What is Magic?
Magic is the art of executing tricks or the art of creating illusions to achieve the good or bad objectives as it desires. Like religion, magic is also a tool of adaptation, intended to help humans in difficult situations. Magic has been defined by various scholars.
Definition of Magic by significant Scholars
The definition given by some prominent scholars is as follows.
Definition of Magic by James George Frazer
According to Frazer, Magic is a virtual science. It puts pressure on nature based on the definite law of action.
Definition of Magic by Bronisław Malinowski
According to Malinowski- “Magic is purely the sum of practical actions, which are used as a means of accomplishing a purpose.”
Definition of Magic by Shyama Charan Dube
According to Dr. Shyama Charan Dube – “Magic is the name of that special power from which control over the superhuman world can be achieved.”
Thus it is clear that magic is the means by which supernatural power is controlled and that power is used to fulfill its good and evil objectives as it wishes.
Types of Magic according to Frazer
Anthropologists have mentioned types of magic in their own way. According to Frazer, there are two types of magic:
- Homeopathic Magic
- Contagious Magic
What is Homeopathic magic?
- Simulative magic is based on the law of equality. According to this, when one type of action is done, the result is also of the same type. That is, similar actions arise for the same reason.
- For example, in the Golalari tribe, when a lover visits his girlfriend at night, he takes the soil of the crematorium with him. Due to the impact of the cremation ground, the parents of the beloved will die for some time and their love will not be disturbed. This type of magic is most prevalent among various tribes.
What is Contagious Magic?
- Contagious Magic is based on the law of contagion.
- According to this law, it is believed that once an object comes into contact with someone, it always stays in contact with it.
- For example, a person’s hair and nails are in contact with that person. But if the hair and nails are cut off, then their contact with the person is externally eliminated. But according to the law of Contagious Magic, both of them remain in contact even after the external contact has ended. Therefore, do not cause any trouble to that hair or nail, otherwise, the person will suffer.
- For this reason, hair and nails are not thrown at any public place in tribal society, because they fear that the object can be harmed by performing a magical act.
Types of Magic according to Malinowski
Malinowski divided magic into two main category:
- White Magic
- Black Magic
What is White Magic?
- The magic which aims to benefit others is called white magic.
- This spell receives social approval.
- Malinowski has also divided white magic into two parts.
- Firstly, white magic is that which is used to protect a person from various types of dangers.
- Secondly, white magic is that by which some miraculous works are performed that cannot be expected of an ordinary person.
What is Black Magic?
- The spell which causes harm to another is called black magic.
- Black magic does not receive social acceptance.
- Black magic involves magical actions performed to kill, ill, or financially destroy a person by means of tricks and tantra-mantras.
- The performer of such magic is seen in society in terms of fear and doubt.
Thus it is clear from various types of magic that the purpose of magic is not only human welfare but also anti-social works are done by it.
Related: Magic and Religion