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Sorcerers, Shamans, Sages and Seers

6 Dec

Every age has had its sorcerers, shamans, sages and seers; the power of the magic that they can wield has held generations of readers and listeners in its thrall since the earliest days. Wizards are figures of fascination and fear, for it is they who know the true power of the fabulous realms that lie beyond our mundane reality. For aeons these figures have permeated our myths and legends: Merlin, Gandalf, Prospero, Circe, Morgan Le Fay, Dumbledore and others too numerous to name. Every culture recognises the power of sorcery and has it enshrined in its stories. Magicians, wise men and witches recur constantly in Western lore, art and literature and the lore of the Far East and Africa contains them as well, as does that of many native peoples in North and South America and Australasia. Throughout prehistory, on into recorded thought, scratched onto rocks or carved in temples, images of magic and those who work it abound, even if sorcerers in these cases are sometimes termed priests instead. The same thing occurs throughout literature, from the Iliad and Le Morte d’Arthur to Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter novels. These days, magic is enjoying something of a revival, both in the form of ‘New Age’ ideas (many of which are in fact ancient) and in fantasy literature, where tales of magical intrigue enthrall us once again.

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