Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Breaking Rocks for Good Fortune

While there are not very many ceremonial magicians out there, folk magick is another thing entirely. Many people of all sorts of different religious traditions perform simple rituals during the course of their daily lives that certainly fit the description of magick. Last week, Huffington Post covered the Bolivian Catholic practice of breaking rocks in order to obtain good fortune and prosperity.

The rite is performed to call for the blessing of the Virgin of Urkupina. Legend has it that Virgin Mary appeared to a shepherd girl to instruct her to take rocks from this dried river that miraculously turned into silver when she reached home.

On Tuesday, pilgrims struck rocks to try to improve their fortunes. When a rock is easily split, their wish will be soon fulfilled. If believers have more difficulty striking and splitting the rock, it will take more time.

“You can ask for a house, a car, all your wishes are fulfilled,” said believer Ricardo Tarqui. “I broke the rock with a second blow and in a third attempt. I have been able to buy a house and also a car.”

I realize that believers don't think about it this way, but from a technical perspective this practice is the same thing as a magical spell. It's not even slightly ambiguous, like prayer that is performed for purely devotional rather than practical reasons. Adherents engage in a specific activity associated with a particular spiritual entity in order to obtain specific advantages and possessions in the material world.

As for whether or not it works, I have no idea. Data is not the plural of anecdote. At the same time, all the elements are present for there to be a real paranormal effect going on, and my guess is that at least some practitioners do indeed benefit.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: