2017: South Indian Ritual Magic Clears Negative Karma in the Birthchart: Cosmos and Culture
This paper examines the practice of celestial magic in contemporary South India as it relates to the individual birth chart. Specific celestially oriented rituals can minimize the unpleasant effects of the birth chart and positively influence the planetary deities. The rituals incorporate various magical techniques including mantras, acts of worship, prayers, yantras, ceremonial offerings, icons, gemstones, and shrines. This paper is based on participant observation during a research trip to Tamil Nadu, South India. An astrologer suggested a ritual was needed to clear the negative karma he saw in my birth chart. This led to a multifaceted ritual at a 9th century snake temple, which I documented with photos and interviews. This specific site was chosen because the celestial snakes Rahu and Ketu in the Indian astrological system, were the cause of the difficult karma and would need to be approached for help clearing it. I will share the stages of this ritual, including the magical techniques and symbolic meaning of the actions taken. I will conclude with my proposal that ritual is both a container and vehicle for celestial magic.
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