The Limitations of Magic
After pondering on this my entire adult life, and having my own minor successes, I am starting to get a feel for what can and cannot be done. With magic**.
Here are the parameters that I have currently decided upon:
- It affects the choices of living things, quite possibly just beings and perhaps only human beings
- Those choices are not conscious, or are close to being not conscious
- The target is a singular living thing, or many living things in a singular place
- The effect is cumulative – it grows with time, meaning short-term magic is much less effective
- Magic is weak, so weak it is hard to detect and even harder to prove
A bit more detail:
1. I have never attempted magic on anything other than humans. Whether it works on animals or not is like asking a Christian if animals go to heaven. As a pagan I figure it would certainly work on animals, and maybe plants, but as their capacity to make choices is more limited, the magic is harder to achieve. You can’t win lotto with magic, because you can’t influence a machine.
2. You can’t influence a judge and jury. They are putting a lot of focused, conscious effort into the choices they are making. You can influence purely subconscious choices, like what they dream about and who they love. It also works on matters that although seemingly consciously decided, it doesn’t matter much which way you do decide. For example, what you wear that day, where you park, or basically anything where you can say “I just felt like it”. For me the boundary comes from Star Wars – “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for”. Important to the heroes, but the guards don’t especially care.
3. Magic needs a focus. Try and target too many people at once, and the already weak force weakens accordingly. That’s not to say you can’t work concurrent spells, but each must be specific. I know that many people in a local space can be influenced. And I’m am quite sure you can affect many people in a single remote place as well – but you would need to know that place quite well, or at least have been there.
4. The more effort you put in, the better the results. A spell worked daily or constantly (as in an obsession) will have a snowball effect. A spell you spend two minutes on is bound to fail.
5. Magic is weak. Gravity is the weakest of the Newtonian forces, yet it still has powerful results. Magic is like blowing on a house of cards, where if you are close enough it will cause great change. If you are too far away, nothing will happen at all.
Magic is real. It is limited in many ways, but if you have imagination its uses are limitless.
** I am only discussing worked magic here. There are other magics that happen beyond the manipulations of people. Think karma, love at first sight, people with second sight, the universe aligning and so on. These other magics can be affected, amplified or negated by worked magic. But mostly they just do their own thing.