Mystery and Wonder
Throughout history magic has been synonymous with mystery and wonder. Magic evokes images of pointy hats, indecipherable runes carved into mystical sticks. Perhaps the word magic conjures early scenes from a children’s birthday party with a friendly uncle who could don a cape and produce coins and candy from the children’s ears.
The learned would point to weighty tomes inscribed with illegible markings that spoke of the deep mysteries of the universe and the secrets of other dimensions and say that magic lay therein. Yogis would contort their bodies into untenable postures whilst laying on a bed of spikes and claim to have grasped the secrets of physical mastery. The occultist may claim know the names of mighty spirits and command from them great services that would render their enemies senseless. A shaman in the unreachable places of the wilderness may sacrifice a beast to tell your fortune or ward you from evil or harm a foe, and he would say that was magic.
Magic by its very nature is mysterious. When we watch a magician on a stage performing illusions we know that there is a method and a discipline to every action the magician makes, yet our eyes will tell us that something miraculous is occurring. No matter how hard we think it if our eyes are truly fooled it is very hard to convince the brain.
Magic by definition defies the laws of nature. Magic allows things that are deemed to be impossible in a real world to happen. People will float through the air, brightly coloured scarves would magically appear from now where away then transforming into fluttering birds.
The Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages the learned and wealthy sought to defy the laws of nature and some even would commission a court magician to advise the court on matters mystical. The duly appointed court magician would set the dates for important events according to the stars and to the signs and portents that he had read.
A court magician may be a learned man wise in the arts, or little more than a jester, tumbling and juggling for coins and producing small sleight of hands tricks to amuse the gullible.
The name magic has been given to mechanical objects operating in an unknown fashion, from the early civilizations who would insert mechanical fixtures in statues allowing water or smoke to pour forth from their opened mouths and attribute this to the Gods, and the priests claimed to have been invested by their Gods with magic powers. Similarly modern wonders have elicited a similar reaction from cultures that were unfamiliar with the technology presented. The well-known example of planes that would drop food to jungle tribes, the local people attributed mystical origins to the supplies being dropped to them. Those who flew the planes and launched the cargo knew exactly why the food was falling from the sky.
The laws of magic hold that there is cause and there is effect; we may not be able to see or comprehend the cause, and for the uninitiated the effect may seem to all intents and purpose Magic!