MAGIC

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MAGIC. Men, as soon as they began to observe the phenomena around them, could not help seeing the close connexion which exists between man and external nature. When the sun sets, he wants rest, and sleep approaches with night; atmospheric changes affect his health; certain wounds become painful with the change of weather, or at certain phases of the moon; some men are painfully affected in the presence of particular animals (see Antipathy); certain liquids exhilarate, others destroy life. Such and similar observations, combined With many of an erroneous and exaggerated character, springing from credulity and ignorance, soon led men to treat this mysterious connexion of man and nature, and the influence of things or causes without him, upon his mind and body, as a peculiar science, which, when occupations were not yet divided, of course belonged to the priests, whose exclusive possession of knowledge made them the guides of men in science and the arts as well as in religion. This is considered, by some, the natural origin of supernatural magic ; others, on the contrary, believe that there once actually existed a deeper knowledge of the powers and influences of nature, transmitted from earlier and purer ages, but lost with increasing folly and guilt; and others believe that men once possessed the means of producing supernatural effects with the assistance of evil spirits, as those particularly gifted by Providence were able to produce supernatural effects with the assistance of God. Maia, the eternal mother of things, is, in the Indian mythology, the goddess of intellectual as well as of sensual love. In another signification, she is the muse, the goddess of prophecy and poetry, and also of deception; and the word magic seems to be connected with this root, of so various, yet easily conjoined meanings. Media, Persia, and the neighboring countries, famous for their knowledge of astronomy and astrology, are described as the chief seats of the ancient magi, whose doctrine seems to be, in part, of great antiquity. This doctrine represented opposition or strife as the parent and original cause of all things. After the opposition between light and darkness, Ormuzd and Ahriman, was established, the Whole series of finite beings, the whole sensual world, proceeded from this constant struggle of light and darkness, good and evil. The change of day and night, light and darkness, riie whole series of ages, time itself, is only a consequence of this struggle, in which sometimes light, sometimes darkness, appears victorious, until finally light shall conquer forever. If all finite things stand under the influence of preserving and destroying powers in nature, it is clear that he who could master these powers could dispose, at his pleasure, of the things subject to them; and the doctrine of the Magians was, that, by prayer and a true knowledge of those laws of opposition, love and hatred, light and darkness, such power could be obtained ; and that thus, also, it was possible to pry into futurity. But it was believed that as the world became sinful, the light of the ancient doctrine of the magi was obscured, and those who bore the name became, at last, only evildisposed sorcerers. One important branch of their art was, now, the excitement of love by potions and enchantments. Their lovepotions consisted partly of ingredients, which are still known to physicians as stimulants, partly of parts of animals who had died longing for food or air, or the saliva of hungry dogs, and other still more disgusting substances. Magic, at this period, also occupied itself with fortunetelling, calling up the dead, bewitching by the look (with the Romans and Greeks, jetiatura)a superstition which we find existing in the processes against witches in modern times, with the preparation of amulets, the inflicting of pain on a person by correspondent applications to his image in wax, &c. He who wishes to become acquainted with the poetical side of magic, ought to read the Arabian Nights (q. v.). It can hardly be doubted, that the art of the ancient magicians was founded, to a considerable degree, upon a superior knowledge of the powers of nature. The name of the magnet, magnes, or enchanting stone (according to one derivation,) seems to indicate that it was not unknown to the magi; and some of their phenomena seem referable to galvanism.Interesting information on this subject is contained in Kleuker's Zendavesta, and still more in his Magikon, which contains the history of numerous secret doctrines; see also Creuzer's Symbolik und Mythologie; Windischmann's Inquiries respecting Astrology, Alchemy and Magic, (in German, Frankfort, 1818); also, George Conrad Horst, On Ancient and Modern Magic, its JYature, Origin and History (in German), with his Zauherbibliothek (6 vols., Mentz, 1820-25). (See Divination, Demon, Witchcraft.) MAGINDANAO. (See Mindanao.) MAGISTER ARTIUM. (See Master of Arts.) MAGISTER EQJQITUM. (See Master of the Horse.)' MAGISTER MATHESEOS. (See Pythagoras.)