Magic always has been a lot of different things to a lot different people. It is a set of tools to the practitioner, it is a cultural artefact to the sociologist, it is a narrative paradigm to the historian and it continues to be a welcome mean of power and suppression to the spiritual elite - no matter of which provenance.
For the serious mage it is as critical to understand the powers they work with - just as much as the forces of tradition that shaped them. Unfortunately few of us have the time to get a degree in all relevant academic fields while also continuing to earn a living and to practice magic. Thus this essay is meant as a short introduction: It shines a light on the concept of 'high magic' as it was socially constructed during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance - a time of major social, industrial and cultural change. In particular we are exploring the role of the Catholic Church, the Medieval scribe, the advent of institutionalised Universities as well as the impact of the mechanical letterpress.
May this free essay contribute to a less biased view on our Western tradition and the forces that shape(d) it.
May the serpent bite its tail.