Williams Court

Symbol: Flying Squirrel
Season: Fall
Flower: Chrysanthemum
Motto: Wisdom From Every Mind
Values: Reflection, Inclusion
Colors: Brown & White
Academic Focus: Cursebreaking, Evocation

In his life, Roger Williams dedicated himself to understanding both the world around him and the people who inhabited it. The Court that bears his name carries on that tradition, emphasizing cooperation, communication, and inclusivity. Williams Court prides itself on including diverse viewpoints and perspectives, as William believed that one person can only understand as far as they can see, but many voices together can describe a world. As such, Williams Court winds up being the Court that attracts those who might stand out elsewhere–transfer students, students with special abilities, students from abroad, and so on.

Students of Williams Court put their efforts academically into understanding magical traditions of all kinds. They study mystical arts ranging from the kabbalistic and Goetic to the practices of the Wampanoag and Lenape nations. Williams students make use of runes, sigils, and glyphs to reveal truths, fashion wards, and enhance their powers. Most members of Williams Court wind up developing their own runic alphabet by the time they graduate. In more practical areas, Williams students often make excellent cursebreakers, understanding and analyzing curses and hexes before deconstructing them. Some Williams students engage in Evocation, summoning creatures from beyond the physical world to communicate with them and seek to understand their worlds.

 

Roger Williams (1603-1683)

“The greatest crime is not developing your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world.”

Roger Williams was throughout his life a student of languages of all kinds, seeing linguistics as the path to understanding the truths of the world, magic, and the human mind. By a young age he had mastered a dozen languages, and even for a time served as John Milton’s Hebrew tutor, in return for lessons in Dutch. In his magical studies, he was known widely as both a master cursebreaker and as a scholar of ethics and jurisprudence. Many early legal texts date back to Williams, and modern scholars continue to cite his arguments and theoretical work, often finding them applicable to modern laws in unexpected and prescient ways.

Williams was also a strong believer in independent thought and self-development, and staunchly opposed the rule of religious law. He left Europe in 1630, frustrated with what he saw as the corrupt and authoritarian rule of the Church of England. Unfortunately, life in the New World was no better, with the Puritans turning out to be just as controlling as the Anglicans, if not moreso. Williams found a friend and ally in Anne Hutchinson, but despite her advice, continued to speak out loudly. He penned a harsh critique of Plymouth Colony for having simply claimed their land instead of buying it from the locals. By 1635, Bradford’s frustrations with Williams had grown to the point that he did not defend the man when Williams was tried for sedition and branded a heretic.

After walking through a brutal New England snowstorm, kept alive only by his magic, Williams was rescued by Massasoit Ousamequin, leader of the Wampanoag Confederacy. Williams stayed with the Wampanoag for three months, and he and Ousamequin became close friends. With support from the Wampanoag, Williams founded a town of his own, Providence, meant to be a haven for freethinkers and independent minds.

Bradford offered Williams a teaching position at P2A4 in 1643, an act generally understood to be meant as an olive branch between the two. Williams remained active in both the magical and mundane spheres, serving as an active mediator between First Nations tribes and the early settlers, averting and diminishing many wars over the next few decades. He continued his work as a linguist, learning the languages of many tribes and creating dictionaries and grammar texts. 

Over the next few decades, Williams invited many First Nations mages and shamans to teach at P2A4, though few stayed long. When Chancellor Hutchinson created a Court in his honor, Williams attempted to have it named Massasoit instead, in honor of his friend Ousamequin, but the other faculty overruled him. Williams was also an early advocate for abolition, and insisted on welcoming people of all races, including freed slaves, at P2A4. Some freed slaves did attend P2A4 in its early days, but with considerable tension with the white students, in part because only the white students could continue their education at Imperial Magischola after graduation.

Unfortunately, Williams’ work towards peace was eventually undone. After Ousamequin’s death in 1661, his son Wamsutta became the new Massasoit. Wamsutta agreed to uphold his father’s peace and went to meet with Plymouth Governor Josias Winslow to formalize the arrangement. Winslow, however, had other plans. His father, Edward, had been both a mage and a Professor at Imperial Magischola, and friend to the Wampanoag, but Josias was born without magic. His bitterness towards his father spread to the Wampanoag, and he hired an unknown mage to hex Wamsutta. Williams attempted to break the curse, but Wamsutta passed away in 1662. His younger brother Metacom declared war on Plymouth, and the fragile peace between the settlers and the Wampanoag collapsed.
In Williams’ later years, he became a strong proponent for the Edict of Separation and Secrecy. He feared that if left unchecked, the ambition of mages would grow until they ruled over mundanes. In the rise of the Magimundi, he foresaw echoes of the rise of religious rule, and sought to prevent the corruption and control he had seen both in England and among the early Puritans. His writings on the subject remain some of the most influential texts about the importance of separation, and are still taught today.