- Intro to Ancient Magic
Intro to Ancient Magic
As long as there have been humans, there has been magic. Early people believed that as soon as they became conscious of their surroundings, that it was inhabited by Spirits - whose assistance they sought to have influence over, either directly through shamans (who they believed to travel into the spirit world) or through art. It's believed that early people painted and modeled animals on cave walls because they felt doing so would grant them magical control over their environment and world.
As communities developed(mainly ancient Sumerian city-states) approximately around 4000 BCE, they introduced structure and order to spiritual life. The introduction of writing and record keeping has also made it possible to discover and learn far more about these official "religions" than ever could have been possible about their Neolithic forebears. There is also more information that can be found regarding magic, both good and evil. Including but not limited to specially crafted figurines that were buried beneath housing thresholds which were used to ward off and appease evil spirits.
Very early in human history, most of the techniques used in magic started to unfold. Ancient Egyptians and Babylonians wrote spellbooks and used amulets for protection. Spells were also written on the inside of tombs to protect the soul from harm as it made the perilous transition into the afterlife.
In general, words both spoken and written have also long been seen as magical. The ancient Greeks and Romans created curse tablets on which the declaration of a sinister intention, coupled with the right formulas could be considered to bring about its manifestation.
Magicians quickly came up with their own methods and ideologies. Ancient Egyptians were aware of sympathetic magic, which is the theory that medicines should match the condition being magically cured (for example, a yellow potion might heal jaundice). The occult practice of binding was said to be created by the Greeks, who believed that with the right rites, a magician might gain spiritual or physical authority over another person or thing.
While many civilizations have arranged well organized and detailed rules on magic—few were as many as Japan, which had an actual official Ministry of Magic. There were other cultures around the world however, that preserved a more flexible and adaptive understanding of such an infinity of spiritual power. Lots of shamanistic cultures would ingest hallucinogenic plant compounds in order to reach the spirit realm, experience altered states of consciousness, and find a deeper spiritual connection to themselves and their relationship with the cosmos.
For most, facing certain chaos and death was always a constant daily challenge in the ancient world, and the desire to fend it off, even for a while, meant that magic was always readily practiced and accessible.
-Written by The Midnight Occult Society
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