The Law of Contagion is a concept that has been studied extensively by anthropologists and historians over the years, with one of the most famous examples being James Frazer's The Golden Bough, which was first published in 1890. In this seminal work, Frazer explored the ways in which diverse cultures around the world have used the Law of Contagion to create psychic connections between people, objects, and events.
The Law of Contagion is a concept that states that objects or people who have come into contact with each other retain a magical connection, even after they have been separated. This belief is central to many magical practices around the world, including African spiritual traditions. This is why Hoodoo practitioners may use personal items in their spells, as they believe that the object is connected to the person and therefore will affect them in a comparable way. We call them “personal effects.”
For example, if someone wanted to use a love spell, they might obtain a piece of clothing or a personal item belonging to the person they wish to attract. By using this item in their spell, they believe they can create a magical connection between themselves and the person they desire.
Similarly, Hoodoo practitioners may use items associated with negative energy, such as graveyard dirt or black cat bones, to create hexes or curses. By using these items, they believe they can transfer the negative energy to their intended target.
At its core, the Law of Contagion suggests that objects or people who have come into contact with each other retain a magical connection, even after they have been separated. This connection is believed to exist at a psychic level, with each person or object leaving a "footprint" of their essence on the other. This idea of a psychic footprint is central to many magical practices and is seen as a way to tap into the latent power of the natural world.
In The Golden Bough, Frazer explored the ways in which the Law of Contagion has been used in diverse cultures around the world. One example he cites is the use of effigies or dolls, which are often created to represent a person or group of people. These effigies are believed to retain a connection to the people they represent and can be used in magical rituals to affect their physical or emotional wellbeing. This idea of using an object as a surrogate for a person is central to many magical practices and is a key aspect of the Law of Contagion.
Another example that Frazer explores is the use of taboo or ritual impurity. In many cultures, certain objects or activities are considered to be taboo, and those who come into contact with them are believed to be contaminated or impure. This contamination is believed to be contagious, with the impurity spreading from person to person through physical contact or association. This belief in the contagious nature of taboo or impurity is another example of the Law of Contagion and is seen as a way to protect individuals and communities from harm.
Overall, Frazer's work on the Law of Contagion provides a fascinating insight into the ways in which diverse cultures have understood and utilized this powerful concept. From the use of effigies and surrogate objects, to the idea of psychic footprints and ritual impurity, the Law of Contagion has been central to many magical practices around the world. While it may seem strange or unfamiliar to those outside of these traditions, it continues to be an important aspect of the spiritual lives of millions of people around the world.