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This collection of essays considers the place of magic in the modern world, first by exploring the ways in which modernity has been defined in explicit opposition to magic and superstition, and then by illuminating how modern proponents of magic have worked to legitimize their practices through an overt embrace of evolving forms such as esotericism and supernaturalism. Taking a two-track approach, this book explores the complex dynamics of the construction of the modern self and its relation to the modern preoccupation with magic. Essays examine how modern "rational" consciousness is generated and maintained and how proponents of both magical and scientific traditions rationalize evidence to fit accepted orthodoxy. This book also describes how people unsatisfied with the norms of modern subjectivity embrace various forms of magic-and the methods these modern practitioners use to legitimate magic in the modern world. A compelling assessment of magic from the early modern period to today, Magic in the Modern World shows how, despite the dominant culture's emphatic denial of their validity, older forms of magic persist and develop while new forms of magic continue to emerge. In addition to the editors, contributors include Egil Asprem, Erik Davis, Megan Goodwin, Dan Harms, Adam Jortner, and Benedek Lang.
Discover the strange world of the undead and the proof that creatures of the night exist when you read Vampires by Konstantinos. The facts about vampires are stranger than anything you may have read, heard, or imagined before. In Vampires you'll learn the truth about the undead. It rips away the myth and exposes the habits and lifestyles of these beings. Vampires reveals the occult truths about these creatures including actual first-person encounters with vampires of all types--the ancient undead of folklore, contemporary mortal blood drinkers, and the most dangerous creatures of all: psychic vampires who intentionally drain the life force from their victims. - Learn about the four types of vampires - Read about vampire legends from around the world - Discover vampires from history, including: - Arnold Paole of Serbia - Peter Plogojowitz and the Count de Cabreras of Hungary - The vampire of Croglin Grange, Cumberland, England - Countess Elizabeth Bathory, responsible for up to 650 deaths - Gilles de Rais - Fritz Haarman, of Germany, from ninety years ago - John Haigh of Yorkshire, England, from just before WWII - And of course, the real Vlad Dracula - Present-day blood drinkers - How to protect yourself from vampires Included are letters from contemporary vampires. You will be shocked and surprised as you discover what these people are really like. Besides learning about the psychic vampire that unintentionally drains you of your energy as well as the intentional psychic vampire, you'll learn rituals for protection and methods to avoid falling into their clutches. Vampires finally reveals the truth about the undead. You will be fascinated when you discover who they were and what they are now, and you'll be grateful when you learn how to protect yourself from them. This is not a book of fantasy and imagination, but of science, history, and spirituality.
Witchcraft is a subject that fascinates us all, and everyone knows what a witch is - or do they? From childhood most of us develop a sense of the mysterious, malign person, usually an old woman. Historically, too, we recognize witch-hunting as a feature of pre-modern societies. But why do witches still feature so heavily in our cultures and consciousness? From Halloween to superstitions, and literary references such as Faust and even Harry Potter, witches still feature heavily in our society. In this Very Short Introduction Malcolm Gaskill challenges all of this, and argues that what we think we know is, in fact, wrong. Taking a historical perspective from the ancient world to contemporary paganism, Gaskill reveals how witchcraft has meant different things to different people and that in every age it has raised questions about the distinction between fantasy and reality, faith and proof. Telling stories, delving into court records, and challenging myths, Gaskill examines the witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and explores the reinvention of witchcraft - as history, religion, fiction, and metaphor. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Legendary for an unusual combination of spiritual power, beauty, charisma, showmanship, intimidation, and shrewd business sense, Marie Leveau also was known for her kindness and charity, nursing yellow fever victims and ministering to condemned prisoners, and her devotion to the Roman Catholic Church. In separating verifiable fact from semi-truths and complete fabrication, Carolyn Morrow Long explores the unique social, political, and legal setting in which the lives of Laveau's African and European ancestors became intertwined in nineteenth-century New Orleans.
Forgotten somewhere between Bar Harbor, Maine, and New Brunswick, Canada, lies the most remote and mysterious section of the Eastern Seaboard. It is a region rich in stark beauty--and supernatural lore. The harsh landscape, with its rocky seaside cliffs and thundering surf and miles of dark, mysterious forest farther inland, lends itself to the ghost story. Overlaying the ghost tales gathered in this book is a sense of unspeakable horror and malice.
Reconstructing the activity of the ""Tribunal of the Faith"" in Italy during the period 1400-1600, this compelling book analyzes the ideology of its judges and takes a closer look at Italian witches and their clientele. For the first time, the English reader, student, and scholar alike will be offered direct access to this little-known world through a large selection of translated Inquisition trials from the rich State Archives of Modena. From the voices of the men and women who practiced the occult arts or resorted to them on a daily basis, magic and witchcraft will emerge as an integral part of social life in early modern Italy and a means for contact and communication between diverse cultural spheres.
Witchcraft is very much alive in today's post-communist societies. Stemming from ancient rural traditions and influenced by modern New Age concepts, it has kept its function as a vibrant cultural code to combat the adversities of everyday life. Intricately linked to the Orthodox church and its rituals, the magic discourse serves as a recourse for those in distress, a mechanism to counter-balance misfortune and, sometimes, a powerful medium for acts of aggression.In this fascinating book, Alexandra Tataran skillfully re-contextualizes the vast and heterogenuous discourse on contemporary witchcraft. She shows how magic, divination, and religious rituals are adapted to the complex mechanisms of modern mentalities and urban living in the specific historical and social context of post-communist countries. Based on years of first-hand fieldwork, Tataran offers fascinating insights into the experience of individuals deeming themselves bewitched and argues that the practice can also teach us a lot about particular forms of adapting traditions and resorting to pre-existing cultural models.
Thomas Potts' famous account of the Pendle witch trials of 1612 is the only original source of information about the events, and in this excellent new version historian Robert Poole makes the text accessible and usable for twenty-first century readers for the first time. Accompanied by an extremely helpful introduction that summarises the affair in a clear and chronological way, this book is a must for everyone interested in the Pendle witches, and in the history of witchcraft, Lancashire and England.
"This is a useful collection of material on witchcraft."
"This is undoubtedly one of the best reference works ever
published on witchcraft. Breslaw, fresh from her well-received
revisionist history "Tituba: Reluctant Witch of Salem," brings
together work by some of the best-known scholars of the field,
including Elizabeth Reis, Carol Karlsen, John Demos, Paul Boyer,
Stephen Nissenbaum and David Hall. She organizes primary sources
(including the 1486 manifesto "Why Women Are Chiefly Addicted to
Superstitions") and insightful secondary essays around topics of
European, Native American and African witchcraft. The anthology is
to be applauded for its commitment to representing cultural
variance--showing how, for example, indigenous American magical
traditions differed greatly from tribe to tribe. Breslaw's
awareness of diverse cultural contexts highlights the multiple
functions that witchcraft and anti-witchcraft served in individual
.,."covers a tremendous amount of spatial and temporal ground."--"Maryland Historical Magazine"
This unique anthology is the first to provide a multicultural perspective on witchcraft from the 15th to 18th century. Featuring primary documents as well as scholarly interpretations," Witches of the Atlantic World" builds upon information regarding both Christian and non-Christian beliefs about possession and the demonic. Elaine G. Breslaw draws on Native American, African, South American, and African-American sources, as well as the European and New England heritage, to illuminate the ways in which witchcraft in early America was an attempt to understand and control evil andmisfortune in the New World.
Organized into sections on folklore and magic, diabolical possession, Christian perspectives, and the question of gender, the volume includes selections by Cotton Mather, Matthew Hopkins, and Samuel Willard, among others; Salem trial testimonies; and commentary by a host of distinguished scholars.
Together the materials demonstrate how the Protestant and Catholic traditions shaped American concepts, and how multicultural aspects played a key role in the Salem experience. Witches of the Atlantic World sheds new light on one of the most perplexing aspects of American history and provides important background for the continued scholarly and popular interest in witches and witchcraft today.
Based on research in the Inquisitorial archives of Northern Italy, The Night Battles recounts the story of a peasant fertility cult centered on the benandanti, literally, "good walkers." These men and women described fighting extraordinary ritual battles against witches and wizards in order to protect their harvests. While their bodies slept, the souls of the benandanti were able to fly into the night sky to engage in epic spiritual combat for the good of the village. Carlo Ginzburg looks at how the Inquisition's officers interpreted these tales to support their world view that the peasants were in fact practicing sorcery. The result of this cultural clash, which lasted for more than a century, was the slow metamorphosis of the benandanti into the Inquisition's mortal enemies-witches. Relying upon this exceptionally well-documented case study, Ginzburg argues that a similar transformation of attitudes-perceiving folk beliefs as diabolical witchcraft-took place all over Europe and spread to the New World. In his new preface, Ginzburg reflects on the interplay of chance and discovery, as well as on the relationship between anomalous cases and historical generalizations.
Both NOX and Liber Koth were briefly published as booklets in the mid-1990's by Logos Press and have remained in high demand ever since -- especially by those interested in Chaos Magic. Now, Falcon has made them available in a single volume. NOX includes 22 Infernal Texts from the Order of Nine Angles, the Werewolf Order, and the Esoteric Order of Dagon by such notables as Phil Hine, Anton Long and Stephen Sennitt. The diverse topics range from "Satanism, Blasphemy & The Black Mass" to "Lovecraft & The Dark Gods"; from "Are You a Werewolf?" to "The Rite of the Dark Star". Liber Koth is a book of invocations. It utilises Lovecraftian symbology including Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu, Tsathogua and others. As the section on Azathoth says: "No one can undergo this experience unchanged. It is the culmination of the circle manifestation which the wheel of chaos (Koth) represents". Extensively Illustrated.
Offering a new template for future exploration, Susan Greenwood examines and develops the notion that the experience of magic is a panhuman orientation of consciousness, a form of knowledge largely marginalized in Western societies. In this volume she aims to form a "bridge of communication" between indigenous magical or shamanic worldviews and rationalized Western cultures. She outlines an alternative mythological framework for the latter to help develop a magical perception, as well as giving practical case studies derived from her own research. The form of magic discussed here is not fantastic or virtual, but ecological and sensory. Magical knowledge infiltrates the body in its deepest levels of the subconscious, and unconscious, as well as conscious awareness; it is felt and understood through the connection with an inspirited world that includes the consciousness of other beings, including those of plant, animal and the physical environment. This is anthropology from the heart rather than the head, and it engages with the messy area of emotions, an embodiment of the senses, and struggles to find a common language of listening to one another across a void of differences. The aim is to provide a non-reductive structure for the creative interplay of both magical and analytical modes of thought. Passion is a motivator for change, and a change in attitude to magic as an integrative force of human understanding is the main thread of this work.
With stunning regularity, the search for our cosmic roots has been yielding remarkable new discoveries about the universe and our place in it. In his compelling book, Origins: The Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, veteran science journalist Tom Yulsman chronicles the latest discoveries and describes in clear and engaging terms what they mean. From the interior of protons to the outer reaches of the universe, and from the control room of one of the world's most powerful particle accelerators to an observatory atop the tallest mountain in the Pacific basin, Yulsman takes readers on a fantastic voyage at the cutting edge of science. How could the universe have sprouted from absolute nothingness? What is the origin of galaxies? How do stars and planets form? And despite what now seem to be incredible odds, how did Earth come to be a rich oasis of biodiversity-one that has given rise to a species intelligent enough to ask these questions? In laying out the answers, Origins addresses some of the most profound issues humans have ever confronted.
The past century has born witness to a growing interest in the belief systems of ancient Europe, with an array of contemporary Pagan groups claiming to revive these old ways for the needs of the modern world. By far the largest and best known of these Paganisms has been Wicca, a new religious movement that can now count hundreds of thousands of adherents worldwide. Emerging from the occult milieu of mid twentieth-century Britain, Wicca was first presented as the survival of an ancient pre-Christian Witch-Cult, whose participants assembled in covens to venerate their Horned God and Mother Goddess, to celebrate seasonal festivities, and to cast spells by the light of the full moon. Spreading to North America, where it diversified under the impact of environmentalism, feminism, and the 1960s counter-culture, Wicca came to be presented as a Goddess-centred nature religion, in which form it was popularised by a number of best-selling authors and fictional television shows. Today, Wicca is a maturing religious movement replete with its own distinct world-view, unique culture, and internal divisions. This book represents the first published academic introduction to be exclusively devoted to this fascinating faith, exploring how this Witches' Craft developed, what its participants believe and practice, and what the Wiccan community actually looks like. In doing so it sweeps away widely-held misconceptions and offers a comprehensive overview of this religion in all of its varied forms. Drawing upon the work of historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and scholars of religious studies, as well as the writings of Wiccans themselves, it provides an original synthesis that will be invaluable for anyone seeking to learn about the blossoming religion of modern Pagan Witchcraft.
Why do the innocent suffer in a world created by a loving God? Does this mean that God cannot prevent this suffering, despite His supposed omnipotence? Or is God not loving after all? This in brief is 'the problem of evil'. The Devil provides one solution to this problem: his rebellion against God and hatred of His works is responsible for evil. The Christian Devil has fascinated writers and theologians since the time of the New Testament, and inspired many dramatic and haunting works of art. Today he remains a potent image in popular culture. The Devil: A Very Short Introduction presents an introduction to the Devil in the history of ideas and the lives of real people. Darren Oldridge shows us that he is a more important figure in western history than is often appreciated, and also a richly complex and contradictory one. Oldridge focuses on three main themes: the idea of the Devil being integral to western thought from the early Middle Ages to the beginnings of modernity; the principle of 'demonic inversion' (the idea that as the eternal leader of the opposition, the Devil represents the mirror image of goodness); and the multiplicity and instability of ideas about the Devil. While belief in the Devil has declined, the idea of an abstract force of evil is still remarkably strong. Oldridge concludes by exploring 'demonological' ways of thinking in our own time, including allegations of 'satanic ritual abuse' and the on-going 'war on terror'. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Magic, witches, and demons have drawn interest and fear throughout human history. In this comprehensive primary source reader, Martha Rampton traces the history of our fascination with magic and witchcraft from the first through to the seventeenth century. In over 80 readings presented chronologically, Rampton demonstrates how understandings of and reactions toward magic changed and developed over time, and how these ideas were influenced by various factors such as religion, science, and law. The wide-ranging texts emphasize social history and include early Merovingian law codes, the Picatrix, Lombard's Sentences, The Golden Legend, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. By presenting a full spectrum of source types including hagiography, law codes, literature, and handbooks, this collection provides readers with a broad view of how magic was understood through the medieval and early modern eras. Rampton's introduction to the volume is a passionate appeal to students to use tolerance, imagination, and empathy when travelling back in time. The introductions to individual readings are deliberately minimal, providing just enough context so that students can hear medieval voices for themselves.
What is a grimoire? The word has a familiar ring to many people, particularly as a consequence of such popular television dramas as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. But few people are sure exactly what it means. Put simply, grimoires are books of spells that were first recorded in the Ancient Middle East and which have developed and spread across much of the Western Hemisphere and beyond over the ensuing millennia. At their most benign, they contain charms and remedies for natural and supernatural ailments and advice on contacting spirits to help find treasures and protect from evil. But at their most sinister they provide instructions on how to manipulate people for corrupt purposes and, worst of all, to call up and make a pact with the Devil. Both types have proven remarkably resilient and adaptable and retain much of their relevance and fascination to this day. But the grimoire represents much more than just magic. To understand the history of grimoires is to understand the spread of Christianity, the development of early science, the cultural influence of the print revolution, the growth of literacy, the impact of colonialism, and the expansion of western cultures across the oceans. As this book richly demonstrates, the history of grimoires illuminates many of the most important developments in European history over the last two thousand years.
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