The Ancient Library
 

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CHAPTER III

RITUAL

Tout rite est une espece de langage. C'est done qu'il traduit une idee.1

in all arts, no less than in magic, there is a tendency, particularly strong where tradition demands conformity to a specific form, for the art to assume a paramount importance, for the artificer to succeed the artist, for priest to oust prophet, for formalism to supersede mana. It is this tendency which accounts for the fact that magic arts come into being, and magical words or actions tend to acquire a power per se independent of the personality which sets them in motion. Rightly to understand ?this process it is necessary to remember the raison d'etre of all ritual, which is, in the long run, nothing more nor less than the attainment of a distinctive mode of expression. For tthe mode

1 Hubert et Mauss, L'Annie Sociologique, vii. p. 58. 22

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