Moving charm

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The National Museum of the American Indian has an exhibit at the moment called “land of the horse,” about how horses became part of native culture (the Pueblo Revolt in the late 1500s in 1680 had a lot to do with it), and how native culture adapted to the horse.

Among the objects on display is a moving charm. Its purpose is to conjure a safe journey, free from predators and enemy raids along the way, and ensure a good campsite with good water and protected from the wind at the other end. These were lashed to the travois poles while transporting the tipi in its “packed” state.

Gordon has repeatedly noted that magic needs to take its place as part of the dominant narrative of human history, and here’s further proof.

This is a people who didn’t encounter horses until the early 1500s, and didn’t win their own horses until the late 1600s, and yet they’ve evolved an appropriate magical tool within two hundred years.

Roughly the same distance of time separates Dr. John Dee from The Golden Dawn — plenty of time for an odd system like Enochian to evolve into a lodge tradition, just as this kind of handicrafts begins as decorative play and becomes an spiritual tool for commanding universal forces.

Or, as a seminary professor of mine once said, “all religious activity is functional in origin but ontological upon reflection.”

2 comments

  1. Without disputing your main point, a minor factual correction: the Pueblo Uprising took place in 1680.

    Best,
    G.

    • See, I knew I didn’t have the date right. But in fact, that plugs in even better with my point, that these “moving charms” had evolved in an even-shorter period of time than originally suspected.

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