A modern descriptive term to explain the rationalisation behind primitive magic; the concepts were fist extensively described by Sir James Frazier in his 'The Golden Bough', in which he coined the term 'sympathetic magic'.

Basically, the formula is 'As I do this, so may this happen'. For example:

  • 'As this lead is cold and useless, so may NN (convention for the named object of a curse) become cold and useless'
  • 'As I stab this doll in the liver, so may NN feel pain in his liver'
  • the modern Azande charm, spoken while pricking bananas with crocodile teeth, 'Just as these crocodile teeth are plentiful, so may the bananas be plentiful'.
The theory, or our understanding of it, is that whoever is speaking wishes to create a limited analogy (rather than a perfect sympathetic connection) between the two objects. Thus, the Azande caster wants only to stress the numerical relationship between the teeth and bananas, and not any other physical property.

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