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The Book of the Vishanti: Explained

Crack open the ancient spell book that has served Doctor Strange and all of Earth’s Sorcerer Supremes!

Sorcerors Supreme


7 Masters of Magic in the Marvel Universe

In honor of Doctor Strange #12, here are more mystic marvels!



The Vishanti is a union of principalities - magical beings that may share characteristics of gods and/or demons and who typically grant power to beings who invoke them - that is ancient, very powerful and has protected Earth's dimension for untold eons. The Vishanti is either a single entity with three distinct aspects or personalities or it is composed of three separate entities. Though beings such as these transcend physical genders, Oshtur is consistently referred to as a feminine entity. She is also known as "omnipotent Oshtur", though since she requested aid from Strange, she is presumably not omnipotent; however, the title may indicate that she is the most powerful of the Vishanti. Oshtur is also called the "gracious lady", perhaps indicating that she has an especially kindly and noble nature; and as the Lady of the Skies. When she has appeared before lesser beings, Oshtur appears as a green or golden-skinned woman, either bald, or with long blue hair or with long strands of ivy-like leaves on her head. Hoggoth is often called "hoary Hoggoth", presumably indicating that he is of great age; and as the "Lord of Hosts". Sorcerers speak of "the hoary hosts of Hoggoth", sometimes invoking the hosts themselves in casting spells. Hoggoth usually appears as a tiger or lion with burning eyes.

Agamotto was allegedly the first Sorcerer Supreme of the Earth dimension, though he may be of extradimensional origin. Agamotto is called "the All-Seeing", and has spent much of his long life observing events throughout the multiverse from the pocket dimension in which he resides. Agamotto's senses and mind are far more complex than a human being's, enabling him to monitor a seemingly unlimited number of events simultaneously. Agamotto is also known as the Light of Truth. Agamotto's realm - accessed via entering the Eye of Agamotto or Orb of Agamotto - is said to be a realm of "unreality", where Earth's physical laws do not necessarily apply, and a visitor's subconscious influences the realm's appearance; Strange's perception of Agamotto's realm appears to be derived from Lewis Carroll's Wonderland, with Agamotto appearing to Strange as the caterpillar.

When Dr. Strange used the Orb of Agamotto after being mortally wounded by his enemy, Silver Dagger, he was drawn through the Orb into Agamotto's realm. This was the first time Strange had encountered Agamotto without the other two Vishanti and in his guise as the Wonderland caterpillar. For reasons of his own, Agamotto did not reveal his true identity to Strange during this encounter, instead toying with Strange before revealing how to leave the realm. Strange followed Agamotto's instructions and returned to life, then defeated the Silver Dagger and imprisoned him in Agamotto's realm. Strange later returned to Agamotto's realm to escape imprisonment in the Hell-lord Mephisto's dimension. This time the Caterpillar revealed to Strange that he actually was Agamotto, but insisted that Strange remain there as his companion. Though Strange explained his need to leave to save the soul of his friend Sara Wolfe, Agamotto refused to let him leave. Strange's attempts to force his way past the vastly more powerful Agamotto were unsuccessful until he threatened to destroy Agamotto's "hookah pipe". Agamotto agreed to allow Strange to leave his dimension in exchange for the hookah. Moreover, Agamotto revealed he had secretly rescued all of Strange's mystic talismans - including the Book of the Vishanti, the Scrolls of Watoomb and the Orb of Agamotto - that Strange had believed destroyed in his battle with the alien sorcerer Urthona. After returning the talismans, Agamotto gave him a cryptic clue about the conflict between Mephisto and his rival Hell-lord Satannish that Strange later successfully interpreted and used to defeat the two demons. When Strange used the All-Seeing Eye to aid Galactus during the so-called Infinity War, Agamotto objected and decided to confiscate the magic items he himself empowered. After following the Eye back to its master's pocket dimension, Strange attempted to convince Agamotto to allow them to use his Eye. When Agamotto refused to relent, Galactus arrived and attempted to take the talisman by force. Agamotto transformed into a monstrous caterpillar creature and attacked Galactus until Oshtur and Hoggoth appeared and admonished him. Agamotto begrudgingly returned the Eye, along with the Orb and Lesser Amulet to Strange. When appearing as part of the Vishanti, Agamotto acts as solemnly as Hoggoth and Oshtur. In his pocket dimension, however, Agamotto's behavior is rather erratic. He may be disinterested or protective; behaving kindly one moment and then cruelly the next. Agamotto may be continually role-playing in his encounters with Strange to test his skill and determination.

Working in unison, the Vishanti were apparently responsible for the creation of the office of Sorcerer Supreme, the being possessing the greatest mystic skill and power in the universe. Thousands of years ago, the human now known as the Aged Genghis sought out the Vishanti, asking for knowledge and mystical power. The Vishanti complied, requiring in return the Aged Genghis would gather the most powerful mages on Earth every century to test them for the title of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme who would be assigned to protect the Earth and its inhabitants from all mystic threats. Though Strange had inherited the title of Sorcerer Supreme from his mentor, the Ancient One, he was forced to defend his title in a contest. Though this was for Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, Strange also holds the title of Sorcerer Supreme of his entire universe; the means by which this rank is earned is unrevealed, as is the circumstances under and point in time that Strange achieved this. Presumably around the time they appointed the first Sorcerer Supreme, the Vishanti created or influenced the creation of several mystic artifacts to empower this individual. These items include the Book of the Vishanti, Eye of Agamotto, Orb of Agamotto, Amulet of Agamotto, Moebius Stone, Hand of the Vishanti and the Sword of Bone.

Near the end of the 20th century, the Vishanti and various other magical entities engaged in the War of the Seven Spheres, where the Vishanti were matched against their counterpart, the Trinity of Ashes. The Vishanti expected Doctor Strange to fight at their side; but when they mentioned that they expected the war to last for millennia, Strange refused, not wanting Earth to remain unprotected for so long, and rejected the Vishanti's power. Nearly powerless, Strange was driven from Earth by the ancient sorceress Salomé who offered her services to the Vishanti in exchange for power. The Vishanti found the amoral Salome repulsive, but accepted her offer in their need of soldiers. Agamotto, apparently acting independently of Oshtur and Hoggoth, warned Strange about Salome's arrangement. Shortly afterwards, Strange found a new source of power by tapping into the mystical power of the Earth itself. This allowed Strange to defeat Salome, and the Vishanti approached him again to become their soldier. Feeling he owed the Vishanti for their support over the years, Strange finally agreed. Fought in other dimensions, the war lasted 5000 years, but only a nanosecond passed on Earth. Strange reappeared, having apparently aged only a few months, with his memories of the conflict mostly suppressed. The war's resolution is unrevealed, but Strange has since been able to utilize the Vishanti's power.

Oshtur, Hoggoth and Agamotto are each immensely powerful godlike entities capable of achieving almost any feat imaginable. Combined, they are even more powerful. Some of their documented feats include transporting themselves or others across dimensions, manipulating matter on an atomic level, manipulating of time and sending mystic power across dimensions to aid those they deem worthy.

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- Marvel Editorial Staff