Magical Arts

Fair Arts: Introduction to Biorhythms

The human body naturally has several patterns that recur periodically. Without the art of biorhythms, studying the rhythms of the body is fairly useless; the body’s ecosystem is fairly delicate, and the conscious mind can overcome and equally, subvert, natural variation.

The easiest of the cycles to access magically is the intuitive, because it’s the most responsive to the trance states common in magic. To get in touch with it without magic, spend time doing some mindless work, and alternate that with meditation. This promotes the right mental habits to access the intuitive rhythm.

Accessing the other biorhythms is beyond the scope of an introductory post.

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Magical Arts

Fair Arts: Introduction to Dawnmaking

One of the most accurately named artes, Dawnmaking is a branch of magic that brings the dawn. Most of the fair artes involve ushering along natural cycles. Dark artes, by way of contrast, go against the natural order. Dawnmaking does not bring the dawn when dusk is more appropriate, it only speeds along the process.

One of the simplest exercises is to speed up a small chunk of time, just enough to measure the change in light. A few seconds should do; anything more ambitious and you risk losing control of the spell to the sun. When the sun gets hold of a dawnmaking spell, you’ve lost everything. Don’t let the sun take control of your magic, or you’ll end up like Icarus; just a cautionary tale.

Magical Arts

Dark Arts: Introduction to Fair Arts

This series will examine the most potente forbidden artes that they don’t want you to know about.

Until this point, I’ve been focusing mostly on the subject of Dark Arts. Some of them illegal, some of them unethical, but all of them taboo or forbidden in some way. Of course, that’s not all there is to magic. Just as taboo, though not forbidden at all, are the Fair Arts. The most fascinating thing about the layperson’s approach to magic is that they celebrate the Fair Arts, but they would never dare use them. It’s unthinkable, to use magic.

This never made much sense to me, and I suspect most magical artists feel the same way. That’s why we get into magic, because someone has to, and why not the people who find it fascinating? Magic is a tool to affect change in the world. There are other tools, like money and rhetoric, but magic is the most direct. Magic gives you direct access to the code of the universe.

I’ve always been more at home with the Dark Arts, but I would never spurn a useful bit of magic. That’s why we’ll be shifting the focus on Tuesdays to Fair Arts.

Magical Arts

Introduction to Dark Arts: Husbandry

This series will examine the most potente forbidden artes that they don’t want you to know about.

Husbandry and taming have been two of humanity’s essential tools in mastering our environment. One Dark Art and one Fair Art, they made it possible for us to domesticate animals. Today we’ll be discussing husbandry, the Dark Art of the pair.

In animal husbandry, the practitioner encourages good behavior and discourages bad. Animal minds are simpler than human minds. The level of control exerted in husbandry is nearly complete.

An early expression of this power is summoning flocks of birds, insects, or rodents. Groups of animals will follow quickly when a single animal is commanded. A weak influence on any particular member will multiply and influence the others.

Another beginner technique is restraining a creature. Crafting magical traps can be hard, but once you have one, you have a solid defense if you’re ever on the wrong side of natural weapons.

Magical Arts

Dark Arts: Introduction to Naming

This series will examine the most potente forbiddene artes that they don’t want you to know about. 

Names have power. That’s an easy, familiar line, but it’s true. Naming is deceptively simple. Simply apply a label to something and gain some measure of control. Unfortunately, most things in the world have names, or at least one name. Names gain power through recognition, repetition, and respect. Anyone can use any combination of sounds or script to refer to something, but that alone does not make name.

Names should be distinct. Do some research before you try to apply a name. They can be inspired by other words, even other names, especially if that makes them more convenient to use- portmanteus are your friend. Just don’t rely on the similarity if you expect your name to stand alone. The level of interdependence you choose is the one you’ll have to stick with, if you do your job right.

Recognition is the first ingredient. Spreading the name to as many possible speakers and writers as possible is priority one. With the signifier retaining its association with the signified in many minds, the power of the sign is bolstered. Working with the name becomes easier through the power of mass expectation.

Repetition is the second ingredient. No matter how many people “know” the name, it does nothing unless used. This is the problem with relying on Latin. Dead languages may be beautifully esoteric, but conversely, they’re hardly used. Don’t just pick something that looks cool. Write it wherever you can, apply it to even marginal examples, and make sure to keep it in the minds of the speakers and writers you’ve spread it to, so they can speak and write it for you.

Respect is the third ingredient. If the name is used mockingly or ironically, its meaning is watered down. In some ways, this kind of insincere use of the name is worse than an utter lack of use. The name will warp from the caster’s original intent, and continue drawing energy regardless of its failure. Naming is such a difficult branch of Dark Arts because names don’t end until forgotten, perpetually draining magic from the namer.

Keeping these three things in mind, go forth and name the world.

 

 

Magical Arts

Dark Arts: Introduction to Sitting

This series will examine the most potente forbiddene artes that they don’t want you to know about. 

Sitting is one of the most useful techniques for anyone with experience in trance states and necromancy. Turning stillness and silence into magic, sitting is unusually cost-effective compared to other branches.

Traditionally practiced in gravesites, atop the buried body of a loved one, sitting is a method of generalized enchantment. Getting in touch with the forces of life and death opens up the witch’s mind to the lines of fate.

Sitting is a valuable source of gathering information.  The knowledge gained will always relate to the dead or to the other worlds. Essentially, by occupying a luminal position, you invite those that live in those spaces to communicate. This can pair well with necromancy.

Sitting can also be used to manipulate fate. There exists some controversy about what exactly sitters can do, but they are renowned for manipulating situations to get what they want.

Sitting can also work wonders when it comes to fire and ice. Other elements are best left to other Arts, but sitting can serve as a convenient way to burn or freeze, as well as manipulate temperature in more exotic ways.

The basic way to start sitting is to find a comfortable, quiet place that was the site of a death, or the final resting place of a body, and measured breaths and relaxed thoughts to enter a trance.

Magical Arts

Dark Arts: Introduction to Maleficium

This series will examine the most potente forbiddene artes that they don’t want you to know about. 

The maleficium is the oldest kind of dark magic still used today. It has gone by many names, but it’s most famously known as the evil eye. Early on, humans refined the maleficium, transforming envy, contempt, and bitterness into a powerful curse.
The maleficium can blight plants, plague animals, and enfeeble humans. In the hands (or eyes) of a skilled practitioner, maleficium can destroy nearly anything in its path-but never directly. The curse is always passive and subtle.

Using the maleficium is illegal in most jurisdictions. There are some defenses against the evil eye, which I’ll go over briefly. The hamsa, which mimics and reflects the evil eye, serves as a counter-curse. The ill winds of the maleficium are bounced back by the hand. Another simple technique is sympathetic lockdown. If you tie your identity and your body together, sympathetic magic like maleficium can’t break through the bond.