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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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Concentric Rings of Healing

Concentric Rings of Healing

(p.83) Seven Concentric Rings of Healing
The End of Magic

Ariel Glucklich

Oxford University Press

There is nothing “magical” (occult) about magic, the claims of its practitioners to the contrary notwithstanding. Instead of taking the boasts of magicians literally, the sociology and the symbolism of magic have come to dominate academic interest. The only admissable hypotheses deal with social function or symbolic meaning. But perhaps a different set of speculations could also be considered. Assume, as a working hypothesis, that the earliest form of magical practice was the healing of sick and injured people. If quantity is a sign of need, no act of magic is more necessary than curing illness. In Banaras, magical healing outstrips every other form of practice, including, most notably, astrological divinations. In the search for health, Banarsis ignore doctrinal, sectarian, and caste boundaries without a thought. All magical healing tries to do this: It restores the wholeness—the systemic completeness—in the consciousness of the main participants. The specific desired goal of a given rite is then perceived as inherently contained in the actions of the rite because the rite produces this relational consciousness.

Keywords:   Banaras, magic, occult, magical healing, sociology, symbolism, magicians, illness, wholeness, health

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