Psychological and Symbolical Theories of Magic

Ariel Glucklich

in The End of Magic

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780195108798
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853434 | DOI:
Psychological and Symbolical Theories of Magic

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Illness is a cultural concept that travels poorly across boundaries. Even simple notions such as moodiness and depression, not to mention complex ideas like schizophrenia or paranoia, are bonded to our Western views on the self and the person, on material causality, and on the nature of scientific explanation. Possession and exorcism lend themselves too easily to psychological interpretation. Sigmund Freud had a different kind of magical rite in mind when he reduced magic to infantile neurosis. Freud argued that primitive people possessed an immense belief in the power of their own wishes. Carl Jung claimed that magic brings together the psyche and sacred realities, but did not refer to supernatural revelation in a theological sense. The sacred, he argued, consists of the forms of the collective unconscious with its psychic archetypes. Jung asserted that God is one such archetype of the collective unconscious, and so are Christ and Buddha. As archetypes that surfaced in human history, they have become symbols for the integration of the self with the sacred.

Keywords: Sigmund Freud; Carl Jung; magic; collective unconscious; illness; possession; exorcism; self; causality; infantile neurosis

Chapter.  6114 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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