Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Magic and Mankind Part one: The Power of Words




Part one - The Power of Words
Nicola McDonagh
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Ever since mankind created language, words have been used to manipulate, enlighten and confuse. So it is little wonder that words should also prove to be powerful weapons in the form of spells, hexes, and incantations. Even prayers and hymns having special supernatural powers as they are a way to grab the attention of a god, or gods. Most religions encourage these invocations to create a sense of spiritualization and ceremony that help the devotee contact their inner soul becoming closer to nature, God, and themselves.


Image public domain

Certain words have become magical, imbibed with a power that if spoken or written down, can be used as a charm to ward off evil or cause an adversary to come to harm. The most familiar of these is Abracadabra. Although known as a stage magicians phrase, the word dates back to Roman times and is thought to come from the Hebrew words for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - ‘ab, ben, Ruach HaKodesh’. Which some say is derived from, Abraxas. This word has special powers as according to Greek numerology, it adds up to 365 which is the number of days in a year.

These words become even more potent if written or said repeatedly. As in the case of Abracadabra, when it is in a pyramid shape and used as a Medicinal charm:

Image public domain (Wikipedia)

When mankind began to write words, such magical incantations could now be stored and used at the discretion of the owner. The earliest ‘spell’ comes from ancient Mesopotamia etched onto cuneiform clay tablets found in the city of Uruk somewhere between the 5th and 4th centuries BC.


Image public domain (history2701.wikia.com)

Books of magic spells have been around since ancient times and have been used not only for religious purposes but also for science: such as alchemy and The Philosopher’s Stone, in medicine, witch doctors and wise women, and for predicting the future through astrology.

In Ancient Egypt, magic and spells were a part of everyday life. The symbolic use of words was very important. Used for protection, to summon gods and demons, and to help loved ones live a happy afterlife. These words are often found etched onto tombs, pillars, and even embalming shrouds, showing just how important magical words were to these superstitious people.


Image public domain (Wikipedia)

Ancient Egyptian priests used many magic books such as The Book of the Dead, to help those who have died pass on to the next life. The most potent of all was The Book of Dreams. This book allowed people, through incantations, to fall into a dream-like state to travel through time, space, and even to the realm of the dead.

Papyri Graecae Magicae or The Greek Magical Papyri is the name for scrolls from Graeco-Roman Egypt, that contain magical spells, formulae, hymns, and rituals dating as far back as the 100s BC to the 400s AD. For use by traveling magicians, scholars and medical practitioners, these ‘books’ have detailed descriptions on how to cast spells, invoke spirits, demons, and even how to create love charms.


Image public domain (Wikipedia)

A similar Jewish papyri dating back to ancient Egyptian times seems to be rooted in performing religious ceremonies to interact with spirits in order gain advantage over another. Names are also important in Jewish magical traditions. In the creation of man, God summons life after a series of ‘speech acts’. Mentioning one of God’s many names can be a powerful tool for finding love or as with Joshua, demolishing the walls of Jericho.


image public domain(Wikipedia)


Later, more textbooks on magic came into existence, such as The Grimoire, or Spellbooks, which are still used today.

Image public domain (Wikipedia)

These books give precise instructions on how to cast a spell and how to create magical amulets and talisman. You can read more about them in this article: 

So for authors, using spells as part of their story is a natural choice when writing in genres such as fantasy and magic realism. The power of such words evokes a sense of otherworldliness and spirituality that helps a reader to become wholly engaged in what they are reading.


Books, therefore, are magic!
Image public domain (Wikipedia)


If you want to learn more about my work, visit my website: 
or my Amazon page: 

Watch out for part two: Witches and Witchcraft

If you enjoyed reading this post you might like to look at more. Just click on the link:



COMMENTS
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nicola L Osguthorpe

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
I really love this post! shared on my author site and Dark Fantasy Books!
 
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Nikki McDonagh via Google+

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Joe Bonadonna via Google+

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Author Nikki McDonagh gives us some history and insight into the use of words of power for magic and science. #OurAuthorGang
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Joe Bonadonna

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
excellent post, Nikki. As I incorporate more and more magic systems into my own writing, I find that the meanings and origins of words come in very handy for picking that "right" word of power. This blog really gives me more info. Thank you!
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Glad my post can be of use Joe.
 
+Nikki McDonagh -- some excellent things I can borrow. :)

Ruth de Jauregui via Google+

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Nicola McDonagh shares the origins, history, and connections of magic, spirituality and science in this wonderful post on #OurAuthorGang!!
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Ruth de Jauregui

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
"Books are magic." Oh that is fantastic.

I love this post, the ancient origins, the history, the connections of magic, spirituality and science. Fabulous post, Nicola!!
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Thank yo so much Ruth.

Chris Weigand via Google+

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
A little bit about the history of magic with Nicola.
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Chris Weigand

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Wow great stuff. Lots of great info and now I know where to look when searching for words to use in magic. I love your last sentence "Books therefore are magic."
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Yes, books are magic!

Toi Thomas

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
I love that you conclude this by stating that books are magic. I love the study of words and their meanings and this seems the be the next level, putting those words to use. Great post.
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Thanks Toi.

Toi Thomas via Google+

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Today, Nikki McDonagh​ offers a bit of history and insight into the use and power of words for magic and science. #OurAuthorGang.
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Erika M Szabo via Google+

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
The power and magic of words
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Erika M Szabo

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Great post Nikki!
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Thank you, Erika.

Lorraine Carey

3 months ago  -  Shared publicly
 
What an informative and interesting piece, Nikki! You have a huge knowledge base on this. The word becomes powerful once it is spoken or written. Thank you for posting this. I am going to share on my author page.
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Thank you Lorraine. It is a subject I am interested in that's for sure.
 
+Nikki McDonagh I am as well. Magic has always fascinated me, especially those of ancient origins.

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