Magical rituals are the precisely defined actions (including speech) used to work magic. Bronislaw Malinowski describes ritual language as possessing a high "coefficient of weirdness," by which he means that the language used in ritual is archaic and out of the ordinary, which helps foster the proper mindset to believe in the ritual. S. J. Tambiah notes, however, that even if the power of the ritual is said to reside in the words, "the words only become effective if uttered in a very special context of other action." These other actions typically consist of gestures, possibly performed with special objects at a particular place or time. Object, location, and performer may require purification beforehand. This caveat draws a parallel to the felicity conditions J. L. Austin requires of performative utterances. By "performativity" Austin means that the ritual act itself achieves the stated goal. For example, a wedding ceremony can be understood as a ritual, and only by properly performing the ritual does the marriage occur. 'Emile Durkheim stresses the importance of rituals as a tool to achieve "collective effervescence," which serves to help unify society. Psychologists, on the other hand, describe rituals in comparison to obsessive-compulsive rituals, noting that attentional focus falls on the lower level representation of simple gestures. This results in goal demotion, as the ritual places more emphasis on performing the ritual just right than on the connection between the ritual and the goal. However, the purpose of ritual is to act as a focus and the effect will vary depending on the individual.
 Magical symbols
Magic often utilizes symbols that are thought to be intrinsically efficacious. Anthropologists, such as Sir James Frazer (1854-1938), have characterized the implementation of symbols into two primary categories: the "principle of similarity," and the "principle of contagion." Frazer further categorized these principles as falling under "sympathetic magic," and "contagious magic." Frazer asserted that these concepts were "general or generic laws of thought, which were misapplied in magic."
 The Principle of Similarity
The principle of similarity, also known as the "association of ideas," which falls under the category of "sympathetic magic," is the thought that if a certain result follows a certain action, then that action must be responsible for the result. Therefore, if one is to perform this action again, the same result can again be expected. One classic example of this mode of thought is that of the rooster and the sunrise. When a rooster crows, it is a response to the rising of the sun. Based on sympathetic magic, one might interpret these series of events differently. The law of similarity would suggest that since the sunrise follows the crowing of the rooster, the rooster must have caused the sun to rise. Causality is inferred where it should not have been. Therefore, a practitioner might believe that if he is able to cause the rooster to crow, he will be able to control the timing of the sunrise.
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