Episode 160: Sleight of Hand



Where does magic come from for some of us. It's not a question we've ever really step back and asked for others mostly fantasy authors. It's the question at the heart of the entire adventure but in the general historical sense the question. Where does magic come. Come from as a surprising answer. The first magicians that we know of at least came from the world of zero astrium ism. That's the name of one of the most ancient and continuously practiced religions in the world originating from the area now known as iran while the religion itself dates back to at least two thousand bc. It's named after the sixth century. Bc prophet zoroaster. But even if none of that sounds familiar to you you would immediately recognize the word for their priests the maj. Zoroastrianism involves a lot of familiar elements judgments after death a heaven and hell and the concept of free and right at the center of it all is the balance between good and evil represented by two powerful figures a her a mazda on the light side and the desert demon on the dark side and this. Duality helped reinforce later ideas. Like the christian devil sometimes known as mephistopheles and those madge is spread their teachings in the greek world. They were known as mejias. And i think it's pretty clear how those words have been passed down to us today as the word magic but it was really in the medieval world. That magicians truly flourished. Now it's important to keep in mind that for centuries magic was everywhere midwives and monks priests and physicians scholars and scientists. Any of these people could be and often were viewed as practitioners of magic for a very long time. Many medicinal practices involve natural magic where herbal remedies were applied alongside incantations from sacred texts and the core of a lot of this. Was that idea of good and evil. Magic was tolerated and even appreciated because of its helpful nature while other branches of it were shunned or even outlawed people acknowledged the ancient power. These magicians possessed but they were also anxious about the dangers. It might invite in medieval europe. There were officially seven types of magic. That could be practiced and their names mostly makes sense to this day. Geomancy hydro nancy. Nancy and pyro. Nancy were concerned with earth. Water wind and fire chiromancy and scapula. Mansi were fortune telling method focused on the lines of the palm of the hand or the shape of a person's shoulder bones respectively. But if you're counting that's only six the final one. It seems was the most feared of the bunch. Magic this was often bundled under the umbrella of necropsy and usually involved communication with the dead and summoning spirits. It was dark magic because it involves an area of life that most people avoided death but also because it brushed up against the one thing that medieval europeans feared above all else. The devil and hovering outside this list of seven realms of magic was the equally ancient practice of alchemy with some of its oldest roots found in china before spreading westward to places like egypt greece and rome alchemy was a world that was so mysterious and so secretive that it was often assumed to be equal parts magical and evil and look. I know that's a lot of information to have thrown at you. A lot of words and cultures and things. You won't remember in a few minutes. And that's okay. But i'm telling you all of this for a larger reason then here. It is one of the oldest beliefs in the world. Is the idea that some people can wield supernatural powers to help or harm their communities and at the same time. One of the oldest occupations in the world aside from hunting and farming was that of the magician but the time the renaissance began right around the end of the fourteenth century. More and more of that magical world was becoming forbidden after all. That's why huge raper are innkeeper from bristol. Found himself a prisoner in the salt tower in london more and more magic was becoming evil and society was punishing those who broke the rules. But that didn't stop people from doing it anyway. In fact the pages of history are filled with stories of brave individuals who broke the mold and left their mark on the world through the forbidden practice of

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