More magic stuff

alexandra.bolintineanu at utoronto.ca alexandra.bolintineanu at utoronto.ca
Tue Oct 5 22:57:34 EDT 1999


Alexandra wrote:
> "A peculiarity of Finnish magic is what is called 'the word of
> origin'.  To control or banish an evil power, it is sufficient to
> know and to repeat to it its proper name, and to relate the history
> of its creation."  (W. F.  Kirby)

And Paul replied:

"The idea of proper names as a method of magical control has tended to
leak out into the larger world in places. Ursula Le Guin springs to
mind."

Yes indeed, and a marvellous job she does of it, too!  I think what I
liked best about Finnish magic is that you have to tell the *stories* of
things in order to control them.  An old man, for instance, cures a hero's
stab wound by reciting the story of the origin of iron. 

Alexandra


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