A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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n             MAGIC HEALING IN THE PRE-CHRISTIAN ERA           43
which nature cannot produce, but only the power of magic. The graver forms of disease, love in its passionate phases, the desire for ceremonial exchange and other similar manifestations in the human organism and mind, are the direct product of the spell and rite. Magic is thus not derived from an observation of nature, and of knowledge of its laws, but is a primeval possession to be known only through tradition, affirming man's innate power of achieving desired ends.
The human body, being the receptacle of magic and the channel through which it flows, must be submitted to various conditions. Thus the magician has to keep all sorts of taboos, for fear the spell might be injurious, especially as in certain parts of the worldin Melanesia for instancethe spell resides in the magician's belly, which is the seat of memory as well as of food. When necessary it is summoned up to the larynx, which is the seat of intelligence, and thence sent forth by the voice, the main organ of the human mind. Among the Hebrews, prophets and seers had similar experiences. Thus, not only is magic an essentially human possession, it is literally and actually enshrined in man, and can only be preserved by being passed down from one practitioner to another according to strict rules of filiation, initiation and instruction. It is never conceived of as an independent force of nature, residing in material things, to be investigated by the ordinary methods of observation and research.
The real virtue of magic passes through the spell and its rite, a strictly defined procedure, and cannot be conveyed by any other means. It only operates in a manner laid down by tradition, never showing itself in physical force, while its influence upon man is strictly limited and defined. A sharp distinction is drawn between the traditional power of magic on the one hand and the normal