Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 19

The Meanings of Magic

Mike Harding


This paper explores at how the word 'magic' may be used, drawing mainly on the work of Wittgenstein. Beginning with his critique of Frazer's The Golden Bough, the attitudes of science, spirituality and psychotherapy towards magic and ritual and astrology are discussed, and a key passage in The Tractatus is used to challenge orthodox concepts of causality and explanation. The idea of 'real magic' as opposed to trickery is addressed via Heidegger's paper On the Essence of Truth, and the paper closes with a reflection on a current scientific suggestion that factors previously considered to be permanent might prove to be variable with time.

Citation: Mike Harding, 'The Meanings of Magic', Celestial Magic, special issue of Culture and Cosmos, Vol. 19, nos. 1 and 2, 2015, pp. 9-23.

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