A magical act is a rite carried out to twist nature in a specific way to satisfy human desire.
have much importance in both individual and social life. For example, the flag is believed to be
the symbol of the country and held in great respect.
Symbols may be referential or condensed.
Referential symbols serve to provide information
concerning some person or object.
For example, the red light is a symbol of danger.
symbols are used to express in compressed form something that is too detailed for economic
An example of this is shorthand or Morse Code.
A rite of passage is a ritual that marks a change in a person's social or sexual status
Rites of passage include: the attendant rituals surrounding birth, circumcision, coming of age, etc.
The first phase, separation, entails symbolic
behavior that severs the individual from a previously fixed
point in the social structure.
The old status is erased in preparation for a new one.
During the middle
phase, the ritual subject, or "passenger," stripped of all manifestations of rank or role,
enters into a suspended, or liminal, state between past and future identities eluding the usual cultural
categories of classification.
This phase is frequently likened to death, or to being in the darkness of the womb awaiting a rebirth. In the final
phase the ritual subject emerges from the threshold and is reincorporated in society in his new social or religious role.
Rites surrounding birth are often a complex of distinct rituals
that prescribe different behavior on the part
of the mother, the father, other relatives, nonfamilial members of the society, and with respect to the
Observances may begin when pregnancy is first noted and may continue until the time of delivery, when the full rite
of passage is observed, and for a variable period of time afterward
In many simple societies and in European societies of the past, the expectant mother is isolated from
other members of society at this time for the stated reason that the blood
that flows during childbirth has
inherently harmful qualities.
Old ethnological writings have created the impression that ritual attention is limited entirely to the father. Later
investigations have made it appear doubtful that the mother in any society is free from ritual requirements.
Rites at coming-of-age
are the most variable in time in the life span and may be present or absent. In
some societies such rites are observed for only one sex, are elaborate for one sex and simple for the
other, or are not observed for either sex.
Characteristically, rites at coming-of-age are not generally observed in the modern industrial civilizations or, as in the