READ ME 1ST: Magic SEA is undergoing a radical content change. More specific contents will be housed in a few blogs with restricted access. This is to make sure that only suitable and comprehensive materials for intended readers. All materials are for entertainment purposes only.
Monday, September 8, 2014
SEA Magic In Academic Perspectives (学术界对巫术的看法)
Lately I had some opportunities to have some length of
discussions about SEA magical practices with some of my academic friends. There
are some interests to document what is left of today’s SEA magic and of no
lesser interests are of the mentality of the folks engrossed in magical works.
Not that I want to throw wet blankets on these academic enthusiasts.
After about 30 years of mingling in magical world of SEA, my only conclusion is
that SEA magic as a whole is pretty unreliable. Not only the effectiveness of
magic practices is questionable; the magicians are generally a problem for
actual ritual narrations.
Anyone who deals with magicians will aware that the
character of a magician tends to flip-flop and this unique character makes the
recording of a ritual extremely difficult. Perhaps it is a secret ritual that
this magician wanted to keep a secret; or perhaps he/she is not sure of what
the actual ritual is.
For example: I spent plenty of time in getting a Snake Ngai
right. I was intrigued by the claim that the Snake Ngai can cure snake bite and
revive a dead snake bite victim even after 18 hours or so.
The first time I received this snake ritual the magician
asked me to get a snake and plant a white turmeric rhizome. But the ginger
rotted with the decaying of the dead snake. So, this doesn’t work.
The second time I return to the magician, he asked me to put
a copper plate talisman under my turmeric plant; but the ginger also died with
the oxidation of copper plate. That too didn’t work out.
The third time I put a paper instead and this time the
turmeric plant grows pretty well.
Now I search the intranet and found out that in Thailand,
folks use white turmeric to cure snake bite victim. Perhaps this is the origin
of Snake Ngai or perhaps it is not. There is no way to find out.
It is indeed very difficult for a researcher to coax any
secrets from a magician by a single review; more so that there is no written
records archived anywhere. The best way for an academician to experiment with
actual magic and record down whatever records there may be before drawing
Of course, it is still my personal interests to study the
psychology of a magician in detail when my hit rate goes 1,000,000 times!