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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: sympathetic magic


Sympathetic Magic: This may be the most practiced form of magic on earth; it is certainly the best known. The basic idea for this style of magic is the occult concept that “like attracts like.” Thus, jumping in freshly-planted fields is an attempt to bring, by magic, the same result in the crops. Since red is considered an energetic color, according to sympathetic magic burning a red candle can bring you energy.

One of the best-known forms of sympathetic magic is that of using a doll. This practice is found in most cultures around the world. The doll represents a person (yourself or someone else), and doing magic with the doll as a focus results in the magic having an effect on the person whom the doll represents.

In James Frazer’s The Golden Bough, the author suggests that there are invisible connections between all things and that sympathetic magic works through these bonds. To add to the connection, people add personal items from the person being represented to the doll. This could be anything from a lock of hair or fingernail paring to a ring or snip of clothing. Sometimes a picture of the person is used. Often, the doll is very primitive in appearance as in “Voodoo” dolls or the “poppets” of Witchcraft.Donald Michael Kraig


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The Work of the Medsen Fey - the Leaf Doctors of Haiti
Loulou Prince is the medsen fey (leaf doctor/herbalist and shaman) for a Haitian community of around 1,500 people who live in the vicinity of Jacmel, a small town close to the border with the Dominican Republic. In his daily practice, he deals with ...
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Review of the Witches Tarot
Summary: This deck is for every witch who wants a deck rich with magickal symbolism. In the magickal world as in tarot, associations and correspondences are of major importance. Ellen Dugan combines tarot and witchcraft together to create something ...
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Pagan Tarot (mini) Review
Summary: A brilliantly drawn deck using images of contemporary Pagans in ritual and everyday situations. Although the meanings are the same as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the new images may be jarring to those not involved in Paganism. However, for ...
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Magickal Powers
Nearly all magickal groups and teachers make the point that the attainment of psychic and magical powers can be an impediment to real spiritual growth. But, is that really true? If the object of the Great Work is integration with the Higher Self to ...
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Creating a rune amulet
Modern rune rituals are sometimes done entirely with visualization - the runes are made in the astral world and are never actually written down or carved on any material. This technique works fairly well, but it is not in harmony with the ancient ...
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Baneful Herbs and Flying Ointments
One of the darkest chapters in the history of herbs has been in the traditional usages of "baneful" (poisonous) herbs. Such herbs, including henbane, hemlock, hellebore, mandrake and datura, were popular in Renaissance magic for inducing visions, ...
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What Is an Herb?
Even botanists haven’t been able to agree on this. In magic, we avoid these arcane arguments by simply stating that an herb is any plant or any part of a plant that’s used in magic. An "herb" can be a cactus, a flower, a seaweed, a moss, a mushroom, ...
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Witchcraft: Death and Resurrection
Soon the leaders of the new religion, determined to wield absolute control over all aspects of human life, sought to stamp out such crimes of heresy as foretelling the future, psychic healing, spiritualism, the creation of protective amulets and ...
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Goal of Ritual
The ultimate goal of ritual magic is fulfillment. As is true with most ultimates, it is seldom, if ever, reached. The degree to which it is approached signifies the success or failure of the practice of magic in the life of an individual. When ...
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Stress and anxiety affect us on all levels. Be it the body's pounding heart, the rapid pace of breath, overwhelming feelings, racing thoughts, or a disconnection from our deeper beliefs, stress weaves its way into all levels of our experience. Yoga Therapy teaches us to understand how to address our stress on all layers of being. Ancient yogis... read this article
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