Magical Orders

Editor’s Note: This comes from Daniel Smith, “Overview”_ in A Contemporary History of Magic. Daniel Smith is the Gilbert Hughes Professor of Applied Thaumaturgy at the University of Cardiff, a Druid in the Order of Merlin, and former European President of the International Association of Wizards, Thaumaturges and Associated Trades. All spelling has been Americanized._


Of the three types of Magic, Wizardry is the most flexible and the most well-known. For as long as anyone can remember, wizards have organized themselves into orders, lodges and mystery cults where like-minded individuals could study magic. These orders preserved magical secrets during periods of Ebb Tide, and policed magic during periods of High Tide.

In the early parts of the last century, as magic began to rise again, several orders gathered together and signed the Concordat, a codification and normalization of wizardly practice. Under the Concordat, the various orders recognized a sort of general ranking system for wizards, based on their magical abilities, although individual orders retained their own historical ranks.

Because of the Concordat, all wizards are considered to be members of the International Association of Wizards, Thaumaturges and Associated Trades (often called WeTA by members). WeTA recognizes four levels of wizards: Initiate Wizard, Journeyman Wizard, Master Wizard, and Grand Master Wizard. In places, where Wizards get jobs and collective bargaining is allowed, WeTA serves as a sort of informal union for wizards. Magical deniers often assume that it is a union for stage magicians.

Concordat Orders:

Knights of St. Lazarus- An order, with roots in Catholic Spain, dedicated to magic dealing with the human body and the staving off of death. They combine medieval knightly imagery with Aztec and Mesoamerican touches. In the United States, they are especially strong among Hispanics. The Knights of St. Lazarus take very literally John 11:25, and look for magical means for eternal life. Because of this, sometimes their members become obsessed with extending their own lives. These individuals usually found their own derivative orders, which are much despised (and occasionally hunted down and eliminated) by the mainstream branch of the order. Their symbol is a Cross Lorraine intertwined with a serpent.

Ranks in the Order:
Squire Initiate
Knight Initiate
Knight Companion
Knight Commander
Knight Grand Cross
Knight of the Resurrection

In addition to these ranks, the Knights of St. Lazarus also has a chaplain corps, Knights who are also ordained in the Catholic Church (there are a few chaplains who are Anglican or Orthodox. So far, there have been no other Protestant chaplains, although there is no formal policy against it).

Order of Merlin- This order claims to be descended from Merlin himself, but as with most things in the magical world that claim is difficult to prove. Because it was started in England, it is one of the largest magical orders, with chapterhouses all over the former holdings of the British Empire, including the United States of America. It specializes in flashy magic based on the Aristotelian elements.

Ranks in the Order:

Sisters of Isis- The Sisters of Isis is an order which claims descent from ancient Egyptian priesthoods. They specialize in the healing and the aiding of others. Although the Sisters traditionally admitted only women, they now admit both genders to their order. Their symbol is the hieroglyph for throne, the traditional spelling of Isis in Egyptian.

Ranks in the Order:
High Priestess/High Priest

Leonardo_Logo.jpgLodge of Leonardo- This is a fairly recent order which is centered on the blending of magic and technology. It is one of the fastest growing order, and technomancy (as they call their magic) is beginning to spread to other orders as well. Like all wizarding orders, the Lodge is arranged hierarchically, but its ranking system is somewhat looser than the other orders. Their symbol is Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man¸ surmounted by a compass.

Ranks in the Order:

In addition to the major orders, there are numerous small orders that signed the Concordat. These include the Knights Templar (America), the Sisters of Amalthea, the Ancient Priesthood of Thoth, the Order of the Golden Mean, the John Dee Society, the Order of Hermes and many others. These orders may have several chapterhouses, or may be limited to a dozen people. All, however, have signed the Concordat and have submitted to the authority of WeTA.

There are also wizards who are part of orders have not signed the Concordat, or were trained in the traditional method of master and apprentice. Generally speaking, this is somewhat frowned upon, and may cause such wizards to be snubbed by other wizards.

The largest and most powerful of the non-Concordat orders is the Order of the Celestial Rooster. Combining Chinese alchemical lore with the teachings of the Comte de Saint-Germaine, their magic is almost exclusively alchemical. The order claimed that their magic was sufficiently different from that of other wizards that they did not need to sign the Concordat. Wizards of the Celestial Rooster jealously guard the secrets of their unique form of magic. Some members of their order also practice a unique form of kung fu, called the Rooster Style.

Ranks in the Order:
Dragon Scholar
Illuminated Master
Perfect Master


Where the power of wizardry comes from the manipulation of the external mana in the environment, magery derives from the internal mana of the mage. In China, Japan and Korea, where magery was very influential, this internal mana was called chi or ki. Manipulation of internal mana requires an intense mental and physical discipline. In modern industrialized nations, magery is often taught at institutions called colleges, which resemble high end private schools. In fact, in recent years, the University of Southern Pennsylvania has opened, and begun offering classes in magery, in addition to traditional courses. Because of the emphasis on physical as well as mental discipline, Mages are often skilled martial artists, in addition to their more mundane skills.

Mages are not traditionally as hierarchical as Wizards, although in recent years, Mages have begun to adopt a color-coded system, similar to the belt system used by many modern martial arts schools. The generally accepted progression is: White, Yellow, Green, Brown, and Black. Some schools have different names and titles associated with the levels. It is, however, generally customary to associate each level with an academic degree: White for Associate’s, Yellow for Bachelor’s, Green for Master’s, Brown for ABD, and Black with the Doctorate. It should be noted that these are popular associations, and are not degrees.

Ritual Magic

The final type of magic is ritual magic, which is slower that wizardry or magery, but yields excellent results. Unlike wizardry which was originally developed by men, ritual magic was originally developed by women. Both techniques have spread, although wizardry has spread to women faster than ritual magic has spread to men. Ritual magic is taught from mistress to apprentice, and ritualists (often called witches, for both genders) tend to form loose associations based on “familial” relationships.

Magical Orders

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