Today, the term magic refers to a form of entertainment and also to cultic outlooks and conduct associated with New Age spirituality. Historically and cross-culturally, a diverse range of practices is identified as magical, and the role of magician has been attached to a variety of social status positions. Magical practices call upon extraneous powers, both natural and supernatural, through such means as ritual engagements (including hypnosis and trance), the application of empowered objects (potions and talismans), or recitations or incantations (blessings and spells). Magical practices include alchemy (transmutation of base to noble substance), mediumship (communication with the spirit world), necromancy (calling up and commanding spirits), shamanism (placating spirits), sorcery (influencing events through assistance of spirits or demons), and witchcraft (devilish enchantment). While this ...

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