Ananova, Sep. 9, 2002
Europe’s first school for witches and wizards has opened in Austria.
Students can take a six-semester course, including learning to make potions and cast spells, ending in a “sorcerers’ diploma.”
The school is located in the mountains of Klagenfurt in southern Austria.
“Wizardry is very close to nature and is in no way a form of religion,” said school director Andreas Starchel, who also calls himself Dakaneth.
“The school’s aim is to pass on witches’ and wizards’ ancestral knowledge, which is gradually being forgotten,” says the school’s website.
The school caters for three classes of students. This year up to 15 sorcerers’ apprentices will be taught astrology, magic, history of magic, meditation and divination and later put their theoretical studies into practice: preparing potions, making talismans and performing rituals.
Having completed a final examination and a dissertation, the student witches and wizards receive a “veneficus certificate” to mark their qualification.
A spokesman added: “In the past, witches and wizards were people recognised by society, who used their divining powers and learning to mediate between the visible and invisible worlds.
“Etymologically, ‘witch’ means someone who is on the border between our world and the beyond,” he added, saying the aim of the courses was “to restore contact with nature, which has been lost by our society.”
That means that Celtic and druidic learning and nature studies play a large part in Starchel’s teachings. Stories of the legendary Lord Voldemort and classes in Defence Against the Dark Arts featured in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books do not.