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The Evil Eye

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The Creeper
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« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2009, 01:30:59 pm »

bird was perched, that he fastened his eyes and kept them steadily looking up at it, until at last the bird became quite overcome with the fascination and fell from its perch to become an easy victim to sly Reynard.

The ancients again, according to Ælian and Athenæus, believed that other animals besides serpents had the same power, and moreover that the animals themselves were so far conscious of it, that some birds kept certain stones and plants in their nests in order to protect themselves from it. Doves were said to spit in the mouths of their young for their safe keeping. It was from the belief of the Greeks that the cricket or grillo had this power of the eye, both protective and injurious, over all other animals, that Pisistratus set one up on the Acropolis as an amulet, to protect the citizens against the evil eye.

Again, we all know from experience the powerful attraction, the positive fascination, which a strong light has for some creatures, and the negative or deterrent effect it has upon others.

The experience of our lighthouse-keepers proves to us how migratory birds are attracted to their destruction by their powerful light; while our own senses have told us of the fatal attraction of a light for insects of most kinds, except the common house fly, whose familiarity with the domestic candle has bred a salutary contempt. The raison d'être of our common country sport, bird-batting, depends upon the fascination of birds by a strong light; on being disturbed at night they fly straight to the light and are caught in the net which is held up in front of it. Toads, too, are said to be so attracted by light that

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« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2009, 01:31:12 pm »

they actually rush into the fire, and that the burning so far from checking them seems to stimulate them to crawl towards the hottest parts, even though being roasted to death; just as the poor moth or bee whose wings have been already singed, tries again and again to reach the flame, until at last overpowered and burnt to death. Fish also are lured to their destruction by a light.

On the other hand, light and fire are terrifying and abhorrent to many animals. Among insects, scorpions are driven away by light, and beetles, cockroaches, bugs, with their congeners, scuttle away into hiding as soon as a light appears. Moreover, we all know that a fire is the well-recognised protector against night-prowling wild beasts, which will not come near a strong light. The well-known difficulty of getting a horse out of a stable on fire, where he but too often defies all efforts to save him, and remains to be burnt to death, may possibly be due to either of the influences referred to--either fear to move and face the fire he dreads, or that he is fascinated by it like the moths, and will not escape his fate. Perhaps the latter is the true explanation, for it is said that a horse will press against a knife held against his chest until he is stabbed to the heart. The writer cannot vouch for this as a fact, but he has often heard it asserted.


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« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2009, 01:31:32 pm »

Footnotes
1:1 Bacon, Essay IX. "Of Envy."

3:2 Theagenes and Chariclea (Trans. 1789), vol. i. p. 145. Heliodorus, Bishop of Tricca in Thessaly, about A.D. 380, was a very firm believer in the evil eye, and frequently refers to it in his works, no doubt faithfully reflecting the opinions of his day.

3:3 See an article on the "Evil Eye" in Chambers's Encyclopædia. For numerous quotations on the subject see New Eng. Dict. s. v. "Evil Eye."

5:4 A long account of a prosecution of a white witch, who pretended that a woman was ill of a "bad wish" in a case much like the foregoing, is given in Pulman's Weekly News, June 14, 1892. Similar reports are frequently appearing in the local press. At this moment (October 1894) two persons are dying in Wellington parish (one of phthisis!) who firmly believe, and are believed, to be suffering solely from having been "overlooked."

5:5 See Lightfoot, Epistle to the Galatians, iii. 1, p. 133.

5:6 The expression of St. Paul, though translated "bewitched" in our A. V., is in the Vulgate fascinavit, precisely the same as that used by Virgil (post, p. 10). In the Septuagint also the sense of the passage is identical, referring to the influence, so well understood, of the evil eye, On this see Frommannd, Tract. de Fasc. p. 11.

6:7 E. Wallis Budge, The Nile-Notes for Travellers in Egypt, p. 77.

6:7a e.g. Deut. xxviii. 54, 56; Job vii. 8; Psa. xxxv. 21; Prov. vi. 13; Isa. xiii. 18; Lam. ii. 4; Ezek. ix, 5. Especially also Prov. xxiii. 6, xxviii. 22; Matt. vi. 22, 23, xx. 15; Luke xi. 34; Mark vii. 22; Psa. liv. 7, lix. 10, xcii. 11, with many others.

7:8 "In spite of the schoolmaster we are still as firm believers in witchcraft and the evil eye as were the shepherd swains of Theocritus and Virgil, and many who, if directly questioned on the subject, would indignantly deny the impeachment, are none the less devout believers in such occult powers."--W. F. Rose, Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, vol. iv. June 1894, p. 76.

7:9 In Modern Greek this is κακὸ ματί.

7:10 Tractatus de Fascinatione, Christian Frommannd, Nuremberg, 1674, p. 4; Nicolo Valletta, Cicalata sul Fascino, Napoli, 1787, p. 12; Potter, Archæologia Græca, 1824, i. 414; Lightfoot, Ep. to Gal. 1890, p. 133, who all give long lists of authors and quotations in support of this etymology.

7:11 Disquisitionum Magicarum libri sex, Auctore Martino Delrio, Societatis Jesu presbytero. Moguntiæ, apud Johannem Albinum, 1603.

8:12 Potter's Archæologia Græca will be found a mine of information; indeed it would be easy to load our pages with references to authors classical and mediæval, but sufficient indication is here given for the student to find all that has been written on the subject.

8:13 Heliodorus, Thea. and Char. i. 140. There can be no doubt that Saul was believed to have the evil eye when we read: "And Saul eyed David from that day and forward" (1 Sam. xviii. 9). In the context we see all the circumstances we have been describing--envy and its consequences.

9:14 Jahn, "Ueber den Aberglauben des bösen Blicks bei den Alten": Berichte der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, 1855, p. 35.

9:15 Woyciki, Polish Folk Lore (Trs. by Lewestein), p. 25.

9:16 Ut supra, p. 33.

9:17 In Ireland the belief has always existed, and in old legends we are told of King Miada of the silver hand, who possessed a magic sword, but who nevertheless fell before "Balor of the Evil Eye" (Elton, Origins of Eng. Hist. 2nd ed. p. 279).

9:18 Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vi. p. 409.

10:19 Ancient and Modern Manners of the Irish, quoted by Brand, iii. 304.

10:20 Sympos. lib. v. quæs. 7.

10:20a The R. V. has "the crescents that were on their camels' necks."

11:21 See Brand, vol. iii. p. 46 (Bohn).

11:22 Spectator, "Somerset Superstitions," March 24, 1894. Last week (October 1894) a man much wanted to buy a heifer from an unwilling seller. "Nif he do want'n, I tell ee, you'd better let'n have'n," said a neighbour. There was no question of price, but the reason was obvious.

11:23 Dodwell, Classical Tour, vol. ii. p. 37. I cannot find what Pennant says, if anything; indeed Dodwell's references are very untrustworthy.

11:24 Pliny says (Nat. Hist. vii. 2; vol. ii. pp. 126, 127, Bohn) that in Africa there are families of enchanters who can cause cattle to perish, trees to wither, and infants to die. That among the Triballi and Illyrii are some who have the power of fascination with the eyes, and can even kill those on whom they fix their gaze, more especially if their look denotes anger. A still more remarkable circumstance is that these persons have two pupils in each eye. Apollonides says that there are certain females of this description in Scythia who are known as Bythiæ. Quoting Cicero he declares "feminas omnes ubique visu nocere, quæ duplices pupillas habent." Cf. also Horace, Epist. i. 14. 37:--

"Non istic obliquo oculo mea commoda quisquam
Limat, non odio obscuro morsuque venenat."

[paragraph continues] See also Bacon, Essay IX. p. 78, and Frommannd, Tractatus, p. 11.

12:25 Ovid says (Amores i. Eleg. 8. 15):--

           "Oculis quoque pupula duplex
Fulminat et gerninum lumen ab orbe venit."

[paragraph continues] And again (Metamorph. vii. 364) that the people of Rhodes as well as the Telchinas injured everything by looking at it, See also Frommannd, p. 12.

12:26 On this swimming of witches, see Brand, vol. iii. p. 21 (Bohn). "Nature has thought fit to produce poisons as well in every part of his body, and in the eyes even of some persons, taking care that there should be no evil in existence, which was not to be found in the human body" (Pliny, Nat. Hist. Vii. 2; Bohn, vol. ii. p. 128). This chapter of Pliny is well worth careful reading; also Dr. Bostock's notes.

13:28 Sympos. v. prob. 7.

14:29 Theocritus, Idyll. vi. 39.

14:30 A long list of these with quotations is given in Dodwell, vol. ii. p. 35. Delrio and Frommannd also give endless references.

15:31 Story, Castle of S. Angelo, p. 149, quotes Andreas Thuetas.

15:32 Mantis, locustæ genus, quæ in stipulis enascitur, si quod inspexerit animal protinus illi quippiam producit mali. Hinc Proverbium: Mantis te vidit."--Frommannd, Tract. p. 19.

16:34 See West Somerset Word-Book, pp. 365, 548, 835. Blackmore, Perlycross, p. 191, and elsewhere, wrongly writes "weist."

16:35 The full sentence, of which the foregoing was only the colloquial form, is given by Plautus:--

"Præfiscini hoc nunc dixerim; nemo me etiam accusavit
Merito meo; neque me Athenis est alter hodie quisquam,
Cui credi recte æcque putent."--Asinaria, Act ii. Sc. 4. 84.

This subject is discussed at much length by Frommannd, Tract. de Fasc. pp. 60-63. He gives very numerous instances and quotations from classics and scholiasts; amongst others be says Vossius notes an instance of a girl named Paula being immoderately praised (immodìcé), when another person interrupting in fear of fascination says:--Paula mea, amabo, pol tu ad laudem addito præfiscini, ne puella fascinetur." (This passage is also quoted by Jahn, Aberglauben, p. 62. Frommannd also gives an account of the Fescennine songs (Fescennini versus) which were most unchaste and lascivious, and were sung at weddings in the belief that they would avert the evil eye. It was usual to interpolate the most disgraceful and obscene expressions, thinking that the more abominable these were, the more certain in effect. Nemesis, Cunina, and Priapus were all invoke(l in these licentious songs.

Besides the authors referred to by Frommannd, both Catullus and Horace speak of these nuptial songs, The latter says:--

"Fescennina per hunc inventa licentia morem
Versibus alternis opprobria rustica fudit."--Epist. i. 2. 145.

St. Augustine speaks of them as celebrated in his day, cum tanta licentia turpitudinis and exsultante nequitia, for a whole month in honour of the god Liber. He gives details unfit for repetition (De Civitate Dei, vii. 21).

Pliny, Nat. Hist. xv. 24 (Bohn, vol. iii. p. 315), says that the walnut was used along with the fescennine songs at nuptials, because it was a "symbol consecrated to marriage," and a protector of offspring in manifold ways.

Valletta, referring to these songs, says: "Anzi dal fascino molti dicono esser p. 17 appellati fescennini, quelli, che nelle nozzie alle soverchie lodi si aggiungevano per allontare la jettatura." In a note he says further: "Questi versi contenevano molta licenza nelle parole" (Nicolo Valletta, Cicalata sul Fascino volgarmente detto Jettatura, p. 22. Napoli, 1787).

Story, Castle of S. Angelo, p. 200, speaks of this rare book, and of a portrait in it, as printed in 1819; the writer possesses an earlier edition, dated 1787, but there is no portrait in this latter.

19:36 Valletta, Cicalata sul Fascino, p. 9.

19:37 In a note to the preface of an edition in the writer's possession of Capricci sulla Jettatura, de Gian Leonardo Marugi, Napoli, 1815, is the following:--"Se questa Operetta capitasse nelle mani di un Italiano più settentrionale, piacemi d'avvertirlo che Jettatura suona lo stesso, che stregoneria, sortilegio, fattucchieria," etc. "Questo vocabolo Napoletano è de buonissima lega, e l'etimologia n'è chiara. Viene dalla frase latina jacere sortes, gettar le sorti, incantare, ammaliare, e quindi i maliardi, o Jettatori."

19:38 Cicalata, c. 12, pp. 55, 59.

20:39 Cicalata, p. 61.

21:40 Valletta, Cicalata, p. 145.

"La Damaccia, ch' à la schiena
Corta corta, e piena piena,
Se a jettar staravv 'intanto,
Voi prendetevi del guanto, *
Ed in petto lo ponete,
O la fronte vi cingete."--Marugi, Capricci, p. 111.

 


21:* "This is a flower called Guanto di nostra signora, known to the ancients under the name of Baccar, which they bound to the foreheads of the sick" (note by Marugi, p. 111). He quotes Loyer as to its being valevolissimo against evil tongues, and Virgil as to its virtues against jettatori.

Gerard (p. 791) says: "About this plant Baccharis there hath been great contention amongst the new writers." He in the end identifies it with Plowman's Spikenard, a name which Britten says was probably invented by Gerard. Britten says the plant is Inula coniza; Dr. Prior (Popular Names of British Plants, p. 187) says it is Conyza Squarrosa.

Gerard says: "Baccharis or Plowman's Spikenard is of a temperature very astringent or binding," and generally he describes its "vertues" much the same as Professor Valletta. There does not appear to be any plant-name known in England at all like "Our Lady's glove."

22:41 A comparison of these queries with those quoted by Story, Castle of S. Angelo, p. 200, Will show that the later edition of Valletta's book used by him had been considerably altered.

22:42 "Quia irascendi et concupiscendi animi vim adeo effrenatam habent."

23:43 "The fear of the evil eye of a woman is very prevalent in Spain, but the panacea is to drink horn shavings."--Murray's Handbook to Spain, by Richard Ford, 3rd ed. 1855, p. 632.

23:44 Valletta, p. 54.

23:45 Story, p. 197

27:46 Vol. i. p. 183.

28:46a I have read somewhere, quite recently, that there are Budas still in Abyssinia.

29:47 Story, p. 153, tells a very remarkable story from India by Major General Sleeman in 1849-50, of a boy who always seemed more than half wolf, and never could be tamed.

29:48 Old Higden tells us by Trevisa, his translator, that in Ireland and in Wales "olde wyfes and wymmen were i-woned, and beeþ ȍit (as me pleyneþ) ofte forto schape hem self in likness of hares . . . and ofte grehoundes renneth after hem and purseweþ hem, and weneþ þat þey be hares. Also some by crafts of nygromancie makeþ fat swyne . . . and selleþ hem in cbepinge and in feires; but anon þese swyne passeþ ony water þey torneþ aȍen in to her owne kynde. . . .p. 30 But þese swyne mowe not be i-kept by no manere craft for to dure in liknesse of swyn over þre dayes" (Higden, Polychron. Rolls Series, i. 360).

There must surely be some allusion to this ancient belief in Jed. xiii. 23, Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."

For a long disquisition on the whole subject of Lycanthropy, see Frommannd, lib. iii. p. 560, who assigns the entire power to the devil, by whose means magicians not only took the form of a wolf, but his voice or cry, his odour, touch, taste and appetite in devouring flesh (p. 564). He gives, moreover, many wonderful stories and quotations respecting transformations.

See also St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei, xviii. 18. Pliny, Nat. Hist. viii. 34 (Bohn, vol. ii. p. 284), gives the origin of the word versipellis, and although he says he does not believe them, records several wonderful stories.

The following shows that the belief still exists here in our very midst. In 1875 there had been some proceedings regarding the death of a "varth o' paigs," and one of the reputed authors of the mischief had fallen into the fire and been burnt to death, etc. "On the morning of this sad event, the harriers on the adjacent hill lost their hare among some stone walls, where it was next day picked up dead. The man who found it took it to his master's house, but on bringing it into the kitchen, the maids immediately rushed out in terror and 'wouldn't bide' in the house, declaring it was old Mrs. ------ (the old woman burnt to death). It is a common belief that witches have the power of transforming themselves into hares. . . . I suppose there was a vague idea that the witch and her double had passed away at the same moment" (Rev. W. F. Rose, Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, June 1894, p. 77).

31:49 Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621, 4th ed. p. 214.

31:50 Much on this subject is to be found in Brand, vol. iii. p. 201 et seq.

31:51 Secret Memoirs of Duncan Campbell, 1732, p. 60. See Brand, iii. 203.

32:52 In Italy, and generally in Southern Europe, a hunchback is a good omen. At Monte Carlo, gamesters believe that if they can but touch a gobbo when going to play, good luck is certain. We have more to say on the Gobbo later.

33:53 Theagenes and Chariclea (Trans. 1789), vol. i. p. 141. See also Jahn, Aberglauben, etc., p. 33.

34:54 W. J. Loftie, London, vol. i. p. 353.

34:55 Love's Labour's Lost, Act v. Sc. 2.

35:56 The full title of the author's copy is Disquisitionum Magicarum liberi sex in tres tomos partiti, Auctore Martino Delrio, etc. Moguntiæ, apud Johannem Albinum, 1603.

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« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2009, 01:31:59 pm »

Of these, Book I. treats De Magia in genere, et de naturali et artificiali. In it he discusses at great length the questions whether the power of characters, rings, seals or images is such as the Magi contend; whether in words or incantations there is power to raise the dead or to perform miracles. He sums up one of his discussions with "Respondeo stultorum esse numerum infinitum," p. 32. He also treats at length of alchemy as a magic art. Book II. is De Magia Dæmoniaca. He asserts that such is proved to exist, and that by means of power derived from the devil. He inquires by what compact with the devil the fascinator can inflict his deadly influence; and by what other pact can the Magi perform miracles. As to incubi and succubæ, he says (p. 141): "Dicimus ergo ex concubitu incubi cum muliere aliquando prolem nasci posse," etc. Again (p. 145) that there are pygmies, and that they are the offspring of demons, etc. Whether demons can restore youth to old age? he believes they can. He declares (p. 193) that the souls of the dead are able sometimes to appear to the living; and (p. 231) discusses apparitions of demons or spectres. There were certain demon wrestlers, who forced men to wrestle with them; for this he quotes (p. 243) Pausanias and Strabo. He discourses also of fauns and satyrs, and gives a long list of Scripture emendata et explicata from both Old and New Testaments. Book III. is De Maleficio et De Vana observatione. p. 26 is a chapter De Fascinatione, in which he repeats many well-worn stories, including that of Eutelidas and self-fascination, with others of Plato, Plutarch, and Heliodorus. Speaking of depraved love, he declares that "not by form only are they who love, captivated; but to each, that which he loves appears to be beautiful; hence, 'Quisquis amat ranam, ranam putat esse Dianam.'"

P. 35 contains the old discussions on the etymology of fascination, and makes reference to the evil eye of the tender and delicate woman mentioned so plainly in Deuteronomy xxviii. 56, 57. In his final chapter (p. 94) he treats at inordinate length of the many means "malis depellendis et morbis sanandis," such as the offering of money obtained in charity, * which is thought specially efficacious; crosses made or bought by alms; wax or other matters offered to saints; mixing hair of men and sick animals plunging images in water; certain ligatures against depriving cows of milk; "qui per annulum desponsationis meiunt," and many more, all for the purpose ut liberentur maleficio. p. 36 In paragraph decimaoctava (p. 103) he directs us to join parallel rods, with the force of certain words, in the centre, and to bind them in the form of a cross; and to suspend from the neck; or to apply a piece of round wood to the throat, with a certain muttering, ut Turcæ faciunt. He shows how women were taught to use certain nails called hoefnageln, as love charms, etc.

He recounts endless particulars, and continues: "Recently I have discovered here in Brabant, in order to learn if a sick man is about to die, they commonly place salt in his hand unawares (ignaro) and watch whether or not the salt dissolves." In fact the whole book is a perfect mine of folk lore, though not entirely bearing on our special subject.

Book IV. treats De Dviniatione and discusses the Urim and Thummim. He settles the vexed question thus:----Sic ergo statue, Urim et Thummim fuisse has ipsas gemmas XII. ut volunt Josephus, Lyran., Tostat., Oleaster et Ribera."

In this book he also writes De Chiromantia both physical and astrological, and refers to a people practising it who lived between Hungary and the empire of the Turks, Zigenos appellamus. (Gypsies, German Zigeuner.)

Book V. deals at equal length and in similar detail De officio judicum contra maleficos, and Book VI. De officio confessarii.

Each book is furnished with a complete and separate index, as well as a full summary of contents. On the whole the book is curious and valuable to students of Mediæval Magic, but upon the subject of fascination it is vastly, inferior to the later work of Frommannd, 1674, which goes into the details of the evil eye as exhaustively, though not quite at such length, as Delrio does into magic.

35:* In Berkshire it is thought that a ring made from a piece of silver collected at the Communion is a cure for convulsions and fits (Brand, vol. iii. p. 300).

38:57 See W. Beckett, Impartial Enquiry into the Antiquity and Efficacy of touching for the King's Evil, 1722. T. Badger, Collection of Remarkable Cures of the King's Evil by the Royal Touch, 1748.

It is evident that this practice was common within the time named, as we find recorded by Hone (Everyday Book, 1830, p. 682) a notice respecting Charles II. in 1664 that "his sacred Majesty having declared it to be his royal will and purpose to continue the healing of his people for the evil during the month of May, and then give over till Michaelmas next, I am commanded to give notice thereof, that the people may not come up to the town in the interim and lose their labour."

39:58

                 "Vox quoque Mœrim
Jam fugit ipsa; lupi Mœrim videre priores."
                                    VIRGIL, Eclogue ix.

Pliny, Nat. Hist. viii. 34 (Bohn, Vol. ii. p. 283), says: "It is supposed that it will instantly take away the voice of a man if it (the wolf) is the first to see him." A note says: "Hence the proverbial expression applied to a person who is suddenly silent upon the entrance of another, 'Lupus est tibi visus.'"

39:59 Pliny says that near the sources of the Nile is found a wild beast called the catoblepas; "an animal of moderate size . . . sluggish in the movement of its limbs, and its head is remarkably heavy. Were it not for this circumstance, it would prove the destruction of the human race; for all who behold its eyes, fall dead upon the spot."--Nat. Hist. viii. 32 (vol. ii. p. 281, Bohn).

39:60 "The camel has a natural antipathy to the horse" (Pliny, Nat. Hist. viii. 26; vol. ii. p. 276, Bohn: mentioned by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. vi. 17, also by Ælian). This feeling is on all hands believed to be mutual. George Eliot in one of her novels refers to the well-known fact that a horse trembles with fear when first he sees a camel. This is not fright like that caused by a railway engine, but an actual nervous dread or involuntary excitement, which shows itself by shaking and unwillingness to come near. p. 40 The elephant is commonly said to have an antipathy to the pig, and especially to its squeal. The following shows how old is this notion: "Elephantes porcina vox terret" (Seneca, De Ira, ii. 12).

40:61 Museum of Animated Nature, vol. ii. p. 107.

41:62 Smith, Reptilia, quoted by Story.



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« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2009, 03:54:43 pm »








Thank you for this, Creeper -


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« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2009, 12:39:13 am »

You are welcome, Bianca, glad to be here!
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« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2009, 12:41:56 am »

p. 44

CHAPTER II
SYMPATHETIC MAGIC
IN further pursuing this subject, it must be borne in mind that besides the direct influences of fascination, including those of simple bodily presence, breathing, or touching, there is a whole class of operations directly connected with it, comprehended in the terms Magic, Enchantment, Witchcraft.

A great authority, 63 who has dealt exhaustively with the subject of the Occult Sciences, including Omens, Augury, and Astrology, does not even allude to the belief in the evil eye, which we take to be the basis and origin of the Magical Arts. About these the earliest known writings and the most ancient monuments give abundant evidence. Dr. Tylor calls the belief in magic "one of the most pernicious delusions that ever vexed mankind"; and considering magic merely as the handmaid, or the tool, of envy, this description accords well with that of Bacon, as the vilest and most depraved of all "affections."

The practice of magic as defined by Littré, "Art prétendu de produire des effets contre l'ordre de la nature," began with the lowest known stages of civilisation; and although amongst most


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« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2009, 12:42:09 am »

savage races it is still the chief part of religion, 64 yet it is not to be taken in all cases as the measure of the civilisation of the people practising it. The reason we assign is, that outward circumstances, such as local natural features, or climate, tend to make the mental condition of certain people specially susceptible of feelings, upon which magical arts can exert an influence altogether out of proportion to the culture of the persons affected. In fact, the more imaginative races, those who have been led to adopt the widest pantheon, have been mostly those upon whom magic has made the most impression; and what was once, and among certain races still is, a savage art, lived on, grew vigorously, and adopted new developments, among people in their day at the head of civilisation. Thus it has stood its ground in spite of all the scoffs of the learned, and the experimental tests of so-called scientific research, until we may with confidence assert that many practices classed as occult, and many beliefs which the educated call superstitious, are still performed and held firmly by many amongst ourselves, whom we must not brand as ignorant or uncultured. No doubt the grosser forms of enchantment and sorcery have passed away; no doubt there is much chicanery in the doings of modern adepts; yet, call it superstition or what we may, there are acts performed every day by Spiritualists, Hypnotists, Dowsers and others, which may well fall within the term Magic; yet the most sceptical is constrained to admit, that in some cases an effect is produced which obliges us to omit the word prétendu from our definition.


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« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2009, 12:42:20 am »

We cannot explain how, but undoubtedly there is in certain individuals a faculty, very occult, by which the divining rod does twist in the grasp of persons whose honour and good faith are beyond suspicion. The writer has seen the hazel twig twist in the hands of his own daughter, when held in such a position that no voluntary action on her part could possibly affect it. Moreover, a professional Dowser makes no mystery or hocus-pocus about it; he plainly declares he does not know how, or why, the twig or watch-spring moves when he passes over water; nor can he even teach his own sons to carry on his business. Of all arts we may say of his, nascitur, non fit.

Again, there are certain phenomena in thought-reading, which are well-established facts, clear to our senses. Above all, there are the strange powers possessed by Hypnotists over their patients, which we can no more explain than we can that minutely recorded act of the Witch of Endor 65 who "brought up" Samuel, and instantly discovered thereby that Saul himself was with her. Without believing either in magic or the evil eye, the writer fully agrees that "much may be learnt" 66 from a study of the belief, and of the many practices to which it has given rise. It is needful, however, to approach the subject with an open, judicial mind, and not to reject all, like the "Pharisees of Science," 67 that our superior understanding is unable to explain. Our senses, our experience, alike tell us that there exist many facts and appearances, which appealed strongly to the despised judgment of our forefathers, rude and




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« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2009, 12:42:37 am »

cultured alike, which never have been either disproved or explained, and some of these facts have been held as firm articles of belief in all ages.

Mr. De Vere 68 expresses precisely what we mean when he says of the imaginative, rather than the critical mind of our chivalrous ancestors of the Middle Ages, that "they delightedly believed much that many modern men unreasonably disbelieve to show their cleverness." 69

It is easy, and the failure of modern science has made it safe, to call everything we cannot understand contemptible superstition. It is however satisfactory and even consolatory, in pursuing our subject, to know that the same word superstition has been applied by "superior persons," indifferently and impartially, to the most sacred doctrines of Christianity, to the belief in our Lord's miracles, to most solemn mysteries, and creeds other than those of our infallible selves, to the magic omens and portents which many believe in, and to the incantations or enchantments of charlatans, wizards, and sorcerers. 70

The more, however, we study with unbiassed mind the subjects which are called occult, the more evident will it become, even to the least advanced or enlightened amongst us, that there is a whole world




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« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2009, 12:42:49 am »

of facts, operations, and conditions, with which our human senses and powers of comprehension are quite incapable of dealing. This has certainly been the experience of all people in all ages; we see in his magic but the feeble efforts of feeble man to approach and to step over the boundary his senses can appreciate, into what is intended to be, and must always remain, beyond his ken-essentially the supernatural.

Man, having come to associate in thought those things which he found by experience to be connected in fact, proceeded erroneously to invert this action, and to conclude that association in thought must involve similar connection in reality. 71

Here no doubt we have the true reason for that association of ideas with facts which a recent author 72 calls Sympathetic Magic. He says: "One of the principles of this is that any effect may be produced by imitating it." So concise a definition may well be borne in mind, for we are told that it lies at the very foundation of human reason, and of unreason also. We Christians, however, certainly cannot agree to call this association of ideas with facts a superstition in the conventional sense; for we must see that the principle, perhaps to suit our humanity and our limited reason, has been appointed and adopted for our most sacred rites. Surely in the act of baptism we hope for the spiritual effect we imitate or typify by the actual use of water. So in that highest of our sacraments we spiritually eat and drink, by the actual consumption of the elements.

Leaving sacred things, which are merely mentioned here, with all reverence, by way of illustration, and to show how association of ideas with facts



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« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2009, 12:43:05 am »

is not necessarily superstitious, but a fundamental principle of human ethics, we find that in practice it has nevertheless been more often perverted to the accomplishment, actual or fancied, of the basest designs of malignant spite, than to the higher purposes of religion.

To illustrate his meaning of the term Sympathetic Magic, the author 73 says: "If it is wished to kill a person, an image of him is made and then destroyed, and it is believed that through a certain physical sympathy between the person and his image, the man feels the injuries done to the image as if they were done to his own body, and that when it is destroyed he must simultaneously perish." The idea herein expressed is as old as the hills, and is practised to-day. 74 The ancient Egyptians believed that the ushebtiu or little figures of stone, wood, or pottery (Figs. 1, 2, and 3 which they placed, often in such numbers, in the tombs of their dead, would provide the deceased with servants and attendants to work for him in the nether world, and to fight for him against the many enemies he would there have to combat. Their name signifies respondents, 75 as if to answer to the call for help. The same curious belief is shown in the imitations or re-




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« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2009, 12:43:21 am »

presentations of food, such as terra-cotta bread, 76 and other articles placed with the dead for his use and sustenance.

Maspero in his lectures on the "Egyptian Hell" (see a long notice in the Times of August 22, 1887)

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« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2009, 12:44:02 am »



Figures 1, 2 and 3
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« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2009, 12:44:31 am »

dwells upon the reasons which induced the ancients to provide their dead with arms, food, amulets, and slaves, for it was thought the dead would be liable to the corvée as well as the living. Besides all these things the dead were furnished with a funereal



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