Magic And Religion

"Magic was the cradle of the twin giants -- History and Science," as someone has so aptly put it. I would make it more explicit, however, and say that Magic was the cradle of History, Religion, Medicine, Pharmacy and Chemistry, and other Sciences. It was the beginning of all that we have now in the way of Science.

It seems almost incredible to us that Magic, now that we regard it only as an entertaining art, should have led the way to an understanding of nature and thus to the development of sciences. But just such was its effect. Magic, of course, you know came down hand in hand with History. In our earliest records, in Biblical times, during the Golden Age of Art in Greece, in the Dark Ages, during the Renaissance, down to the present day, we see the influence of Magic. I have already given you a glimpse of the history of its widespread influence in every age and in every land.

Now we come to the development of religion and of the sciences in relation to Magic.

Earliest Religion Today we will take up the importance of Magic in Religion.

The earliest religion, of course, was the worship of the elements. Primitive man gazed in wonder at the sun, marveled at the rain, and was awed by day and night. In his bewilderment he conceived the idea that invisible powers were embodied in these mysterious things—the sun, the rain, the winds, etc. Because he could not understand them and because they were beyond his control, he reasoned that they were supernatural beings who ruled the world. He feared the unknown and so he feared these gods of the elements, who, he believed, caused the sun to shine when they were pleased and brought the storm when they were angered.

Origin of Magic in Religion

To these people, only self-preservation was paramount to their worship—their religion. They bent every energy to appease their gods and to keep them mollified, since even in prehistoric times there was a leader of some kind in every group or tribe of people. This leader, naturally, guided the thought and actions of the people in their religion. His suggestions, his actions—his mutterings and the waving of his arms began to signify to the people that he had some communion with the powers above. The ability to sway the will of the gods then began to be definitely associated with the leader. The people began to believe that he was an agent of the gods and thus had supernatural powers.

This marks the beginning of the relationship of Magic with Religion.

Even the cultured nations of antiquity—the ancient Greeks and Romans—believed in many gods who must be

appeased with magical practices—such as sacrificing animals and giving offerings of various kinds. The practices were performed under the leadership of the sorcerers. The Jews also, who recognized only one Creator and Ruler of the Universe, believed in powers intermediate between God and man. These powers were angels and demons who could be influenced by magical practices of humans.

The ancient priests, then, were really Magicians, and the first Magic was that which was closely related with religion.

"White" and "Black" Magic

The functions of the priest and the sorcerer were blended at first. Then as established religions were formed among nations of a higher grade, sorcerers began to practice magic and a separation became distinct between the official rites of the priests and those practiced by the sorcerers.

Here began the distinction between "White Magic" and "Black Magic." The miracles worked by the divinities under official sanction were classed as "White Magic" and were always for good. The bewitchings and administering of potions for evil by the sorcerers were classed as "Black Magic."

As religion rose to a higher level it released itself somewhat from the belief in "White Magic," and "Black Magic" grew independently of religion. Strangely enough, however, in spite of enlightenment and a philosophy of religion which developed, magic beliefs in connection with religion maintained an unbelievably strong hold—so strong, in fact, that their influence was not diminished much all through the centuries to modern times. And "Black Magic" has gained such a tremendously strong hold on peoples' imaginations that, as I have pointed out, it still exerts its influence in the form of superstitions.

Origin of Necromancy

Among the ancients, ancestor worship was a major part of religion. You can readily understand, then, how this worship of the dead and the belief that their spirits manifested themselves to the living would bring Necromancy into being. Someone had to be able to conjure up these spirits and to understand them—and, of course, this person would be the one who had supernatural powers and had communion with the deities. Thus arose the class of magicians called necromancers, which I discussed with you in Lesson 3. These necromancers aided the people in pursuing their religion through their supposed magical powers of communication with the spirit world.

Greek Oracles

The religion of the ancient Greeks was founded largely on Necromancy. Their many shrines where the oracle-gods

and the departed souls were consulted for prophecies, indicating how closely magic was bound up with their religion. The Oracle of Delphi, which was the shrine of the god Apollo, is the one especially famed in history.

And so we find that in every land, in every corner of the globe, Magic was inseparably bound up with the early religions. Today, too, in civilized countries as well as in primitive lands, these magical beliefs, though somewhat modified, are still a part of religion.

Thus we see how tremendously strong was the hold that Magic had—so strong a hold that thousands of years have failed to destroy it, and though its influence has diminished and it has been modified, Magic is still with us.

In your next lesson I will take up the subject of Magic and the Science of Medicine.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment