marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Magic & Religion

I was in the audience for this one as they discussed a lot of the history.

The extent to which the Romans regarded religion as a fomenting bond between Romans, affirming their Romanness, rather than a personal feeling.  (One panelist thought this was something new.  Actually, in Greece, joining in the eating of sacrificial meat was such an important community thing that the vegatarian Pythogereans joined in.  And reading Maccabees shows how important the Greeks viewed it.)

The Roman sacrifice of a horse, followed by the fight over which neighborhood got to have the head, which seems rather more magic than the sacrifice itself.  I brought up that magic is supposed to be effaious.  If the gods are still angry after the sacrifice, it wasn't that the sacrifice wasn't efficacious, it was that the gods were angrier and needed more sacrifices or possibly punishment of a criminal or purification of a shrine, or perhaps you needed to propitiate a different god.

How very Christian folk magic is.  Invoking the Trinity and the saints and frequently quoting Bible.

One audience member brought up that apparently magical invocations may have been timing devices.  I observed that in completely unmagical medieval recipes times are given in prayers.  Panelists talked about both the timing factor and the mnemonic possibilities.

One panelist cited something, from, in fact, the character building panel:  motives make all the differences.  Bedecking a tree does not have to mean the same thing, because it matters why you do it.

One audience member cited the practice of burying a statue of St. Joseph in the garden to sell a house.
Tags: lunacon, world-building: magic (other), world-building: religion

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