Magic Circles and Enchanted Treasures
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The Utopian dream that magic could be used to make one’s every wish come true found its ultimate expression in the idea of buried treasure.3 A key characteristic of urban sorcery was its link to the survival instinct of men and women living in a strange and sometimes hostile environment, to whom it made absolute sense to invest in get- rich-quick schemes in the hope of overcoming their sense of dislocation and escaping the everyday hardships of their new lives in the city. Dreams of wealth were not exclusive to treasure seekers but common to all those with some level of professional involvement in magic. It is well known that there were two basic kinds of sorcery, divided along clear gender lines: money-making magic, whose practitioners were predominantly male, and love magic, which was, again predominantly, a female domain. This is not to say that the interests of the two sexes were essentially distinct from one another, rather that men and women approached the same goal of achieving material well-being in different ways. Whereas men used direct methods such as gambling or treasure seeking to try and raise their standard of living, many women dreamt of solving their economic problems by marrying, or entering into some such other dependent relationship with a man they could subject to their will.
KeywordsSixteenth Century Holy Water Professional Involvement Treasure Trove Treasure Hunting
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