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see incantationincantation,
set formula, spoken or sung, for the purpose of working magic. An incantation is normally an invocation to beneficent supernatural spirits for aid, protection, or inspiration. It may also serve as a charm or spell to ward off the effects of evil spirits.
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; magicmagic,
in religion and superstition, the practice of manipulating and controlling the course of nature by preternatural means. Magic is based upon the belief that the universe is populated by unseen forces or spirits that permeate all things.
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; spellspell,
word, formula, or incantation believed to have magical powers. The spell can be used for evil or good ends; if evil, it is a technique of sorcery. Many authorities believe that the spell was the precursor of prayer.
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; witchcraftwitchcraft,
a form of sorcery, or the magical manipulation of nature for self-aggrandizement, or for the benefit or harm of a client. This manipulation often involves the use of spirit-helpers, or familiars.
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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Sorcery is concerned with the casting of spells and the making of charms. The word comes from the French sors, meaning "spell." Rosemary Ellen Guiley points out that sorcery is "low magic," in other words, akin to folk magic. It is the magic of the Hedge Witch. It is not connected with worship of the Old Gods, although in Africa the sense of the two is reversed, with sorcery close to religion and "witchcraft" viewed as the evil working of magic.

Some anthropologists view sorcery as harmful magic, which in fact it is not. According to the Western definition of the word, sorcery is magic by manipulation of natural forces and powers to achieve a desired end that is not necessarily negative. In the Bible, Acts 8:9-11 states, "But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries." Simon was a pupil of Dositheus, a thaumaturgist, or magician.

Rossell Hope Robbins claims, "Sorcery is an attempt to control nature, to produce good or evil results, generally with the aid of evil spirits. On the other hand witchcraft embraces sorcery, but goes far beyond it." Guiley mentions that by the late Middle Ages the term "sorcerer" was applied to men of higher learning, such as alchemists, physicians, and ceremonial magicians.

In 1432 two arrests for sorcery were recorded in England within a few days of each other. Authorities seized Thomas Northfield, a Franciscan friar of Worcester, along with all his books and other materials of "conjuration." Another friar, John Ashwell, was also arrested as were his two companions: a clerk named John Virley and a woman named Margery Jourdemayn.

In fifteenth-century England, charges of sorcery were first raised against people of eminence, invariably prompted by their enemies. One celebrated case was that of the Duchess of Gloucester in the reign of Henry VI. But there had been another prominent case, that of Dame Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny, Ireland, a hundred years earlier. The Bishop of Ossory, Richard de Ledrede, became convinced that Dame Alice was not a poisoner of husbands (as had been claimed), but a sorceress. In 1324 he charged her with heretical sorcery and also charged ten accomplices with her. He indicted Dame Alice on seven counts.


Sorrow (See GRIEF.)
sorcerer’s apprentice
finds a spell that makes objects do the cleanup work. [Fr. Music: Dukas The Sorcerer’s Apprentice]


the art, practices, or spells of magic, esp black magic, by which it is sought to harness occult forces or evil spirits in order to produce preternatural effects in the world
References in periodicals archive ?
I've often wondered if our geography contributes to these low trust levels and sorcery beliefs.
The defendant was cited as admitting to prosecutors that she robbed her sponsor and practised sorcery as well.
She told me that she kept the pictures and practised sorcery in order to make the children love her," the policewoman said.
In addition, both the practice and the seeking of sorcery are forbidden according to the Islamic faith, as only God can know people's destiny.
But in classic sorcery, what was essential was the action at a distance, which transgresses natural space and time, just as only the evil thought can do, when being carried by the sorcerer's word and ceremony.
The practice of sorcery or "sanguma" is common, and belief in it widespread, in Papua New Guinea, with the accused mainly women, widows without male kin and the elderly.
There's a learning curve to your sorcery skills as well.
They stressed that sorcery doesn't comply with Biblical teachings.
I became aware of both police violence and the resurgence of interest in sorcery while working with a group of young people from Blacksands, one of the newer urban settlement areas, during my fieldwork in Port Vila between 1996 and 1999 and during four subsequent research visits (Rio, this collection).
The community is upset, angry but there is also a lot of fear and anxiety because there is a belief in sorcery or witchcraft," the Brisbane Times quoted Sergeant Tapea as saying.
Sorcery is blamed and a cardinal (Christopher Lee) implores them to transport a young witch (Claire Foy) to an abbey, where the monks will perform a ritual to purge her soul.
This is the second research report about sorcery published by the Melanesian Institute, a research and teaching arm of the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and United churches.