To Start With
On our world there is, according to some; just one God. To them all other gods are false, and so are their works. The false gods are the Devil’s work, and so what they do is the Devil’s work. In this viewpoint magic is but an attempt to forge — if you like — one of God’s miracles, and that makes God look like a fraud. It is disruptive and as such it is a rejection of God and his work, leading to damnation.
Originally magic — from the Greek ”magos” was understood to be the work of magoi — a Greek word for the priest of Persia. To the early Christians the old Persian religion was competition; their god was a fake god, and so their priests were doing Satan’s work. For this reason their magic was a lie, and as such harmful to good Christians everywhere.
Back before the Renaissance all magic was of a religious nature; of a false religion. Modern secular magic comes from the Renaissance, though the roots do go back to ancient Egypt and Babylon. Though in those cases what the person casting was doing was making a prayer to whomever to do a favor for the supplicant.
Now some when between those early days and the Renaissance the idea took hold that the gods had nothing really to do with the matter. In this view magic was not a matter of religion. It was instead the petitioner who brought matters about. In this view magic was of this world. A secular matter in other words.
Come the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a revolution in which things changed. Attitudes changed, thinking changed, how we thought about things changed.
This was also a time when we first started thinking about how things worked. What were the guiding principles? It was then that we seriously started thinking about what the world would later call ”laws”, and one of the first things to have laws applied was magic.
The assumption made was that magic works. But how and why? Things happen for a reason, but what was magic’s reason?
So laws were created in an attempt to explain the why of magic, its metaphysics if you like
One being applied today is the Law of Simularity, like affects like. There are others; some 40 in number; but they are not as well known.
So on Earth magic had laws, and with those laws we could no go and make magic into a tool for our use.
As time went by and early experiments in casting were done it soon became apparent that casting really did nothing. Nothing substantial that couldn’t be explained another way. In addition, on occasion we got results when we tried doing something without magic. No chanting or incantation; no wriggling fingers or fancy dance steps. Mix A with B, get a reaction, and be left with C. Which sometimes left you with an explosion, debris flying, damage to the surroundings, and injury to the people there. But you didn’t need magic for this to happen. The event was mundane, not arcane.
Naturally some people rejected this news. Some said magic had to work, because it had always worked. They refused to see that those who came before were wrong and they just hadn’t looked into the matter.
Various Christian churches around by then also kept insisting there was working magic, because their Book of Books said there was. Since magic was Satan’s parody of God’s miracles, who even said they did magic were doing the Devil’s work, and so had to be saved or be damned.
As time went by magic faded away as serious source of subject; with certain fringe exceptions. Even today there are some who insist it must work. Some even insist that magic works by some mystical mechanism, missing the point that originally magic was supposed to have a physical effect.
To be Continued.
Now this post has gotten long enough, so there will be a sequel where we have a look at how the religious saw magic, and how they saw it as an excuse to oppress in the name of doing good.
Coming up; Thou Shalt not Suffer…