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Magic Overview

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Green Gaia

Veteran Member
Magic and religion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article deals with magic in the context of religion and the anthropology of religion. A belief in magic as a means of influencing the supernatural or natural seems to have been universal to all cultures and all religions prior to the advent of monotheism, and there is significant historical evidence that magic was part of early Judaism and Christianity. However, the influence of Zoroastrianism, which is generally accepted by religious scholars as the source of beliefs in an evil entity engaged in a cosmic battle with God, coincided with a suppression of magical beliefs and practices in the context of monotheism.

The term magic is often used in various other contexts that may be confused with magic in the context of religion. In fact, some anthropologists have asserted that magical thinking is a form of proto-science or pseudoscience rather than a form of religious practice, most notable among them being Sir James George Frazer and Bronisław Malinowski. However, this viewpoint is an ethnocentric one, common to Western culture, which venerates the objectivity of science. In line with this viewpoint, magic in the context of religion is often conflated with magic in the context of the paranormal. Some people also use the term magick, with a spelling that is distinct and different from magic, to distinguish various concepts of magic from the one proposed by Aleister Crowley. Wholly distinct from all of these concepts of magic is magic in the context of stage magic.

Due to waves of monotheistic persecution and the accompanying persistent destruction of art and writing related to magical traditions, magic as it has come to be known in Western culture has generally been reconstructed from secondary, tertiary, or even more remote sources. Members of the Golden Dawn, and especially Aleister Crowley, did much to bring about a resurgence of the western magical tradition in the 20th century. As groups built upon their work, a synthesis of western magick and concepts of ancient paganism and Earth worship began to emerge, resulting in the modern Neo-Pagan movement, perhaps best illustrated by Wicca.

Although some modern practitioners of magic prefer the term 'Pagan', Neopaganism is more correct for scholarly reference to current rituals and traditions. Wicca is a more codified form of modern magic than Neopaganism, again owing much to Crowley and his contemporaries. In no case can either Wicca, or NeoPaganism be correctly identified with Satanism, which owes its structure and memes primarily to inversions of monotheistic texts.
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