Magic was first conceived of in LY 270, by Murray of First Village. (At least, this was the first time anyone thought of performing magic for real, though it had existed in fictional Märchen since the earliest days of The Land.) At the time, Murray was having a conversation with his friend Jess. The idea which occurred to Murray was that, if God and other spirits were capable of doing things which seemed to be at odds with the natural laws of the Universe which God Himself had created, perhaps He had actually included within the design of those natural laws certain loopholes, or ways of doing things that didn't actually break the laws. And if there were some kind of hidden natural laws that spirits used to do some of the seemingly supernatural things that they did, perhaps humans could also be taught to use those laws. Murray and Jess wondered if the idea was not only possible, but even allowable; perhaps it would be sacrilegious to even try. So they went to a spirit-talker named Sol, to ask if there were any rules concerning magic. Sol asked various spirits he knew about this, and they all said there was no reason it couldn't be done.
And so, Murray, Jess, and Sol began talking with other villagers, including several spirit-talkers. They assembled a group of settlers, who headed first to Tonad, where more people joined them, and finally they all headed west. Eventually they reached a forest, and on the far side of that they found the western coast of First Land (this was the first time anyone on The Land had ever seen the edge of the land, or any body of water larger than a river). They cleared out a section of forest on the coast, and in Fir'mo' of 271, began building the Land's third village, which they named Sorret. The largest and most important building they erected was Sorret Magic Academy, which over the years came to include a number of other buildings within a larger campus. There, spirits began instructing apprentices in the use of magic. Humans who practice magic have come to be known as Sorreters, though among the elves, magic-users are referred to as sorcerers and among the merfolk, they are known as witches and warlocks (for ease of reference, "witches" may be used as a unisex term, though it more specifically refers to mermaid magic users, while mermen who practice magic are called warlocks).
Sometimes the word "magician" is used to refer to a magic-user without distinguishing a particular race, though this is more common in the circus than anywhere else, and some confusion may be caused by the term also being (improperly) applied to people who perform tricks that resemble magic, but which are merely sleight of hand. (The proper term for such performers is "illusionist.")
There are a number of principles of magic, some of which are commonly known to non-magic users, and some which are not. The most important principle is the inseparability of magic, science, and religion. Technically, religion is the highest of these three elements, since it was God who created the natural laws of the Universe which make both science and magic possible. Also because without the training received from spirits, it would have been impossible for the first generation of Sorreters to learn any magic at all. Science is important because on a certain level, magic is merely a way of applying types of science which are far beyond the current level of Landian understanding (and in fact, much of it is beyond the current scientific understanding of far more advanced worlds like Earth). In the future, it is expected that straightforward science and technology will replace magic, though at first the way this is done will be greatly different from the way it is done by magical means. In the very distant future, science will develop ever-simpler ways of applying specific functions, until finally it reaches a level which is virtually indistinguishable, if not identical, to the way it was done by magic. At that time, people (particularly non-Landians) may recognize this super-advanced science as resembling magic, but won't truly think of it as such. (And they will be essentially right not to do, though they'll also be wrong, in the sense that all "magic" ever was was the primitive application of this same advanced science.)
In the earliest days of sorretry, spirit-talking was necessary for all apprentices to learn any type of magic. However, once the basic techniques were learned, those techniques could then be taught to new generations of apprentices by those Sorreters who had come before them. Experienced Sorreters also now had sufficient understanding of the underlying principles of magic to conduct their own magical experiments, to learn new techniques without necessarily being taught by spirits. Of course, it is still required for all Sorreters to be spirit-talkers, though in modern times many Sorreters (and other magicians) are not particularly religious (much like Murray and Jess), and may not maintain close relationships with spirits, beyond their time as apprentices. In fact, many magicians these days also give little thought to the involvement of science in magic, as the earliest generations did. Science is no longer a practical consideration in most magical spells, but rather restricted to much more advanced and/or experimental types of magic.
The term "magic" technically refers to the effects produced by the casting of spells or the end product of certain types of experiments conducted by magic users. The process which leads to the implementation of magic begins with naturally-occurring energies of various types, which exist within all living beings. These energies, which are collectively known as "chakra," can be combined by the focused will of a magician, into various energy compounds, collectively known as "mana." Magicians can further direct the mana they've mixed within themselves in specific ways to achieve different results. The various ways of directing mana are referred to as spells. Spells can have direct results, which can only be achieved by the direct actions of magicians; or spells can be used to enchant objects, referred to as spell devices. These spell devices then take on specific magical properties, and can thereafter be used by anyone, even non-magicians.