[LMB] Spirit Ring and Chalion: systems of magic

Peter Hews Peterhews at protonmail.com
Thu Sep 2 21:00:55 BST 2021


On Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 at 01:05, Matthew George <matt.msg at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 10:56 AM Peter Hews via Lois-Bujold <
>
> lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > Through most of history, as I understand it, magic was automatically
> >
> > understood to mean the commanding or persuading of other-worldly entities -
> >
> > spirits, fairies, elementals, demons - to do the supernatural stuff for you.
>
> The problem is that things like alchemy and "natural magic" fit into the
>
> modern but not the ancient conceptions of magic. If you go back far
>
> enough, there isn't any clear division between religion, magic, and what we
>
> would call science. In the Western tradition, the story of Moses is one of
>
> the first times such distinctions are made to any real degree.
>
> Matt G.

The distinction was blurred down to quite recent times: astrology was classed as hard science until well into the 18th Century.  Doctors who relied on a patient's horoscope considered themselves far more scientific than herbalists who prescribed what was known to be good for particular symptoms.  Contrariwise, there is a record of witch-hunters suspecting some Oxford professors of wizardry on the grounds that they had "books with diagrams and figures about the stars."

Peter Hews

Oh better far to live and die under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part with a pirate head and a pirate heart.



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