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 wizard Old term used to describe male magicians, sorcerers

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Date d'inscription : 14/04/2010

MessageSujet: wizard Old term used to describe male magicians, sorcerers   Dim 18 Avr - 11:29

wizard



Old term used to describe male magicians, sorcerers
or witches, but seldom used in modern times. The
word wizard is derived from the Middle English term
wis, which means “wise.” It first appeared in 1440 and
was synonymous with wise women and wise men. In the
16th and 17th centuries—the height of popularity of the
European village magician—it applied to a high magician
but also to cunning men, cunning women, charmers,
Wizards arrive in town to cause trouble (Newes of Scotland, 1592)
wizard 397
blessers, sorcerers, conjurers and witches. After 1825,
wizard became almost exclusively synonymous with
witch, but its usage died out during the 20th century.
Most villages and towns in Britain and Europe had at
least one wizard, who usually was respected and feared
by the local folk. The wizard specialized in a variety of
magical services, such as fortune-telling; finding missing
persons and objects; finding hidden treasure; curing illnesses
in people and animals; interpreting dreams; detecting
theft; exorcising ghosts and fai ries; casting spells;
breaking the spells of witches and fairies; making amulets;
and making love philtres. Because he was deemed
the diviner of the guilty in crimes, the word of the wizard
often carried great weight in a village or town (see divi nation).
The wizard’s charms were part folk magic and part
Christian in origin.
Wizards were “commonly men of inferior rank,” as Sir
Thomas Browne described them in 17th-century England.
Most earned paltry fees from their services and worked
at other jobs to make a living. They claimed to get their
powers from God, the archangels, ancient holy men of the
Bible or the fairies. Thomas Hope, a Lancashire wizard,
said in 1638 that he had gotten his healing powers from
being washed in special water at Rome.
In England, wizards were prosecuted for crimes by
both the state and the church. The Witchcraft Acts of
1542, 1563 and 1604 made felonies of popular forms of
magic, such as fortune-telling, divination to find lost or
stolen goods, conjuring spirits and making love charms.
Prosecution by the state was erratic, due in part to the
defense wizards enjoyed from their clientele, their lack of
records and the general popularity of folk magic. Wizards
suspected or accused of harmful magic were prosecuted
as witches. The church considered sorcery and divination
to be diabolical acts for the Devil.
The high magician wizard was an intellectual who
pursued alchemy, the Hermetic wisdom (see Hermetica )
and Neoplatonic philosophy. They read the grimoires,
invoked spirits in rituals and scryed in crystals (see
scrying).
In the 17th century, wizardry of both folk and high
magic declined in prestige, retreating from urban population
centers to the countryside. In the 19th century,
interest in high magic revived, but folk-magic wizardry
continued to be predominantly a rural phenomenon.
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