According to the common and popular conception, a magician is a person with magical powers and supernatural abilities.
The term itself is actually the transliteration of the Greek term magos(μάγος, plural μάγοι), that is, wise . It is a title specifically referred to the Magi: king-priests of Zoroastrianism, typical of the last period of the Persian empire.
But there were wizards even earlier, at least since ancient Egypt. In an ancient papyrus there are three wizards called Ubainer, Giaigia-em-Anekh and Djedi who did extraordinary things at the court of Pharaoh Cheops. The first created wax crocodiles and then made them alive, the second emptied the lakes to recover lost talismans and the third drank 100 mugs of beer and reattached the severed heads.
In the Egyptian religion there was even a god of magicians, who was called Toth. For the Greeks, the magi or magicians, they were astrologers and scientists, wise and powerful, like the Magi of the Gospel, who knew that a King would be born …
They studied the sky, the constellations and predicted the future.
We remember among the magicians of the classical, medieval and Renaissance chronicles:
Apollonius, Greek philosopher
Virgil, Latin poet and philosopher
Merlin, character of Arthurian epic literature;
Pietro Bailardo, Salerno alchemist or French soldier.
Dr. Faust, character of a German popular legend traditionally considered an alchemist , but in some versions indicated instead as a magician.
With the strong diffusion of the fantasy genre instead, through novels or films, to name among the most famous: Harry Potter … or through role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, this term – already known in folkloric literary fields (an example for all: the Fairy tales of the Grimm brothers) – has become widely used.
In these fantasy works, the magician is an individual capable of exercising magic, understood as control of the forces of nature. The figure of the magician turns out to be omnipresent in the cultures of peoples around the world, also taken from different points of view and called by other names that differ from magician, the most striking example of magician in mythology is, as we have already mentioned, the Merlin figure. associated with this term, which is inherently neutral, real factors and / or events can be associated.
For example, in England there were the druids , a figure that can also be taken up in Nordic mythology and history in general, but also to the events of Salem in which innocent people were killed on charges of using magic, while most likely it was only of healers or simple women who had learned the art of alchemy to use it for medical purposes and to help people.
Before addressing the topic of magic, as in the case of any other object we want to discuss, we must distinguish the name based on its meanings; in fact, however many meanings there are of the term magic, there are as many types of magician …
First: magician is considered the wise, as were the trismegists with the Egyptians, the druids with the Gauls, the gymnosophists with the Indians, the kabbalists with the Jews, the magi (whose progenitor is Zoroaster) with the Persians, the sophoi to the Greeks and the wise to the Latins.
In the second place: magician is considered to be the one who performs wonderful things with the mere union of active and passive principles, as medicine and alchemy do, each in its own genre, that is, the kind of magic commonly considered natural.
Thirdly: he is a magician when adding circumstances such that the works appear the fruit of a superior force, so as to arouse the admiration of the beholder thanks to what is made to appear and this is the kind of “magic” that is called “Prestige”, but which has very little to do with real magic, as it is just illusory.
Fourthly: it is magic that derives from the dislike and sympathy of entities, as in the case of those who reject, transform and attract, for example, magnets and the like, whose operations cannot be traced back to active and passive qualities, but all are referred to the spirit, that is, to the soul rooted in things; this is natural magic proper.
Fifthly: it is magic when words, songs, careful consideration of numbers and times, images, figures, seals, characters or letters are added to these abilities, situated in the median position between the natural and the supernatural, which properly should be designated as mathematical magic.
Sixthly: there is magic if we add to this the worship or invocation of external or superior intelligence and efficiency, with prayers, rituals or sacrifices dedicated to gods, demons and heroes; then or this happens to contract the spirit, of which the magician becomes vessel and instrument, in his own person, in order to appear endowed with a wisdom, which, however, can be easily eliminated with a simple drug, together with the spirit – and this it is the magic of the desperate , who become receptacles for bad demons; or, this is done in order to dominate and command the demons / lower spirits with the authority of the principles of the demons or higher spirits, honoring these and binding them with formulas and avert those – and this magic is transnatural or metaphysical and its specific name is “sorcery”.
In the seventh and last place: it is magic to ward off or invoke demons or heroes not directly, but through them evoke the souls of the dead, by means of their corpses, or parts of the corpses, to obtain an oracle, to divine, to know distant and future things; and this kind of magic is called, for the matter with which it works and for its purpose, necromancy. When instead, without resorting to external matter, evoking the spirit nestled in his own bowels, the invaded magician seeks the truth of the oracle, then it is the magician who is called properly pythonic : thus, in fact, Apollo Pizio used to “inspire them” in his temple.
The Magic , dark image and altered always authentic meaning is due to the word Maga, Magheia, a term derived from Zoroaster (or Zarathtustra) and his followers, the Chaldean priests or Parsi, the Magi related to the doctrine of the Holy Fire.
Magic means wisdom, knowledge, the “sapiential” source that refers to the dictates of this “Science” is not contained in the books, but must be conquered through a serious and arduous initiatory path …
The Magi, who participated in the Theophany Christ, actually configure the sacred priests, kings and followers of the Royal Art, since the initiation into High Magic constitutes an authentic sovereignty. It is no coincidence that the comet star mentioned in the Gospel has symbolized the initiatory path since the dawn of time. For alchemists it represents the sign of Quintessence, for magicians the Great Arcanum, for kabbalists, on the contrary, the Flamboyant Pentagram which we will also find in the Masonic symbolism.
Magic was the science of Abraham, Orpheus, Zoroaster. The dogmas of hermetic reason which enclose sacred magical philosophy according to Tradition, were carved in stone by Enoch and by the supreme Hermes Trismegistus; the Tables of the law that Moses transformed by covering them with new meanings, veiling them again. The long march of occult wisdom proceeds step by step, insinuating itself into many philosophies without getting lost or extinguished, but simply adapting and transforming the most superficial aspect, in order to protect the most secret part from secular glances.
The practical application of the hidden and denied rules to the layman determines the realization of the Work, which will ultimately show those who are deserving and have conquered science, the shining face of primordial Knowledge. The magical path is essentially operational, or rather experimental. It is not entrusted to mystical and charlatan practices, but to perfect experimentation, which, based on the soul potential of each individual, leads to certain results on the material and spiritual level.
Only through a serious, balanced experimentation, free from sterile exaltations, can the wise magist, at last, reach the realization or state of being active (creative fire), capable of generating, in an occult genesis, what must be concretized. Magic is absolute Science, the science of man who must reintegrate the powers dormant in the depths. Science that includes astronomy, geometry (Sacred Geometry), mathematics, philosophy, the study of symbols …
This sacral doctrine has come down to us fragmented, the task of every authentic initiate (magician) is to recompose the mosaic tiles to recreate the original picture of remote wisdom.
The magician is very often also the alchemist, whose figures in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance come together. It is, of course, an often complex figure that of the alchemist, who changes over the centuries, but remains the constant suspicion of a man dedicated to magical, dark and often dangerous arts.
The aura of the strange character, ambiguous and sinister, always accompanied the magician in the Middle Ages and still throughout the Renaissance, but there were also those who, in this “category”, made an important contribution. In reality there were not a few charlatans of the time (as well as of the present) who had the sole merit of “defaming” their colleagues with completely senseless experiments and treatments of inevitable failure.
The term magician and alchemist are not exactly synonymous, but it is not wrong to claim that for the time it was, so much so that great philosophers and humanists such as Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola thought they were such. The magician is not a sorcerer but a scholar, a learned man who does not allow himself to be influenced by the fashions of the moment and satisfies his “experimentationes” with a methodological and reflective approach.