By Marcel Mauss
First written through Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, A normal idea of Magic won a large new readership while republished by means of Mauss in 1950. As a examine of magic in 'primitive' societies and its survival this present day in our suggestions and social activities, it represents what Claude Lévi-Strauss referred to as, in an creation to that version, the dazzling modernity of the brain of 1 of the century's maximum thinkers. The e-book bargains a desirable image of magic all through numerous cultures in addition to deep sociological and spiritual insights nonetheless greatly correct this day. At a interval while artwork, magic and technology seem to be crossing paths once more, A basic idea of Magic provides itself as a vintage for our instances.
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Extra info for A General Theory of Magic (Routledge Classics)
The simple type includes variations on the theme of Mephistopheles and Faust; but there are others which are very elaborate. Among the Murring, the would-be sorcerer (murup, spirit) sleeps on the grave of an old woman. He has to cut away the skin of her stomach and while he is sleeping the skin, that is the murup, of the old woman, transports him beyond the vault of the sky where he meets the spirits and the the elements of magic gods who pass on to him secret rites and formulas. When he wakes he ﬁnds that his body has been stuﬀed full of pieces of quartz, like a medicine bag.
A magician is a man who has special qualiﬁcations—special relationships and, more particularly, special powers. It is one of the highest classed professions and probably one of the ﬁrst to be so. It is so bound up with social qualiﬁcations that individuals cannot simply join independently of their own accord. And there have been many 49 50 a general theory of magic examples of magicians who were forced, in spite of themselves, to join the fraternity. It is public opinion which makes the magician and creates the power he wields.
It is thought, for example, that the pupils of a magician’s eyes have swallowed up the iris, or that his visual images are produced back to front. He is said to lack a shadow. In the Middle Ages people looked for the devil’s mark on the witch’s body. Doubtless many witches were hysterical cases capable of producing 33 34 a general theory of magic stigmata and anæsthesic zones. As for the beliefs regarding the particular appearance of magicians, they mainly depend on actual observation. All over the world there are people who have a peculiarly cunning look, who appear odd or untrustworthy, who blink at one strangely.
A General Theory of Magic (Routledge Classics) by Marcel Mauss