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A Look at Magic Around the World

International Magician

International Magician

When we think of magic, we think of an entertainer in a suit, standing on a stage making the crowd laugh and performing some sort of illusion. In the past, when we thought of magic we thought of a wand, cape, and a funny shaped hat. While most of us think of magic from that perspective, around the world people see magic differently. In this article, we will be discussing some traditional forms of magic, rather than the modern side of magic that most of us think about. So, let’s take a look around the world.


In Japan, one of the oldest magic traditions is known as “Onmyodo”. This tradition was originally developed with the inclusion of beliefs from several religions (such as Buddhism and Taoism) however it is believed that the tradition has been adapted from a similar Chinese magic tradition. The tradition itself has been accepted as using a similar system to divination (when the magician is able to look into water, or more commonly in the present a cup of tea, and tell the future).


Nagual is strongly believed by those who are considered in the Mesoamerican folk religion. When someone is known as a “Nagual”, it is believed that they are able to transform themselves into an animal form (either in spiritual or physical form). The range of animals in this belief is endless, ranging from the most common jaguar, to the rarer coyote. Naguals are commonly referred to as shapeshifters, and are often feared.


As we take a step into the black magic side of things, Quimbanda is a cult tradition in the Brazilian region. The tradition is believed to be strongly associated with the dark lord and is based on the belief that the only way to contact and make a connection with God, is to be possessed by darkness. This darkness consists of 2 spirits, Exu and Pomba gira. These spirits are believed to consist of spirits of dark individuals such as conmen and even darker souls, prostitutes.

Witch Doctors

Witch Doctors are traditionally used in third world countries and are believed to use witchcraft as a method of healing those in need. The original idea behind Witch Doctors is to use only traditional methods of healing (with the use of witchcraft), rather than using modern medication.

Feri Tradition

The final tradition that we will be discussing is the “Feri Tradition”. This tradition can be considered as more modern than the rest, given that it was originally created in the 1900’s, compared to other traditions that have been around for centuries. This tradition focuses on the belief of a human soul and that it consists of 3 separate souls.

– The first soul takes is in control of our brains functionality.
– The second soul is in control of our brain when it is in a subconscious state.
– The third soul deals with the realms which have been immaterialised.

A popular aspect of the Feri Tradition is “The Black Heart of Innocence”. Reaching this state is done by ensuring that your three souls have aligned and therefore produced a strong connection between yourself and the outer world. Once this has achieved, you are to be considered as having a pure and sensual sole. Those who preach this tradition live their lives hoping to reach this goal.

As you can see, there are a variety of different magic traditions across the globe, and none of them are anything close to what we see at home. There are hundreds of traditions just like these, so if these seem like something you’re interested in then you have plenty to research and choose from!

Duncan William has performed magic both nationally and internationally for the last 15 years including a 3 year residency in Japan. Here, Duncan looks at magic around the world. For more information about booking Duncan for both a UK and/or an international engagement, please do not hesitate to contact him on 07934 856 696 or email him on for more information.