Lesson 8) Earth Charms
Today we will continue learning about substantive charms, but before we begin I would like to remind you of the upcoming final exam! If you haven’t already, I would strongly suggest reviewing the different categories of counter charms, how they affect one another, and why a certain pair of charms may fit into one or multiple categories. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Professor Brigham and I will do my best to clarify!
Unlike water and air charms, earth charms revolve around solid materials. A solid is a sample of matter that retains its shape even when not confined. The atoms in a solid are compressed as tightly as possible, leaving only enough room for small amounts of vibration. There are two different types of solids found in nature: crystalline solids and amorphous solids. While the atoms of these compounds may not be different, it is the way they are arranged that determines which category they belong in. Crystalline solids have a very ordered structure at the molecular level and produce very rigid solids, such as diamonds, graphite, and quartz. Amorphous solids have a shorter range of order in their molecular structure, are less rigid, and are prone to breakage or chipping.
It may not seem like these different types of solids are important, but they do affect the success of the spells you will learn in today’s lesson. An amorphous solid will require less force to break, but the digging, cutting, or breaking into a crystalline solid will require significantly more willpower to damage due to their rigid and inflexible nature. In addition, the way that the solids break is another factor that one should take into consideration when performing the spells you will learn today. Crystalline solids will break in a clean plane and will produce smooth edges. Those edges may still be sharp so please do not test them! Amorphous solids will break in a ragged fashion, typically displaying harmful jagged edges, or breaking apart into different shapes. This factor is extremely important in specific uses of earth spells such as magical construction, lapidary, and archaeological digs at historical sites. It would not do to accidentally try and gouge out part of building and cause a fracture that ruins the entire base structure or try and cut a gem and produce a clean break instead!
The Gouging Charm
Incantation: Defodio (deh-FOH-dee-oh)
Wand Movement: Move your wand upward, to the right, and up once more. It should look like you are drawing the step of a staircase.
Willpower: Medium to high; depends upon the material and depth of the indent you wish to make.
Concentration: High; Keep it on the solid you want to affect. Continue to focus on the path you wish the gouging to follow. This will vary depending upon how precise you wish to be.
The Gouging Charm, sometimes referred to as the Sculpting Charm by artists, can be utilized by a variety of people. This spell is often used for those participating in archaeological research to chip away at the stone or wood surrounding their desired object. It can also be used by herbologists if they need to dig for a particular seed or root, or even by aurors and curse-breakers should the need arise to dig into an underground safehouse or treasure room.
It is important to remember that the severity of the gouge depends heavily upon how much willpower you exert. If you are dealing with a softer metal or dirt, you do not need to exert a significant amount of willpower as the material is more prone to splitting or being torn apart. However, if you want to try and create a small hole in a rock wall, that would require more willpower as the material is less likely to give in. There are also certain substances and materials that are more prone to retaining their shape after using such a charm. This typically comes down to the plasticity of an object. Stiffness refers to an object's ability to be shaped or molded. In this case, we are referring to the ability of an object to maintain it’s shape after being gouged. Substances such as sand, dust, or very dry dirt have low stifness. If you tried to gouge out part of a beach, you may create a hole but it would quickly be filled by the surrounding sand. However, if you were to use the gouging charm to try and sculpt pottery, the clay would hold its shape much better.
Incantation: Efosso (eh-FOH-so)
Wand movement: Point your wand where you wish to tunnel and move it in a clockwise circle.
Willpower: Medium to high; depends on how fast the drill must turn to break through and continue pushing through the material.
Concentration: High; The object or solid you want to tunnel through. Visualize your wand creating a drill at its tip and drilling through the solid.
The Tunneling Charm also has a wide variety of uses, many of them similar to the Gouging Charm. The biggest difference between these two charms is whether you wish to simply chip away or tunnel through the solid. This is a useful tool for herbologists when plants with long roots, or plans that require a very strong root, must be planted. The Tunneling Charm can also be used when laying irrigation systems. However, you must be aware of the consistency of the dirt and whether it would be able to stand on its own while the pipes are inserted into the tunnels. It can also be useful for other professions as well, but I must warn you that this charm is capable of causing structural damage to a building. If you are not careful, an entire building could come crashing down if you tunnel through the wrong area!
The success of this spell depends entirely upon whether you exert the necessary willpower to break through a specific material. It is easy to drill through a patch of dirt in the ground, but not nearly as simple to tunnel through walls of stone with multiple layers of concrete making up many floors. When tunneling through a wall or floor it is important to note that the type of solid may differ as you continue to tunnel. The walls may look to be made of stone, but there could be concrete, wood, or even metal behind it. Being able to vary your willpower depending on the resistance you feel is important!
Earth Extraction Charm
Incantation: Evellere (ev-eh-LER-eh)
Wand Movement: Point your wand at the ground and move upwards rapidly.
Willpower: Medium to high; depends upon how durable you want the wall to be.
Concentration: Medium; The section of the ground you wish to pull up. Visualize the ground rising up to form the wall.
The Earth Extraction Charm extracts a small wall made of ground up in front of you. It is typically ragged with little refinement, but that can be fixed with the next spell we are going to learn. This spell has multiple uses and is a favorite of many who enjoy camping or living out in the wilderness. A man by the name of Marcus Rolland and his son Derrick were camping during the summer when they were notified of a huge thunderstorm approaching their site. They only had the packs they had carried with them while hiking into the hills, but needed to find shelter before the storm hit. Rolland quickly began using the Earth Extraction Charm to pull up three walls and shaped them so that they created a pyramidal structure, which protected them through the night. In addition to survival, the Earth Extraction Charm is simple enough to be used in a duel as a makeshift shield if necessary, but be warned that it will not last long against a barrage of spells!
As with the other spells, one must take into account the plasticity or density of the material being extracted. It is possible to extract low plasticity materials such as sand by increasing your willpower, which will in turn compact the material tightly to increase its durability. However, when this occurs, the wall will become much smaller as the space between the particles decreases. Even with the compaction it is important to understand that walls made of these substances will not last against severe weather conditions or extremely strong spells. There are beautiful homes called Mud Homes that are made partially with this charm in conjunction with a few other spells. It is simply amazing what our magic can do!
Incantation: Formae (FOR-meh)
Wand Movement: Run your wand along the sides of the target smoothing and shaping.
Willpower: Low to medium; depends upon how much work is needed to shape the wall.
Concentration: Medium; The area of the wall you want to affect. Visualize the finished product.
The Earth Extraction Charm pulls up a wall of earth with ragged edges and a variety of shapes. While this wouldn’t matter if you were using it as a shield in a duel, it would be more significant if you were trying to build a house or sculpt it in some way. The Shaping Charm is often used to refine the earth slab by rounding the edges and smoothing the sides.
In order for this spell to be successful, you must focus upon the area of the slab you wish to smooth or shape. Then concentrate on how you want the edges to look or the shape you wish the wall to take. Your willpower is one of the more crucial components with this spell because it will affect the severity of the shaping.
Artifact Restoration and Lapidary
There are many different uses for earth charms, as listed above, but one of the most popular is the use in artifact restoration. This includes ancient artifact restoration and lapidary, a famous craft known as gem cutting. Many of the spells we’ve already learned can help with these processes.
Artifact restoration is permanent change and is not something to take lightly. Cleaning, smoothing, or replacing significant parts can alter the historical integrity of an artifact. Due to this, it is imperative that the only people who perform these restorations understand the original context of an artifact, its materials, and how to properly clean and restore it. There are many spells that can be used to restore ancient artifacts made from stone and other earth materials. If it is an ancient piece of art, some artifact restoration artists may use the Earth Extraction Charm to repair damaged fragments. Some artifacts simply need to be cleaned using cleaning charms such as Scouring Charm.
Another use is during lapidary, or gem cutting. Many archaeologists and even some curse-breakers find rare, powerful gems that are very rough and unable to function at their full potential. In order to curb this problem, or just make the gems more appealing, lapidarists will cut the gems according to specific formations, which allow their magic to be used to it’s full potential, and smooths the edges to produce the beautiful crystals you often see in jewelry stores. This can be done using the Shaping Charm, but it is important to remember to run the gem under water every now and then to wash away any debris that has formed from the shaping. Some lapidarists must drill holes through the gems in order to make them fit into specific pieces of jewelry and will use the Tunneling Charm to do so, running the stone under water to ensure a clean a precise cut!
As previously mentioned, another useful spell that is used with the above spells is the Scouring Charm! Because when one is working with the earth, one often makes a mess! This is a very useful charm as it can remove dirt and debris from an object. This is also a handy spell to use around the house or in your dorm in order to keep your area tidy and clean.
Incantation: Scourgify (SKUR-ji-fy)
Wand Movement: Move your wand in as S-shape.
Willpower: Low to medium; depends upon how stuck the grime is upon the object.
Concentration: Low; The object you wish to clean. Visualize the object clear, with no dust or debris.
I highly encourage you to practice the charms you have learned on a variety of materials, including gemstones, if you find any, to see how the material can affect the necessary willpower for each spell!
This week you will have a short worksheet to complete and there is an optional essay in which you can describe your practice in shaping and polishing a stone or gem you have found on the grounds at Hogwarts. Be sure to have fun and stay safe when practicing!
Image credit: NDT Research Center, Harry Potter Wiki, The Mud Home, Free Form Ch,