Showing posts sorted by relevance for query amulets. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query amulets. Sort by date Show all posts

Paganism & Wicca - What Is An Amulet?


An amulet is a tiny, easily worn item, usually in the form of a necklace, that is charged with a general, imperial magic. 

  • It varies from a talisman in that a talisman is always personalized for the person who will wear it. 
  • Amulets may be used to fend against negative energies or to attract positive ones. 
  • Amulets for protection, good health, luck, and safe travel are all common. 
  • Because of the saint's specific connection with some activity or another, Sr. Christopher medal are used for safe travels, the St. Anne medal for easy labor, et cetera, many saints' medallions are employed as amulets. 
  • Amulets, unlike talismans, do not have an expiry date since they are so broad. 
  • The carrier, on the other hand, may be taught to recharge and retain potency by leaving it in the moonlight on the night of the full moon or by leaving it in the sunshine.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

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Paganism & Wicca - What Does Fascinate Mean?

Originally, the word "fascinate" meant "bewitch" or "allure." 

“To transfix and remain entranced by means of overpowering power,” according to another definition.

Snakes and weasels were traditionally thought to fascinate their victim, who were riveted, immobilized, and unable to flee after making deadly eye contact with the predator. 

The word "fascinate" comes from Fascinus, a Roman god who had the ability to reject and counteract the Evil Eye's powers. Fascinus was the antithesis of the Evil Eye. 

  • His ability had the opposite effect: he could resurrect barren ladies and make fresh shoots sprout from dried-up withering vegetation. 
  • A phallus was used to represent Fascinus, and phallus amulets were used to access his strength and protection. 
  • Phallic amulets, similar to contemporary mobiles or wind chimes, were placed above entrances with bells and messages like "Here lives happiness!" 
  • Examples have been discovered in the Pompeii ruins. 
  • The tradition of putting protecting phalluses on dwellings persisted until the Middle Ages, and was even seen on church walls.


ANIMALS - Ferrets (Polecats) and Weasels, as well as Snakes, may be associated with this term.

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Paganism & Wicca - What Does Juju Mean?

Juju is an African term, which may have originated in Hausa, originally referred to a priest-king. 

  • It also alludes to the ancestral spirits of previous priest-kings, as well as the power encapsulated in amulets, fetishes, and other sacred artifacts. 
  • So, theoretically, juju related to particular human people, both alive and deceased, and their residual power that might be focused in an item via ceremony. 
  • The depth and intricacy of this word were misinterpreted by Europeans, who attributed it to the amulets and artifacts themselves. 

In other words, juju is the force that is focused, preserved, and nurtured inside holy things, not the things themselves.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

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A Pagan Resurrection


Paganism, also known as Neo-Paganism, is a faith riddled with contradictions and conundrums. Its reappearance in Italy is no exception. Many people may not consider Paganism to be a faith, but it is the world's oldest religion, as well as the newest, pre-modern and postmodern at the same time.

The world's oldest faith has been helped to return to – or even re-emerge in – one of its ancestral homes by the twentieth century's hegemonic globalizing movements, industrialization, and spread of English speaking and writing. Witchcraft as a formalized, postmodern faith, with Pagan clergy, has returned to the land where folk rituals of witchcraft and reverence for ancient priestesses and oracles never completely vanished.

My role as a writer, like that of many other researchers in religious studies, anthropology, and other disciplines, was often one of privileged insider status. My affiliation with the international Pagan community, as well as my background as a scholar and author, contributed to my contacts with the increasing number of Witches, Druids, Wiccans, and Goddess worshippers. As a result, all emic and etic views are discussed here. Theoretical and interpretations for this re-emergence vary from socioeconomic and political to contextual, and all of them are based on ethnographic analysis.

Many Pantheons, Many Traditions

One would anticipate contemporary Pagan worship of Diana or Minerva, Vesta and Venus in lands synonymous with the Roman Empire's legacy, and one might find veneration and ceremonial rituals honoring these Goddesses – especially closer to Rome. Several years of study, on the other hand, exposed me to myths, myths, and rituals that were little understood outside of traditional worship areas. A huge, golden Madonna atop Milan's magnificent main cathedral, for example, can be found in the northern region of Lombardy at the foot of the Alps. Just those born within reach of the 'Madonnina' are considered real Milanese, according to Milanese custom.

Many citizens in Milan today assume that the mother figure protecting Milan is a Gallo-Celtic Goddess known as Bellisama, rather than the Christian Madonna. Bellisama was revered by the ancient Gauls, also known as Celts, in Lombardy and in continental Europe, as far as northwestern France. ‘The Goddess of Milan is Bellisama, her spirit is here, and it's Druidic,' a Milanese Pagan participant said, attempting to explain the continuing local presence of Milan's Gaulish culture.

Therefore, the word "re-emergence" is apt, for the Goddess never left these Mediterranean lands. She was synthesized in what ultimately appeared as today's Christianity, becoming the iconic Madonna of the Mediterranean, as was the case with other classical and pagan idols, as well as with Jesus worship. Sabina Magliocco has explored a strong religiosity and proclivity for sorcery in numerous ethnographic studies on Italy; it has coexisted with Christianity for centuries.

This newly unified land built out of the mountainous peninsula of diverse regions now known as ‘Italy,' is also the home of the Vatican, and thus a Catholic-dominated republic. Rountree has written about how Wiccans and Pagans in Malta go back and forth between Madonna and Mother Goddess veneration. While there are some strong similarities between southern Italy and Malta, where Italians are deeply enculturated into Roman Catholicism from birth, Italy has its own distinct development in the advent of contemporary Paganism. Any of Italy's religiously rooted characteristics aid in the development of the Pagan culture.

Italy's historic and cultural manifestations of protest are a significant component. The Italian psychology and society are profoundly rooted in opposition to external aggression, political injustice, and hegemonic systems. Examples can be seen in the history of its partisan activities during World War II and its Communist Party. Alternative spiritualities such as paganism, shamanism, and other modern, non-Christian faith movements that are gaining momentum in Italy not only have empowerment and new senses of identity, but they are also embedded with cultural and religious rebellion avenues and mores.

The long-term longevity of Italy's popular religious practices may be influenced by its legacy of witch trials. While the tradition of witch-hunts and witch trials in the mediaeval and Renaissance periods has often been cited as a driving and galvanizing force in women's and sometimes men's commitment to Paganism and Witchcraft movements in the twentieth century, it can be argued that contemporary Witches and Pagans' convictions about ancient witches and witchcraft are misguided.

According to studies conducted in recent decades, there were few followers of a pre-Christian Pagan faith who survived into the Christian period among those persecuted and/or executed during the gruesome years of the European and British witch-hunts. In Lombardy, however, two examples of possible surviving vernacular Goddess worship have been recorded: Pierina Bugatis and Sibillia Zanni, who were burned in one of Milan's main piazzas.

Their tale exemplifies some of feminist scholar Anne Llewellyn Barstow's points: despite the presence of the Inquisition, Italy and Spain did not undergo the kind of "witch craze" that swept the rest of Europe. Inquisitors, especially in Italy, became particularly interested in the practices of female fortune-tellers and male magicians, and saw them as wrong beliefs rather than diabolic sorcery, and tried to convert the practitioners to a papally sanctioned form of Catholicism. Penances, whippings, and banishment were used as punishments, but not death.

Early testimony mentioned events that were more akin to modern Goddess worship than those described in witch trial reports. For example, at certain times of the month, they celebrated rites honoring a sacred feminine figure; they healed animals, ate and drank together. While Sibillia and Pierina were sadly lost, the presence of the Inquisition and the Vatican may have helped the continuation of Italy's folk traditions into modern times, as the people did not experience the same degree of persecution of folk healers and vernacular beliefs as people in other countries.

An Enchanted Land and a Rural Country

In northern Europe and North America during the mid-to-late twentieth century, esoteric traditions, and mystery religions such as Wicca, Druidry, and others grew and expanded rapidly. However, in Italy, the arrival of numerous northern European, North American, and British Paganism practices was hindered by the language barrier. The majority, if not all, of Pagan literature was written in English.

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, it is still normal to see educated people in Italy's more sophisticated cities and towns who do not speak or read English, at least not well. Many now-classic Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism books from the twentieth century, such as Starhawk's The Spiral Dance and Janet and Stewart Farrar's A Witches' Bible, were postponed because of this.

The delayed arrival of modern Paganism in Italy was due to several sociological and historical influences. One was the early nineteenth-century industrialization of northern Europe, Britain, and North America, as well as the resulting romanticization of nature in those areas. Another was the study of mythology, native rituals, and witches in relation to this idealized view of agricultural customs that flourished in countries like England, Germany, and the United States from the early to mid-nineteenth century.

This was a response to the disappearance of the countryside and agricultural lives, as well as the deep feeling of loss brought about by industrialization. The Romantic revolution in the British Isles was to be a direct response to England's industrialization. The study of folklore, which was only recently established in the nineteenth century, is important for Wicca and perhaps even Druidry in Italy, as it can be claimed that there is a clear line from American folklorist Charles Leland to British ‘father of Wicca' Gerald Gardner, and then to the arrival of Wicca and Druidry in Italy in the twenty-first century. This hypothesis is further developed by examining Italy's Indigenous Practices.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the quest for a re-enchantment of nature and the search for enchantment in the post-industrial period may have helped the development of nature mysticism and esoteric spirituality in northern Europe and North America. A newly urbanized society, on the other hand, may have already lost touch with nature and its rural cultures, with their native traditions and indigenous spiritual practices, to have a thirst for rediscovering enchantment of nature. This was not the case in Italy, which continued to have a strong agrarian and peasant economy far into the twentieth century.

It had experienced late industrialization, like other southern European countries, and yet preserved rural systems, customs, and mores long into the twentieth century. The belief in vernacular religious complexes, which involve the production and use of protective amulets, various healing traditions, and the raising of or protection from the Evil Eye, exemplifies this.

According to Magliocco, "there are practically thousands of spells in Italian mythology to turn around the evil eye," and "all of Italian vernacular magic and curing centers on the evil eye belief complex." Not only in Italy, but also among the Italian diaspora around the world, these are often paired with Christianity. Participants in this study in Italy talked openly about their Evil Eye experience and habits, as well as that of their friends.

New Movements, Rites, and Consciousness

The late industrialization of Italy and its subsequent "modernization without growth" are crucial in this debate, not only in relation to the later advent of Paganism, but also in relation to the late introduction of feminism and the environmental revolution. The rise and propagation of Goddess worship, Wicca, and Druidry, among other forms of Paganism, in Italy is a sociological development linked to the emergence of other movements such as LGBTQ, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and queer rights, the environmental revolution, and personal-consciousness movements.

In this respect, the revival of paganism in Italy is related to the rise of paganism in other parts of southern Europe, as well as other late-industrialized countries such as those in South America. The quest for modern rites of passage was another important component of Italy's hunger for alternate modes of worship and communal celebration. The educated, newly urbanized, younger generations, as well as the vast Italian left wing, felt increasingly alienated from conventional Catholic rituals in the late twentieth century.

An increasing desire for a new way to ritualize these occasions emerged from a lack of fulfilment in and a growing trend away from Catholicism's traditional ceremonies, especially those marking life transitions. Was the Women's Faith revolution the guiding force behind the exponential development of Paganism in Italy? Is it the growing awareness of environmental issues that followed industrialization? Is it a mixture of these causes, as well as more widespread schooling and employment for women?

It's difficult to say what was the "chief mover" in this case. However, as the Women's Spirituality movement grew in popularity in Italy over the last ten to fifteen years, new artistic manifestations arose, encouraging the development of unique rites of passage such as newborn blessings, young girls' coming of age, weddings, and women's rites  honoring menopause. There would be a new meaning to Liberation Theology if this were combined with the fervent sense of new empowerment provided by various Pagan cultures, especially for women raised in patriarchal Italian society.

In his study of Paganism in the British Isles, Graham Harvey identified this link; it holds true in Italy as well. Goddess Spirituality is perhaps modern Paganism's most overt "liberation religion" – or, more accurately, theology. It studies the history, current, and future expectations for signs of alternative lifestyles using several methods. It proposes that the honoring of the Earth and the honoring of women go hand in hand.

The need for modern rites of passage, experience of what was taking form overseas as books arrived and were eventually translated into Italian, and the delayed yet now fervent social and psychological consciousness revolutions all combined to give Italians a fertile blend of ideas ‘whose time had come' at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first.

These events signaled a new emergence of alternative thought and artistic expression in Italy, as well as reaffirming the Italian proclivity for rebellion through a new kind of cultural resistance movement. Goddess Faith offers Italian women a feeling of empowerment, much as it does in other cultures. A significant nuance of this trend in Italy is that it can find influence in the context of bella figura, a nuanced and profoundly rooted Italian cultural characteristic whose direct meaning may be "making a good impression." This is the standard use, but there are many variations and social ramifications, especially when it comes to women asserting their position in the public sphere.

Bella Figura, according to anthropologist Emanuela Guano, is more than just a way of expressing yourself, dressing and walking – it's a means for a woman to build an identity that provides a sort of resistance and a way to carve out a position of dignity in a "oppressively masculinized" public domain.

As some Italian women experiment with modern and complex modes of empowered identity, my findings show a strong connection between the Ancient persona of Goddess Spirituality and priestesshood and Bella Figura. A Goddess statue stands outside a Pagan temple. The photographer, Ossian D'Ambrosio, gave his permission for this image to be included. It's important to remember the linguistic distinction between traditional Italian witchcraft, native rituals with a long background of Italian society, and modern Pagan Witchcraft concepts.

According to Italian scholars and practitioners, such as the participants in this ethnographic study, the Italian word for traditional vernacular witchcraft is stregoneria. There are regional dialectal variants for ‘witch' in Italy, such as stria and masca; however, strega is the most well recognized and used in the general Italian language. The word stregheria may be familiar to some readers.

This holds true for some modern vernacular manifestations of ‘witchcraft,' the topic of Charles Leland's nineteenth-century studies in central Italy, and particularly Italian-American mystical practices inside postmodern Paganism. Raven Grimassi, an American Pagan teacher and blogger, popularized the word. There are many variations in Italian stregheria and stregoneria customs, but there are also many parallels. In a nutshell, Gardnerian Wicca, and the imagination of Italian Americans, as well as authentic regional Italian traditions, have influenced Italian American stregheria.

However, some Italian authors, such as Menegoni, the translator of Leland's Aradia, advocate the use of stregheria primarily for the local Tuscan worship of Diana and 'Aradia' that Leland encountered. As a result, there are modern Italian witch sects that emphasize their inherited ancient roots and focus on using that name rather than stregoneria. It is a topic of continuing discussion both within and outside Italy.

Hinduism - What Are The Rituals Associated With Childbirth In Hinduism?

Birth is a biological occurrence at its most basic level, but the rituals conducted for it and the importance assigned to it transform it into a cultural event in Hinduism. 

In terms of how Hindu groups commemorate births, there is a lot of regional and sectarian diversity, although there are a few common elements. 

  • Although the birth of a child is a joyous event, it is also fraught with impurity because to the numerous body tissues and fluids that accompany it (blood, membranes, amniotic fluid, placenta, etc.). 
  • To eliminate this birth impurity, most birth ceremonies involve cleansing procedures for both mother and child (sutakashaucha). 
  • For the mother, it's quite straightforward: a bath after the birth, followed by baths throughout the seclusion time (7–10 days). 

The child's last ritual, the chudakarana samskara (head shaving), may not take place for years after birth. 

  • Aside from impurity (ashaucha), the threat of impending harm is a recurring motif. 
  • Both mother and infant are regarded as very susceptible soon after birth, not just to natural stressors like cold, exhaustion, or illness, but also to ills brought on by witchcraft or the evil eye (nazar). 
  • Given this worry, it's no surprise that the placenta and other birthing leftovers are carefully gathered and disposed of to avoid being used in spells. 

The time of seclusion after the birth is meant to keep such evil energies at bay while also warding them off via rituals of protection. 

  • To boost her resilience, the mother is typically massaged and offered fortifying foods. 
  • Charms, sometimes known as amulets, are widely used. 

Lawrence Babb, The Divine Hierarchy, 1975; and Doranne Jacobsen, “Golden Handprints and Redpainted Feet: Hindu Childbirth Rituals in Central India,” Unspoken Worlds: Women's Religious Lives in NonWestern Cultures, Nancy Falk and Rita M. Gross (eds. ), 2000.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Parapsychology - Adalbert


Who Was Albert Adalbert?

Adalbert (ca. 740 C.E.) was an eighth-century French pseudo-mystic.

He proclaimed that an angel delivered him relics of remarkable holiness from all corners of the globe, and that he could predict the future and read people's minds.

"I know what you've done; there's no need for confession," he'd reply.

"Relax, your sins have been forgiven." 

Adalbert's so-called "miracles" garnered him a lot of fame, and he gave out a lot of nail and hair cuts as potent amulets.

He is reported to have even built an altar in his own honor.

The little biographical material available claims that an angel bestowed magical talents upon him at birth.

Adalbert was accused of displaying a letter from Jesus Christ that he said was given by St. Michael to his followers.

Adalbert was also accused of writing a mystical prayer that invoked uncanonical angels thought to be devils.

A Church synod condemned him in 744 C.E.

After appealing to Pope Zacharius, Adalbert was stripped of his priestly duties a year later.

Later, he was sentenced to a life sentence at the Fulda Monastery.

~Kiran Atma

Pagan Religions - Who Are The AINUS?


This extinct race may be found in Japan's northern islands and in Eastern Siberia. 

  • Their rituals, like those of ancient classical cults and Near Eastern faiths, are intended at gaining dominion over natural occurrences. 
  • They need rain and sun for survival, as well as fire and the earth's product. 

They employ magic incantations, charms, and amulets to deflect the powers of bad spirits that might bring devastation, hunger, or illness for these reasons. 

  • To guarantee the safety of their wetlands, they also perform apotropaic rituals. 
  • The Ainus view the bear, which is a food animal, fire, and crops as possessing an inner force, and they treat them with religious reverence. 
  • Other than that, the Ainus have no organized priesthood and no temple worship.

You may also want to refer to my Comprehensive list of World Pagan Religious Terms And Concepts.

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Hinduism - What Are Rites of Protection?


The world is a ritually deadly place for many Hindus.

Certain times of the day, days of the week, and seasons of the year are considered unlucky.

The entire tone of the universe is nasty at certain times, and the unwary or uneducated might suffer a variety of misfortunes.

To combat these threats, as well as the issues of one's previous karma, which may be detected via an unlucky conjunction in one's birth horoscope, rites of protection are utilized (natal horoscope).

Some inauspicious periods are exclusively unlucky for specific activity.

By abstaining from these activities, potential disaster may be prevented.

However, some occurrences that are unavoidable, such as eclipses, are seen to be unlucky.

In such instances, one might avoid the negative consequences of inauspiciousness by transferring it to another person, generally via the conduit of presents (dana); distributing gifts is also the favored method for removing inauspiciousness caused by a poor conjunction in one's horoscope at birth.

People can defend themselves by engaging in positive protective factors such as prayer and worship.

Human envy, greed, and anger may also generate negative powers, which can be channeled via black magic, the evil eye (nazar), or other forms of witchcraft.

Finally, some Hindus believe that a variety of nonhuman creatures, including as spirits, ghosts, and witches, attempt to harm humans via the use of supernatural abilities.

Despite the potency and popularity of all of these negative forces, there are techniques to fight them if one is aware and cautious of them.

There are well-established solutions for issues caused by human malice.

One is to avoid those who are seen to be unlucky, such as widows.

Another technique is to avoid provoking envy by never bragging about one's good fortune, excessively complimenting a kid, or freely parading one's money.

In many circumstances, individuals may use different protective ceremonies to counteract potentially vulnerable periods in their lives.

Talismans or amulets, which are thought to protect the wearer, are still worn by many people.

Carrying iron is another traditional protection strategy, since it is said to make the person carrying it impenetrable to witchcraft.

A black smear of lamp-black is sometimes applied to the faces of young infants to symbolically disfigure them and remove the source of envy.

Another defensive approach is to place an item (such as a clay pot with a painted face) on the wall that will absorb any negative emotions before being removed.

Lawrence Babb's The Divine Hierarchy was published in 1975, Gloria Goodwin Raheja's The Poison in the Gift was published in 1988, and David F.

Pocock's "The Evil Eye" was published in T. N. Madan's Religion in India in 1991.

Also see samskara.

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Paganism & Wicca - Who Is Baal or Ba'al o Ba'alat?

This pan-Semitic term may be translated as "master," "mistress," "lord," or "lady." 

  • Thus, Baalzebub (also known as Beelzebub in English) literally means "Master of the Flies." 
  • Baal is the name of a significant Semitic god. 
  • Male/female representations - Ba'al/Ba'alat.

The word's literal meaning is often integrated into the names of numerous shamanic masters: 

• Ba'al Shem, which means "master of the name," alludes to Jewish miracle-workers who gained power via the mastery of Names of Power. Written amulets are typically created by the ba'al shem for physical healing, exorcism, and reproductive renewal. (A Powerful Name.) 

• Balazar (Ethiopian for "master of the zar") is the moniker given to shamans who act as intermediaries between humans and zar spirits. Other names for the same function are used in certain places, such as shykha (Ethiopia) and kodia (South Africa) (Egypt).

• Baalat ob (Hebrew meaning "mistress of an ob") is a curious Hebrew term for a magical or shamanic practitioner, not least since there is no accepted translation of "ob." 

Except for a spectacular appearance in the Bible by a Baalat ob, better known as the "Witch of Endor," the name may have remained obscure. 

HALL OF FAME: Witch of Endor.

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Parapsychology - Who Is Abraxas?


Abrasax was the supreme deity of the Basilidian sect of Gnostics in the second century, who held that Jesus Christ was just a phantom brought to Earth by him.

They thought his name held significant secrets since it was made up of the seven Greek letters that make up the number 365, the number of days in a year.

They believed Abraxas commanded 365 gods, to whom they ascribed 365 qualities, one for each day.

Older mythologists see Abraxas as an Egyptian deity, whereas demonologists depict him as a demon with a king's head and serpents for feet.

Abraxas is shown with a whip in his hand on ancient amulets, and his name inspired the magical term abracadabra.

Further Reading:

Drury, Nevill, and Stephen Skinner. The Search for Abraxas. London: Spearman, 1972.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

Hinduism - What Are The Marriage or Wedding Ceremonies In India?


Marriage or Wedding Ceremonies - Almost everyone in India gets married.

For twice-born males, marriage is a religious obligation that pays off one of their Three Debts, in this instance the debt owed to their ancestors.

Householders born into one of India's three "twice-born" classes, brahmin, kshatriya, or vaishya, are known as twice-born men.

Such guys are eligible for the "second birth," a kind of adolescent religious initiation.

The identity of most Hindu women is defined by their roles as spouses and mothers.

Marriage is also the catalyst for the formation and growth of families.

Marriage is the single most important event in most people's life since the family is considered the backbone of Hindu society.

Since of the importance of marriage in Hindu culture, this life-changing event is fraught with danger because there is no guarantee of success.

Other possible threats stem from the unlucky quality of specific periods and individuals, as well as the notion that this unluckiness will bring bad luck in the future.

Finally, since the bride and groom are the focus of attention in the days leading up to the wedding, there is a risk that ill will and jealousy from others would release malicious and hidden forces.

Hindu weddings, like many other life changes, are attended with careful consideration for recognizing invisible influences that may have a detrimental impact on the couple's future existence and protecting the bride and groom from them.

To begin the marriage on the greatest possible footing, the wedding is always held at an astrologically fortunate period.

The bride is often sequestered in the days leading up to the wedding to avoid coming into touch with individuals or things considered unlucky.

Both the bride and groom are anointed and decked like deities in a temple on their wedding day—according to popular belief, the pair becomes Lakshmi and Vishnu, god and goddess, on their wedding day.

When they are outdoors in the world, they are in ritual danger, both from the multitude of sources for ritual impurity (ashaucha) and from the belief that they are more sensitive to the evil eye (nazar) and other types of witchcraft.

When the bride or groom must be in the public sight, such as when the groom and his group of friends go in triumphal procession to the wedding hall, as is common in northern India, these hazards are fought with amulets and different ceremonies of protection.

Because they are in a tight and ritually controlled environment, surrounded by family and friends, the threat is less immediate once they are inside.

According to the eight classical forms of marriage accepted in the dharma canon, there is no singular Hindu marriage ritual.

The Asura form, in which the groom's family pays a brideprice to obtain the bride, and the Brahma form, in which the bride's family gives their daughter to the groom without any conditions (although the groom's family can usually expect a dowry with the bride in modern times), are the two forms most commonly practiced today.

The Brahma marriage is the most common and has a significantly greater social rank.

Although there is regional and denominational variety in wedding ceremonies in such a marriage, several shared customs indicate key cultural assumptions.

The transfer of the bride from her family to her husband's family, and the irreversible merger of the bride and groom into a new entity, the married couple, are the two key themes of a Hindu marriage.

The bride is transferred at the kanyadan rite, which is also known as the "gift of the virgin" and is conducted by the bride's father.

Several typical traditions represent the bride and groom's marital union, including pani grahana, in which the groom takes the bride's hand as a sign of their connection.

The saptapadi, or "seven steps" that the bride and groom take jointly, is another such ceremonial that is regarded the defining moment of the marriage.

The bride's transfer to the groom's family is completed at the seventh phase, at which time the marriage becomes irreversible.

The sapta padi is often done in combination with another ritual, the agnipradak shinam ("circumambulating the fire"), in current times.

Instead of walking seven steps, the bride and groom spin around a tiny fire seven times.

On the one hand, the presence of fire indicates that marriage is a Vedic yajna (sacrifice).

On the other hand, since fire is associated with the Vedic deity Agni, he serves as the divine witness to the wedding.

The bride and groom are often physically connected during the circumambulations by attaching a portion of his turban to the fringe of her sari.

This apparent tie between them is simply another proof of the newly developed inner togetherness.

As previously said, rather than a reciprocal metamorphosis, the wife's identity is "assimilated" to her husband's.

In northern India, following marriage, the bride lives with her husband's family; her new identity is completely based on her connection with her spouse, whilst his identity is largely untouched, although enhanced by marriage.

See Pandurang Vaman Kane (trans. ), A History of Dharmasastra, 1968, and Raj Bali Pandey, Hindu Samskaras, 1969, for further details.

Lawrence Babb's The Divine Hierarchy, published in 1975, contains information on present practice.

See also the eight classical kinds of marriage.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

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