Behind The Crystal Ball

Behind The Crystal Ball

Magic, Science, And The Occult From Antiquity Through The New Age

Book - 1996
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Baker & Taylor
Explores the connection between magic and science through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia to the present, surveying the occult arts and practices and their most famous practitioners

Blackwell North Amer
In this fascinating exploration of occult practice, Anthony Aveni takes the reader on a whirlwind tour through time and space, traveling from the ancient Tigris-Euphrates river valley to the streets of our modern-day cities. On the way, he catalogs the many ways people have used magic over the millennia in hopes of improving their lives. Consider a page from your ancestors' book of spells: For a headache, pour vinegar on your door hinges. For warts, wait until the twentieth day after a new moon, rub dirt on the warts while you lie in the road, and gaze up at the moon. Or, if you prefer more modern superstitions and want to be a good pitcher, be like Texas Ranger Mike Griffin and always eat bacon the day before you take to the mound.
Professor Aveni argues persuasively that we cannot separate a culture's perception of reality from its times. The ancient priests of Egypt saw the dung beetle, or scarab, as a sign of life not because they were ignorant primitives, but because they were using the available clues in the world around them to map out a greater truth. When Kabbalists sought to discover meaning through the letters in a name or an historical date, they were seeking to satisfy a very deeply held urge. The ancients sought the same goals we now obtain from science and religion - a clearer picture of humanity's place in the cosmos. How and why has Western thought and scientific inquiry diverged from magic?
At a time when crystals, channeling, faith healing, earth worship, and transcendental meditation are enjoying a renaissance, the lines between science, magic, and the occult are beginning to blur once again. Comparing Harry Houdini and scientific provocateur Richard Feynman, Professor Aveni asks, "Is magic in the eye of the beholder?"

Baker
& Taylor

The author of Empires of Time explores the connection between magic and science through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia to the present, surveying the occult arts and practices and their most famous practitioners. 15,000 first printing.

Publisher: 1996 New York Times Books/Random House
ISBN: 9780812924152
0812924150
Characteristics: 406p. : ill

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