Lesson 6) Applying Your Will

Welcome to Lesson Six of Charms class. For those of you who chose to complete it, I hope the Midterm Examination was not too bad and that you all managed to successfully follow the directions and complete it. From here we just have a few more topics to discuss, some review and the Final Examination for your first year.

A Matter of Will

We often think of using magic as just saying the proper phrase, or incantation, and conducting the proper wand movement. However, as last week demonstrated, some spells also require that we concentrate upon the target or upon accomplishing our objectives for the spell. This week we'll be talking about another component that spells can require.

Think of willpower as mental power, similar to how strength represents physical power. For the non-magical, willpower is simply a measurement of one's ability to control their emotions, avoid bad temptations and make their thoughts and ideas known. For those with magical ability, we use our willpower to perform magic, to make the impossible possible.

As with concentration, some spells, such as the  Wand-Lighting Charm, don't require an effort of will to successfully work.  Other spells, such as the Fire-Making Charm, require a fair amount of willpower to successfully cast. With just a small effort of will, a First Year student can use the spell to light a candle. However, as you progress through the years you'll find yourself able to direct more and more of your magic into the desired effect. As always you should be cautious; the more will you focus into a spell, the more violent the backfire if your spell fails.

Applying your will to affect a spell is like pushing on a heavy box, but with your mind. With your mind focused upon the target of your spell, you then think about the effect of your spell and nothing else. This effort will subconsciously cause your body to direct more magic toward your effect. Be careful, however. If you attempt to use too much magic without having practiced sufficiently, you could find yourself with a wicked headache. A good way to practice increasing your willpower is through meditation!

It's important to also separate the idea of concentration from the idea of willpower. Concentration is one's ability to pinpoint what they want to affect with a spell and how the spell should act. Willpower is the mental muscle that drives a spell and provides the power for it to function. If concentration determines where the water in a hose goes, willpower determines the amount of water being forced through the hose.

The Levitation Charm, Revisited

Today we're going to look at a charm we first spoke about several lessons ago. By now I would expect you all to be able to perform a Levitation Charm on fairly light objects such as feathers, paper, or even small stones.

The Levitation Charm requires minimal power when you first learn how to cast it, but if you want to lift heavier objects, you must expend a greater effort of will. The Levitation Charm exhibits minimal backfire even if you exert your will, which makes it a decent spell to practice with. Just be careful that you don't lose track of what you're concentrating upon. You don't want to accidentally target your bed or desk and end up wrecking your room!

Making a heavier object levitate requires more willpower throughout the casting of the spell. You need to visualize magic flowing from you while performing the swish and, at the flick, visualize extra magic embracing your target and making it light enough to move. Typically, if you don't yet possess the willpower to make the object move the worst that happens is nothing.

The Sticking Charm

Today we will also be talking about the Sticking Charm. I have chosen this spell because its strength depends directly upon how much willpower you put forth. The Sticking Charm is used to stick one surface to another, whether this is two halves of a container, a lock to a door frame, or posters to a wall.

The first time the Sticking Charm was employed, according to historical record, it was used aboard roman battle vessels around approximately 100 B.C.E. Witches and wizards would use this spell to keep objects from falling off ships during storms and to help fasten loose doors closed. It was also used to stick fiery debris to enemy ships or prevent cannons from firing.

Of course the Sticking Charm eventually began losing popularity to more permanent solutions and spells, particularly after the Unlocking Charm proved an effective counterspell. This is another reason why the Sticking Charm is good for First Year practice; not only is it a good practice of a witch or wizard's willpower, but it provides a means for practicing the Unlocking Charm on more than just physical locks.

Incantation: Astrictus (a-STRIK-toose)
Wand Movement: The infinity symbol starting and ending in the center, encircling the two objects. (∞ )
Willpower: High; determines how long the objects will remain stuck and how hard they are to separate
Concentration: Medium; on the two parts that should be stuck together

At its simplest, the Sticking Charm holds two objects, that are already touching when the spell is cast, together. It doesn't work on living animals, though you could certainly stick a flower to a book cover, for instance. The spell can also be used to hold two halves of a box together or a lock to the door it is attached to, though again the willpower employed by the caster determines how difficult this is to overcome.

Spell failure for the Sticking Charm may result in the two objects not sticking, the wrong objects sticking together, or a backfire which usually results in the caster being stuck to the floor or other odd instances (such as the caster's hair being stuck together). It's better to seek help from a skilled witch or wizard in order to be unstuck in these cases.

The Sticking Charm requires all of the elements from the previous weeks, but willpower is the most essential. Without a sufficient amount of effort, the charm will not function at all. Even if your will is strong enough to make the charm work, it will not last very long unless you train yourself to use more magic. A good casting of the spell results in a bond that lasts for several days, or even weeks if cast well enough.

This spell can be countered with the Unlocking Charm, though the better it is cast the harder it is to counter. It's usually good practice to find a partner in class and take turns casting Sticking Charms upon two objects and then countering them with the Unlocking Charm. You'll find your own Sticking Charm fairly easy to bypass, though it's quite a bit more challenging when you're attempting to counter someone else's magic.

Remember, your journals for Lesson Six and Lesson Seven will be due next lesson! This week you only have a worksheet to complete. Good luck and see you next week!

Image credit: Shape.com, Uncyclopedia

Year One of Charms presents an overview of the basics of spellcasting. Beginning with essential wizarding laws and touching briefly upon wandlore, we then discuss the components that are present within spells. Along the way you’ll learn of and practice the basic spells that all beginning witches and wizards should know. We’ll explore how such basic spells as the Severing Charm, the Levitation Charm and the Sunlight Charm demonstrate these fundamental aspects of spellcasting.
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