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Old 09-30-2014, 01:38 AM   #37
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Real world magical traditions

Originally Posted by tantric View Post
If you're interested, I have lots of notes about spirit possession - that being a 'sickness' that comes upon a person when they are possessed by a spirit. Rather than exorcising them, the thing to do is to accommodate the spirit, which normally only wants you to observe a few taboos, in return for which it grants special abilities. This kind of thing is VERY common in the middle east. In fact, there are proper 'muslim' spirits, which require the person to observe the various Muslim cultural avoidances. In Africa, they are called majini or mashetani, depending on their nature.
For my setting to be complete, I have to have individuals and groups of many cultures and religions aware of the return of the paranormal, so that would be welcome.

Originally Posted by tantric View Post
Also, Muslims and other Peoples of the Book like to do book sorcery, using phrases from their holy books to procure certain affects. These phrases can also be made into amulets or medicines.
In previous 'seasons' set in this game world, while religious symbolism often surrounds use of magic, the actual effacious bits aren't the religion, they are remnants of working magic that works for anyone, of any religion.

That being said, I don't see any particular reason some form of Islamic book sorcery couldn't work. Just that the incantations themselves can't be too widely known*, because that detracts from their power.

I am statting out several groups of supernaturally-aware people in the modern Islamic world (Mid-Euphrates area of Iraq at the end of 2011). I want them to have several different flavours and belief systems. There's Assyriologists, those trying to recreate Chaldean astrology, the aformentioned proto-Sumerian demonologists and a group of djinn-summoning sorcerers. Ideally, I want to reflect more modern beliefs as well.

Of course, anyone with the Medium Advantage has a huge advantage, in that they can learn their rituals from spirits who remember the last time magic worked in the world. That heavily favours those whose mythology is already based on magic as a system for contacting and trafficking with spirits.

Groups of ritual magicians tend to be concentrated around the teachings of one spirit or another, as just experimenting on their own hasn't been yielding anything useful and the overwhelming majority of rituals which living people practice either never worked or have been corrupted into non-working versions over the 100+ years that magic has not existed in the world.

The other alternative is to be a scholar of an ancient culture and language who undertakes the massive work of reconstructing their mythology, religion and various rituals into functioning Path/Book ritual magic rituals.

That's what one PC, a Harvard professor of religious anthropology, is doing with Zoroastrianism and ritual magic.

*Which does tend to argue against any passage that comes directly from a 'popular' holy scripture, in the language which that scripture is usually read.

Originally Posted by tantric View Post
Here's the thread where I tried to work Similarity and Contagion into RPM.
Cool. I ended up just using Path/Book Magery instead of RPM, but it bothers me a lot that there is no way to come up with new rituals except by eyeballing things.

Originally Posted by tantric View Post
I rather like your ideas, BTW. In my Refugium setting, I'd planned on having a continent called where the Zoroastrian religion survived and flourished. Bundahisn is the Land of Prophets and is regularly swept by waves of fairly peaceful religious fevor. The underlying culture is Persian mysticism, but there are sects that resemble Yazidis, Zurvanism, Madaeism, Manichaeism and Mazkadism.
If I had endless time and learning, I'd have fully realised groups (of varying size and importance) of supernaturally-aware people in Iraq that belong to each of the minority sects there.
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