An ancient Chinese curse runs, "May you live in interesting times." Since the fall of the Roman Empire, there has rarely been more interesting times than these. Whenever history becomes unstable and destinies hang in the balance, then magicians and messiahs appear everywhere. Our own civilization has moved into an epoch of permanent crisis and upheaval, and we are beset with a plague of wizards. They serve a historic purpose, for whenever a society undergoes radical change, alternative spiritualities proliferate, and from among these a culture will select a new world view.