Following the suggested lead of Robert Mathiesen, and relying conceptually on the ethnographic work by Tanya Luhrmann, this article looks at what we know about the practice of modern magic and various forms of psychological or cognitive conditioning, seeking to apply it to an analysis of medieval ritual magic and reports about its operation. Beginning with a classroom experiment on dream divination, the author proceeds to examine the primary known works of medieval ritual magic to illuminate what kind of effects they probably had on practitioners. The author argues that understanding the nature of these experiences provides a greater level of sympathy with medieval copyists and practitioners of magic and also provides more subtle insights into the organization and orientation of these texts.


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pp. 19-51
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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