Concentric Rings of Healing

Ariel Glucklich

in The End of Magic

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780195108798
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853434 | DOI:
Concentric Rings of Healing

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  6102 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.