Dr. Foxmeat, staff
Nowadays, the term "Wizard" may seem more at home in the titles of Hollywood Blockbusters and children's TV shows than in the realm of the intellectual observer. The term Magic, to most, brings to mind card tricks, cups and balls and general sleight of hand type chicanery. It is understandable that in a post "Miss Cleo” world, some would view magical involvement as an indication of dishonesty, mental instability or even malicious intent. This is not the case with Wizards.
"Wizard" actually means something quite different from a historical perspective. The word actually breaks down to mean something more along the lines of "wise man".
The word "philosophy" literally means "love of wisdom", so to think of a Wizard as a philosopher might be a better analog than a guy shooting lightening out of his face. In fact, the English title of the first Harry Potter book is "the Philosophers stone". I guess they are more in the know across the pond.
The person that most fits the bill, in my mind, is a man by the name of Oberon Zell Ravenheart. His list of accomplishments, hypothesis and discoveries are too numerous and worthy of much more in depth description than I am afforded room for in this article. Suffice it to say, this guys has been around the block a few times and even under and inside it to see how it works. I recently spoke to Oberon using modern day scrying devices to communicate over the many leagues separating us. The following is an alphanumerical representation of the spoken words that passed between us:
Dr. Foxmeat: So, how would you describe yourself to someone who isn’t familiar with your works?
Oberon Zell Ravenheart: Well, what does one say? I suppose the easiest and most comprehensive is just to say that I am a Wizard. I am an artist, an author, a teacher, lots of things, but Wizard is the most comprehensive description, I think.
Fm: How did you start down that path?
OZ: My whole life I have been interested in magick and pursued it and just got deeper and deeper into it. I realized I was a Pagan fairly early on in my life. I didn’t have the exact terminology for it until later, but I co-founded the Church of All Worlds in 1962. I first used the word pagan to describe us in 1967 and that year, in December, on the Yule, I was ordained officially as a priest in the Church of All Worlds. I began my first training in Witchcraft in 1970 and also did some training in the Raja Krishna system around that time and ... gosh, it just keeps going further and further (laughs...a wizardly laugh) but my first acceptance or realization of identifying as a Wizard really came when we first went out into the world doing renaissance fairs with Unicorns around 1980. That is when people started referring to me as a Wizard and it seemed like a reasonable sort of a thing. Especially doing renaissance fairs where you have a persona, that seemed like the logical one (another hearty Wizard laugh).
Fm: Some readers may be unaware of your work with unicorns and your role in shedding light onto that mystery. How did you end up discovering the secret of the Unicorn?
OZ: Long long ago, early on after Morning Glory and I got together, we had shared a great many interests, and one of those was an interest in mythical beasties. We had always found them fascinating. We also had a grounding in science and biology and of course cryptozoology, the field of unknown animals like Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot and who knows what else out there. We decided it would be a cool idea to write a book about the true stories behind the myths because, you’ve got lots and lots of reports where people have encountered strange things that they seriously believe are out there and there is definitely something behind it. So, we started researching and collecting folders of writings and accounts and images, visiting libraries, this is well before Google, and as the folders grew over time, unicorns were something we were gathering quite a lot of stuff on. We came across several very interesting little clues. For example, we came to realize that they were not a reference to a specific species. Rather it was a phenomenon like, the descriptions of an albino. In some of the early descriptions it was a one horned bull. In others, a one horned antelope. In China it was a one horned deer and the Medieval, Renaissance Unicorns were all one horned goats because they all had these little beards and cloven hooves. I then came across the work of a biologist in the ‘30s from Maine who had done some research into horn development that just blew me away. He was actually able to, through a process called pedicle flap transplantation, produce a unicorn bull calf! He, himself, was absolutely blown away by the animal which developed all these amazing properties, characteristics and personality. It immediately became the dominant creature, this powerful, mighty animal with a sword on it’s head that it could use to defend itself. But then World War II came along and his lab was closed down and his work forgotten and it never did attract much attention because the bull really wasn’t what people were fantasizing. My conclusion at that point was “Wow! Wait a minute... these were real animals that were actually produced by a lost, secret technique that was closely guarded for thousands of years, in order to produce leaders that could defend the heard against predators.” Which is why they are often shown fighting lions and what not. So at that point it was like “Well, are we going to write about this in the book or are we just going to do it?” and we made a fateful decision to dedicate ourselves to try to replicate this process. That turned our whole life upside down and inside out and we spent a whole decade raising unicorns.
Now folks... if I had room here, I would tell you all the tales he told to me that day. Suffice it to say that Oberon did succeed in manifesting unicorns on this dimensional plane and chances are, if you were alive in the ‘80s, you saw the commercials for Barnum and Bailey’s Living Unicorn attraction... that was our Oberon!
Oberon Zell Ravenheart is now headmaster at the Grey School of Wizardry, an online school featuring hundreds of classes, curated by some of the wisest and most magickal minds currently inhabiting this astral plane. For half the price of a ticket to the new Harry Potter film, you can enroll and learn almost any discipline of magic, from the man who literally wrote the book on wizardry! That book being, “Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard”, a rosetta stone of arcane knowledge. It is the book every kid hopes to find at the bottom of an old chest in a forgotten corner of a dusty attic. Oberon Zell Ravenheart has done so many, many amazing things, from penning the Gaia Theory (Yes, that was Oberon!!!) to customizing a Geo Metro to look like a Starfleet Shuttlecraft, this man is living the dream and inspiring it in others.
Now go make a Pegasus or a Griffon and while you are at it check out Oberon’s podcast “Over to Oberon and Ariel” on blogtalkradio.com, and enroll in the Grey School at www.greyschool.com. So mote it be!