Necromancy And Divination

I gave you in Lesson 2 some of the history of Sleight of Hand, one of the two distinct branches of magic.

The second division of the art includes Necromancy and Divination, which I shall tell you about here.

Necromancy is the art of foretelling the future by pretending to have communication with the dead. The ghosts of the departed are called up to give oracles or discover hidden treasures; or these ghosts come, through the offices of the necromancers, to enter men's bodies and afflict them with diseases or cure them. The spells and incantations of the magicians are believed powerful enough to control the will even of such divinities as the gods who can drive the winds and give or withhold the rain.

These beliefs began in ancient times and have come down through the ages and are still prevalent. Today in civilized countries we have spiritualism, which illustrates the ability of the medium, like the necromancers of old, to call up the sprits of the dead to give oracles foretelling events. And among primitive peoples living now the belief that these ghosts can enter the human body and afflict or cure them is still a strong influence.

Among Wild Natives of Australia

The necromancers or sorcerers from ancient times to the present have wielded their tremendous power for both good and evil. History tells us of the complete belief of people in the influence of these sorcerers, and even today the wild natives of Australia live in mortal terror of sorcerers. They believe that sorcerers, armed with their mysterious power called "boyl-ya," ride through the sky, invisible except to other sorcerers. They enter the bodies of men and feed on them, not eating the bones, but consuming the flesh. The native feels pain as the "boyl-ya" enters his body like a bit of pointed quartz. Another sorcerer, then, can extract the evil with a piece of quartz in the supposed shape of the "boyl-ya."

The leg bone of a kangaroo can bewitch a man to death if a sorcerer points it at him while he sleeps, these primitive Australian tribesmen believe. And, indeed, many evil things can this sorcerer do to a man while he sleeps, according to them. The sorcerer can creep up to him and steal away his kidney fat, where they believe a man's power lies; or he can call in a demon to strike the man behind the neck with his club; or he can get a lock of hair and roast it with fat over the fire until its former owner pines away and dies.

The Australians, like other barbaric tribes, do not believe that a man can die of causes other than being slain

or being bewitched. When a native dies a natural death, it is believed that some hostile sorcerer caused it. This evil magician must be discovered by other forms of magic. This is how it is done. The corpse itself may seem to push its bearers in the direction of the murderer, or the flames of the grave-fire flicker towards where he is, or some insect is seen creeping towards his home. When the next of kin observe these magic signs, they must set off to take vengeance on the murderer.

The necromancer, however, may have kindly duties as well. He sits by a sick man and charms and charms until the stricken man recovers. He may pull the disease out of the body by means of a stone spear-head or a fish bone or may bring it out along a string. Thus the necromancer with his powers of good and evil is both respected and feared. He holds an important position in the tribe and is showered with gifts to keep the natives in his good graces.

Divination is the art of foretelling the future by the study of omens. From Biblical times down through the ancient Greeks and Romans, the people believed in sacrifices to appease the gods and to bring them good fortune. One popular part of Divination was the examining of the entrails of the sacrificed animal to determine the future. The diviner who performed this examination, most often of the heart and liver of the slaughtered animal, was called a haruspex. Other diviners made the people believe that the cries of birds and animals at certain hours of the day and in certain seasons were omens of good or evil about to befall them. These were called augurs. With the astrologers, you are familiar. They foretold events by the stars.

Among Ancient Romans

In ancient Rome divination was given a high place even in public affairs. Every public act was done under magical guidance. Cicero, the great statesman himself, was an augur. He observed the flight of the birds and their cries and based decisions on public policy on the omens which it was believed these things signified.

Roman divination was really a religious system of consulting the gods. It was believed that the gods sent particular omens to guide the people. Jupiter, the father of the heavens, was seen in thunder and lightning. These signs of the elements had tremendous importance when observed by the diviner in a certain section of the sky. The eagle was Jove's messenger and gave high hope of victory, while the owl was the most unlucky bird when it cried dismally. Sacred chickens gave omens according to whether or not they were eager to feed and dropped crumbs on the ground. The good or bad signs from other birds depended on whether they were on the right or left of the augur.

So important a part did Divination play in Roman public affairs that foreign soothsayers thronged to Rome to practice their art among the rich Romans.

So you see Magic was then a profitable business, as it is today.

Both Necromancy and Divination form the background of modern day Superstitions. In the next lesson I will take up the development of Superstitions from their Magical origins.

I am sure that you are convinced by now that this course is scientific. You must realize that you are learning things about magic that you can get nowhere else — things that the average magician does not give a thought to, yet things which are vital to Magic. You must know by now that you will be a different kind of Magician -- a Scientific Magician.

Today we will continue with the Psychology of Magic. This time I will discuss the Credulity of People.

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.

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