A spell is a general term for an action performed through magical means. They are mainly composed of a somatic element and hand gestures, but can also include tools such as: wands, animal products, powders, incantations, and other similar material items.
Different cultures seem to use magic in different ways dependant upon how the culture has viewed the mystical arts. Examples of this are the sexually charged spells of one dimension against the nature based magic of another.
Some creatures are also able to call forth magic quicker than others as seen when the trickster God raynard effortlessly throws his prey without touching them. Whilst his child was still in the womb of Julia it was able to defend itself by telekinetically forcing the abortionist to kill herself.
Introduction to Spellcasting
Spells are not wished to life, they are cast with action and purpose. Contrary to popular belief, most spells don't actually require the waving of a magical wand, but instead the magician's own hands and will. From simple finger snaps to complicated finger and hand gestures, all movements of the hands are used to harness magical energy and produce magical effects. Hand gestures are reminiscent of a style of dance known as “tutting” which involves creating geometric shapes and sharp angles with one’s body--primarily the hands and arms--to mimic Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics (the name is derived from the pharaoh Tutankhamen, colloquially known as King Tut).
Just as a verb must agree with the subject, even the simplest spell has to be modified, adjusted and declined to agree to the time of day, the lunar phase, the intention, the purpose, etc. In other words, the exact circumstances regarding the spell. There are hundreds, possible thousands of different kinds of Circumstances. All (or nearly all) circumstances are organized in endless tables, graphs and diagrams printed in microscopic letters in huge books with yellowed leaves for magicians in training to study.
But a spell needs something more than hand movements and proper knowledge of a spell's Circumstances. Along with the physical aspects of magic, the psychological aspects of magic are crucial to properly performing a spell.
Magic is based on something powerful within a magician, much like will power. It is a focused intensity, a clear view, an unwavering sureness. For a spell to work it has to be done from the heart. The magician has to have no doubt that the spell will work and needs to intend to do that spell wholeheartedly. So a magician cannot simply be forced to do a spell.
More complex or specific spells such as those used for healing, curses or invocations require the use of external ingredients like herbs, candles, incantations, and symbols or tools to focus the intention of the magician, such as wands.
- Main article: List of spells
Spells are collected in books and tomes available to most magicians, or accessed through private institutions of learning, such as Brakebills, or from the libraries of magical families. Usually spells are credited by the name of their inventor, such as Fergus' Spectral Armory, or its origin Ugarte's Prismatic Spray .
Not all spells will succeed, and some, especially if the magician is not properly trained, tend to backfire. Although it is preferable to fail a spell than to lose control of its casting, the magical community has a strict rule of conduct for spells poorly managed, especially when magic is used for illegal purposes or causes the death of a living being. The most severe punishment shown for a magician is to be deprived of their own memories of the magical world and all of their knowledge of charms and spells, which are stored in special enchanted boxes.