Nov 26, 2010

The History of Magic


 “Bebin!” Dorri Jun would say to keep Laila’s attention from straying away. Once she was sure that Laila was all ears Dorri Jun would continue.  

In the privacy of the low ceilinged attic, Dorri Jun and Laila sat huddled over the Grimoire. The dank musty smell from the numerous old rugs, rolled into the corner, was nullified by a sweet smell emanating from the casket.

Dorri Jun believed that like in a school, her teaching had to be all encompassing too. Laila had to know the history and the geography about, all the mathematics of, the new occult science she was being initiated to. Laila sat through all the lessons in a trance-like awe.

The story of magic began with Zarat who was the first to discover this occult science around the year 6347 BC.  For centuries together, the ancient philosopher guarded his knowledge with his life. He slept only a few hours in the night and began his penance in the wee hours of the day. It was believed that he held communion with only two trusted followers in the secure environs of a chamber unknown to the world. The true identity of these followers was never revealed and they were like the anonymous apostles of Zarat’s religion of magic. The treasure of their knowledge was inherited by the disciples appointed by them, in turn. And thus Zarat’s magic travelled down generations through only the whispered words.

It was only in the 5th Century BC that Uštāna, a man of great intelligence, practiced this religion so devoutly, that one night the spirit of the magic granted him permission to put the teachings and the mathematics of the occult science, down on paper. Thus Uštāna the Iranian alchemist mage came to be recognized as the first known father of the legacy. This magus, in the long line of magi descending from Zarat, was Dorri Jun’s fore father. The magic was thus the secret religion practiced between the chosen members of their bloodline. Dorri Jun’s father, who was considered Uštāna reincarnate since he showed a mystical leaning to the occult since he was just a tiny tot of three, unfortunately died at a very early age. At 25, he was already gone leaving his only offspring Dorri Jun behind.

At this point Laila was experiencing a plethora of mixed emotions. “ …Then what happened, Dadi Jun?” she squeaked a decibel higher than it was allowed. “ …Shush! Allah karam, nothing untoward happened after that. My grandpa believed that it was god’s will that I should learn about The Secret Grimoire of Tuwrel. The religion needed an heir and so it was to be!” recollected Dorri Jun.

Laila clapped in glee. Her innocence and naivety warmed Dorri Jun’s heart immensely. “It is only an empty chalice that can be filled!”

 “What, Dadi Jun?”

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“Never mind Laila, bebin, one day I shall take you to the great Uštāna’s secret tomb. It lies on an open land that no man must have ever imagined, exists. Once there, if you are able to read the message on the tombstone then I will rest in peace. I will know that I have successfully done my job, that you have learnt all that you needed to.” Said Dorri Jun.

Lotfæn Dadi Jun, I want to begin with the lessons now!” exclaimed an impatient Laila as Dorri Jun progressed to open the lid of the casket.

“Laila within this casket is the text book to your life! You are not to whisper about this to any other soul until the time is right!” Dorri Jun instructed Laila.

“How should I know the time is right, Dadi Jun?”  Laila was genuinely stumped.

“You ask too many questions child! The spirit of the Grimoire shall tell you.” answered Dorri Jun immediately.

“How do I address the spirit, Dadi Jun. Do I call it Tuwrel?”

“Yes, you may, if you wish! It shall respond to your heart’s voice, call it by whatever name. And before we progress, another lesson to take to heart, God has given you two ears so you may listen more than you speak!”  

Balleh, Dadi Jun!” replied Laila, a tad bit ashamed of her talkativeness.

As Dorri Jun lifted the lid to the casket, a warm golden glow filled the room instantly. Every nook and cranny of the attic looked like it had suddenly been polished with pure gold. The light was bright but not blinding. The warmth was soothing and not burning. There was an unspeakable richness to the feeling that the sight of the glowing Grimoire gave. Laila couldn’t decide whether her heart was fluttering like the butterflies or it was hopping about like restless rabbits. She was also worried that this golden light would seep out of that little window to the skies and their little secret would be out. Now she was getting a good whiff of the beautiful scent emanating from the casket. It was like a heady mixture of some exotic flowers she’d never smelt before.

Laila knew that this was the turning point in her life and there was no looking back. She knew she was on the threshold of being transformed into an extra-ordinary being and was ready for it. She was determined to join the ranks of Uštāna. "....But how soon will I master all of this? And even if I have how will Dadi Jun know that I have, that it is time for me to visit the tomb of the great Uštāna to prove that I have ?" Though there was no no place for self-doubt little Laila's head was full of questions.

Little did she know that just a couple of years later, her answers would arrive wrapped in the guise of a belly dancer.

To be continued....
You can read the story series from the top HERE 

 Facts in the fiction:

The ancient  Greeks and Romans believed that books on magic were invented by the Persians. 

The 1st century CE writer Pliny The Elder stated that magic had been first discovered by the ancient philosopher Zoroaster around the year 6347 BC, but that it was only written down in the 5th century BC by the magician Osthanes.

The Persian Glossary:

Bebin: Look!
Zarat: Golden
Allah karam: By God's grace
Lotfæn: Please
Balleh: Yes (when said with respect)


This story has been written for 

The Thursday Tale # 35
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