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Overview

Whether you call it sorcery, spellcasting, witchcraft, enchantment, incantation, occultism, or wizardry; Magic is the power of influencing reality using mysterious, extradimensional forces. Magic defies explanation because it is not native to reality and thus not bound by its rules. All analysis or summary of it still seems to be wrong because such efforts are an exercise in trying to make sense of a concept that has no limitation. If the opposite of matter is anti-matter then think of magic as "anti-reality." There is no eventual scientific understanding of it because it defies science. Though science and magic can co-exist and achieve the same things in different ways, they are quite the opposite in their fundamental structure.

Methods

Now, let's discuss the people who use magic. There are many different kinds of magic users and before we get into the specifics of their different disciplines, let's discuss how they channel magic. Though not every magic-user uses every one of these examples, in fact, most only use one or two, but the most powerful utilize many of these.

1) Belief

Being born or raised in a specific culture can either hinder or strengthen one's magic potential depending on the acceptance of magic. Magic does not come to nonbelievers so easily.

Eventually, this path becomes a subconscious achievement of just about every magical practitioner at some point. No one sets down this road intentionally, but at some point in their life, they realize they've been traveling it for some time. One can only remain a skeptic of magic for so long before they realize they have been converted into a believer.

An example of one such person who just never believed magic was impossible was the optimistic Stanley Dover. Having a huge pink fuzzy demon for a best friend at an early age makes it really difficult to think anything is impossible.

Such persons on this path are known as cultists, naturals, faithful, initiates, and similar terms. A being created simply out of belief is an emanation, manifestation, or tulpa.

2) Relics

Objects such as an arcane ring, wand, or amulet can increase one's magical capabilities.

This is often one of the safest and most powerful ways to use magic. Even the most skilled and potent sorcerer will spend immense resources to gain possession over a relic. Any magic-user who has survived their practice for a considerable time usually credits some relic or, more often, a collection of such possessions as being vital to their success.

The Starheart and its accompanying ring which belong to Sentinel are an example of a magic relic. Other examples of note include the Sword of Night, the Helmet of Fate, Amulet of Anubis, Cloak of Destiny, Orb of Nabu, Tantu Totem, Soultaker Sword, Silver Wheel of Nyorlath, Red Jar of Calythos, and the Green Bell of Uthool.

A user of a relic is a relic-holder, warden, or keeper. One who makes relics or magical objects is an artificer, enchanter, technomancer, and so forth.

3) Endowment

Mystical beings can grant mortals a fraction of their power, transforming them into figures steeped in mystic might.

This process is awfully common. The Presence has called forth prophets, miracle-workers, and saints in this manner; Demons use this practice with their witches; Mamaragan uses this method with his champions, and the Titans of Myth used this as a means to create the Gods that would one day overthrow them.

Felix Faust made infernal pacts to gain magical power and Billy Batson calls on the power of the Gods by shouting "Shazam!"

An endowed being is an avatar, champion, witch, prophet, saint, and other such terms.

4) Channeling

A person might pull energy from other dimensions such as an intrinsic field or the essence of a realm or being on another plane of existence.

How this is accomplished varies greatly from magic-user to magic-user. This approach is rarely a person's introduction into magic, as usually another path is required to breach the dimensional barrier in the first place to begin the dimensional tapping, but there are exceptions to this. For instance, Buddy Baker's metagene activated in such a way as to allow him to draw on the power of the Red. A more typical example of this is the Hyper-Adapter drawing on the power of the slumbering Barbatos.

Such a person is called a channeler, a summoner, a diabolist, a warlock, a conjurer, and other such terms.

5) Study & Discipline

The old-fashioned way of unlocking occult secrets through spells and rituals learned through a mentor, texts, and practice.

These are simply people who wish to control forces beyond their grasp and as a result dedicate years researching their body, their beliefs, their will, their natural understanding, and their desires. This is often called occultism and it developed into various magical systems that require intense exercise and practice to perform feats a Homo Magi can do less demandingly. Papa Midnite is an occultist that exemplifies how much painstaking focus and investigation a human must go through to pull off feats of magic.

These are your classic wizards, spellcasters, alchemists, and the like.

6) Birthright

Having the good fortune of being born to a powerful magical bloodline can make understanding and using mystic arts easier.

The majority of Earth's most powerful magic-users get their start on the sixth path. Homo Magi are a sub-race of humans that evolved on Atlantis in ancient times. As Atlantis had become a magical metropolis with rich, concentrated essence patterns being used in every imaginable way, the bodies of the island's inhabitants became drenched in magic energy until it altered their DNA and made their use of magic natural and intuitive, a trait that still has not been bred out of existence after thousands of years.

Examples of the Homo Magi include: Sindella, Zatanna Zatara, and Zachary Zatara. The Laughing Magician bloodline which John Constantine and his niece Gemma Masters belong to is another example. Other examples are Rachel Roth and Diana of Themyscira, the daughters of powerful magical beings.

Though they prefer to be called Mages, they have also been called sorcerers and many other worse things.

The Cost

Regardless of who you are, however, magic comes at a cost to all that use it. Contrary to the idea of conjuring something from nothing, magic is never free and there is always a price to be paid... and not always must it be immediate. Whether this is paid through sacrifice of blood, time, life, money, or other means, there is always a time when the bill comes due. How this is paid is between the universe and the magician. The greatest magicians do not ignore this debt and embrace this cost rather than finding means to dodge it.

Trivia and Notes

Trivia

  • Cradle witches are witches who do not make a pact but instead were born as the result of a previous pact. These are often the children of Contract Witches, but that is not always the case. Some purist scholars argue that Cradle Witches are not true witches as they are initiated into magic by Birthright, which is the "Sixth Path of Magic." Others argue that their magic still came about as the result of a pact, even if they were not the ones to make the pact. However, if the Cradle Witch turns out to be more than human, as a result of having a supernatural parent, they are better classified as a Cambion, Nephilim, Half-Fae, or Demigod.
  • Witches once initiated into the magical world are often free to further their magical ability using any of the Six Paths of Magic. Not all witches pursue this, however, whether by a condition of their pact, a strict devotion to their benefactor, or lack of knowledge or mentors. But whether a witch pursues an eclectic study or not, many witches take on an apprentice at some point in their mastery of witchcraft. While some scholars argue the technicality that such students are not true witches as they are initiated as part of the "Fifth Path of Magic": Study and Discipline, rather than Endowment. But due to their proximity to the ways of witchcraft and because almost all such apprentices eventually make a pact with their mentor's patron and join the coven of their mentor.[1]

Notes

  • The relics belong to various heroes and villains:
    • Starheart - Alan Scott/Sentinel (in the comics Alan Scott/Green Lantern)
    • Sword of Night - Jim Rook/Nightmaster
    • The Helmet of Fate, Amulet of Anubis, Cloak of Destiny and Orb of Nabu - various incarnations of Dr. Fate
    • Tantu Totem - Mari McCabe/Vixen
    • Soultaker Sword - Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana
    • Silver Wheel of Nyorlath, Red Jar of Calythos, and the Green Bell of Uthool - Demons Three

Links and References


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