• U.S. members: The Federal Government is offering each household in the United States four (4) free at-home Covid-19 test kits. https://www.covidtests.gov/

Basics of sorcery

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

satyesu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
745
Reaction score
15
I'm planning a fantasy set in modern times. I have a sorcerer lead who will transition to the way "magic" really works, but he starts with the misconceptions of something more traditional. I just need to know where to look to find some basic stuff for scenes with rituals or other castings before he moves on. Can any of you help?
 

Kjbartolotta

Potentially has/is dog
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
4,147
Reaction score
924
Location
Los Angeles
If you can get your hands on a copy of the 90's PnP RPG Unknown Armies, it has a (post)modern magic system heavily influence by Peter Carroll's Chaos Magic (which I think you were referencing in another thread). It's pretty zany, but lotsa room for idea-mining.
 

satyesu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
745
Reaction score
15
Either WikiHow or I am having issues atm, but I'll check it out. Thanks.
 

dickson

Hairy on the inside
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 12, 2017
Messages
425
Reaction score
241
Location
Directly over the center of the Earth
A lot depends on just how narrowly you define the term "sorcery." I believe that what we call Sorcery or Necromancy was, in antiquity, mostly a matter of divination by means of raising the dead and compelling them to answer a question or convey a message to Something. The classic example would be the episode from the First Book of Samuel in which Saul employs the Witch of Endor to summon the spirit of the prophet Samuel. It's my understanding that the command in Leviticus that is usually glossed "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" is, more properly, "Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live" and refers specifically to the sort of activity described in First Samuel. (It is puzzling, then, that the Witch of Endor gets something of a sympathetic portrayal, as she shows kindness to Saul after he nearly swoons from his encounter with the shade of Samuel.)

Somewhere I read that the reasoning behind the commandment in Leviticus was an edict from the Lord that, when He had something to say, He was going to say it Himself, and He had no time for those pesky sorcerors and fortune tellers and false prophets. That would also be another example of the more general proscriptions against idolatry that appear, over and over, in the Tanakh.

If you haven't read it, a superb use of this ancient form of sorcery in fantasy appears in Gene Wolfe's Soldier of the Mist.
 
Last edited:

veinglory

volitare nequeo
Self-Ban
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
28,750
Reaction score
2,922
Location
right here
Website
www.veinglory.com
You would probably need to place them in an existing tradition, real or created. Wiccan, druid, shaman, some family tradition?
 

satyesu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
745
Reaction score
15
Thanks. I've started writing with him self-teaching Golden Dawn magic.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away