In fantasy and mythology, a person who has studied and practices magic. One skilled in wizardry, a magician, a sorcerer, a magus, a mage, a warlock, one adept in the black arts; the male counterpart of a witch. All of these words and titles are used to describe the same mysterious, wonder-working, magic-wielding character, though each has its own specific meaning as well. Wizards can also fulfill the function of the priest, seer, visionary, and artificer.
The word is derived from the Saxon 'wic', meaning wise, and still implies a very clever and/or skillful person.
Generally, a wizard is a man who holds the key that unlocks secret and supernatural powers, a man exceptionally skilled in the magical arts.
According to occult tradition, there are black and white magicians, or wizards. The white magician uses his powers and knowledge to help others, humankind in general, and the universe. His goal is to further harmony and enlightenment to as many and as far as he possibly can; and above all, to ward off calamities and misfortune. A mage or magus is more often a simple wise man who has perhaps studied the workings of the world and learned that its laws can sometimes be circumvented.
The sorcerer or black magician is, quite simply, a man who wants power for himself, for self-aggrandizement. He wants to be able to vent his spite on enemies and to satisfy all his desires, with complete disregard as to the amount of suffering and agony he unleashes upon the innocent. They ensorcel or entrap us in a web of lies and deceit, a trickster who deals in sorcery. They are usually defined as those who have made a pact with the Devil but this is not necessarily the case. A magician or warlock may summon the Devil or one of his demons and remain a white magician, so long as his purpose is benevolent. On the other hand, a magician may have no interest in the Devil or may even deny his existence, but if his intentions are malicious and self-centered, he is a black magician.
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Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Randi, James, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural, St. Martin's Griffin; (3) The Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition Handy Volume Edition, Oxford University Press; (4) Bailey, Nancy (editor), The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Spells and Magic, Sterling Publishing; (5) Matthews, John, Wizards: The Quest for the Wizard from Merlin to Harry Potter, Barron's Educational Series Publishers.
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