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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Anthropology Religion Belief

Anthropology Religion Belief Image
The concept of witchcraft finds its roots in pagan religion and folklore, but also Christian theology. And the deepest and most primal element found within the tradition of witchcraft practice is something which we call sorcery. Forms of this activity are found almost all over the world, especially in primal societies. This reflects the roots which we all still hold inside ourselves.

Sorcery is considered one form of magic, and like all magic, there is a basic underlying assumption that the universe is one whole and there are relations between all natural forces which we cannot see or understand. It is these hidden forces and relationships between them that a sorcerer (or a sorceress) tries to control with the inner human power that they hold - or if not successful in completely changing them, at least influencing them in the direction which is useful for them.

Another side of the coin is something that is closely related to sorcery, and that is the process of divination. Some practitioners claim to have an ability to "tune in" to these underlying hidden natural forces and to be able to determine facts about events happening in the future. The physical manifestations that they claim to base their divinations on are often stars in the sky, sheep liver, stones, herbs, or even jackal tracks.

So what is sorcery? In the simplest definition, it is the mechanical carrying out of a specific physical action for the purpose of causing another physical effect to manifest itself. The physical actions might be the same across cultures, but the meanings given to them vary between traditions.

More high-level sorcery transcends the mechanical plane and involves around the aid of ethereal spirits. The rule, however, is that the sorcerer instead of forcing the natural powers to work in his favor, instead tries to compel these forces to act. They cannot be acted on directly, naturally. From a psychological standpoint, the thought processes that happen in the head and heart of a sorcerer are intuitive and reflexive rather than analytical and calculated.

If you look at societies where sorcery is widely practiced, it very often serves a practical function. In some, however, it is related to religious practices. Commonly though, the line between practicality and ritual is blurred - priests may sometimes use sorcery to make rain or to ripen the crop faster. The difference can be made by looking at the goal. If the sorcery is performed for the common good of society, then it is considered a religious practice, but if the gain is for the good of an individual, then this is a private, practical sorcery and is not religious.

Books in PDF format to read:

Irv Slauson - The Religion Of Odin
Reformed Druids - Anthology 10 Oral Histories

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