Myths, Magic and Rituals
Why do people believe in myths and magic? Should man believe in them or should they discard them into oblivion? In an age where almost everything can be explained by science and technology, there are still a great number of people who believe in magic and myths. Despite the passing of many centuries and the introduction of new discoveries and studies, man still cannot remove from his system that there is indeed magic and myths are real. Somehow, this is man’s way of reminding himself that there is more to what the eyes could see and probably what the mind could fathom.
This line of thinking keeps man’s interest to live and brings excitement to an utterly busy and lonely world. Myths Myths are stories which are based on legend or tradition and have deep symbolic meaning. They convey the truth or reality to those who live to relay and listen to it. While there are some myths which are based on actual events, there are also some which are pure fiction and relayed only to provide a symbolic meanings (Teacher’s Resources, 2006). In the past, they are used to explain local and universal beginnings.
They are also employed in order to widen man’s understanding of supernatural beings and answer questions which deal with human experience (MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2009). Myths can be considered as man’s way of recording history before the invention of the art of writing. They are passed from one generation to the next in order to educate the young and allow them to have a greater avenue to understand the world where they are dwelling. Myths can be generally classified into three; myths of gods, cosmic myths and hero myths.
Cosmic myths are stories which seek to explain how the world was created and why universal catastrophes occur. Almost all myths have stories of creation as well as birth and death. The oldest cosmic myths can be attributed to the Egyptians and those people who lived in the Near East. Myths related to God on the other hand are focused on the activities of the gods and their power struggles. Each culture has its own set of gods and their own story of power struggle. They also have stories on how these gods were given birth and how their existence ended.
Myths pertaining to heroes are distinct in every culture. Just like myths related to deities or gods, myths of heroes vary from one culture to another. Among the famous heroes are Oedipus, Romulus and Remus, Hercules and Achilles (MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia1, 2009). All of these heroes have distinct skills, powers and intellect that make them surface against the rest. More often than not, these heroes exude the power that every man dreams of having. They also mirror all the characteristics which every beautiful woman would desire from a man. Magic
According to MSN Encarta (2009), magic is the art of acquiring knowledge, attaining objects and performing works of wonder through the employment of supernatural means. The techniques that are applied in magic include spells, gestures as well as chants which are related to the desired result of the magician. Sometimes, the magician also uses certain objects which are used to distract the audience or make them believe of what he is trying to do. There are three types of magic and they are as follows: homeopathic magic, sympathetic magic and contagious magic.
Homeopathic magic uses small parts or portions of an object in order to represent the object as a whole or to affect the entirety of the object. Sympathetic magic on the other hand utilizes symbolic actions in order to gain sympathy. Through the employment of contagious magic, an object is placed in contact with another object or an individual believed to have magical spirits or are magically charged (O’Neil, 2006). Aside from the actual objects which are utilized by the magician in order to perform the magic, the environment, sounds, and gestures of the magician are instrumental in providing the desired magical result.
They somehow create an illusion to the audience and give them a certain feel which will make them believe in what is being performed in front of them (O’Neil, 2006). Magic has been widely practiced in the ancient societies. However, compared to the magic that is practiced in the present age, magic in the previous centuries has been used in a deeper aspect and that is in connection with their spiritual and religious beliefs. However, not all types of magic can be related with religion and good deeds.
There are two general classification of magic and that is white and black magic. White magic is often known as the good magic for this is utilized in order to attain benign ends. Black magic on the other hand is used in order to achieve evil intentions. It is also used by others in order to bring harm to others. Black magic is often termed as sorcery or witchcraft. However in the modern age, witch craft or black magic is seldom used in order to bring harm to others (Essortment, 2002). The art of magic can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Rome and Greece.
Many of the spells and practices which are related to numbers, gemstones and even spiritual evocation that were passed from one generation to another originated from these cultures They were used to explain, spiritual and religious beliefs as well as science. Magic was also employed in order to provide cure to those who are sick. Tribal doctors hold the belief that their spells and incantation s have the capacity to control human nature as well as human destiny. It was during the Age of Enlightenment or during the Renaissance period that the distinction between magic and religion became more evident.
During the 15th to the 18th centuries, many philosophers and scientists rediscovered classical philosophy and used this enlightenment in order to turn away from sorcery as well as convince other people to shun from it. This period can be considered as one of the gruesome periods of magic as those who were practicing or were accused of practicing sorcery or magic were tortured and burned to death. While many suffered as a consequence of this change of beliefs, many also benefited from it. This served as one of the gateways towards better appreciation of science and technology (MSN Encarta online Encyclopedia2, 2009).
If in the previous years magic and myths were used in order to explain those which they do not know; during the age of enlightenment science was utilized in order to explain things. This change caused the waning of the people’s belief in sorcery. Instead of just making them believe in the things that they cannot see, man has become more discerning and exerted efforts in order to look for justification and evidence before they make any claim. Rituals In ancient Greece and Rome the performance of certain rituals was very significant as these are connected with religious worships.
Through these rituals it is believed that the gods will provide man’s needs and grant his prayers (MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia3, 2009). There are many people who believe in the performance of a ritual and in the exact conduct of the specific method of doing it. They pour their belief in the performance of these actions. It is man’s perception that performing the act without any faith on it will not bring the desired result. It will just be a waste of time and resources. Most of the ancient rituals can be related to magic.
These are performed to pray for a good harvest, fertile lands and good health. These are also utilized in order to seek the wellness of someone who is sick. Some of these rituals were passed on from one generation to another while some were carried on through the centuries. There are some, however, which were relayed to the next generation and remained in oblivion. Myths, Magic and Rituals and their Contribution to Culture Myths, magic and rituals contributed a significant part to the development and flourish of culture. They have formed a significant part of man’s life and the progress of this world.
Aside from mirroring the traditions and beliefs of the past, myths, magic and rituals also illustrates the basis of the beliefs of the present age as well as the culture that was prevalent during the time of our ancestors. While there are many myths, magic and rituals which were just produced by sheer imagination, their valuable contribution to mankind cannot be discounted. They influenced man in so many ways and contributed a lot to the progress of the world that we know now. In illustration, many of the beautiful art works in the ancient world were influenced by these beliefs.
In addition, myths, magic, rituals and the belief thereof provided a starting ground for the progress of science and technology (MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia1, 2009). Myths, magic and rituals were used by many scientists in order to discover what is true. They used these as basis in making claims and assumptions and in proving and disproving them. More often than not, those myths, magic and rituals which cannot be explained scientifically are being abandoned. They are no longer adhered to as they only lead man to false assumptions and beliefs.
While there are many who easily disregard these beliefs, there are still some who have faith in them. They still hold the same belief as their ancestors had, unless there is substantial proof to believe otherwise. This practice can be attributed to the notion that you will lose nothing if you believe in them. Although the religious would frown on connecting sorcery and myths with religion, it cannot be discounted that these are part of the rich cultural heritage of many nations. They were once part of the different religions that are being practiced today, only in a slightly different angleSample Essay of BuyEssay.org