The Magician’s Oath, also known as the Magician’s Code or the Code of Ethics, is a set of principles and guidelines followed by magicians and performers to maintain the secrecy and integrity of their art. While there isn’t a specific origin point for the Magician’s Oath, it has evolved to establish ethical standards within the magic community. Below is an overview of the history and significance of the Magician’s Oath.
- Ancient Roots: The roots of secrecy in magic can be traced back to ancient times. In ancient Egypt, magicians like Dedi and the performers in the court of Pharaohs were bound by oaths to safeguard their magical knowledge. These early oaths likely centered around maintaining the mystery and power of magic.
- Medieval Period: During the Middle Ages, magic and illusion were often associated with witchcraft and sorcery, leading to persecution and superstition. Some performers adopted secrecy and secrecy oaths to protect themselves from accusations of black magic. However, it is unclear how formalized these oaths were during this period.
- Renaissance and the Birth of Modern Magic: In the Renaissance period, magic emerged as a distinct entertainment form. Illusionists such as Girolamo Scotto, Reginald Scot, and Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin helped establish the foundations of modern magic. Robert-Houdin, considered the father of modern conjuring, emphasized the importance of secrecy and professionalism, but there is no evidence of a specific oath associated with him.
- The Society of American Magicians: The Society of American Magicians (SAM), established in 1902, significantly shaped the Magician’s Oath. The organization adopted a code of ethics, including a provision on secrecy and preserving the mystique of magic. While not explicitly called an “oath,” this code was a guiding principle for professional magicians.
- The International Brotherhood of Magicians: The International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), founded in 1922, also embraced the concept of the Magician’s Oath. In its early days, the IBM included a clause in its constitution stating that members should maintain the secrecy of magical effects and methods. The exact wording of the oath has changed over time, but the principle of secrecy remained intact.
- Modern Magician’s Oaths: In contemporary times, magicians worldwide continue to observe variations of the Magician’s Oath. The specific wording and emphasis on secrecy may vary among individuals or magic organizations. Some oaths highlight the importance of not revealing secrets to the public, while others focus on preserving the integrity of the art and respecting fellow magicians.