In Ancient Rome Mana was the term used for a mysterious force, which could be helpful or harmful. When harmful it was called Taboo. Just like the Chinese Qi, Mana could empower both the positive and the negative.
Taboo, Magic, Spirits: a Study of Primitive Elements in Roman Religion offers a still unique insight into the magical elements, beliefs, methods and rites of Rome in ancient days. Mana and Taboo play an important role, but the author also deals with the worship of stones, trees, groves, water and fire, with magical incantations, the removal of evil by washing, burning or dancing, with taboos on sex, blood, corpses, women, certain days, and much more.
Eli Edward Burriss was an Associate-Professor of Classics at the New York University. No researcher before Burriss made an attempt to gather from the ancient sources those elements in the Roman State religion, and in the popular religious life of the Roman people, which are commonly termed “primitive”. His efforts have resulted in a fascinating work of micro-history, which will be appreciated by both the academic student and those interested in paganism, Wicca and magic.