Real Magic Spells
In one of Blanchard's examples a boy is reported both as reversing letters and as combining them in odd ways. In explanation Blanchard calls attention to the view shared by most child analysts that words can be a means of displaying aggression. The behaviour in this particular case was indicative, according to Blanchard, of the boy's feelings towards his mother. The boy, we are told, was Jewish (on his father's side, presumably), whereas his mother was not. In the case of the reversals his purpose was aggressive, namely to attack her by writing in Hebrew 'he tried to turn the English taught at school into Hebrew by writing it backwards' (Blanchard, 1946, p. 180). The other errors, in which he combined letters into what seemed nonsense, 'were symbolic of the love he still felt for his mother'. We are told, for instance, that he wrote 'As ur mor' for Ask your mother. The boy also did what he called 'Chinese writing', which consisted of peculiar marks on paper. 'His Chinese Writing was a...
Did this by reading the stars or by drawing meaning from minerals, plants, and animals. Amulets and magic spells, oracles, atonement and confession, exorcism, bloodletting, and ceremonies of purification functioned as both preventive measures and cures. The whole community took part in the healing process even pets were brought into it. Primitive peoples exhibited great cleanliness for the sake of prevention and strictly observed their cultural taboos.
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