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Magicians and Wizards - The Fair Folk versus Harry Potter

Because many of the magical elements in the Harry potter series of books were drawn from Christian and Celtic medieval Europe, we will compare the role of the magician or wizard in European culture with the culture of the Fair Folk.

But first we must clear up some confusion about the supernatural world. Because people know little of the supernatural, there is a tendency to jumble together many different sorts of worlds and traditions and make them all the same. Because they are all supernatural, then they must all be identical.

Actually, different supernatural worlds are often very different from one another. An American can say that he or she goes to Europe, and that all European countries are the same. England is the same as France, which are same as Germany and Italy. Perhaps they look identical from a distance, but when you live in different countries, you discover that they are very different. It is the same for supernatural worlds.

In the world of the Fair Folk, we have mages or magicians as our guides and teachers. Mages are learned men and women who can see and sense things at a distance. They can tell in advance when disaster comes, and can see the worlds on which our world is built. Human worlds are built on physical matter, made of atoms and energies. Our world is built on consciousness controlled by the power of the mind. Our world exists through creative will, supportive visualization, and group affirmation. Mages can understand how this process works, and they strengthen both our culture and our environment. Mages are wise counselors to our king Manannan, helping with problems and advising on issues of war and peace.

Wizards, in your medieval world, were people who gained magical powers. Wizards were male and witches were female. There were few stories of good wizards. Merlin is an exception. But wizards were primarily evil seeking power at the expense of mortals, and endangering their own mortal soul by misusing their powers. Such power could be gained by a pact with Satan or some demonic entity, who would give temporary magical abilities in exchange for an extended period of servitude. It appears to be a bad deal all around, and it is a mystery why anyone would want to participate in such a bad bargain.

Druids (the priestly class of the Celts) were quite different from these. Druids were a religious order that worshiped nature spirits, had a symbolic religious language, long periods of iniation, and a tradition of revelation, law, nature worship, craft, and music. They did not worship the gods of the fair folk and they did not worship demons. They sought lives of ritual purity, celebration of the seasons, and had specializations for law, poetry, music, and interactions with the Gods.

You now have a popularization of the idea of wizards in the Harry Potter series. Our knowledge of the books is limited. However, they appear to emphasize the schooling of wizards, but without any career counseling - it is unclear what the students do with such knowledge. Perhaps it is like religious schooling where they will need supplementary vocational education later for a career.

Yet if it is religious schooling, it lacks deities, and seems a bit unclear on its sacred texts and ethical rules. Indeed, the "wizard religion" seem to consist entirely of ritual (i.e., spells) within a closed social community. We cannot determine a god or gods, the origin of the magical worlds and their relationship to the human world. Even the after-death world is unclear - evil magicians return from death, taking on new bodies, while good ones such as Harry's parents disappear perhaps going on to some unspecified heaven world.

The Harry Potter brand of wizard is very different from the wizards of the Fair Folk. In the world of the Fair Folk, wizards or magicians support the culture, emphasize goodness, beauty, and creativity, and are concerned with religious issues. We do not have evil magicians. It would be like talking about evil bishops in the Catholic Church. It is simply not in the literary tradition. The goal of our wizards is to create a better world.

As we can see, the Harry Potter idea of wizards lacks many elements which would allow it to fit into the larger world. It is a fantasy that creates a class of people with magical powers but there seems to be little purpose or reason for their existence. Harry is on an individual quest to learn more about his parents and the reason for their deaths, but the larger role of the magician seems to have no purpose or goal that is decernable from the books. But perhaps the popularity of the series will inspire people to look into the concept of the magician and eventually understand it in greater depth.

Introduction | History | Manannan Mac Lir | Merlin | Taliesin | Building the Realms of the Fair Folk | Lir and Danu | Lugh and the Morrigan | Anya, Daughter of Manannan | Manannan's Ocean Kingdom | Aengus, The Poet God of Love and Romance | The Ancient Roads to the Fair Folk | Manannan's Horses | The Society of the Fair Folk | The Place of Transformation | Traveling Between the Worlds | Research Methodology | Conclusion


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