Morgan's Magic Boke


Josie Beaudoin

My Magic Boke

By Morgan ap Phaelan,
Apprentice to

The Magician Carek,
Shield of the North

Given to Morgan on Midsummer’s
Day in the Ninetieth Year of his
Master’s Service

being the
fourth year of Morgan’s

in celebration of the
Ninth Anniversary of
his birth

The Apprentice’s Rhyme:

Here’s but a sample
Of things that are known:
Time’s thread means naught
To the plain, simple stone

Soil is for living
Though salt is for dying
Silver’s far-seeing
Though gold is in hiding

Water goes many ways,
Wine works as one
Diamond endures
What iron’s undone

Paper preserves
All that ink has to tell
Hair holds the mem’ry
Of every good spell

The last is the first
Of the things you’ve been taught:
For candle or cauldron,
Fire is fiat!

Time and life are thought of as lines, and thread is a line that can be held in the hand, bent, twisted, cut or extended. It can be bound together with other threads to strengthen it. It can be woven with other threads. The possible uses of thread in magic are legion, as I’m sure you will see if you think about it.

When deeply contemplated, the astonishing variety of stone’s qualities can be overwhelming, not to mention contradictory. One thinks of stone as being hard, yet there is stone in this world so soft that it crumbles in your hand. One thinks of stone as being heavy, yet there is stone so light it can float on water. What one thinks of stone and what stone really is may be disparate, but when used as a symbol what counts is what one thinks. Stone is hard, stone is heavy, stone is solid. Unlike animals or plants, stones do not concern themselves with survival. They do not deceive, or hunt, wish or dream. Stones are what they are: honest, basic, simple. Pure. For this reason, among all the living things in the world, stone is used to symbolize those qualities.

Soil, or earth, is made up of organic matter of all types – plant, animal – and the minerals and stone. Soil comes from life, and returns to life. Humans have a tendency to conceive of this in the reverse form, that is “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”. Regardless of which way you look at it, soil is made up of the stuff of life, and as such is used in magic to symbolize life.

Rub salt in a wound; there is pain. Sow salt in the earth; there is death. Dissolve salt in water; it is undrinkable. And yet life without pain is not life, food without salt has no savor. Therefore, though salt does indeed symbolize both pain and death, that does not devalue it in any way, for both are needful if life is to have any purpose whatever.

The link between vision and silver is so obvious one would think it requires no explanation, yet I shall endeavor to elucidate nonetheless. First and foremost, there is the moon, which appears silver, yet is known to be a reflection of the sun. It is literally a silver mirror hanging in the sky, reflecting the light of the sun, seen by all and all-seeing. And what save silver backs a mirror? Is gold used thus? Or iron? No. Silver is used to see that which is hidden from sight. This is why it is used to symbolize vision in magic.

Humans have an immense weakness for gold and the things that gold can buy them. This weakness is called greed, and it can be manipulated through magic by use of gold just as it is in more mundane circumstances. Since greed is often perceived as a negative attribute, most humans attempt to hide or disguise evidence of their greed, which explains why gold symbolizes deception and lies as well as greed. If you wish to hide a person or object, you can use gold to “dazzle” the sight of the beholder. Obversely, things which do not exist can be seen if they are enhanced with the lie of gold.

The most obvious significance of water is that it is any body of water, a river, lake or ocean. A single drop of water in a spell can symbolize any of these things. Less obviously, but more potently, water in its nature is flexible, and can symbolize flexibility. Thus when you seek to choose among several possibilities, water can be used to “find the easiest path” - - the best possible answer or choice. Water can provide the diviner with options he or she might not even have been aware of. It finds the bottom, the source, the truth. If there is more than one way, more than one truth, this can also be indicated by water.

Though mankind has for thousands of years used alcohol recreationally, it has great symbolic significance as an end result of communal work and cooperation. Wine is an honorable symbol of a community working together towards a common goal. The grapes must be grown and tended. Harvested. Processed. There must be barrels made, and glass bottles blown. These specializations require a supportive community. Then must come enough foresight and patience to allow the wine to ferment and mature. The finished beverage is a result of the labors of many individuals working together, and for this reason, wine signifies community when used in spellcasting. N.B. - White wine has the opposite result and undoes community and union.

The strength of the diamond is, literally, unsurpassed by anything else known to man. Almost diametrically opposed to water, the strength of a diamond gives strength to those who use it. The use of a diamond in a spell strengthens the potency of the spell itself, as well as the desired outcome. For instance, a magical shield spell, cast with diamond, has the strength of a diamond against the attack - whether physical or magical – that it was cast to deflect. Such use is rare, but occasionally needed. A similarly strong spell would be needed to dismantle such a shield, the cost of which in both materials and power makes it a prohibitive practice not to be taken lightly. This would be useful to afford long-term protection for an inanimate object, but would be lethal if used on a living being.

A more common use for a diamond would be to give strength to an individual’s mindset, whether that be loyalty, patience, trust. It can also enhance (though usually only temporarily) one’s physical strength or endurance. As the use of Magaerum transforms matter into energy, a diamond used is lost forever, which cuts down on its use in most spells.

Iron & Steel
While it can be argued that iron, like wine, is a communal effort and that it can be used for benign or even benevolent purposes, nevertheless it is frequently and commonly thought of as a tool of warfare. Armor, arrow and spear-heads, swords… these things are made of iron, and are used to destroy community as much as to create it (if not more).

These words that you read now may be made of ink, but they are written on paper. Paper holds the memory of my thoughts so that they will not be lost. Without a surface on which to write, ink is useless. This is why paper is used in magic to symbolize memory. Obviously, memory can be stored on many different media – paper, vellum, bark, stone, wood, cloth, bone, horn, etc…. paper is used to symbolize all the things which are used to store knowledge.

If knowledge is to be useful, it must be accessible. When written down, it endures and may be used by others. These words, containing knowledge, are written in ink, and therefore are accessible to others long after the writer has departed. Ink make knowledge immortal. Ink makes words and thoughts stay where you put them.

Hair, etc.
While a great wealth of anatomical detail is often employed in spellcasting, very generally any tissues of any type will generate results which are specific to the individual from which they came. In order to obtain less specific results, one would need to combine tissues or fluids from more than one source or donor.

Body PartsSymbolize
Hair and NailsMemory
EarsSound, Hearing
BloodLife, Magic
BoneThe Whole Person

Because fire, though many think otherwise, is not an object but rather a process, it is nearly always fire which is used to transform a spell into the desired result. To convert matter to energy is to cause inert ingredients to bring a spell to life.

Fire is not technically an ingredient in spells, but rather the catalyst which activates them. A magically generated fire will engender the best results, which is why lighting and extinguishing a candle is the traditional “first spell” taught to aspiring practitioners of the art. It will be most often needed, and so best mastered first.


Understanding Magic

Talent                     Training                     Trappings

These are the three elements required to cast the majority of magical spells.

First of course, the practitioner must have Magærum, also called Talent, for without the presence of Magærum in the individual, the rest is nothing. The amount of Magærum present will generally reflect the potency and effectiveness of the spell being cast. This can be enhanced by the magician’s willpower.

Training is needed to understand firstly how to engage the Magærum through one’s will, and secondly how to enhance the Magærum by using ingredients (or Trappings) in one’s spells.

Trappings, though not needed for all spells, is used in the majority of them. This is because without trappings, Magærum is focused through raw will alone, and the spellcaster has fewer options regarding the application of that Magærum. With the addition of symbolic items, the magician can use the symbols to shape and stretch, mold and meld the raw Magærum into a greater variety of useful forms.

To the uninitiated, this may seem confusing, but there is an absolute fact that must be understood by any spellcaster: Magærum is a real, physical and measurable thing. Without the presence of Magærum, no spell can be cast, or to put it another way, there is no magic without Magærum.

What is Magærum?
Attempts have been made for thousands of years to pin down a simple definition, to no avail. It is not simple. There is nothing else like it, and therefore it’s very difficult to make analogies. Magærum is somewhat like water. Magærum is possibly alive. Magærum is sort of like a thought-focusing lens. And yet, it is like none of these things, because it has properties in common with them all, and some properties entirely of its own. Perhaps rather than defining what Magærum is, we can describe instead a few of it’s properties.

Location Magærum needs a place to reside, it cannot endure outside of a physical body. Anyone and any thing can be a host to Magærum. The amount of Magærum present in a host is not determined or limited by the host’s physical size, shape, gender, intellect, faith, nationality - - or even the host’s species! The only real requirement is that it be in physical form and alive. This includes humans, animals, insects, plants and stones. Do not doubt that stones are alive!

Quantity It is believed that there is not a finite amount of Magærum in the universe. If it is finite, it is unmeasurable by any means that we now possess. An individual host contains a finite amount of Magærum, which can be drawn upon, depleted and refreshed in the same way that one’s physical energy can be drawn upon, exhausted and renewed. How Magærum is used is the subject of this work. How it is refreshed is a complete mystery. All that is certain on this question is that it appears to refresh itself, by its own means and in its own time.

On Human Hosts Humans, being both physically incarnate and alive, constitute a valid host for Magærum. A human may become a host in several ways.

The first and most obvious way is to be born with Magærum. This is an apparently random event. It is not something which is passed on from parent to child like the shape of a nose or the color of the eyes, but rather can manifest in any child for reasons that have thus far defied our understanding. If Magærum itself is a living, conscious entity, it may have reasons why it chooses certain hosts over others, but in truth we just don’t know.

Another way a human may be come a host is to be present when another host dies. As stated before, Magærum must reside in a living body, so when a host eventually dies, the Magærum that resided there must relocate to a new host. The old host need not be human for the Magærum to transfer itself to a human.

If one visualizes Magærum as water, then we must visualize life forms as low points on the landscape. Water will flow down to the “lowest available” point it can find, just as Magærum will seek out the “alivest available” host. There is some evidence that Magærum will prefer a human host over a plant or lower animal host, though this is not always the case, and like water flowing over a series of falls, some of it will be lost if it passes by a smaller host. A portion of the Magærum which has departed from the old host will remain in smaller hosts if they stand between the Magærum and a human host. By smaller I do not mean physically smaller, but only “lesser” according to the as yet unascertained criteria of the Magærum itself, which may be consciously choosing its host or may simply be obeying some natural law of which we are currently unaware.

While Magærum must be housed in flesh, it does not require that its host use it, or even be aware of its presence. This is not only true of “lesser” host forms, but also of human ones. A person may spend their entire life completely unaware of the Magærum present in their bodies with every breath they take. In this respect, Magærum is entirely passive. If an unaware host has a strong will, their Magærum might manifest as what the common man would call “good luck”.

When the first human host consciously used Magærum is unknown, but very likely it was accidentally discovered. Whoever that brave individual was, he or she was the world’s first “Magaer-an” or magician.

Though we cannot be sure, the earliest spells were probably the simplest ones, requiring no ingredients – spells like firelighting and the heightening of natural senses and abilities. Over time the bolder magicians must have begun experimenting with various ingredients and more complex magics, until the art was developed to the level we have today. Even now, there are magicians who continue to expand on what is known of Magaerum and spellcasting.

One of the interesting things that was discovered long ago about Magaerum is its ability to actually have spells cast on it. This very useful facet of Magaerum is what allows, for example, the Shield of the North to transfer his talent directly into his or her heir when the old magician dies. A spell is cast on the Magaerum residing in the Shield which constrains it to enter the designated heir and no one else when the time comes for it to find another host.

This, of course, is the third way for a human to become a magician: to have another magician give or sell their Magaerum to a new host. Outside of the Royal House of Krisadon, it is a fairly rare practice, but not unheard of. For one thing, most magicians are reluctant to decrease or entirely give up their own Magaerum for reasons which ought to be obvious. So usually the only ones open to the idea are those who are approaching their own deaths, either of old age or some other foreseeable but unavoidable reason. Even then, most magicians are solitary folks, and not usually very approachable.

Another, but far less savory, method of gaining power is to cast a spell which forces the Magaerum out of its host. This is of course an option which is only available to those who are already magicians. The theft of another’s power is a practice which is generally frowned upon, though it seems to be the standard practice The Enemy uses to eliminate any possible opposition.


How Spells Are Cast

The mechanics of actual spellcasting are far more complex than the layman can usually grasp. Ingredients are used to symbolize different concepts and items. For example, and acorn represents potential because of the immense change it will undergo to become one of the largest of trees known to man. Silk is used to represent transformation because it is used by the caterpillar to transform itself into a butterfly. Both of these symbols can represent change, but in subtly and significantly different ways. In addition, some items represent more than one concept or thing, such as the bloodstone which can represent physical conception, birth or ideas depending on the circumstance. If the full ramifications of all possible meanings of a single ingredient are not well understood, the spell may not work or may rebound on the caster.

There is a whole world full of symbols at the disposal of a well-trained magician, common everyday objects which take on a great deal of meaning when used in a spell. What is important is the understanding of the symbolic resonance of each item and its relationship to the entire spell. Most magicians will spend their entire lives studying the properties and applications of ingredients.

When a magician decides to cast a spell, the first thing to be done is set out exactly and specifically what he or she wishes to accomplish. The best way to do this is to write it out on paper, and adjust the grammar if needed to make the target concept extremely clear. When the target is clearly defined and found to be a reasonable and achievable goal, then the gathering of ingredients may begin.

Each ingredient ultimately represents a word or idea in the stated aim of your spell. For example, a simple healing spell might read as follows: Give structure to: The physical integrity of Target/s. By healing, transform them to health.

One might think a sentence like: Make this person healthy would be sufficient, but it is in fact too vague and therefore unstable. If this grammar was literally cast, it could create a new (albeit healthy) person out of thin air. A magician must learn to choose his/her words very carefully. A spell needs to be quite specific in order to allow the least room for error while not being so specific that it takes too much time or too many ingredients to cast. Examining the available ingredients often helps one to readjust the grammar of a spell during the planning stages. There is a balancing point somewhere between these extremes that one learns to find through years of practice and experience.

Once the grammar has been decided on and the necessary ingredients gathered, the casting may begin. Ingredients are added to the spell sequentially, and any deviation from the specified grammar can be disastrous. To continue using the above healing spell as a demonstration, Give structure to is symbolized by a wooden bowl, which being wooden symbolizes structure, and being a container for the spell symbolizes that structure is the framing focus of the entire process. Next is the physical integrity, symbolized by the tansy. Then a sample of flesh from the intended recipient of the spell (the Target of the spell) is added in. This can be hair, blood, skin - even fluids such as sweat, tears or saliva.

To alter the order of these ingredients would be to alter the spell in bizarre and usually unpredictable ways. If the Target’s flesh were put into the spell first, the grammar would suddenly read: Target, give structure to physical integrity. As this command makes little sense, any number of chaotic results could form. This is why the grammar is so very important to spellcasting. The grammar is what will be enacted, and so the grammar must be precise and accurate.

With the grammar carefully selected and the ingredients assembled in their proper order, the spell can now be cast. Until the final moment, you have nothing but a pile of objects, completely inert and unrelated save by their physical proximity. Then the fiat is applied and the spell is activated, giving you a result. With luck it will be the result you were hoping to get.

The results of spells, even spells that work, are quite varied. They usually (though again, not always) fall into one of the four major categories listed below:

Vadas - These are spells which require no ingredients but are cast straight from the magician’s Vada. Such spells include the fiat, telekineses and mental communications.

Potients - These spells result in an salve or poultice (in magic referred to as a potient) to be applied to the Target/s. They usually do not include a sample of the Target’s flesh in the casting process. Potients can be transported and administered by non-magicians, which makes them a good choice for healing spells.

Specific Effects - these spells affect only a specific Target or Targets. They almost always must have a sample of the Target/s included in the grammar and ingredients. Specific spells need not always have the target nearby, such as scrying spells and other distance effects.

Area Effects - these spells affect everything within a certain radius of the Caster. The area need not but can be specified before or during the casting, depending on the desired result. An example of when an Area Effect spell would be needed is when there are too many Targets to individually specify, such as a flock of birds or an army of soldiers.

The process of casting a spell transforms the ingredients from matter into energy - and the energy into the final result. With the exception of Potients, spells have no physical manifestation once they have been executed. They are pure energy which has been focussed and directed by the casting to fulfill a specific purpose, and their physical components are completely destroyed. Practising a simple healing spell like the one above is not a costly venture, but some spells’ components include very expensive and difficult to find items. Sometimes one must rewrite the grammar of a spell when the cost of the ingredients becomes a prohibitive factor.

This web page and all it's contents were written by J.C. Beaudoin, who is solely responsible for it, for better or for worse. Copyright 2005 and 2006. Hands off. Lookie, no touchie! :-)