In Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, From the Ice Age to the Present, Oxford professor of archaeology Chris Gosden treats readers to a history of humanity through the lens of magic. Gosden defines magic as human participation within the universe thru ritual and art. From Paleolithic cave art and Egyptian burial practices to 19th-century spiritualism and 20th-century paganism, magical items and rituals have always been a part of the human experience. Even in cultures guided predominantly with the aid of the two other exquisite perception systems, faith and science, magic has often persisted alongside them.
In this beautifully illustrated and written e book, Gosden offers an encyclopedic compendium of magical practices throughout the globe and during records. Readers will gain lots from the transhistorical perspective Gosden offers. For example, the shamanism practiced at the Eurasian Steppe in 5000 B.C. Traveled from Mongolia to Iron Age Western Europe, wherein it become practiced by using the Celts. This records may be traced through the items discovered in historical burial websites and beneath excavated stone circles, examples of which can be reproduced during the text.
The worldwide and historical reach of Gosden’s expertise is stunning and makes this e-book an vital reference work. But Gosden has every other compelling trick up his sleeve. The ebook’s humane, urgent conclusion shows that magic may even provide some clues for surviving our contemporary global weather crisis. Many of the magical rituals and practices mentioned here rely on the belief of an animate and sentient herbal world. “To be human is to be connected,” Gosden argues. If we can reawaken our feel of connection to the natural world—to bushes and animals and oceans—we may be able to inspire more people to practice dwelling gently and harmoniously with the world round us.