Word of the Day: thaumaturgy
Thaumaturgy (noun) THAW-muh-ter-jee
: the performance of miracles; specifically : magic
“The place is still a favourite pilgrimage, but there seems to be some doubt as to which Saint John has chosen it as the scene of his posthumous thaumaturgy; for, according to a local guide-book, it is equally frequented on the feasts of the Baptist and of the Evangelist.” — Edith Wharton, Italian Backgrounds, 1905
“Indeed, so keen was the horror at the hysteria that had taken hold in Salem that the mere mention of the place was sufficient to cool any passions that looked in danger of spiraling into outmoded and dangerous thaumaturgy.” — Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 16 Dec. 2011
Did You Know?
The magic of thaumaturgy is miraculous. The word, from a Greek word meaning “miracle working,” is applicable to any performance of miracles, especially by incantation. It can also be used of things that merely seem miraculous and unexplainable, like the thaumaturgy of a motion picture’s illusions (aka “movie magic”), or the thaumaturgy at work in an athletic team’s “miracle” comeback. In addition to thaumaturgy, we also have thaumaturge and thaumaturgist, both of which mean “a performer of miracles” or “a magician,” and the adjective thaumaturgic, meaning “performing miracles” or “of, relating to, or dependent on thaumaturgy.”
I must admit, I don’t know much about Thaumaturgy. However, I do believe that it is possible to perform magic (or miracles). Not that I can do it, mind you. I just believe there are people all around the world who have abilities above and beyond what the rest of us can do. I’m not saying that they are supernatural, just different, unique. Somedays, I wish I had some of those abilities to make life just a bit more interesting.
I do read novels and stories on the subject, most notably, the ‘Thaumatology Books’ by Niall Teasdale. I read these three years ago, and I was spellbound (pun intended). I am a fast reader, and I read all eleven books in a span of just two months. What can I tell you, I was captivated by the stories. I then moved on the ‘Hollows Books’ by Kim Harrison, and I did the same thing to her books. That is, I read the entire series in just a couple of months. I both cases, I started following the authors, and as they published new works, I just had to read them. Right now, I’ve just started the ‘Witch Detectives’ books by Eve Paludan. In the course of just a couple of days, I finished book 1 and moved on to book two.
It’s taking me longer to read novels lately, as I am writing my own books, I am spending more time writing than I do reading. Frankly, it’s a good thing. If you’re interested in novels of this sort, please feel free to check these authors out. Their books are available on Amazon.com. I’ve provided the links to their author pages for your convenience.
Back to thaumaturgy. while I believe in magic, I also believe that much that we might call magic is science that most of us just don’t understand. Using a cell phone to talk to someone on the other side of the world could be magic to one who has never seen or heard of a cell phone. Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry) predicted them back in 1966, and by the 1990’s, the first flip phones appeared. Magic then, science today.
When I search for imagery to go with this article, I knew I would find thousands. What I found annoying was that most of them are depictions of the dark arts. Who says they have to be dark? The books I referenced above described a world balancing the two. Just as I believe, there can’t be light without dark, a hero without a villain, there has to be good magic as well as bad.
What do you think?
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Have a great day.