Essay on Magic Rituals and Use of Symbols

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Magic rituals
There are many symbols, behaviours and traditions which are been followed and assigned to specific objects and events. These events or objects are a part of the activities that are or were carried out in the past. There are many meanings of these symbols and pictures which are portrayed by the traditions. There are many such rituals and traditions practiced in UAE too. The St. Lawrence River spills is one incident where such kind of incidents are observed and there are many perceptions of the same from different people across the world. It is believed to be certain form of traditions. It has been described as an activity or incident of pollution occurring due to many carelessness.
However, it can be seen that there are more than one shared meaning of the incident which have seen spilling of diesel and oil ships in the St. Lawrence River. The meaning of the context has been specified for many instances in these regions. There is a long list of spills in this river where there are a number of events which has been investigated by many officers. The importance of the incident has different context for the researchers and scientists. It has been observed that there are many rituals pertaining to the topic of the magic rituals.
There are many such rituals and symbols which are practiced in the world regarding traditional and custom observed in the world. One such ritual is Quimbanda in Brazil, which is very commonly practiced by the Afro – Brazilian tribe. There is a certain belief behind the traditions and customs which are observed in the street by the people in such rituals. It has been observed since ancient days, where this tribe and area was famous for hustlers, prostitutes and other such malpractices.

The traditional practice and magical rituals which is studied by me is “Quimbanda,” which is a part of the Afro- Brazilian tradition. It is one form of religion of the people over there where they are very much connected to the spirits of the Exus and Pombagiras. The symbols and the meaning of these symbols would be discussed in this essay.
The spirits referred in this tradition are of the people living on the streets in these areas where the major portion of these people serves to be vagrants, hustlers and prostitutes. The origin of the ritual was from the religion of Macumba. There are many sources of this tradition and rituals of Quimbanda as followed by the Afro – Brazilian people. They have been found to be perceiving the culture and tradition for performing different tasks and other daily activities through practicing magic rituals and other such activities. The spirits of men are called Exus and the spirits of the women are called as Pomba giras.
There are many symbols involved in the practising of the ritual where there is involvement of metals, clay, locations, specific flowers and scent, use of language and other such symbols which were pertaining to a specific spirit. A common form of ritual is the “Trabalho”, which is different for different purposes depending on the desire or the outcome of the person performing it. There are different symbols pertaining to the requirements of the person and they have a deep meaning and significance in obtaining the worldly desires for the people. There are many forms of “Trabalho”, and they are numbered for convenience and understanding. They are very commonly practised by the people in the Afro- Brazilian region, where the people are not sure of obtaining things or fulfilling their desires through any other means of survival. These rituals have grounded firm beliefs from the practitioners over a period of years and this has been passed upon from one generation to another.
These rituals were also performed by the two informants taken by us for the evaluation and understanding of their rituals and practices. The informants had different reasons for carrying these rituals. However, both of them had an ultimate goal to obtain worldly desires where one had to overcome his enemy and other had to get a woman of his desire. Both of them were interviewed and it was observed that the symbols used were almost the same by them, but they had different methods of using them. It can be observed through their use of the instruments and things taken by them for the performing the rituals.

Use of the symbols
The symbols which were used by the first informant for removing the power of his enemy had materials like bottle of beer, red candle, lighted cigar, bottle of rum, flour and other small things. The ritual performed by him is the “Trabalho 1” and this ritual was one of the first form of this practise. In this ritual, the person had carried the details of his enemy. These details were used at different times with many special categories of customized traditions for the act. On being asked to the informants, they had given different reasons for performing these rituals. One of them stated that he had acquired these traditions and customs through his parents and they have been practising it over a period of years for overcoming their obstacles.
The tradition performed by the second informant as described in Appendix, is for getting a woman of his choice. The ritual that was performed by him was “Trabalho 7”. It consisted of horse shoes, champagnes, red roses and other such things for carrying the practice. The second informant stated that he had started the rituals on the basis of the traditions and customs which were practiced by the people in his community, mostly the young people, for getting the women of their dreams through these rituals.
The way in which this rituals were performed make them magical as there is no logical or scientific proofs for performing such rituals and getting the desired things done. At the same time, the manner in which they were performed are such that it would not be accepted by the scientists. However, contrary to this, the belief of the people of this community is strong in this rituals for overcoming their problems and acquiring worldly desires through different mediums. It also has to be understood that many of these practitioners have actually no idea of the rituals, but it has been passed onto them through generations of practice and inheriting the same rituals over years. There are eight questions regarding the meaning of the rituals as carried out by the practitioner and these are: purpose serving the symbol, Scope of the meaning, number of meanings shared, context affecting the meaning, changes in the meaning, reach of the meaning, values expressed in the meaning, explicitness of the meaning.
The informants have also seen many traditions which they have learnt over a period of time without actually knowing and understanding its meaning. The meanings of the rituals was asked to them and they referred it to the ancient traditions that were followed in their tribes and community.
Thus, it can be seen that there are many traditions and rituals practised across the world by different tribes. However, the ones which have no scientific base and cannot be proved theoretically or practically may be termed as the magic rituals as practiced in the two cases by the informants which were taken into consideration. The origins of these rituals and their practices are the only things which are known to us and it has been seen that there are different meanings which are to be interpreted in these rituals for fulfilment of the tasks which are aimed to be obtained through these rituals.

Interview transcripts:

Can you please give a brief introduction of the rituals followed by you?
Person 1: I have carried this rituals for the destruction of my enemies. This rituals include the following practice,
“Go to a crossroads of Exu on a Monday or Friday near midnight, if possible in the company of a member of the opposite sex; greet Ogum with a bottle of light beer, a white or red candle, and a lighted cigar; greet Exu Sir Block-Streets-of-the-Souls by opening seven bottles of rum (cachaça) in the form of a circle, lighting seven red and black candles, and offering seven cigars; put inside a vase (alguidar) and mix the following: manioc flour (farinha da mandioca), palm oil and peppers; put on the ground in the middle of the circle the name of the person whom one wishes to hurt, and, using a knife, stab this with violence, asking Exu to attend to one’s request.”

Can you please give a brief introduction of the rituals followed by you?
Person 2: I have carried this rituals which have been followed in my family for getting a girl
of my choice. The ritual is practiced as follows,
” On a Monday or Friday night, go to a female crossroads (T-shaped rather than plus-shaped) and greet Pomba Gira by pouring a little rum, or better yet, champagne or anisette (anis); place two pieces of cloth (pano) on the ground, one red and the other black, and on top of this put five or seven red roses in the shape of a horseshoe; fill a cup of good quality with champagne or anisette; put the name of the desired person in the cup or in the middle of the horseshoe; sing a ponto (song) and thank Pomba Gira.”


Posted on

March 9, 2018

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