Powerful White Magic Spells for Beginners
Within many traditional African religions, there is a belief in spells and magic (usually called witchcraft or, in some places, mutu). In brief simplistic terms it goes like this physical or mental illnesses are often ascribed to a spell or curse having been put on the sufferer. Often, a relative or villager is suspected of being the 'witch' who placed the curse, usually for reasons of spite or jealousy. A traditional doctor, also called a diviner or witchdoctor, is then required to hunt out the witch and cure the victim. This is done in different ways in various parts of the region, and may involve the use of herbs, divining implements, prayers, chanting, dance or placing the spell in a bottle and casting it into a remote spot (if you find such a bottle in the bush, don't touch it ).
Nestled among lusciously green hills on the western shore of serene Laguna Catemaco, this small town famous for witchcraft (see boxed text, p707) makes its living from fishing and Mexican tourism. During vacations and holidays, prepare for crowds and fiestas. During the low seasons, when hotels
The Kurumbas inhabited the thick forests of the south. They gathered bamboo, honey and materials for housing, some of which they supplied to other tribes. They also engaged in a little agriculture, and at sowing and harvest times they employed the Badaga to perform rituals entreating the gods for abundant yields. Kurumba witchcraft was respected and sought after by the other tribes.
People lived in small clans, separated by deep ravines, impenetrable jungle and broad stretches of sea. Everyone lived in the shadow of their ancestral spirits. Some ghosts were benevolent, while others were hostile, quick to harass the living with famines, natural disasters or military defeat. Magic was widespread. When anyone suffered a serious misfortune, sorcery or spirits were blamed. In the north, a man's status within the clan was earned through grade-taking ceremonies. Each grade took a man closer to becoming a chief and finally a paramount chief. On a supernatural plane, the more grades a man had earned, the more powerful would be his defences against sorcery while alive, and the more potent his spirit after death.
The famous Externsteine bas relief of Christ being lowered from the cross also displays pagan imagery
Charlemagne forbade the Saxons to use the site for pagan ceremonies any longer. Because the site was so close to Aachen, and because Charlemagne was on a crusade to extinguish paganism in his homeland, the site was completely denuded of all original buildings and non-Christian references. All that remains from the earliest era are carefully drilled holes, stairs that lead to dead ends, and platforms that seem to serve no purpose. Only recently have some of the pieces come together to suggest an elaborate solar observatory and ritual center. The apparently mysterious holes may have supported hanging structures or may have been carved into the stone to release earth energies. It is readily apparent that many wooden constructions were once attached to the rocks. What's more, geomancers have mapped out a network of Germanic chapels, hermitages, Celtic stones, and other sacred sites bound together by a series of straight lines, or holy lines called Heilige Linien. It appears that the...
There are several legends about the enchanted realm at VatniS. On the way from MiSvagur to Sorvagur, there was supposed to be a huldu mound. One day, a huldu woman (stone spirit) asked a priest to come inside. There were supposed to be many trolls inside. On leaving, the priest, who knew how to practise witchcraft, made sure to seal the mound so that it could not be opened again. There was said to be both moaning and wailing within.
The Pare are also known for their rich oral traditions, and for their elaborate rituals centring on the dead. Near most villages are sacred areas in which skulls of tribal chiefs are kept. When people die, they are believed to inhabit a netherworld between the land of the living and the spirit world. If they are allowed to remain in this state, ill fate will befall their descendants. As a result, rituals allowing the deceased to pass into the world of the ancestors hold great significance. Traditional Pare beliefs also hold that when an adult male dies, others in his lineage will die as well until the cause of his death has been found and 'appeased'. Many of the possible reasons for death have to do with disturbances in moral relations within the lineage or in the village, or with sorcery.
Holmavik's main tourist attraction is the popular Exhibition ofWitchcraftS Sorcery (s 451 3525 www.vestfirdir.is galdrasyning admission Ikr500 S 10am-6pm Jun-mid-Sep), by the harbour. The museum tells the macabre but fascinating story of 17 men and women who were burnt at the stake for witchcraft in the Westfjords during the 17th century. Most of the occult practices they were accused of were simply old Viking traditions, though the necropants (see right) and grimoires (magic books) on display were proof enough for the local witch-hunters. In summer there's a daily bus (Ikr900, 30 minutes) to the 'sorcerer's cottage' in BjarnarfjorSur, a turf-roofed cottage said to have been home to one of the witches. The bus departs at 1.30pm and returns at 3pm.
One particularly gruesome display at the Holmavik witchcraft museum is a copy of the legendary necropants - trousers made from the skin of the legs and groin of a dead man. It was believed that the necropants would spontaneously produce money when worn, as long as the donor corpse had been stolen from a graveyard at the dead of night and a magic rune and a coin stolen from a poor widow were placed in the dead man's scrotum
The quirky Museum of Witchcraft ( 01840250111 The Harbour adult child 3 2.50 S 10.30am-6pm Mon-Sat, 11.30am-6pm Sun) has the world's largest collection (apparently) of witch-related memorabilia. Among its artefacts are spooky poppets (a kind of voodoo doll), wooden witch mirrors, enchanted skulls and a hideous cast-iron 'witch's bridle' designed to extract confessions from suspected hags.
In times past, Flatts had a reputation as a smugglers' haven, and Gibbet Island, the islet off Flatts, was once used for the execution of islanders accused of witchcraft. Today, Flatts' yacht-filled harbor shows little trace of that more sordid past. The bridge that crosses over the inlet is a good vantage point for views of the harbor and of the rapidly moving tidal waters that rush through the inlet to and from Harrington Sound.
This haunting medieval village, the scene of celebrated witch trials and executions in the 16th century, dominates the surrounding valleys and the trip is worth the effort. Gruesome tales of witches being burned alive are portrayed in its Museo Etnografico e della Stregoneria (Museum of Ethnography & Witchcraft Corso Italia 1 adult child 2 1 S 2.30-6pm Mon-Fri, 10.30am-noon & 2.30-6pm Sat & Sun Oct-May, 3-7pm Mon-Fri, 10.30am-noon & 3-7pm Sat & Sun Jun, Jul & Sep, 10.30am-noon & 3-7pm Aug).
One of Leopold II's most stupendous projects. It was purposely sited on a hill above the working-class Marolles as a symbol of law and order. Its design, intended to evoke the temples of the Egyptian Pharaohs, is equally intimidating. The building was created by the architect Joseph Poelaert, who died during its construction in 1879 legend has it he was struck by illness brought on by witchcraft attributed to the many Marolles residents evicted to make way for the building.
The Basotho believe in a Supreme Being and place a great deal of emphasis on balimo (ancestors), who act as intermediaries between people and the capricious forces of nature and the spirit world. Evil is a constant danger, caused by boloi (witchcraft witches can be either male or female) and thkolosi (small, maliciously playful beings, similar to the Xhosa's tokoloshe). If you're being bothered by these forces, head to the nearest ngaka - a learned man, part sorcerer and part doctor - who can combat them. Basotho are traditionally buried in a sitting position, facing the rising sun and ready to leap up when called.
The witchcraft hysteria that swept Europe and America in the 17th century hit Bermuda as well. The first death sentence imposed upon a 'witch' in Bermuda was in 1651, when a woman accused of evildoing was given a 'trial' in which her feet and hands were tied and she was thrown into the ocean.
The low, rectangular building across the street (now a touristy tartan-weaving mill) was originally the reservoir that held the Old Town's water supply. On its western wall is the Witches Well (3), where a modern bronze fountain commemorates around 4000 people (mosdy women) who were burned or strangled in Edinburgh between 1479 and 1722 on suspicion of witchcraft.
In the more traditional rural homes, there will still be much magic and witchcraft involved in Christmas Eve ceremonies, the forms differing from region to region. It's believed, for example, that animals speak with human voices on that one night, and that at midnight the water in wells turns into wine.
The oldest house in town is purported to be Kyteler's Inn on St. Kieran Street. It was once the home of Dame Alice Kyteler, a lady of great wealth who was accused of witchcraft in 1324. She escaped and forever disappeared, but her maid, Petronilla, was burned at the stake. Now restored, the inn is currently used as a pub and restaurant, but it retains an eerie air, with appropriately placed effigies of witches and other memorabilia and decorations.
The Harry Potter movie series is the most prominent user of British locations. From train stations to suburban streets and even London Zoo, these films stretch across England, with the magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry being comprised from interiors and exteriors at Gloucester Cathedral, Wiltshire's Lacock Abbey, Northumberland's Alnwick Castle and Oxford's Christ Church College (p206). The most popular site for visitors, though, is Hogsmead Station. Played in the movie by the charming Goathland Station (p225) on the North York Moors, it has barely changed since opening in 1865.
The dominant religions of Southeast Asia have absorbed many of the traditional animistic beliefs of spirits, ancestor worship and the power of the celestial planets in bringing about good fortune. Southeast Asia's spiritual connection to the realm of magic and miracles commands more respect, even among intellectual circles, than the remnants of paganism in Western Christianity Thais erect spirit houses in front of their homes, ethnic Chinese set out daily offerings to their ancestors, and Indonesians offer prayers to the volcano spirits.
One of the most stunning sights in European Russia, the island of Kizhi on Lake Onega was once a centre of paganism, but it was invaded by Christianity in the 12th century. Over the centuries churches have come and gone, but the collection of churches you can visit today date from the 14th to 18th centuries and make for a fascinating half-day trip from Petrozavodsk.
Street, 1965), which won an Academy Award for best foreign film. It's a moving film depicting the life of Jews in Slovakia under Nazi occupation. In 1967, Czech director Jiri Menzel garnered the same honour with Ostfe sledovane vlaky (Closely Watched Trains), based on Bohumil Hrabal's eponymous book about growing up during WWII. Frantisek Vlacil's Marketa Lazarovd (1967), a medieval epic of paganism versus Christianity on a personal level, usually tops polls ranking the best Czech films of all time.
The Sala di Costantino is the first room you come to. Finished by Giulio Romano in 1525, five years after Raphael's death, it was used for official functions and decorated to highlight the triumph of Christianity over paganism. This theme is evident in the huge Battaglia di Costantino contro Maxen-tius (Battle of the Milvian Bridge), in which Constantine, Rome's first Christian emperor, defeats his rival Maxentius.
With its empire crumbling, the Romans abandoned the island around 410, sparking a period of history in the region that is still poorly understood. This is when the idea of England as an entity began to emerge. With tribes carving larger territories and entering uneasy pacts to protect their regions, the Saxons, Angles and Jutes rose to prominence, while Christianity slowly overcame paganism as the religion of choice.
Often the missionaries' new converts succumbed first, being more exposed to the new germs. This was seen as proof that the new religion was particularly malevolent, since illness came from sorcery. Several missionaries were killed by vengeful islanders following epidemics.
Magic is strongest on the islands with active volcanoes, and Ambrym is considered Vanuatu's sorcery centre. Sorcerers (man blong majik or man blongposen) are feared and despised. Many islanders have seen too many unexplained happenings and would treat anyone who was found practising black magic severely. Magic for tourists is not considered black.
Among the Gusii, death is considered to be the work of 'witchcraft' rather than a natural occurrence. Many Luhya are superstitious and still have a strong belief in witchcraft, although to the passing traveller this is rarely obvious. Traditional costume and rituals are becoming less common, due mostly to the pressures of the soaring Luhya population.
Among the Garifuna, and to a lesser extent the Maya and Creoles, Christianity coexists with other beliefs. Maya Catholicism has long been syncretized with traditional beliefs and rites that go back to pre-Hispanic times, while some Creoles (especially older people) have a belief in obeah, a form of witchcraft.
Despite the unique Maldivian script that dates from the 1600s, most Maldivian myths and stories are from an oral tradition and have only recently appeared in print. Many are stories of witchcraft and sorcery, while others are cautionary tales about the evils of vanity, lust and greed, and the sticky fates of those who transgressed. Some are decidedly weird and depressing, and don't make good bedtime reading for young children. Novelty Press has published a small book called Mysticism in the Maldives, which is still available. The Hammond Innes thriller The Strode Venturer is about the only well-known novel that is partly set in the Maldives.
Witchcraft traditions in this part of Veracruz go back centuries - mixing ancient indigenous beliefs, Spanish medieval traditions and voodoo practices from West Africa. Many of these brujos multitask as medicine men or women (using both traditional herbs and modern pharmaceuticals), shrinks and black magicians (casting evil spells on enemies of their clients). If you're lucky, you could run into a brujo on your visit because, really, who couldn't use a little more abracadabra in their life
Christianity was slow to be accepted in Druidic Ireland, taking several centuries before the transition was complete. Even with the wane of paganism in Ireland, many practices were eagerly assimilated. Christianity effectively superimposed itself on Celtic tradition as celebrations of pagan importance became associated with Christian worship. A good example is Imbolg on February 1st, a date very sacred to the Druids. This springtime pagan festival eventually became replaced by Saint Brigid's feast day.
Nine men accused of witchcraft were burnt at the stake in Brennugja (Burning Chasm). Nearby are the fissures of Flosagja (named after a slave who jumped his way to freedom) and Nikulasargja (after a drunken sheriff discovered dead in the water). The southern end of Nikulasargja is known as Peningagja (Chasm of Coins) for the thousands of coins tossed into it by visitors.
Lundenwic (or London marketplace) was established due west of Londinium (around Aldwych) as a Saxon trade settlement and by the early 7th century the Saxons were converted from paganism to Christianity. Rome designated Lundenwic as a diocese and the first St Paul's Cathedral was established at the top of Ludgate Hill.
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