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spirits. Then there were hosts of others, including the ghosts of the dead, who still had power over the living, whose ethical character was not clearly defined, and who might be either good or bad. The evil spirits greatly outnumbered the good and were ever active in attempts to accomplish malevolent designs upon mankind. The spiritual beings, having both general powers and specific functions in nature, determined the collective and individual destinies of man; but the powers of the good spirits and deities were, as a rule, superior to those of evil, although they were unable wholly to conquer and control them. Because of their ethical character and superior powers the benevolent divinities were regarded as the natural protectors of mankind, and the people learned to look to them for benefits in all the exigencies of life, for defense against the attacks of those of evil intent, and especially for rescue when misfortunes befell.

The deities composing the several national pantheons were conceived in all ranks of dignity and power, and for each and every function. There were the great divinities of the heavens who were associated with the cosmogony; the deities of earth, of vegetation, and of the underworld; the tutelary gods of tribes and villages, of the household, the family; and the guardian spirits of the individual. Many gods, conceived as anthropomorphic, were grouped in families, or in triads of father, mother, and son, in enneads, or even in double and triple enneads. Some of the divinities, growing in power and importance, absorbed the attributes of lesser gods who were subordinated, or who faded and became obsolescent. Others were syncretized and had many aspects, differing with time and place. All were subject to the political, social, and religious vicissitudes of their peoples; and as nations were conquered or passed away, they were lost to memory, except a few of the more important who survived in

traditions or who, adopted by victors, secured a place in the records of their respective civilizations. For the most part the gods were identified with political or social organizations, and only a few held a place in the true affections of the people.

All the activities of nature were emanations of the will and power of supernatural beings, usually referred to as gods. Divinity was, therefore, believed to be omnipresent, and in its beneficence, as the protector of mankind, gave indications of its intent for the future course of events by omens and portents, whence prognostications were of the utmost importance for guidance in all the affairs of life, both public or national and personal. Correct interpretations were earnestly sought, since the success of rulers, the destiny of nations, and the fate of individuals depended upon the forecasts and decisions of diviners. Divination and prophecy, standing midway between magic and religion, became important arts in both national and social life, in the practice of which priests acquired great skill.

Such, in brief, were the early fundamental beliefs that dominated the outward conduct of ancient peoples and prompted their flattering appeals to their many divinities for protection and help in need; but though the official religion, as interpreted by their political and religious leaders, directed the attention of the populace to the beneficence of their deities, the great mass of the general folk were often so imbued with fear and dread of the power of the malevolent gods and demons that they were more inclined to propitiate them than to rely on the worship of their benevolent deities.

Medicine-men and magicians appear as the first intermediaries with the spirit world among primitive peoples. The kings and priests rose above the common people as a higher order, and kings were occasionally regarded as


divinity itself, so that many were deified after death. The priests, representing the highest learning and culture, and the instructors and intellectual leaders of their ples, were skilled in magic and occult practices, and, according to approved formulas, served the people in their appeals to the divinities for health, happiness, prosperity, and relief from misfortunes.

In the pagan religions appeal was made to the gods by prescribed ceremonies and rituals for the welfare both of the community and of the individual. The beneficent deities were implored to exercise their superhuman, divine powers, alike in their general and in their special spheres of activity, not only to grant favors, but to restrain the powers of evil from carrying out their designs to the detriment of man; while the invocations to the malevolent divinities were intended to cause them to depart, to exorcise them, or to appease, propitiate, or coerce them to cease their malignant activities, and sometimes to induce them to accept a substitute victim. All recourse to the spiritual forces of nature was dealing with the occult, based upon the belief that man, by proper approach, could sway or control the gods according to his will; and the more primitive practices, ceremonies, and rituals representing this faith partook of the character of magic rather than of worship in its present accepted sense, which became manifest only as religion developed to higher levels. As the ceremonials of these worships are analyzed and the elements which we recognize as magic are differentiated-the manual and many of the oral rites, as the gestures with the wand, the formulas for exorcism, the incantations, the 'words of power,' and the commands-they appear as the more direct, mechanical methods of approach to the spirit-world; but they were regarded as powerful and essential for the effective coercion and control of inanimate objects and deities, even

of high rank, and were believed to be potent to compel them to obey the will and commands of the magician or of the magician-priest.

Whether magic preceded religion as its rudimentary form in the evolutionary scale of human history or whether it was identified with its lowest, primitive forms has not been determined by any consensus of opinion." Magic and religion had a fundamental unity in the fact that both dealt with the occult, superhuman powers of nature in an effort to control them for the benefit of man. They were, therefore, very nearly akin; and in all the great pagan religions they were interfused and inseparable, so that in the earliest magico-religious formulas there appears no appreciation of any distinction between magic and religion, whence it is deemed improbable that any such differences between the two as are now recognized existed for the ancients. It is asserted, however, that a differentiation came to be made in the Semitic religions, and that "it was the community, and not the individual, that was sure of the permanent and unfailing help of its deity. It was a national not a personal providence that was taught by ancient religion. So much was this the case that in purely personal concerns the ancients were very apt to turn, not to the recognized religion of the family or of the State, but to magical superstitions.'' The individual was bound to act with the community, not for himself alone. In Greece and Rome, cults that were foreign, strange, and had no official recognition were magic, heterodox, inferior, and suspect, and were frequently regarded as illicit and forbidden by law. Cults

2 For a summary of the principal theories of magic, see R. R. Marett, "Magic (Introductory)," in ERE viii, 245-252; and magic in pagan thought, see Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science during the First Thirteen Centuries of Our Era, pp. 4 ff.

3 Smith, The Religion of the Semites, 2d ed., pp. 263 f.

of great variety, however, both native and foreign, received recognition; and in making the distinction between magic and religion the consideration does not appear to have been one of kind, but to have been dependent, rather, upon the popularity, influence, and assumed usefulness of the cult to the people.

With the advance of ethical conceptions, magic was believed to be a bad, religion a good, method of approaching the occult. It was conceived that while the malevolent powers might be propitiated and inanimate objects endowed with activity by the magicians, so that both might be compelled by his will, the good spirits and deities occupied a sphere beyond man's control, whence their favors could be obtained only by humiliation and conciliation. Although confidence in magic declined, and it became more and more definitely allied with black art, its superstitions have shown a remarkable permanence and uniformity, continuing in the background of the consciousness of the people, occasionally leading them astray, and only partially restrained by a veneer of the more practical conceptions of advancing knowledge or even by Christianity.

In ignorance of the operation of natural laws, disease was ascribed to spiritual beings of superhuman powers; the malevolence of demons; magic influences, enchantments, and spells of the black art exercised by a sorcerer, wizard, or witch; the evil eye or the act of an enemy; or, possibly, the malady was believed to be superinduced by the gods; and, as religious conceptions reached a higher level, it was regarded as a visitation of the wrath of a deity in revenge for some act of omission or commission, neglect, or impiety, until, finally, it was held to be a punishment for sin. The individual fell prey to disease in consequence of these supernatural onslaughts, while the community, in similar fashion, was visited by epidemics.

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