Yet another typology of magic

Yet another typology of magic is that of ‘black’ and ‘white’. Black magic has some evil intentions. According to it, the victim is inflicted with some injury.

The second type, white magic, is beneficent in its intent. In social anthropological literature much emphasis is placed on black magic. “The reason for this is two-fold.

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There is the challenge to the investigator to uncover what his informants are least willing to di­vulge. More than this, though, is the dramatic appeal of black magic for the people themselves. Once a willingness to talk about it is estab­lished, informants will dwell on the subject with relish and exuberant detail, leaving ‘white’ magic as something taken for granted.” The horror shows which are presented with different names on television depict several of the practices of black magic.

If revenge has to be taken, a magician makes a clay image of the victim and gives it all kinds of pains. These pains, in turn, are experienced by the victim. We have innumerable instances of magic reported from different parts of the world. However, the instances of white magic are very few. This category of magic is also extended to include much of native medicine. Surprisingly, there is prevalence of white and black magic among the literate peoples too.

However, with the increase in literacy and educa­tion, many of the magical practices are going out of vogue.


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