I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. I’ve touched the Hand of God, I’ve
watched Angels feasting on the entrails of Devils, witnessed the seven
headed dragon and yes it burned me. Yes it burned me. And tonight, when
the stars are right, you too shall be burned. More tea, Vicar?
– Henry Olcott, Grand Magister
The Orthodox Sorcerer is perhaps the most familiar to the scholar.
Commonly recognised by a long robe, also seen with a flambuoyant headdress
and a penchant for much ritual and pomp. While some will dress casually
with shirt and trenchcoat, most take their costume seriously and keep
special robes for the purpose of performing magic.
It is also common for the Sorcerer to maintain a room in his house
specially consecrated for ritual magic. This sanctum will contain the
necessary paraphernalia for the magic – chalice, sword, cord and candle
will be evident. Sorcerers commonly have assistants, plucked from a wider
group of adherents because of one or two special qualities. These
qualities could be an aptitude for magic, a special trust between sorcerer
and assistant, a merely sexual relationship or something else.
Orthodox Sorcerers predominantly come from religious backgrounds either
from the clergy itself or from a particularly devout upbringing. This may
influence their later predilection for dressing up and performing grand
A classical education is also a prerequisite in order to help them cope
with the esoteric literature and occult blinds so prevalent in the
subject. A background in psychology, egyptology or archaeology would be
obviously an advantage.
Olcott has been a member of the Aegyptian Order of the Everlasting Way for
the last twenty-five years. His official title is Grand Magister which
belies his actual status. He may not be a member of the inner circle but
his importance to the organisation is much greater than his apparently
lowly station. The AOEW pay him a monthly salary as a retainer for
consultancy work in addition to his other work as a touring authority on
In 1965 Olcott was an avid student of the occult and attended many of the
lectures around the country and on the continent in relation to this
subject. As he had few friends and his only real relationship had ended
several years before he fit right into a new more liberal culture proposed
by the pagan revivalists.
After a few years living in such a group, having taken his fill of
indulgence and nonsensical ritual, Olcott left the group and bought a
house in Ealing. He invited some of the more learned of his brethren to
live with him and create a college of learning in his cramped townhouse.
After a decade of honest research punctuated by behaviour reminiscent of
his youth, Olcott kicked the remainder of his colleagues out of his house
and initiated a vendetta that eventually caught the eye of the newspapers.
Olcott managed to distance himself from the fracas and from then on
cultivated the image of the beleaguered academic. From here, after his
fill of indulgence, things began to get interesting for him.
In truth he fell in with another cult. Olcott had always been
spectacularly bad at magical effects. He never seemed to achieve the right
state of mind that the others slipped into easily. Then again, the others
success was always measured in the most subtle of ways while Olcott placed
much higher demands upon himself. Magical expermentation within the new
group was much more structured. There were rules about what could be
called in and what could be cast out. There were regulations on binding
and prophecy. Because every night did not start out with attempts at magic
(usually followed by either a drugged orgy or a drunken depression), the
rituals began to have more meaning and correspondingly, an effect.
It was a frosty Thursday night when Olcott saw his first spirit.
Even he would admit that his faith in the process had been faltering
before he joined the AOEW. Their honest and open ways and utter dedication
to the study of magic inspired him and reaffirmed his flaccid faith. He
had settled into his seat (he was never comfortable in the lotus position
which may have contributed to his earlier failures) while his assistant
completed to preparations. Aftter two hours of feverish chanting nothing
seemed to have happened. Olcott lifted himself from his chair and only the
surprised gasp from his assistant alerted him. Inside the circle, where
the smoke from the incense brazier had drifted, was a churning smoky
zephyr. His assistant spoke in what seemed like a whisper. Perhaps a quiet
prayer. The spirit remained within the circle for the next few days as the
AOEW filed in and made their observations. At that time they had no way to
communicate with it and Olcott dedicated his time to researching how to
dismiss the presence.
The AOEW has reorganised. Rather than being an occult group trying to
contact “those-in-the-know” they have become an esoteric group who give
the impression they are in the know. They hold rituals no more than once a
week to a select group of initiates. Olcott has deliberately distanced
himself. Previously he was clinging to the ceremonial robes of those
within the AOEW but now he finds himself the advisor and realises he will
never again have to kowtow to a middle-class accountant in a
This sort of character would be a magician with a fairly important
lineage. He will gather acolytes or a circle whom he treats as equals in
order to perform his magic. His predilection for pomp and requirement for
ceremony will mean that his magic will be quite specific to him and his
lineage. It also means that a considerable amount of preparation is
required for any magic to take place.