“Wizards And Witches” by Brendan Lehane (The Enchanted World 01)

"Wizards And Witches" by Brendan Lehane (The Enchanted World 01)

"Brendan Lehane's book opens stating that in the earliest days the world was not yet fully ordered and the process of creation not yet completed. Since reality was fluid, it was relatively easy for mighty wizards such as Finland's Väinämöinen, Taliesin, Manannán mac Lir, Math the Ancient and Gwydion to cast their magic. Magic in those days was almost instinctual and inborn; it was an art. Those days ended with Merlin, the last of the old wizards, famous for his mentorship of King Arthur and the realm of Camelot. When he withdrew from the world, magic itself began to withdraw, and the wizards retreated from human sight.

As Christianity came to define the world, the use of magic became much more difficult and even dangerous. It was now no longer an art to be understood instinctively, but a science that required years of study, and perhaps presumed too much: to reshape the order of reality was to challenge God (the author of that reality), and, more often than not, a wizard found himself taking the aid of devil himself. Some wizards earned their powers legitimately and used them responsibly; Roger Bacon is one example, as revealed in one tale. Others, such as Michael Scot, gambled their souls by attending the Scholomance, the school of black magic. Still others, such as Faustus, took the quick and easy way and made deals with the Devil, always with grisly results.

Concurrent with the scholar wizards were their more humble cousins, the witches. Unlike their male counterparts, their magic retained links to the natural world. Some witches were good and were called white witches, cunning folk, and fairy doctors. They tended to be good Christians and they used their powers for good; their spells were often indistinguishable from prayers. The White Paternoster is just one example. They were needed to counterbalance and oppose their evil sisters who used their powers for the sake of greed, revenge, or even just cruel pleasure. They more often than not placed themselves in the service of the devil and served as his perfect followers. The Witches' Sabbath was their chief pleasure.

Lehane closes that as time marched on and witches retreated from humankind, their magic was forgotten and relegated to stories for scaring children. Even so, their ancestors, the sleeping wizards, are still alive and waiting for the time to awaken."