowley preferred the spelling magick, defining it as "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will." By this, he included "mundane" acts of change as well as ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 magic. In Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter XIV, Crowley says:
What is a Magical Operation? It may be defined as any event in nature which is brought to pass by Will. We must not exclude potato-growing or banking from our definition. Let us take a very simple example of a Magical Act: that of a man blowing his nose.


Western magical traditions include hermetic magic and its many offshoots predominantly inspired by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as well as Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

 and some other Neopagan religions. Definitions, concepts and uses of magic tend to vary even within magical traditions and indeed often between individuals.

Wicca is one of the more publicly known traditions within Neopaganism, a magical religion inspired by medieval witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

, with influences including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Crowley. Ruickbie (2004:193-209) shows that Wiccans and witches define magic in many different ways and use it for a number of different purposes. Despite that diversity of opinion, he concludes that the result upon the practitioner is generally perceived as a positive one.

The belief in Magic is often considered superstitious
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

, although it could be argued that some magical practices rely upon widely accepted psychological principles and are only intended to promote internal personal changes within the practitioner themselves. Visualization techniques, for instance, widely used by magicians, are also used in somewhat different contexts in fields such as clinical psychology and sports training.

Theories of adherents


Adherents to magic believe that it may work by one or more of the following basic principles:
  • A mystical force or energy that is natural, but cannot be detected by science at present, and which may not be detectable at all. Common terms referring to such magical energy include mana
    Mana
    Mana is an indigenous Pacific islander concept of an impersonal force or quality that resides in people, animals, and inanimate objects. The word is a cognate in many Oceanic languages, including Melanesian, Polynesian, and Micronesian....

    , numen
    Numen
    Numen is a Latin term for a potential, guiding the course of events in a particular place or in the whole world, used in Roman philosophical and religious thought...

    , chi or kundalini
    Kundalini
    Kundalini literally means coiled. In yoga, a "corporeal energy" - an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force or Shakti, lies coiled at the base of the spine. It is envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as 'serpent...

    . These are sometimes regarded as fluctuations of an underlying primary substance (akasha
    Akasha
    Akasha is the Sanskrit word meaning "aether" in both its elemental and metaphysical senses.-Hinduism:...

    , aether
    Aether (classical element)
    According to ancient and medieval science aether , also spelled æther or ether, is the material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere.-Mythological origins:...

    ) that is present in all things and interconnects and binds all. Magical energy is thus also present in all things, though it can be especially concentrated in magical objects. Magical energies are typically seen as being especially responsive to the use of symbols, so that a person, event or object can be affected by manipulating an object that symbolically represents them or it (as in sigil magic
    Sigil (magic)
    A sigil is a symbol created for a specific magical purpose. A sigil is usually made up of a complex combination of several specific symbols or geometric figures, each with a specific meaning or intent.- Name and origin :...

    , for instance). This corresponds to James Frazer's theory of sympathetic magic
    Sympathetic magic
    Sympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence.-Similarity and contagion:The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough...

    .

  • Intervention of spirits, similar to hypothetical natural forces, but with their own consciousness and intelligence. Believers in spirit
    Spirit
    The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

    s will often describe a whole cosmos
    Cosmos
    In the general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. It originates from the Greek term κόσμος , meaning "order" or "ornament" and is antithetical to the concept of chaos. Today, the word is generally used as a synonym of the word Universe . The word cosmos originates from the same root...

     of beings of many different kinds, sometimes organized into a hierarchy
    Hierarchy
    A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

    .

  • Manipulation of the Elements, by using the will of the magician and symbols or objects which are representative of the element(s). Western practitioners typically use the Classical elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.

  • Concentration or meditation. A certain amount of focusing or restricting the mind to some imagined object (or will), according to Aleister Crowley
    Aleister Crowley
    Aleister Crowley , born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist, astrologer, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. He was also successful in various other...

    , produces mystical attainment or "an occurrence in the brain characterized essentially by the uniting of subject and object" (Book Four, Part 1: Mysticism). Magic, as defined previously, seeks to aid concentration by constantly recalling the attention to the chosen object (or Will), thereby producing said attainment. For example, if one wishes to concentrate on a god, one might memorize a system of correspondences (perhaps chosen arbitrarily, as this would not affect its usefulness for mystical purposes) and then make every object that one sees "correspond" to said god.

Aleister Crowley wrote that ". . . the exaltation of the mind by means of magickal practices leads (as one may say, in spite of itself) to the same results as occur in straightforward Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

."
Crowley's magick thus becomes a form of mental, mystical, or spiritual discipline, designed to train the mind to achieve greater concentration. Crowley also made claims for the paranormal effects of magick, suggesting a connection with the first principle in this list. However, he defined any attempt to use this power for a purpose other than aiding mental or mystical attainment as "black magick".

  • The magical power of the subconscious mind. To believers who think that they need to convince their subconscious mind to make the changes that they desire, all spirits and energies are projections and symbol
    Symbol
    A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

    s that make sense to the subconscious. A variant of this belief is that the subconscious is capable of contacting spirits, who in turn can work magic.

  • The Oneness of All. Based on the fundamental concepts of monism
    Monism
    Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

     and Non-duality, this philosophy holds that Magic is little more than the application of one's own inherent unity with the universe. Hinging upon the personal realization, or "illumination", that the self is limitless, one may live in unison with nature, seeking and preserving balance in all things.


Many more theories exist. Practitioners will often mix these concepts, and sometimes even invent some themselves. In the contemporary current of chaos magic
Chaos magic
Chaos magic is a school of the modern magical tradition which emphasizes the pragmatic use of belief systems and the creation of new and unorthodox methods.-General principles:...

 in particular, it is not unusual to believe that any concept of magic works.

Key principles of utilizing Magic are often said to be Concentration and Visualization. Many of those who purportedly cast spells attain a mental state called the "Trance
Trance
Trance denotes a variety of processes, ecstasy, techniques, modalities and states of mind, awareness and consciousness. Trance states may occur involuntarily and unbidden.The term trance may be associated with meditation, magic, flow, and prayer...

 State" to enable the spell. The Trance State is often described as an emptying of the mind, akin to meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

.

Magic and monotheism


Officially, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 characterize magic as forbidden witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

, and have often prosecuted alleged practitioners of it with varying degrees of severity. Other religions, such as Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 have rather more ambiguous positions towards it. Trends in monotheistic thought have dismissed all such manifestations as trickery and illusion, nothing more than dishonest gimmicks.

In Judaism



In Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 prohibits Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 from being superstitious or engaging in astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

 (Lev. 19, 26); from muttering incantations (Deut. 18, 11); from consulting an ov (mediums), yidoni (seers), or attempting to contact the dead (Deut. 18, 11); from going into a trance to foresee events, and from performing acts of magic (Deut. 18, 10). See 613 Mitzvot
613 mitzvot
The 613 commandments is a numbering of the statements and principles of law, ethics, and spiritual practice contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses...

. Virtually all works pseudepigraphically
Pseudepigraphy
Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded; a work, simply, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past." The word "pseudepigrapha" is the plural of "pseudepigraphon" ; the Anglicized forms...

 claim, or are ascribed, ancient authorship. For example, Sefer Raziel HaMalach, an astro-magical text partly based on a magical manual of late antiquity, Sefer Raziel HaMalakh
Sefer Raziel HaMalakh
Sefer Raziel HaMalakh, , is a medieval Kabbalistic grimoire, primarily written in Hebrew and Aramaic, but surviving also in Latin translation, as Liber Razielis Archangeli, in a 13th century manuscript produced under Alfonso X.-Textual history:The book cannot be shown to predate the 13th century,...

, was, according to the kabbalists, transmitted to Adam
Adam
Adam is a figure in the Book of Genesis. According to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human. In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim , and the first woman, Eve was formed from his rib...

 by the angel Raziel
Raziel
Raziel |God]]") is an archangel within the teachings of Jewish mysticism who is the "Keeper of Secrets" and the "Angel of Mysteries"...

 after he was evicted from Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

.

Another famous work, the Sefer Yetzirah
Sefer Yetzirah
Sefer Yetzirah is the title of the earliest extant book on Jewish esotericism, although some early commentators treated it as a treatise on mathematical and linguistic theory as opposed to Kabbalah...

, supposedly dates back to the patriarch Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

. This tendency toward pseudepigraphy has its roots in Apocalyptic literature, which claims that esoteric knowledge such as magic, divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

 and astrology was transmitted to humans in the mythic past by the two angels, Aza and Azaz'el
Azazel
Azazel or Azazael or Azâzêl is a term used three times in the Hebrew scriptures, and later in Hebrew mythology as the enigmatic name of a character....

 (in other places, Azaz'el and Uzaz'el) who 'fell' from heaven (see Genesis 6:4).

However, genuine Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 is meant to delve into the hidden and mystical aspects of the Torah which God gave to Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 on Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

, and should not be confused with superstitious or magical practices, which are antithetical to traditional Jewish values.

In Christianity



Magia was viewed with suspicion by Christianity from the time of the Church fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

.
It was, however, never completely settled whether there may be permissible practices, e.g. involving relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s or holy water
Holy water
Holy water is water that, in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and some other churches, has been sanctified by a priest for the purpose of baptism, the blessing of persons, places, and objects; or as a means of repelling evil.The use for baptism and...

 as opposed to "blasphemous" necromancy
Necromancy
Necromancy is a claimed form of magic that involves communication with the deceased, either by summoning their spirit in the form of an apparition or raising them bodily, for the purpose of divination, imparting the ability to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge...

 (nigromantia) involving the invocation of demons (goetia
Goetia
refers to a practice which includes the invocation of angels or the evocation of demons, and usage of the term in English largely derives from the 17th century grimoire The Lesser Key of Solomon, which features an Ars Goetia as its first section...

).
The distinction became particularly pointed and controversial during the Early Modern witch-hunts, with some authors such as Johannes Hartlieb
Johannes Hartlieb
Johannes Hartlieb was a physician of Late Medieval Bavaria, probably of a family from Neuburg an der Donau. He was in the employment of Louis VII of Bavaria and Albert VI of Austria in the 1430s, and of Albert III of Bavaria from 1440, and of the latter's son Sigismund from 1456.In 1444, he...

 denouncing all magical practice as blasphemous, while others portrayed natural magic
Natural magic
Natural magic in the context of Renaissance magic is that part of the occult which deals with natural forces directly, as opposed to ceremonial magic, in particular goety and theurgy, which deals with the summoning of spirits...

 as not sinful.

The position taken by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was a German magician, occult writer, theologian, astrologer, and alchemist.-Life:Agrippa was born in Cologne in 1486...

, one of the foremost Renaissance magicians, is ambiguous. The character of Faustus, likely based on a historical 16th century magician or charlatan, became the prototypical popular tale of a learned magician who succumbs to a pact with the devil
Pact with the Devil
A deal with the Devil, pact with the Devil, or Faustian bargain is a cultural motif widespread in the West, best exemplified by the legend of Faust and the figure of Mephistopheles, but elemental to many Christian folktales...

.

The current Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 discusses divination and magic under the heading of the First Commandment
First Commandment
The First Commandment could refer to:*The commandment to Adam not to eat the Forbidden fruit *The first of the Ten Commandments: I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before me, You shall not make for yourself an idol.*The Great Commandment...

.

It is careful to allow for the possibility of divinely inspired prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

, but it rejects "all forms of divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

": All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

The section on "practices of magic or sorcery" is less absolute, specifying "attempts to tame occult powers" in order to "have supernatural power over others". Such are denounced as "gravely contrary to the virtue of religion", notably avoiding a statement on whether such attempts can have any actual effect (that is, attempts to employ occult practices are identified as violating the First Commandment because they in themselves betray a lack of faith, and not because they may or may not result in the desired effect).

The Catechism expresses skepticism towards widespread practices of folk Catholicism
Folk Catholicism
Folk Catholicism is any of various varieties of Catholicism as actually practiced in Catholic communities around the world. Practices that are identified by outside observers as "folk Catholicism" vary from place to place, and often vary as well from official Roman Catholic Church doctrine.Some...

 without outlawing them explicitly: [...] Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

Some argue that the recent popularity of the prosperity gospel
Prosperity theology
Prosperity theology or gospel is a Christian religious belief whose proponents claim the Bible teaches that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians. Most teachers of prosperity theology maintain that a combination of faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will...

 constitutes a return to magical thinking within Christianity. Note also that Gnostic Christianity has a strong mystical current, but shies away from practical magic and focuses more on theurgy
Theurgy
Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and perfecting oneself.- Definitions :*Proclus...

.

In Islam


Any discussion of Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 magic poses a double set of problems. On the one hand, like its counterpart in predominantly Christian cultures, magic is forbidden by orthodox leaders and legal opinions. On the other hand, translating various Arabic terms as ‘magic’ causes another set of problems with no clear answers.

As with any question regarding the behavior of Muslims in relation to authorized practices, theological decisions begin by consulting the Qur’an. The second chapter introduces an explanation for the introduction of magic into the world:
They followed what the evil ones gave out (falsely) against the power of Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

: the blasphemers
Blasphemy
Blasphemy is irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy, while others have laws to give recourse to those who are offended by blasphemy...

 were, not Solomon, but the evil ones, teaching men magic, and such things as came down at Babylon to the angels Harut and Marut
Marut
-Geography:* Măruţ River, a tributary of the lara river in Romania.* Lusik and Marut are villages located on the absolute shoreline some 57 kilometres north of Madang on the northwest coast of Papua New Guinea....

. But neither of these taught anyone (such things) without saying: "We are only for trial; so do not blaspheme." They learned from them the means to sow discord between man and wife. But they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's permission. And they learned what harmed them, not what profited them. And they knew that the buyers of (magic) would have no share in the happiness of the Hereafter. And vile was the price for which they did sell their souls, if they but knew! (Q 2:102).


Though it presents a generally contemptuous attitude towards magic (Muhammad was accused by his detractors of being a magician), the Qur’an distinguishes between apparent magic (miracles sanctioned by Allah) and real magic. The first is that used by Solomon, who being a prophet of Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

, is assumed to have used miraculous powers with Allah's blessing. Muslims also believe that Allah made an army of Djinn obedient to him. The second form is the magic that was taught by the "evil ones", or al-shayatin. Al-shayatin has two meanings; the first is similar to the Christian Satan. The second meaning, which is the one used here, refers to a djinn
Genie
Jinn or genies are supernatural creatures in Arab folklore and Islamic teachings that occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. Together, jinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah. Religious sources say barely anything about them; however, the Qur'an mentions that...

of superior power. The al-shayatin taught knowledge of evil and "pretended to force the laws of nature and the will of Allah . . ." According to this belief, those who follow this path turn themselves from Allah and cannot reach heaven.

The Arabic word translated in this passage as "magic" is sihr. The etymological meaning of sihr suggests that "it is the turning . . . of a thing from its true nature . . . or form . . . to something else which is unreal or a mere appearance . . ."

By the first millennium CE, sihr became a fully developed system in Islamic society. Within this system, all magicians "assert[ed] that magic is worked by the obedience of spirits to the magician." The efficacy of this system comes from the belief that every Arabic letter, every word, verse, and chapter in the Qur’an, every month, day, time and name were created by Allah a priori, and that each has an angel and a djinn servant. It is through the knowledge of the names of these servants that an actor is able to control the angel and djinn for his or her purposes.

The Sunni and Shia sects of Islam typically forbid all use of magic. The Sufis within these two sects are much more ambiguous about its use as seen in the concept of "Barakah". If magic is understood in terms of Frazer's principle of contagion, then barakah
Barakah
In Islam, Barakah is the beneficent force from God that flows through the physical and spiritual spheres as prosperity, protection, and happiness. Baraka is the continuity of spiritual presence and revelation that begins with God and flows through that and those closest to God. Baraka can be found...

is another term that can refer to magic. Barakah, variously defined as "blessing", or "divine power", is a quality one possesses rather than a category of activity. According to Muslim conception, the source of barakah is solely from Allah; it is Allah's direct blessing and intervention conferred upon special, pious Muslims. Barakah has a heavily contagious quality in that one can transfer it by either inheritance or contact. Of all the humans who have ever lived, it is said that the Prophet Muhammad possessed the greatest amount of barakah and that he passed this to his male heirs through his daughter Fatima. Barakah is not just limited to Muhammad's family line; any person who is considered holy may also possess it and transfer it to virtually anyone else. In Morocco, barakah transfer can be accomplished by sharing a piece of bread from which the possessor has eaten because saliva is the vessel of barakah in the human body. However, the transference of barakah may also occur against the will of its possessor through other forms of physical contact such as hand shaking and kissing. The contagious element of barakah is not limited to humans as it can be found in rocks, trees, water, and even in some animals, such as horses.

Just how the actor maintained obedience depended upon the benevolence or malevolence of his practice. Malevolent magicians operated by enslaving the spirits through offerings and deeds displeasing to Allah. Benevolent magicians, in contrast, obeyed and appeased Allah so that Allah exercised His will upon the spirits. Al-Buni provides the process by which this practice occurs:

First: the practitioner must be of utterly clean soul and garb. Second, when the proper angel is contacted, this angel will first get permission from God to go to the aid of the person who summoned him. Third: the practitioner "must not apply . . .[his power] except to that purpose [i.e. to achieve goals] which would please God."

However, not all Islamic groups accept this explanation of benevolent magic. The Salafis particularly view this as shirk, denying the unity of Allah. Consequently, the Salafis renounce appellations to intermediaries such as saints, angels, and djinn, and renounce magic, fortune-telling, and divination. This particular brand of magic has also been condemned as forbidden by a fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

issued by Al-Azhar University. Further, Egyptian folklorist Hasan El-Shamy, warns that scholars have often been uncritical in their application of the term sihr to both malevolent and benevolent forms of magic. He argues that in Egypt, sihr only applies to sorcery. A person who practices benevolent magic "is not called saahir or sahhaar (sorcerer, witch), but is normally referred to as shaikh (or shaikha for a female), a title which is normally used to refer to a clergyman or a community notable or elder, and is equal to the English title: ‘Reverend.’"

Varieties of magical practice




The best-known type of magical practice is the spell
Magical formula
A magical formula or spell is generally a word whose meaning illustrates principles and degrees of understanding that are often difficult to relay using other forms of speech or writing. It is a concise means to communicate very abstract information through the medium of a word or phrase...

, a ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

istic formula intended to bring about a specific effect. Spells are often spoken or written or physically constructed using a particular set of ingredients. The failure of a spell to work may be attributed to many causes, such as a failure to follow the exact formula, to the general circumstances being unconducive, to a lack of magical ability, to a lack of willpower or to fraud.

Another well-known magical practice is divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

, which seeks to reveal information about the past, present or future. Varieties of divination include: Astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, Augur
Augur
The augur was a priest and official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome and Etruria. His main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups/alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of...

y, Cartomancy
Cartomancy
Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. Forms of cartomancy appeared soon after playing cards were first introduced into Europe in the 14th century...

, Chiromancy
Chiromancy
Palmistry or chiromancy , is the art of characterization and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as palm reading, or chirology. The practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations...

, Dowsing
Dowsing
Dowsing is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation , without the use of scientific apparatus...

, Fortune telling, Geomancy
Geomancy
Geomancy is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand...

, I Ching
I Ching
The I Ching or "Yì Jīng" , also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes and Zhouyi, is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts...

, Omen
Omen
An omen is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change...

s, Scrying
Scrying
Scrying is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and less often for purposes of divination or fortune-telling. The most common media used are reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals,...

, Extispicy
Extispicy
Extispicy is the practice of using anomalies in animal entrails to predict or divine future events. Organs inspected include the liver, intestines, and lungs. The animal used for extispicy must often be ritually pure and slaughtered in a special ceremony.The practice was first common in ancient...

 and Tarot reading.

Necromancy
Necromancy
Necromancy is a claimed form of magic that involves communication with the deceased, either by summoning their spirit in the form of an apparition or raising them bodily, for the purpose of divination, imparting the ability to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge...

 is a practice which claims to involve the summoning of, and conversation with, spirits of the dead. This is sometimes done simply to commune with deceased loved ones; it can also be done to gain information from the spirits, as a type of divination; or to command the aid of those spirits in accomplishing some goal, as part of casting a spell.

Varieties of magic can also be categorized by the techniques involved in their operation. One common means of categorization distinguishes between contagious magic
Law of contagion
The law of contagion is a folk belief described axiom found in magical thinking which suggests that once two people or objects have been in contact, that a magical link persists between unless or until a formal exorcism or other act of banishing breaks the non-material bond...

 and sympathetic magic
Sympathetic magic
Sympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence.-Similarity and contagion:The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough...

, 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 a thing which the practitioner intends to influence. Sympathetic magic involves the use of images or physical objects which in some way resemble the person or thing that one hopes to influence; voodoo dolls are an example. This dichotomy was proposed by Sir James Frazer
James Frazer
Sir James George Frazer , was a Scottish social anthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion...

's The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer . It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes...

.

Other common categories given to magic include High and Low Magic (the appeal to divine powers or spirits respectively, with goals lofty or personal, according to the type of magic). Another distinction is between "manifest" and "subtle" magic. Subtle magic typically refers to magic of legend, gradually and sometimes intangibly altering the world, whereas manifest magic is magic that immediately appears as a result.

Academic historian Richard Kieckhefer divides the category of spells into psychological
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 magic, which seeks to influence other people's minds to do the magician's will, such as with a love spell, or illusion
Illusion
An illusion is a distortion of the senses, revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. While illusions distort reality, they are generally shared by most people....

ary magic, which seeks to conjure the manifestation of various wonders. A spell that conjures up a banquet, or that confers invisibility
Invisibility
Invisibility is the state of an object that cannot be seen. An object in this state is said to be invisible . The term is usually used as a fantasy/science fiction term, where objects are literally made unseeable by magical or technological means; however, its effects can also be seen in the real...

 on the magician, would be examples of illusionary magic. Magic that causes objective physical change, in the manner of a miracle
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

, is not accommodated in Kieckhefer's categories.

Magical traditions


Another method of classifying magic is by "tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

s", which in this context typically refer to complexes or "currents" of magical belief and practice associated with various cultural groups and lineages of transmission. Some of these traditions are highly specific and culturally circumscribed. Others are more eclectic and syncretistic
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

. These traditions can compass both divination and spells.

When dealing with magic in terms of "traditions", it is a common misconception for outsiders to treat any religion in which clergy members make amulet
Amulet
An amulet, similar to a talisman , is any object intended to bring good luck or protection to its owner.Potential amulets include gems, especially engraved gems, statues, coins, drawings, pendants, rings, plants and animals; even words said in certain occasions—for example: vade retro satana—, to...

s and talismans for their congregants as a "tradition of magic", even though what is being named is actually an organized religion with clergy, laity, and an order of liturgical service. This is most notably the case when Voodoo, Palo
Palo
Palo may refer to:*Palo , developed by slaves from Central Africa in Cuba*Palos, long drums used in the music of the Dominican Republic*Palo , the name for a musical form in flamenco*Palo , a Mallorcan liqueurPlaces...

, Santería
Santería
Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi....

, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

, and other contemporary religions and folk religion
Folk religion
Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices...

s are mischaracterized as forms of "magic", or even as "sorcery."

Examples of magical, folk-magical, and religio-magical traditions include:

  • Alchemy
    Alchemy
    Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

  • Animism
    Animism
    Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

  • Asatru
    Ásatrú
    is a form of Germanic neopaganism which developed in the United States from the 1970s....

  • Benedicaria
    Benedicaria
    Benedicaria, which means "Way of Blessing," is a relatively new term for a number of loosely-related family-based folk traditions found throughout Italy, most notably in southern Italy and Sicily...

  • Black Magic
    Black magic
    Black magic is the type of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers or is used with the intention to kill, steal, injure, cause misfortune or destruction, or for personal gain without regard to harmful consequences. As a term, "black magic" is normally used by those that do not approve of its...

  • Bön
  • Candomblé Jeje
    Candomblé Jejé
    Candomblé Jeje is the Candomblé cult that the Vodous of Kingdom of Dahomey brought to the Brazil by enslaved Africans in various regions of West Africa and Central Africa. These Voduns are the rich, complex and high Fon mythology...

  • Ceremonial magic
    Ceremonial magic
    Ceremonial magic, also referred to as high magic and as learned magic, is a broad term used in the context of Hermeticism or Western esotericism to encompass a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic. It is named as such because the works included are characterized by...

  • Chaos magic
    Chaos magic
    Chaos magic is a school of the modern magical tradition which emphasizes the pragmatic use of belief systems and the creation of new and unorthodox methods.-General principles:...

  • Druid
    Druid
    A druid was a member of the priestly class in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul, and possibly other parts of Celtic western Europe, during the Iron Age....

    ry
  • Feri Tradition
    Feri Tradition
    The Feri Tradition is an initiatory tradition of modern traditional witchcraft. It is an ecstatic, rather than a fertility, tradition stemming from the experience of Cora and Victor Anderson...

  • Haitian Vodou
  • Hermetic Qabalah
    Hermetic Qabalah
    Hermetic Qabalah is a Western esoteric and mystical tradition...

  • Hermeticism
    Hermeticism
    Hermeticism or the Western Hermetic Tradition is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs based primarily upon the pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus...

  • Hoodoo

  • Huna
  • Kabbalah
    Kabbalah
    Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

  • Louisiana Voodoo
    Louisiana Voodoo
    Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of underground religious practices which originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions which developed within the French, Spanish, and Creole speaking African American...

  • Nagual
    Nagual
    In Mesoamerican folk religion, a Nagual or Nahual is a human being who has the power to magically turn him- or herself into an animal form: most commonly a donkey, turkey, or dog, but also other and more powerful animals such as the jaguar and puma.Such a Nagual is believed to use his powers for...

  • Obeah
    Obeah
    Obeah is a term used in the West Indies to refer to folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices derived from West African, and specifically Igbo origin. Obeah is similar to other African derived religions including Palo, Voodoo, Santería, rootwork, and most of all hoodoo...

  • Onmyōdō
    Onmyodo
    is a traditional Japanese esoteric cosmology, a mixture of natural science and occultism. It is based on the Chinese philosophies of Wu Xing and Yin and yang, introduced into Japan at the turn of the 6th century, and accepted as a practical system of divination...

  • Palo
    Palo (religion)
    Palo, or Las Reglas de Congo are a group of closely related religions or denominations, which developed in the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean amongst Central African slaves of mostly Bantu ancestry...

  • Pow-wow
    Pow-wow (folk magic)
    Pow-wow is a system of American folk religion and magic associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch.-Origin of the name and practices:Its name comes from the book Pow-wows, or, The Long Lost Friend, written by John George Hohman and first published in German as Der Lange Verborgene Freund in 1820...

  • Psychonautics
  • Quimbanda
    Quimbanda
    Quimbanda is an Afro-Brazilian religion practiced primarily in the urban city centers of Brazil. Quimbanda practices are typically associated with magic, rituals involving animal sacrifice and marginal locations, orishas, exus, and pomba gira spirits. Quimbanda was originally contained under the...

  • Reiki
    Reiki
    is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. The teaching was continued and adapted by various teachers. It uses a technique commonly called palm healing as a form of complementary and alternative medicine and is sometimes classified as oriental medicine by some...

  • Santería
    Santería
    Santería is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi, or Lukumi. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi....

  • Satanism
    Satanism
    Satanism is a group of religions that is composed of a diverse number of ideological and philosophical beliefs and social phenomena. Their shared feature include symbolic association with, admiration for the character of, and even veneration of Satan or similar rebellious, promethean, and...


  • Seid
    Seiðr
    Seid or seiðr is an Old Norse term for a type of sorcery or witchcraft which was practiced by the pre-Christian Norse. Sometimes anglicized as "seidhr," "seidh," "seidr," "seithr," or "seith," the term is also used to refer to modern Neopagan reconstructions or emulations of the...

  • Setianism
  • Sex Magic
    Sex magic
    Sex magic is a term for various types of sexual activity used in magical, ritualistic or otherwise religious and spiritual pursuits. One practice of sex magic is using the energy of sexual arousal or orgasm with visualization of a desired result...

  • Shamanism
    Shamanism
    Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

  • Shinto
    Shinto
    or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

  • Sigil Magic
    Sigil (magic)
    A sigil is a symbol created for a specific magical purpose. A sigil is usually made up of a complex combination of several specific symbols or geometric figures, each with a specific meaning or intent.- Name and origin :...

  • Tantra
    Tantra
    Tantra , anglicised tantricism or tantrism or tantram, is the name scholars give to an inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, expressed in scriptures ....

  • Taoism
    Taoism
    Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

  • Thelema
    Thelema
    Thelema is a religious philosophy that was established, defined and developed by the early 20th century British writer and ceremonial magician, Aleister Crowley. He believed himself to be the prophet of a new age, the Æon of Horus, based upon a religious experience that he had in Egypt in 1904...

  • West African Vodun
  • Witchcraft
    Witchcraft
    Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

  • Wicca
    Wicca
    Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

  • Zos Kia Cultus
    Zos Kia Cultus
    Zos Kia Cultus may refer to*a system of magic developed by Austin Osman Spare, see Austin_Osman_Spare#Influence_on_Chaos_magic*an album by the blackened death metal band Behemoth, see Zos Kia Cultus...



See also




  • Magic in the Greco-Roman world
    Magic in the Greco-Roman world
    The study of magic in the Greco-Roman world is a branch of the disciplines of classics, ancient history and religious studies. In the ancient post-hellenistic world of the Greeks and Romans , the public and private rituals associated with religion are accepted by historians and archaeologists to...

  • Mathemagician
    Mathemagician
    A mathemagician is a mathematician who is also a magician.The name "mathemagician" was probably first applied to Martin Gardner, but has since been used to describe many mathematician/magicians, including Arthur T. Benjamin, Persi Diaconis, and Raymond Smullyan...

  • Occult
    Occult
    The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

    ism
  • Psionics
    Psionics
    Psionics refers to the practice, study, or psychic ability of using the mind to induce paranormal phenomena. Examples of this include telepathy, telekinesis, and other workings of the outside world through the psyche.-History and terminology:...

  • Sympathetic magic
    Sympathetic magic
    Sympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence.-Similarity and contagion:The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough...

  • Witchcraft
    Witchcraft
    Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...


External links