In The sorcerer’s Apprentice actor Jay Baruchel plays Dave Stutler, a young physics student who discovers that he’s not only a descendant of Merlin, the greatest sorcerer of all time, but that he’s also going to have to take a crash course in sorcery himself in order to save the world from imminent destruction.

Fortunately for Dave (and the world), he has the perfect teacher in the shape of Balthazar Blake, played by Nicolas Cage. Balthazar is a master sorcerer who has spent most of the last thousand years looking for the right protégé and is an expert at such cool things as gravity inversion spells, which send their victims hurtling through the ceiling, and telekinesis, which is the ability to move far-away objects by mental power alone.

Who wouldn’t want to make distant objects move without having to get up off the sofa or out of bed? Unfortunately for most would-be sorcerers however, they don’t have their very own Balthazar Blake to teach them the basics. No problem!

We may not exactly be experts at gravity inversion spells or telekinesis ourselves, but you can still start your sorcerer’s apprenticeship with our essential beginners’ guide to sorcery, which covers everything from choosing the right wand to drawing your own magic circle.

Did you know?

It won’t help you save New York, but at least you can impress you friends by telling them that the word 'sorcery' is derived from a French word, which itself was derived from the Latin 'sortarius,' meaning 'one who influences fate.'

Take it Slowly

Sorcerers use their powers for everything from changing their physical form (a practice known as shapeshifting) to curing warts, becoming invisible, banishing demons, channelling positive energy or summoning the dead [see necromancy below].

As you’ll see in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice over-ambitious beginners can get themselves in a lot of trouble. Start with a harmless spell, liking bringing a friend good luck, or the sorts of things done by stage magicians such as making a coin disappear (but not sawing anyone in half).

What to Wear

Traditionally sorcerers have worn long, flowing robes and pointy hats (think Merlin). Balthazar Blake goes for a more fashionable gothic look, including an almost floor-length leather coat, and what Dave refers to as 'old man shoes.'

Dave himself favours sneakers and a sweatshirt, which is a good choice for beginner sorcerers: pointy hats are probably too conspicuous for school or walking down the high street or a barbecue with friends.

Divination

Divination is the general term for a variety of techniques for seeing into the future or the unknown. Astrology, the use of crystal balls [see below], and fortune-telling, often done with the aid of tarot cards or even tealeaves, are the best-known methods of divination.

Others include 'geomancy' (seeing into the future by throwing earth on the ground and interpreting the resulting lines and shapes); 'hydromancy' (studying the patterns and movement of water); and 'pyromancy’ (studying the shapes and patterns of flames and fires).

The oddest of all has to be 'scapulimancy': seeing into the future by means of the cracks in shoulder blades.

Spells

Spells can be as short as a single word taken from an ancient language like Latin, Greek or Hebrew, or a made-up word that has no meaning for anyone apart from sorcerers and their inner circle.

The most famous spell of all time is probably 'abracadabra.' Today it’s used by stage magicians as part of their acts but the phrase goes back to at least the 2nd century and was long believed to be useful in curing fevers.

Make yourself Invisible

Many spells come under the category of 'psychological magic' and are designed to make people do the will of a magician or his or her client: love spells are the classic example.

'Illusionary magic' involves the casting of spells for creating amazing visual effects: the apparition of sword hanging above someone’s head or a clock with spinning hands. Probably most useful of all, sorcerers employ illusionary magic to make themselves invisible.

Crystal Balls

Crystal balls, which can be made of crystal or glass, have a long history as tools for gaining insight into past, present or future events: some say the use of crystals for such purposes goes back as far as the Druids in ancient Britain.

Symbols

Any self-respecting sorcerer needs to be an expert in the use of mystical symbols that can be employed to protect their users or enhance their magical powers.

Best known are the pentagram (a five-pointed star) or a pentacle (a circle containing a five-pointed star). Such symbols can be drawn on the ground or depicted on a sorcerer’s robe or pointed hat.

Magic Circles

A magic circle is a space drawn on the ground in chalk or salt to define an area that will be used for a magic ceremony.

It’s believed to protect those inside it from evil forces and is often marked with symbols such as candles, representing the four points of the compass and the four elements of earth (in the north), air (in the east), water (in the west), and fire (in the south).

Each of those elements is also associated with a particular colour: red for fire, blue for water, yellow for air and green for earth. Never say that you are 'drawing' a magic circle. Professionals say they are 'casting a circle.'

Wands

Wands can be made of wood or metal or stone, even crystal or ivory (though these days at least we can’t imagine a conservation-minded sorcerer wanting an ivory wand).

Modern-day sorcerers and witches are known as Wiccans and use wands to channel energy and to aid in both healing and casting spells.

You can make you own wand by cutting a branch from any tree, oak or hazel being the most popular choice. You can also buy a wand online, though Balthazar Blake probably wouldn’t approve.

Necromancy

We’re pretty sure that Balthazar wouldn’t approve of 'necromancy' either. It’s the practise of summoning up the spirits of the dead either to gain information about past events or the future or to enlist their help in achieving a particular goal.

The Golden Rule

Like Balthazar Blake, sorcerers must always use their powers for good, though as Balthazar also points out to Dave, sorcery is a lot of fun too. Study hard enough and maybe you too can one day save the world from destruction or at least spend an entertaining afternoon being invisible.

The Sorcerers Apprentice is in Cinemas on August 11th

In The sorcerer’s Apprentice actor Jay Baruchel plays Dave Stutler, a young physics student who discovers that he’s not only a descendant of Merlin, the greatest sorcerer of all time, but that he’s also going to have to take a crash course in sorcery himself in order to save the world from imminent destruction.

Fortunately for Dave (and the world), he has the perfect teacher in the shape of Balthazar Blake, played by Nicolas Cage. Balthazar is a master sorcerer who has spent most of the last thousand years looking for the right protégé and is an expert at such cool things as gravity inversion spells, which send their victims hurtling through the ceiling, and telekinesis, which is the ability to move far-away objects by mental power alone.

Who wouldn’t want to make distant objects move without having to get up off the sofa or out of bed? Unfortunately for most would-be sorcerers however, they don’t have their very own Balthazar Blake to teach them the basics. No problem!

We may not exactly be experts at gravity inversion spells or telekinesis ourselves, but you can still start your sorcerer’s apprenticeship with our essential beginners’ guide to sorcery, which covers everything from choosing the right wand to drawing your own magic circle.

Did you know?

It won’t help you save New York, but at least you can impress you friends by telling them that the word 'sorcery' is derived from a French word, which itself was derived from the Latin 'sortarius,' meaning 'one who influences fate.'

Take it Slowly

Sorcerers use their powers for everything from changing their physical form (a practice known as shapeshifting) to curing warts, becoming invisible, banishing demons, channelling positive energy or summoning the dead [see necromancy below].

As you’ll see in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice over-ambitious beginners can get themselves in a lot of trouble. Start with a harmless spell, liking bringing a friend good luck, or the sorts of things done by stage magicians such as making a coin disappear (but not sawing anyone in half).

What to Wear

Traditionally sorcerers have worn long, flowing robes and pointy hats (think Merlin). Balthazar Blake goes for a more fashionable gothic look, including an almost floor-length leather coat, and what Dave refers to as 'old man shoes.'

Dave himself favours sneakers and a sweatshirt, which is a good choice for beginner sorcerers: pointy hats are probably too conspicuous for school or walking down the high street or a barbecue with friends.

Divination

Divination is the general term for a variety of techniques for seeing into the future or the unknown. Astrology, the use of crystal balls [see below], and fortune-telling, often done with the aid of tarot cards or even tealeaves, are the best-known methods of divination.

Others include 'geomancy' (seeing into the future by throwing earth on the ground and interpreting the resulting lines and shapes); 'hydromancy' (studying the patterns and movement of water); and 'pyromancy’ (studying the shapes and patterns of flames and fires).

The oddest of all has to be 'scapulimancy': seeing into the future by means of the cracks in shoulder blades.

Spells

Spells can be as short as a single word taken from an ancient language like Latin, Greek or Hebrew, or a made-up word that has no meaning for anyone apart from sorcerers and their inner circle.

The most famous spell of all time is probably 'abracadabra.' Today it’s used by stage magicians as part of their acts but the phrase goes back to at least the 2nd century and was long believed to be useful in curing fevers.

Make yourself Invisible

Many spells come under the category of 'psychological magic' and are designed to make people do the will of a magician or his or her client: love spells are the classic example.

'Illusionary magic' involves the casting of spells for creating amazing visual effects: the apparition of sword hanging above someone’s head or a clock with spinning hands. Probably most useful of all, sorcerers employ illusionary magic to make themselves invisible.

Crystal Balls

Crystal balls, which can be made of crystal or glass, have a long history as tools for gaining insight into past, present or future events: some say the use of crystals for such purposes goes back as far as the Druids in ancient Britain.