Back in the day, to an extent that very few people are willing to talk about, authors of fantasy knew their way around magic, even if they didn’t practice it—and a great many of them did. How many people these days know, for example, that L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wizard of Oz, was an occultist—a full member of the Theosophical Society at a time when that required serious study and commitment—who wove quite a bit of occult philosophy into The Wizard and its sequels? (Here’s a hint: consider how the members of the party that followed the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City relate to the five elements of occult theory, and you may just catch Baum’s far from subtle wink.)

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