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Are you fascinated with magic? 

Have you enjoyed the Harry Potter stories? 

Are you ready for more ...?

Are you?

Are you ready ... to learn more about the history of magic? 

Are you ready ... to explore other stories of magic, witchcraft, and wizardry?

Are you ready ... to think more deeply about issues they bring up - things like the reality of magic, how magic relates to good and evil, and whether it's a force for good or for evil; to explore the limitations and costs related to magic?

Are you?

Well, one of the best ways of doing this is to engage with some mental magic - the magic of thinking, the magic of debating, the magic of being ...

This course looks at how magic has inspired writers and storytellers - where its roots lie - and looks at philosophical and creative ways of approaching the topic.

We'll touch on the nature of reality (what is reality, anyhow?) How magic is described in the bible, in alchemical treatises, and in popular literature. You'll learn some research techniques, learn about digital literacy and some cool study skills on the way - this stuff is useful, and you might as well learn about it in a fun way!

This 'Harry Potter and Beyond' course draws on a rich cultural heritage of magical writing, bringing the topic up to date and questioning the role of magic in today's world of AI, gene modification, filter bubbles, fake news and media manipulation. If someone can influence people's thoughts to make them believe what they want them to believe, are they not performing magic? 

On this course we'll look at:

  • Magic in Harry Potter - the composition of spells, the history of magical ingredients, the subjects they study at Hogwarts and their history.
  • Stories of wizards and witches from the past and not-so-distant past.
  • Use digital literacy and research skills to find out about a character from the past associated with magic and bring their story to life in a fun way. 
  • Not everyone feels the same about magic. Learn to see things from different points of view - take both sides of a case and learn how to refute an argument by presenting a truer one, or showing that an argument holds because its contrary cannot be true, thus confirming it.
  • Explore how a 20th and 21st Century writers have portrayed magic in their works.
  • Where does magic end and science begin? Is hypnosis magic? Is mind-control magic? Do Buddhist monks who attain enlightenment become magical beings?
  • To what extent are we masters of our own fate and to what extent are we able to be controlled by others?
  • What is the magic that rules the universe?

In addition

  • You will be encouraged to keep a commonplace book and assessed on the content and range of entries at the end of the course.
  • You will also be encouraged to engage with nature and with a wide range of texts - written and spoken, to inspire you and work their magic on you.

Leon is a teacher steeped in the wonder and wisdom of the traditional integrated and integrative classical liberal arts, and is a keen supporter of living traditions, including living traditions of oral storytelling. He is author of several books including Aesop The Storyteller (Aladdin's Cave Press, 2008), a collection of 12 versified Aesopic fables, and History Riddles (Liberalis Books, 2013). He is half Coptic Egyptian, and has personal experience of events that cannot be rationally explained by science ... or at least can't yet be. Does this make them magic? His approach to seeking answers is grounded in philosophy, rationalism, and pragmatism (look up the meanings of the words if you're not familiar with them). Basically, that just means he keeps his feet firmly on the ground and his mind open, while allowing his thoughts to roam freely on a voyage of exploration, guided by universal principles of truth, beauty, and harmony that unite to promote the oneness of Being. That, for him, is true magic.


Students will need a notebook or basic sketchbook with at least 200 pages in - ideally hardback, bound - lined or blank, A4 or A5 size, standard stationery supplies, EITHER a digital shared workplace OR a hard copy A4 ring-file binder with dividers. In both cases, they will need facilities to upload clear scans or pictures of homework tasks. All courses will be taught on line in a specialised learning environment - a fast broadband connection is advisable.

Flexibility and Accessibility

Content will be adapted to individual levels and interests as much as possible. Special needs students can be provided for (please contact the tutor to discuss before enrolling) and assessments can be handed in via video rather than in written format, with videos uploaded to YouTube and shared via private link.

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