Home > Free Essays > Literature > Mythology > “Of Water and Spirit” by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual

“Of Water and Spirit” by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jan 13th, 2022

The book “Of Water and Spirit” by Malidoma Patrice Somé is a reflection on numerous spiritual matters which have been intriguing humanity during the centuries to pass. Among the important issues discussed in the book are experiencing new realities, acquiring wisdom, finding the truth and learning about magic and rituals which can be met in our daily life during the most trivial activities such as meeting people or going to school. The author of the book describes magic and rituals as necessary for surviving in daily reality and, especially, of those of African countries. Reflecting on this book, it should be stated that it is a thorough piece of meditation on spiritual matters and other related themes. Generally, the book can be described as carrying an important idea of seeing magic in our daily life with its numerous occurrences. There is also a great number of striking ideas in this book including the experiences from the author’s life when he was able to pass exams miraculously employing using magic powers.

To understand the idea which the author wanted to convey in his book it is useful to consider his background. Malidoma Patrice Somé whose first name can be interpreted as “becomes friends with enemies” has a very interesting life story. When he was a child he was stolen by the Christian missionaries who wanted to educate him as a follower of their religion and turn him into a sort of a missionary for the local people. However, Malidoma managed to escape from his kidnappers. Still, that left a strong trace of his outlook and way of thinking. The name also conveys the important idea that each person has one’s mission on this earth, and Some’s mission is to relate the message from his culture to the western world and to become a mediator between his people and the people from the west. Some describe his mission in his book in the following words,

What is decreed is decreed. Our ancestors told us that the best way to know who the [white man] is, is to get closer to him. Iron cuts iron. But iron can only cut iron if it rubs itself against iron (p. 25).

Consequently, Some see his destiny in bringing important messages from spiritual realms to the people of the western world.

Throughout the whole book, in every chapter, the call for the western people, and people in general is seen to pay their attention to the influence of magic and rituals in their lives. The author sees his mission to bring an important message to the western world that spiritual values should be reconsidered as it might be very beneficial for people in their daily activities including such areas as learning, working and communicating with people. We read in “Of Water and Spirit”,

The West’s progressive turning away from functioning spiritual values; its total disregard for the environment and the protection of natural resources; the violence of inner cities with their problems of poverty, drugs, and crime; spiralling unemployment and economic disarray; and growing intolerance toward people of colour and the values of other cultures—all of these trends, if unchecked, will eventually bring about terrible self-destruction (Some, p. 231).

Malidoma reveals the importance of seeing magic and respecting the powers standing behind through a variety of experiences and anecdotes from real-life including his own experiences.

One of the areas where the author boasts of his being astoundingly successful in applying magic and rituals is education. Though not being a regular visitor of the majority of lections or a diligent learner spending endless hours with the textbooks, he succeeded to pass his exams incredibly and was even noted by the tutors to read their very minds and the slightest movements of thought. The author comments on his success saying that it is not explained by any of his academic abilities and any special diligence or industriousness. Above all, he explains his success by his connection to spiritual realms proving him with a magical opportunity to read the minds of people around him including the teachers. And the last ones often think about the correct answers during the exams; thus, what one needs to do is just to “listen” to them.

So, magic is seen by the author as a road leading to obtaining knowledge, and even much more than this including riches and fame. Regarding this opportunity provided employing the use of magic in our daily life I can say that it is just incredible. I was extremely surprised to learn that someone was able to able to do so as I had similar dreams in my mind; for example, “how nice that would be if I could read the mind of the teacher during the exam”. And this incredible man can do so in practice; this fact is just a revelation for me.

Some also explain that magic in our daily life is connected to trivial matters so much that we can even forget about its miraculous nature:

You can acquire what is usually seen as magical. When in fact the more you dwell in this kind of world, the less you see it as magical because it is the familiar, it is the kind of thing that every human being is entitled to and it is the kind of thing that is at the core of human nature, the search, the intense search for the magical (p. 137).

Hence, magic can be seen as a constitutional part of our daily life. Is it evident in this case, and the other similar cases in this book, in Dagara culture just as in the other African cultures magic, rituals, spirituality is something seen and applied daily, and is as trivial as buying a loaf of bread.

Concluding on all the information related above, it should be stated that the book “Of Water and Spirit” by Malidoma Patrice Somé has its main theme in relating the way magic can be applied in daily life. The author describes a row of the most varied spheres where he was able to apply his magic powers to succeed with his normal activities such as studies or associating with people. I was especially amazed by the information about his learning experience as I was only dreaming about reading tutors’ minds during exams, and Some explained that he was able to do so in practice. At the same time, the book encouraged me to reconsider my values and principles and to consider spiritual matters concerning particular life phenomena.

Works Cited

Some, Malidoma Patrice. Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, United Kingdom: Penguin, 1995. Print.

This essay on “Of Water and Spirit” by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, January 13). "Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual. https://ivypanda.com/essays/of-water-and-spirit-by-malidoma-patrice-som-magic-and-ritual/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, January 13). "Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/of-water-and-spirit-by-malidoma-patrice-som-magic-and-ritual/

Work Cited

""Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual." IvyPanda, 13 Jan. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/of-water-and-spirit-by-malidoma-patrice-som-magic-and-ritual/.

1. IvyPanda. ""Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual." January 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/of-water-and-spirit-by-malidoma-patrice-som-magic-and-ritual/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. ""Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual." January 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/of-water-and-spirit-by-malidoma-patrice-som-magic-and-ritual/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. ""Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual." January 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/of-water-and-spirit-by-malidoma-patrice-som-magic-and-ritual/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) '"Of Water and Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Somé: Magic and Ritual'. 13 January.

Powered by CiteTotal, easy essay bibliography generator
More related papers