By Marcel Mauss
First written by means of Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, A common idea of Magic won a large new readership while republished by way of Mauss in 1950. As a learn of magic in 'primitive' societies and its survival this present day in our techniques and social activities, it represents what Claude Lévi-Strauss known as, in an advent to that version, the awesome modernity of the brain of 1 of the century's maximum thinkers. The booklet deals a desirable picture of magic all through numerous cultures in addition to deep sociological and non secular insights nonetheless greatly appropriate this present day. At a interval while artwork, magic and technology seem to be crossing paths once more, A common conception of Magic offers itself as a vintage for our instances.
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Extra resources for A General Theory of Magic (Routledge Classics)
In some cases even, the magician is said to split himself in two. Thus the Dayak sorcerer departs to seek his medicines while he is attending a spiritualistic seance. The people see the magician’s body yet he is both spiritually and corporeally absent since his double is not merely pure spirit. The two parts of the double are identical to the point that they are strictly interchangeable, one for the other. In fact it would not be far fetched to imagine the magician splitting himself in two in this way, leaving his double on the spot and taking his real self oﬀ somewhere else.
Apart from a general power over objects, the magician has power over his own being and this is the prime source of his strength. Through force of will he accomplishes things beyond 41 42 a general theory of magic the power of normal human beings. The laws of gravity do not apply to the magician. He is an expert at levitation and can betake himself anywhere he wishes in a trice. He is to be found in many places at once. Even the laws of contradiction do not apply to him. In 1221 Johannes Teutonicus of Halberstadt, a preacher and sorcerer, is said to have performed three masses, concurrently, at Halberstadt, Mainz and Cologne.
It is a remarkable fact that a magician, to a certain extent, can control his possession; he brings it on by appropriate practices, such as dancing, monotonous music or the elements of magic intoxication. To sum up, one of the magician’s professional qualiﬁcations, which is not only mythical but practical, is the power of being possessed and it is a skill at which they have long been expert. From both the individual’s and society’s point of view, sending out a soul or receiving one are two ways of looking at the same phenomena.