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Considering Magical Ability from the Perspective of Individuality and Personality
This paper aims to examine the possibility of describing magical abilities from the perspective of individuality and the personality of the magical specialists/practitioners. The relationship between the source and history (whether congenital or acquired) of magical abilities will receive special consideration. In studies of shamanism and new religious movements, the personal qualities of shamans and the founders of the movements are often described in detail. This paper brings this approach to the study of magic and gets to the root of the ultimate question of what magic is. Specifically, I compare two types of magical specialists called mereko in the Visayas in the Philippines; one type is said to acquire magical abilities congenitally, and the other acquires them through training. In the former case, the source of magical abilities is called toga; in the latter case, the incident called daga, which triggers training, is important. However, there is room for doubt as to whether toga is an essential factor for congenital specialists and whether daga shares the same importance for acquired specialists. It is possible that the background of the magical abilities may overlap in some individuals, and the personal stories of the specialists may clarify the matter. This paper will introduce case studies of both types and discuss how the background of magical abilities is related to the replaceability of magical specialists.