A mage, in today?s times, is often referred to as a person who practices occult arts, like a witch. ?Mage? is the anglicised version of the word ?Magus?(singular) or Magi (plural).
Originally, the Magi were the sixth tribe of the Medes, who were people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin that inhabited the western and north western portion of modern day Iran. By the 6th Century BC (prior to Persian invasion), the Medes had established an empire that stretched from modern-day Azerbaijan to Central Asia and Afganisthan.
The Magi tribe was a hereditary caste of supremely intelligent priests, shamans and astrologers of Zurvanism--an occult religion, which was an offshoot of Zoroastrianism. It is believed that the Magi knew all the secrets of the universe. Secrets that haven?t been unravelled even today. Many believe that they were the first practitioners of magic art, which eventually filtered down to other occult cultures.
While the power of the Magi grew in the Median empire, the power was curtailed by Persian invasion. Feeling persecuted the Magi settled in Greece, where people called them ?Magoi?.
Very little is known about their practises. They were very reclusive and extremely secretive about what they could do. I?m guessing that?s what any one would do when they?ve been entrusted with so much information. The popularly known Magi are the ones who visited Christ during his birth. They?re often mistaken for oriental kings. They completed a journey by following a star. Naturally they?d follow stars, as they were master astrologers, which made them brilliant navigators as well.