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Wizardry in China



Wizardry arouses more interest than I expected. Mauel Vargas says: "In certain genres of literature, a male witch is called a warlock" Well "warlock" meant a traitor, liar, one who cast spells, although it came to mean conjurer (iself a word with an interesting history). Anthropologists may give it some special meaning. Margaret Mackenzie sent me a message, but it disappeared by witchcraft, so I must appeal to Margaret's wizardry to conjure it up again. Paul Simon tells us about China:

"The topic of magic and religion in China is so complex that I'd hesitate to begin to touch it beyond saying: Most Chinese have some beliefs in what Occidentals would describe as the occult. There was an elderly British gent who used to wander from village to village over here, documenting all the local dieties and was up to several thousand when last I heard. Geomancy might be considered wizardry by some and is widely believed, perhaps no where more so than in Hong Kong. Beliefs in ghosts and spirits are found all through Chinese literature, song, and oral tradition. Various Shamanist and animist traditions persist. There is a gargantuan body of beliefs relating to what is lucky and what isn't.

Despite all this, my experience is that the Koreans eclipse the Chinese as believers in witchcraft and magic. I ran into all sorts of interesting practices in my years on the Korean peninsula. My favorite was the fact that some modern appliances had anti-ghost features!"

Ronald Hilton - 1/14/02


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