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The End of Magic$
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Ariel Glucklich

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195108798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108798.001.0001

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Introduction: What Is Magic?

Introduction: What Is Magic?

Chapter:
(p.3) Introduction: What Is Magic?
Source:
The End of Magic
Author(s):

Ariel Glucklich

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108798.003.0001

What is magic? What does magic do? Why do people believe in magic in the face of experience? After living in the Indian city of Banaras and making several trips to tribal areas in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Orissa, the author of this chapter discovered a surprising fact: magic is rarely a simple matter of belief. Few magicians and clients in Banaras ever ask themselves why their magic works or what it means. Without belief, the supernatural aspect of magic becomes moot. Magic is based on a unique type of consciousness: the awareness of the interrelatedness of all things in the world by means of simple hut refined sense perception. This awareness can be called “magical consciousness” or, less ambiguously, the “magical experience.” In Banaras, mind reading depends on subtle forms of nonverbal communication that skilled or intuitive practitioners can read like an open book. The magician is the man or woman who creates the context in which minds enter a relationship, and this is often experienced as an “occult” event.

Keywords:   Banaras, India, magic, belief, supernatural, magicians, mind reading, occult, magic consciousness, magical experience

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