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Magical and Religious Terminology

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.religion.wicca,alt.lucky.w,alt.religion.orisha,alt.pagan,alt.magick
From: (blackman99)
Subject: Re: Magical and Religious Terminology (was Spells and Rituals of Summoning ....)
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 07:01:59 GMT

my impression is that the focus on direct or assisted cause of 
symbolic change is not only a (western) ceremonial magic frame,
but can surely be found within analyses by anthropologists and
those who study the magic of any particular culture (eastern
*and* western).

as I stated, I'm aware of the cultural bias demonstrated by
European Christian culture as regards magic and religion, but
attempting to associate me with any of these categories merely
avoids the questions (acute ones) that I am raising.

you seem to be bypassing the rational categories of thaumaturgy
and theurgy by pretending that they are the same as the classes
of distinction which you are ascribing to me, to western
ceremonial magicians, and to cultural bigots who wish to promote
their religion as unique and the rest as 'magic'. this is plain
and simply a straw man which is in none of our best interests to
consider seriously. I'd like to ignore that for the moment even
while acknowledging the importance of the bias against the people
of whom you speak. I have no such bias.

however, if you will look more carefully at my focus (on the
identity of the cause of change), you will be able to see a
very reasonable query as to whether you acknowledge the
difference between ritual (or spells; whether considered to 
be 'magic' or 'religion' or no distinction made is of no
consequence) which appeals to some outside intelligence or 
agency (such a spirit or a god) to effect the change desired
-- on the one hand, or ritual which intends to effect that
change by the sorcerer or hierophant oneself.

this discernment may readily be understood by the ritualist,
can be inferred from the symbolism of the rite or spell, and
need not reflect in any way upon the 'legitimacy' or even
the absolute categorical delineation of the act.

you seemed to be claiming that no distinction is made, and
yet this is tantamount to claiming that those who engage
their ritual do not care how the result is obtained, don't
pay attention to how the ritual is designed, whether spirits,
gods, whathaveyou, are appeased or compensated, or whether
this is unnecessary because they are completely responsible.
if I have misunderstood you, please explain, thanks.

I'm curious where you think that African (or any particular 
people's) magicians or religious locate the cause of changes 
they may seek within their rituals or spells (regardless of 
whether you or they would call these 'magical' or 'religious').
if this varies, then have you observed that there is more or
less emphasis placed on either self-caused or other-caused

your dislike of any particular terminology is not in my 
interest to debate, as I was asking first how the 
individuals themselves see what they are doing (in response 
to sri catyananda's contention that the crossroads summoning 
spell was a part of some hoodoo-related religion), and, when
side-tracked by a semantic straw man, specifically asking 
about the cosmology and mechanics of the religiomagical 
systems most common in the cultures of which you are speaking.
I don't expect categorical or absolute truths here, I'm merely
asking for generalizations understood as common observations. 

if no distinction between religion and magic is known, then
this is relevant as regards the terminology, but not as
regards the conceptions of the activities themselves and
what they may include, how they are seen by participants, etc.  
this can be explained based upon observations by participants 
and academics alike. your reflections are welcome.

blessed beast!

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