A Wizard is a person born to a wizard parent (whether the parent has their wizard powers or not), with supernatural powers. So far, in Wizards of Waverly Place, it is never explained if a wizard powers can be gained through study (ig: a non-wizard learn to cast spells by reading a spellbook), but its obvious that all wizards that appear in the series inherited their powers.
History of Wizardry
Thought is unknown how Wizards gained their powers in the first place, in the distant past a highly advanced civilization known as Atlantis ruled most of Europe and North Africa but at some point it sunk below the seas.
After the fall of Atlantis, humanity would rise again guided by Wizards, who possibly used their powers to help humanity in its early scientific conquests. But, due to the misuse of the powers by some Wizards, the non-magic humans turned against them. The persecution would be so great that Wizards created a parallel, but independent, dimension adjacent to Earth.
Also during this time many things happened:
- The creation of the Stone of Dreams;
- Possibly the Wizard Competition was created as a byproduct of the pressuction, as untrained and incompetent Wizards were easily detected by non-wizards. So the Competition was created so that only the best Wizard could keep his/her powers. At some point later it was turned legal for Full Wizards to gave up their powers;
- Founding of the Wiztech;
- Development of many magical devices.
In a no so distant future, magic will be exposed to the world.
Only one sibling in a family may gain full wizard powers as an adult, which is decided by the Wizard Competition. The Wizard Competition (which is the main plot in the series) is spell combat between young, sibling wizards on an ancient battlefield (as seen in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie), in order to see who will win full wizard powers.
A wizard parent (or perhaps a wizard aunt or uncle) teleports the siblings to the battlefield, gives each a copy of the family wand if needed, and states the rules. The siblings pursue a glowing orb of magical energy produced by the parent and placed in the middle of the field, which is the power, and the first sibling to touch it wins. They are not allowed to use combat spells, but rather only spells related to the four elements of nature, namely earth, air, fire and water. They may use the spells to help themselves or hinder their siblings in order to reach the power first, which will also move of its own accord. Apparently, the power will 'know' if the competitors are actually trying to win, otherwise it "won't work", perhaps meaning that someone that isn't trying will not get the power, even if they touched it first. The parent will then confirm that the siblings understand that the winner will get all the power, and the loser (or losers) will get nothing. The siblings are then teleported to opposites sides of the battlefield and the parent starts the competition.
It is not known when or why it was created but had a bad influence in wizard families (in the episode Retest it is said that many wizard families ended destroyed due to this).
Powers and Abilities
As far it's shown, wizard powers are limited (stated by Justin, however he might be refiring to the fact that he and his siblings aren't Full Wizards). Wizards use their powers to do things otherwise impossible: levitation, transformation, flight, time travel, repair objects, exchange souls, brains, bodies, smells, clothes (etc.), resurrect/reanimated corpse (due to the exsistance of zombies) and so forth. Wizards require a wand to do most of this (but they can do as well wandless magic, although it is unknown whether they can perform magic nonverbally but we've seen Alex and his brothers perform spell without any incantations), which is usually their most used tool. A curious limitation of their powers is plastic, with, according to crumbs, it's impervious to magic. However, it's perfectely possible to a wizard teleported or conjure plastic out thin air, and another curiosity about the plastic is that it only work against human magic, visibly by the fact that the mummy easely make others intangible to it.
They also apparently live a long time, as Professor Crumbs said he was 850 years old, if it applies to former wizards is unknown. It is shown in magic unmasked that at least some wizards can show others, there flashbacks.
Rules of Wizardry
Despite that, until now, a wizard powers seems to be unlimited (if the spells work or not depends of the caster learnship) there seems to be a few strict rules that wizards must respect. Those rules, shown to now, are:
- Never reveal you are a wizard, unless you encounter another wizard. Revealing magic and creatures may be hazardous to the Wizard World. (However, in Future Harper it is said that wizard existence passed to be public.)
- Never use the forbidden spells (Alex didn't respect this rule but it seems that she was not punished);
- If a wizard should marry a mortal (non-wizard), their powers will be lifted and handed to another sibling of their choosing, such as Jerry Russo who decided to give his powers to his brother Kelbo instead of the next most competent sibling Megan.