The Mantle of Magic

Dear Friends:
Our guest columnist this month is team member Daryl Rogers. Daryl performs close-up, strolling, parlor, and stage magic in a variety of venues, including birthday parties, private parties, fairs, festivals, schools, and libraries. He was recently named as an Instructor of the Magic & Mystery School and is a recipient of the Eugene Burger Legacy Award. He has taken numerous classes, acts as Assistant Media Manager to Scott SteelFyre for the school’s online classes and broadcasts, and occasionally hosts Mystery School Mondays

Discovering the Mantle of Magic

Mantle – noun 1. a loose sleeveless cloak or shawl  2. an important role or responsibility that passes from one person to another 

When I was 12 years old, I discovered magic and pursued it as a hobby for three years. The community I grew up in did not have a public library, and there were no magic stores nearby, so my knowledge of the art of magic was very limited. Forty years later, my interest in magic was reignited, and access to information was plentiful. The public library near me was large, and it didn’t take me long to discover the 793.8 section, and check out every item available.

One of the first books that caught my eye was The Illustrated History of Magic by Milbourne Christopher. I was fascinated to read about the long and rich history of magic. I was intrigued by the stories of past magicians like Robert-Houdin, Alexander Herrmann, Harry Kellar, Chung Ling Soo, Howard Thurston and other illustrious performers. I finally understood the reason for all the red tin tubes and boxes with fake Chinese lettering on them that I saw in the magic stores! Within that book I discovered the story of the Mantle of Magic.

Thurston’s poster promoting The Mantle of Magic being passed to him

The History and the Symbology
Harry Kellar became the premier American magician after the death of Alexander Herrmann. Toward the end of Kellar’s career, he started grooming a protégé to carry on in his footsteps. The original choice was a magician named Paul Valadon, but personal conflicts between Kellar’s and Valadon’s wives, in addition to some of Valadon’s personal actions, soured the deal. 
Howard Thurston stepped into the breach and made a bid to buy the show. He was accepted as Kellar’s heir apparent and performed with Kellar during his final tour. Kellar’s last show was held at Ford’s Opera House in Baltimore on the evening of May 16, 1908. At the end of the show, he gave a brief farewell speech, called Thurston onto the stage, and formally introduced him as his successor. 
At this time the passing of the Mantle of Magic was a metaphorical symbol, but it was soon depicted in a fanciful poster Thurston had created to promote his own show tour the following year. At the end of his career, Thurston passed the mantle to Harry Jansen, who performed under the name Dante. Dante passed the mantle to Lee Grabel, and Grabel passed it on to its current holder, Lance Burton, a close friend of the Magic & Mystery School
The Mantle of Magic is symbolic in a number of ways. At the surface level the mantle symbolizes a continuous lineage of master magicians. It is an outward designation of a person who has mastered all of the aspects of performing theatrical magic, and has reached the pinnacle of the art. It is the physical embodiment of a level of ability worthy to strive for by anyone serious about performing magic.
On a deeper level, it touches on the concept of a Jungian archetype. Indeed, the magician is one of the twelve brand archetypes in the Jungian aesthetic. The image of the classic magician in a white tie and tailcoat, tuxedo, top hat, cane, and cape is instantly recognizable as depicting a person of mystery, ability, and power. Even the youngest person getting involved in magic instinctively understands the meaning of this symbol.

Lee Grabel passing the Mantle of Magic to Lance Burton on May 12,1994

Earning Your Mantle

Though you may not perform in the traditional Robert-Houdin inspired wardrobe of the magician, another kind of mantle exists that you can wear. It is a mantle in your mind, and of your spirit. It is that never-ending quest to perform to the best of your abilities, and to raise the appreciation of magical performances in the eyes of the public. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing card tricks for one person at a bar, or performing for thousands of people on stage in a formal theater. The goal is the same.

There is no secret formula for reaching this level of performance ability. It comes from reading good books on magic history, theory, and philosophy. It comes from focused, conscious practice, and rehearsal. It comes from knowing your character, choosing the correct wardrobe, scripting your routines, and blocking your performances. It comes from your dedication, perseverance, and commitment to continual improvement. 

Perhaps most important of all is your connection to your fellow magicians, your mentors. and your teachers.

  • Whose writings and teachings do you learn from?
  • Who do you choose to have review and critique your act?
  • Whose business advice do you listen to? 
  • What actions do you take based on what you learn? 

How you answer these questions will have a profound impact on how you perform your magic, how your audiences will perceive your magic performances, and ultimately on your foundational relationship to the art of magic. 

There is no better place to make connections with people you can trust, and that have a deep understanding of the art of magic than at the Magic & Mystery School. The entire faculty and supporting staff are dedicated to the school’s mission of “improving the art of magic one magician at a time.” 

All skill levels are welcome. You will be connected to some of the friendliest and most generous magic teachers and mentors working today. As you deepen and strengthen your relationship with the school, you will be joining prior students like Shin Lim, Mat Franco, Bill Cook and many others. What it has done for their careers, it can do for yours as well, and soon you will find a Mantle of Magic that fits you. 

Learn more about the Mantle of Magic in the books The Illustrated History of Magic by Milbourne Christopher and The Last Greatest Magician in the World by Jim Steinmeyer.

What Kind of Magician Are You?

What role do you play in life or on stage?
What role do YOU most often play when you perform magic? Do you think of yourself as a Trickster, Sorcerer, Oracle, or Sage?
Following is the philosophy of “The Wheel of Life of the Magician.” 
Many of you have seen my now semi-famous chart of the “Wheel of The Magician” that was created by my study of magicians for over 30 years. You can see it here:
Who are you on an archetypal level?
Some people pass through all of these personas as they grow in the art. Some develop their work and dive deep into one role. Some go their entire careers totally unaware or unwilling to work their magic, or live life on mythic level. There are a multitude of personas and characters to explore, and many shades in between each role.
In creating graphic art, there are three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Many shades of color can emerge out of these. Likewise, infinite novel, and colorful variations flow from our four primary magical archetypes of the magician! Below are just a few of the primary archetypes. Hint–you can always play more than just one of these four roles! What is your primary persona?
(You can “find yourself” in our next class series!)

The Trickster is the disruptor who turns our reality upside down. Learn the ways and means of master tricksters, and how to use them to capture people’s hearts and minds.

The Sorcerer is the hero who captures and concentrates magical powers, and focuses them to work their will upon the world. Yet, it takes more than mere tricks to become a Sorcerer; it takes discipline and many skills. In this class, we will focus on theatricality, character, and presentation.

The Oracle is the master of the inner world – a visionary who taps into our inner landscapes, can appear to read minds, and can even predict our future. In modern times, these oracles appear as mentalists, mind readers, and mystery entertainers.

The Sage is the keeper of the inner secrets. The real secrets of magic are only passed down from master to student, in whispers. The Sage is a collector of knowledge, experience, and hard-earned wisdom. When you tap into your inner sage, you have the entire history of mystery at your fingertips.
Which one are you?
If you are a serious student of magic, art, and philosophy…
I invite you to take a very personal journey with me, and explore real secrets of these archetypes that will be revealed in my upcoming class. Registration is now open!

Super Star David Copperfield!
David Copperfield will be our very special guest with us for Mystery School Monday on September 14th, and we will talk about how the cinema has influenced his magic and television shows. We are incredibly excited to have David as our guest. This is a very special opportunity to hear a true Master of the Art.
Movie Magic
Magicians are often ahead of their time. Many of you might be aware that magicians were pioneers in the Art of Cinema. Many people consider Georges Méliès to have been the father of cinematic special effects; however, there were magicians before him that blazed the trail… And I have been walking that trail recently and exploring the history of magicians in the movies.

I’ve always had a passion for live theater, and have always considered myself a theatrical performer. These days, everybody is living in front of the computer, a medium that isn’t quite television, and yet isn’t cinema either. It is something new and unusual, and an unexplored frontier. We here at the Magic  and Mystery School are exploring it.
I’ve learned many things from watching great movies, and I am working to put them into practice in our online presentations. Recently I’ve been seeking inspiration from Masters of Cinema.
During these last few months, I have avoided watching movies. However, there are some great inspirational movies that magicians must see in order to understand how the general public perceives magic.
In recent years, movies like The Prestige and Illusionist have given magic an elegant Victorian mystique.
There seems to be a pendulum swing between sophistication, and making other movies like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Great Buck Howard and most recently, Magic Camp by Disney, which all portray magicians as ego maniacal comic characters, using magic to get attention — and in many ways they might be correct!

I’m curating a list of magic movies that inspire. What are some of your favorite magic movies? I’d be curious to know!

Wikipedia has an extraordinary list of magic movies to explore–take a look for “Movies about Magic”

Each Monday on Mystery School Monday we will explore magical archetypes in the cinema!

Join us at

Take a look at these amazing new classes we are offering and also know that we are offering financial aid in the form of a stipend, in case you need help attending our online classes. Go to

See you in the online classroom! It is our amazing new home and we invite you to join us!

Jeff & the Mystery School faculty

New Days and New Ways to Learn Magic

Remember the good old days?
What is the most wonderful memory you have from your school days? The school play, a school dance, the talent show? I remember my favorite teacher Mr. Stedman. He was the music teacher.
Mr. Stedman taught music like it was a game! He let us students PLAY music. And, he allowed me to share my passion for magic, as well as my passion for music. That’s why I think, even at a young age, I was combining different artistic disciplines together to create “Fusion illusion.“ That’s what I called it back in those days–a combination of magic, theater, music, and dance.
What made Mr. Stedman’s classes more fun and effective? It was a unique combination of teaching, doing, play, and study, that made a huge impact on my performance skills and knowledge base. Now I can look back and see how his inspiration helped me make the following important discovery.
HOW we learn is as important as WHAT we learn!

New Days & News Ways of Learning Magic
There are many ways to take in information. The world is moving so fast these days, that I thought it was important to create a new way to study and learn magic.
Each of us learns at a different speed… 
I am a very slow and steady learner. Other people digest information at the speed of light.
How do you satisfy so many different styles?
Most people are either readers or “visual learners.“ Still others like to listen to podcasts, and other audio training materials.
Our master key system of magic training combines all three!

The McBride Master Key System of Magic Training

Our Mystery School team has developed a new teaching system that is a combination of:

  1. LIVE – Online, interactive real-time classes.
  2. Follow up study videos where students can learn at their own pace, stop the action, and review and renew their skills.
  3. A “Bonus Bundle” of Printed materials, books, PDFs and other important documents that you can refer to for research and study for the rest of your life!

I have new classes, and I invite you to join me live online, and get the MCBRIDE MASTER KEY SYSTEM as part of the training experience.

Innovations in Magic Teaching

I think about new ways to teach, and I think I’ve discovered something radically different than in the past. Now that we have everybody on Zoom, there is a new way to learn magic. My life classes, combined interactive real-time classes with extraordinary training videos, PDFs and other support materials. Some of our classes are over two hours long, and you will also get Bonus materials. The bonus training package that we called the Master Key has hours of exclusive training videos.

This is the best parlor magic & stage magic course ever created!

– Paul Craven, UK

More than mere trick teaching, THE McBRIDE MASTER KEY SYSTEM contains lessons in showmanship, presentation, psychology, philosophy, and much more. We have created a whole new way to learn magic you can see it here.

You can get more information by contacting Abigail at 702-450-0021 or
Register now online for the upcoming classes:

See you in the online classroom!
Jeff McBride
Website | Promo Video
Cell: 702-245-7282 Office: 702-450-0021
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The 2020 Magic and Meaning Conference GOES ONLINE!

From Dr. Larry Hass, the Dean
It is my pleasure to announce that the Mystery School’s annual Homecoming event—the Magic and Meaning Conference—will be happening this year, and it will be ONLINE.

As the pandemic surged in recent weeks, it became clear to the School’s wisdom team that the Conference could not proceed as an in-person event this October. This was true both for health and safety reasons, but also because so many people are reluctant to travel for the foreseeable future.
This is, of course, deeply disappointing: The Magic and Meaning Conference has been our community’s time to gather together, re-connect, and re-charge our love of magic that matters. And yet, throughout the pandemic, the Magic & Mystery School has built upon its long experience with the Zoom platform to design and deliver online programs, courses, and seminars that have achieved very high quality. For example, just last week, Jeff, Lance Burton, and I delivered two full days of the Online Lance Burton Teen Seminar. There were seventy-six teens, great teaching content, special guests, lots of breaks, and outstanding engagement from the teens.  From every perspective, the program was a smash success.
And so, we are excited to pivot the 2020 Magic and Meaning Conference into an online format. The Conference will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 24-25, 2020, from 10:00am to 4:15pm PACIFIC, each day.
We’re pleased to announce our 30th anniversary Special Guests: Lance Burton & Jade—both of whom have confirmed they will be with us for the virtual conference!

We are planning to emulate the in-person conference by featuring online versions of its most beloved events. For example, there will be:
— 12 Presentations (P-E-P Talks) from attendees. See the Call for Presentations  here:
— Guests of Honor and their Presentations
— Ensemble Shows featuring members of the community
— Small Group discussions (using the breakout room feature of Zoom)
— Special Events, such as celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Magic & Mystery School, the Festival of Wands (our archetypal magic tool of the year), and a Broken Wand Ceremony.
One important benefit of shifting the 2020 Magic and Meaning Conference to an online event, is that it now becomes accessible to magicians from all over the world.
To help make it possible for people to sign up in these challenging times, we have set the tuition for the conference at $145.00. Also, since this is an online program, people are eligible to apply for a need-based stipend that will cover 50% of the tuition. To see if you qualify, go here:
We hope you will plan to join us for this incredible celebration of the Magic & Mystery School’s 30th Anniversary!  Sign up now at: for an incredible weekend of magic and mystery with our tribe!

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