Magical Practice and Cosmology among Modern Witches in Denmark
The purpose of the present article is to make a contribution to an understanding of what it means to be a witch in Denmark today. The article thus reviews the extent of magical circles in Denmark and highlights special characteristics of the modern witch. The magical practice of witches is elucidated and analyzed through a ritual case, since the very magical practice appears to be characteristic of the witches and defines them in contrast to other similar new religious groups and communities. The article advocates for an analytical approach to magic; rather than studying magic merely as a symbol of something else, for instance as a way of handling uncertainty in difficult times, magical practice should also be seen as an emic concept. In this context, understanding the existence of two parallel universes, the profane and the magic, is important because the witches’ movements across the two ma e that magic possible according to the witches. In continuation of this understanding the following questions are raised: for what purposes do witches use magic, and how is magical practice meaningful in a wider social context? The article argues that the motivations and subtlety of magical practice are overlooked if the analysis does not include the above questions and approach, and it underlines the importance of physicality in the magical practice.
Cosmos (edinburgh), 2013, Vol 29, p. 173-199
modern witchcraft; Denmark; rituals; folklore; culture