Topic // Ritual Magic
Magic can be broken down into 3 sub areas:
Sympathetic Magic>Homeopathic Magic
Sympathetic Magic>Contagious Magic
Magic has to do with manipulating things.
Ex – sticking a pin in a voodoo doll and that the doll represents the
person that will be inflicted with pain.
Homeopathic Magic // being governed by the law of similarity, also
known as similar magic
Ex – you know what the expected outcome of magic trick is so
therefore you make it happen.
Contagious Magic // Influence and magic and power that can be passed
to others and objects through something that was once connected.
Ex – charms, jewelery, sacred cities, wearing lucky socks to a game
Trobriand fishing magic –fishing magic that took place in the
Caribbean. Malinowski noticed that fisherman who fished in the lagoon
didn’t use or rely on magic.
The Ghost Dance – a magical-ritual performed by the Soo Indian in the
Great Plains of the US. They believed that the only way to revive their
dying culture was to revive OLD ritual practices which centred around
the Ghost Dance, it spread from tribe to tribe. Many people were living
in anxiety so they resorted to this dance.
James Frazer //
• Wrote the Golden Bough
• He believed that Magic, Religion and Science were modes of
intellectual inquiry. They all were attempts at understanding the
Stark claimed that science was rooted in RELIGION. Emile Durkheim // claimed that RELIGION was about society. Religion
was a sacred domain from the profane.
Also claimed that: * Religion as a symbolic representation of society
• Religion binds individuals to society through shared ritual & symbol
• Religion functions to maintain the social order
Arnold Van Gennep // he was more sophisticated in terms of his
ideas about Religion, his ideas are the basis of contemporary thinking
on ritual. He was interested in the process of socialization. HE was
interested in how changes in social status were marked.
• He wrote “Les Rites de Passage (1908)
• He broke ritual into 3 processes: Separation,
Liminality – the period of isolation and magical instruction. Where
cognitive dissonance can occur and contradictory thoughts can
Incorporation – a type of rebirth. This increases group affiliation
and group conformity.
Different Types of Rituals
1. Calendric Rituals // for everyone, socially unifying practices,
the link communities together, one of the principles of social
organizations. Often based on celestial bodes like the sun, the
moon, the stars.
2. Rites of Passage // Naming, Puberty, Graduation, Marriage,
Retirement, Death. These are rituals that are based on no pre
defined date as they are irregular but are dependent on
3. Collective Rituals // Puberty Ceremonies classicaly use
Ardnold Van Gennep’s ritual process of Separation, Liminality
4. Rites of Passage// Successions. Examples – the crowning of
the new Pope or the new King or Queen. The Inauguration of
the new President. Ritual Symbols can include: the cross, the bible, rings, crown, birthday
cake. The symbols are catalysts for thought and action. Ritual symbols
are pneumonic devices to remind us of when certain events
Paleolithic Ritual // some of the earliest rituals known to date which
include cave paintings found in Spain, France and Africa. These