Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/118

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sumes that the beliefs are correct, and that practical application is successful. Examples of the first of the two chief magical ideas are as common in unscientific modern times or among unscientific modern people as in the savage world.

The physicians of the age of Charles II. were wont to give their patients "mummy powder," that is, pulverised mummy. They argued that the mummy had lasted for a very long time, and that the patients ought to do so likewise. Pliny imagined that diamonds must be found in company with gold, because these are the most perfect substances in the world, and like should draw to like. Aurum potabile, or drinkable gold, was a favourite medical nostrum of the Middle Ages, because gold, being perfect, should produce perfect health. Among savages the belief that like is caused by like is exemplified in very many practices. The New Caledonians, when they wish their yam plots to be fertile, bury in them with mystic ceremonies certain stones which are naturally shaped like yams. The Melanesians have reduced this kind of magic to a system. Among them certain stones have a magical efficacy, which is determined in each case by the shape of the stone. "A stone in the shape of a pig, of a bread-fruit, of a yam, was a most valuable find. No garden was planted without the stones which were to increase the crop."[1] Stones with a rude resemblance to beasts bring the Zuni luck in the chase.

The spiritual theory in some places is mixed up

  1. Rev. R. H. Codrington, Journal. Anthrop. Inst., February 1881.