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45 Magic Terms That Every Beginner Should Know About

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When you start to learn a new trade or skill inevitably, the first thing you need to know is the language. You need to know the lingo. Without it, you often can’t understand what anyone is talking about, and you don’t know where to start.

Magic has its own weird and wondrous set of terminology. From specific terms for the type of equipment and cards you use to specific names for secret pockets hidden in a magician’s jacket, there are lots of terms you need to know to set your magical knowledge in motion.

Magic Terms for Beginners 

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Whether you’re interested in becoming a magician yourself, or just fostering some curiosity in your kids, you need to start with a list of basic magic terms. Here are 45 of the best magic 101 terms that every budding magician needs to know.

1. Confederate

No, this isn’t a history lesson. In magic, a confederate refers to a person who is planted in the audience who conspires with the magician to perform an illusion. They are also known as plants, stooges, or shills. They might be present to distract the audience, or to participate in some phase of the trick.

2. Misdirection

This is the foundation of magic. Misdirection is the ability to get the audience to look at something else while you make a secret move. Without misdirection many of your secrets would be revealed. Controlling misdirection allows you to control the audience, and it can take many forms. Misdirection may involve movement, conversation, or even humor.

3. Patter

Patter is the story that a magician tells. It’s the lead-up to the trick. Having patter that is engaging is also a form of misdirection. It will keep your audience concentrating on what you say rather than just watching what you do. It can take many forms like instruction, or it may be posed as a question to the audience.

4. Utility Prop

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A utility prop is a hard working magic prop that can be used in more than one routine. A length of rope, or a hat are both good examples of utility props because you can use them time and time again.

5.  Moment of Magic

After the lead-up, and the storytelling, and the setting of the scene, the moment of magic is when the cool stuff happens. The moment of magic is when things levitate, or disappear, or morph into something else. It’s also when the audience tends to gasp, or react. For both the audience and the magician, the moment of magic is the best part.

6. Self Working Trick

These are tricks that are easy to perform because they require no skill from the magician. That is no skill other than practice and stage presence. These tricks might employ a gimmick prop like a jacket with a secret compartment or a loaded die.

7. Flashing

Just like in the real world, flashing in magic is not a good thing. It happens when a magician accidentally shows off something that is meant to stay hidden. You might drop a coin that was supposed to stay hidden, or reveal a secret door. The possibilities for flashing are endless, and practice is the best medicine.

8. Blind Shuffle

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A kind of card shuffling in which you appear to shuffle the cards, but actually leave them in their original position. This makes it much easier to predict the result of a pick a card, any car.

9. The French Drop

This sleight of hand trick is one of the oldest ways of vanishing an object such as a small coin.  To perform it, you hold a coin by its edges, tilted slightly upward in one hand. Then you use your other hand to pretend to take the coin away. In actuality you have just palmed the coin in your first hand.

10. Palming

Majician holding a red small ball
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Speaking of palming, this little trick will get you a lot of mileage. In magic, palming is a way of holding, or concealing an object in the palm of your hand. Palming can be used to produce 4 effects. It can be used for vanishing, producing, transposing, and transforming.

11. Locator

A card this is marked in some way that helps you find it. Maybe it’s a card with a texture that is different from the others, or maybe it is a card that is slightly longer than the other cards in the deck. The difference can be achieved in many ways, but the goal is for the locator to stand out.

12. Prestidigitation

This is a fun one to have in your vocabulary. It translates to “quick fingers” and is often used to mean sleight of hand. If you like to work a little vintage magic into your routine, then you will definitely want to give this magic term a whirl. Preferably while you tip your top hat to the audience.

13. Clean

In magic, clean means you have nothing left to hide. Nothing is up your sleeve, except this time you really mean it.

14.  Levitation

The art of making people, or objects appear to float off the ground. Levitation has a long and fascinating magical history, and it relies most heavily on misdirection to achieve its effect.

15. Balducci Levitation

This famous levitation trick was first described by Ed Balducci and was later made popular by David Blaine. The simple illusion is achieved when the magician stands to the side so that the audience only sees one foot clearly.

Then the magician raises up on the ball of the hidden foot at the same time that they raise the visible foot completely off the ground. It’s an elaborate way of standing on tip-toe, but it makes the magician appear to hover a few inches above the ground.

16. Servante

This is a secret compartment on the magician’s side of a table that allows them to secretly stow items. It is a gimmick prop, but it stiller quires the skill of the magician to employ misdirection in order to successfully make use of it.

17. Topit

A topit is a secret pocket in a magician’s jacket that allows them to swiftly hide an object.

18. Sleight of Hand

This is magic that is typically performed with cards, or small objects, like coins. It is less dependent on props or gimmicks, and more dependent on the quickness and skill of the magician.

19. Close up Magic

Cards shuffled in the table
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When magicians use the term close up magic they are generally referring to card tricks. Close up magic is magic that is performed within a few feet of the audience. It usually involves sleight of hand and small objects such as coins, or cards. Examples of famous close up magic tricks include palming, the French Drop, and the ever popular among grandparents, detachable thumb

20. Parlor Magic

This term refers to magic that is performed for an audience that is larger than close up magic, but still relatively small. You might not know what a parlor is, so just consider the number of people who could fit in your living room. Parlor magic also usually involves the magician being on the same level as the audience and not elevate as on a stage.

21. Cold

A cold deck of cards is one that is switched in during a trick. It is cold because the deck has not been shuffled. This allows the magician greater control over how the cards are arranged.

22. Angles

In magic, angles refer to the line of sight of audience members. It’s important to know the angles so that you can control what the audience is looking at.

23. Inspection

Inspection is the part of a magician’s routine when the audience is asked to inspect a prop and make sure that everything is as it should be. Audience members might be asked to check that there is no trap door inside of a cabinet, or feel that there are no holes in the hat.

24. Dirty

This magic term refers to when a magician has something hidden in their hands, or when they have appeared to vanish an object by hiding it in their hands.

25. Flourish

A flourish refers to the showy way you display your card handling skills. It’s a razzle-dazzle kind of effect.

26. Oil and Water

Oil and water is a card effect that leaves red and black cards separated from one another. While it appears to involve some sleight of hand, it is also a gimmick trick that makes use of some versatile double-sided tape.

27. Ditch

The (hopefully) undetected point at which you get rid of an object like a coin, or a rabbit, or maybe even a person.

28. Effect

In magic terms, the effect is how the magic trick is experienced by the spectator. So you might make a coin disappear by sliding it into your pocket, but for the audience the effect is that the coin has disappeared into thin air.

29. Talking

This is an important magic term to know because it does not mean what you think it means. Talking is not what you do. Talking is what your props do. Talking refers to accidental noises that your props can make that might give away a bit of the magic.

30. Zombie Ball

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A zombie ball is the term for the large metal ball that magicians levitate under a cloth and then roll along the length of their arm. You’ve probably seen the Zombie ball trick performed dozens of times, and now you know the name.  

31. Mercury Fold

This is a sleight of hand trick in which the dealer, or magician folds a card under the deck undetected. This tutorial here walks you through performing this trick, and it provides ideas for how you might use it throughout your magic routine. Basically, anytime you want to produce a folded card out of nowhere, the mercury fold is your best bet.

32.  Sleeving

A card trick using longsleeve
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Sleeving is the art of dropping a prop into your sleeve in order to make it disappear. When magicians say there is nothing up their sleeve you can be pretty sure that thanks to sleeving, there most certainly is.

33. Transposition

This category of magic effect is achieved when a magician makes two objects change places with one another. The magician may make objects transpose multiple times within the same illusion, and he or she may even finish by changing the items into something else entirely.

34. Mentalism

Mentalism is performed by people who call themselves mentalists rather than magicians. Mentalists exhibit seemingly highly developed mental powers, such as mind-reading, hypnotism, mind control, and telepathy.

They generally do not like to attribute their success to illusion or trickery, but rather to astute observation, and in some cases, supernatural power.  

35. Mechanic’s Grip

A person who is very good at sleight of hand tricks is often called a mechanic, and a mechanic’s grip refers to the skilled way they hold a deck of cards. Whereas a typical person might hold a deck of cards with their fingers all underneath, or along the edge of the deck, a mechanic will grip the pack with their forefinger on the top. This allows them to have better control over the cards.

36. Impromptu Magic

Impromptu magic does not require a stage, or fancy props. It is magic that can be done with whatever is around you. This is perhaps why you so often see magic performed with everyday objects like coins and paperclips. Magicians use what is commonly on hand.

37. Double Backed Card

Magic Makers Bicycle Red Double Back Deck
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This sneaky little piece of magician equipment is a single card that has the design of the pack of cards printed on both sides. It has no face, and it can, therefore, be used to trick the audience in a number of different ways. You can easily find packs of multiple double backed cards like this one here.

38. The Invisible Deck

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The invisible deck is a utility pack of cards that has a rough and a smooth side that allows the cards to stick together, or slide apart depending on the touch of the dealer.

It is used in the Invisible Deck trick in which a magician appears to be able to predict and produce the exact card that an audience member says, from a pack of unopened cards.

39. Out

You don’t have to worry about getting 3 strikes in magic. An “out” simply refers to an alternate ending to an effect. Magicians might need an out if a prop fails, or if the audience reacts differently than expected.

An out represents the necessity of magicians to think quickly on their feet to preserve the effect.  

40. Stodare Egg

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This hollowed out egg is used in tricks to vanish objects such as silks. Many companies manufacture fake eggs, but some magicians, oddly enough, prefer a real egg.

41. Stack

Stacking the cards is a way of arranging them based on the needs of the trick. This is done while shuffling the cards and involves a sleight of hand so as to go unnoticed by the audience.

42. A Thumb Tip

This prop is designed to look like a real thumb, and it fits over a magician’s actual thumb as a way to hide objects. Small objects like coins and silks are pressed into the thumb tip while concealed in the palm of the opposite hand and then magically produced by pulling them from the tip.

43. Dove Pan

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If you’ve ever wanted to pull a dove out of an empty pan, then you need to learn the dove pan effect. With the right prop, you can produce doves or any small bird from out of thin air.

In fact, the possibilities of what you can produce are pretty much endless, as long as it fits in the pan. The secret of course lies in the lid that goes on top of the pan. Its deep brim obscures another pan that can be filled with objects and placed over the existing pan.

44. Gaff

A gaff refers to a gimmick that is meant to look like something real while accomplishing something secret. Magicians use lots of gaffs and the custom cards found here are just one example of how intricate and tricky these props can be in order to keep up the illusion.

45. Magic Dust

Magic dust is simply an excuse for a magician to go into his or her pocket to vanish, or produce an item. If you were performing a trick in which you needed to vanish a coin in your pocket you might explain to the audience that you needed magic dust in order to make the trick work. At least magic dust is one prop you don’t have to purchase.

A Great Foundation for a Love of Magic 

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This list of magic terms should put you well on your way to getting your magical bearings. You can now read through magician forums and trick instruction books with a foundational knowledge, and a little bit of confidence.

You can engage in conversation with other amateur magicians, and you can seek out more knowledge about specific areas of magic as your interests intensify.

The 11 Best Magician Books to Help You Perfect Your Tricks

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Magic is the art of seemingly breaking reality to induce a moment of wonder in your audience. It can re-enchant the world around us. Anyone seeking the best magician books likely wants to join this illustrious tradition of infusing mundane reality with a glimmer of the supernatural.

However, in real life, wizards aren’t born. The world is not divided into muggles and Harry Potters. If you wish to wave a wand and produce a rabbit from a hat, you need to consult some of the best magician books.

The only thing standing between you and the ability to amaze your friends is a stack of the best magic books around.

It is for this reason we put this list of what we have assembled a list of 11 essential, magically educational books to blow your friends’ minds.

We’ll provide you with these 11 titles, but first we answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about the best magician books on today’s market.

Magician Book FAQs

Here’s everything you need to know about magic books, and how to choose the right ones to learn about tricks.

1. What Is a Magician Book?

We should be clear; we do not mean “grimoires” or “spellbooks” or other trappings of what is known as “Magick.” If you want to avoid books on the supernatural, there is no need to worry.

The best magician books we found do not tell you how to summon demons or unlock your inner psychic potential. Instead, these books focus on redirection, trick objects, and sleight of hand.

You will still amaze those around you, but you won’t risk provoking the ire of anything demonic in the process.

2. Where Can I Find the Best Magician Books?

We highly recommend going to a premium magic shop to find the best magician books around. The best magic shops will even teach you how to do the trick once you have purchased the necessary materials. If you’ve been to a magic shop that has a curtained-off area, this is often the purpose.

However, we know that many of our readers are citizens of the internet, so the best magician books on this list are available online at Amazon.com.

3. What Other Materials Will I Need?

The additional materials you will need to pull off the illusions listed in these books vary. Some books require nothing more than ordinary coins and cards, whereas others will require you to craft some items.

The additional materials required is a consideration to be made before purchasing one of the best magician books we’ve listed.

4. Is There Anything Else I Need to Consider Before Purchasing a Book About Magic?

It is helpful to ask yourself what sort of illusionist you would like to be. Knowing what tricks you’d like to do or illusions you’d like to perform will help you find the ideal book.

How We Reviewed

After combing the internet for the best magician books, we narrowed our list down to 11 entries. Each of these we evaluated in terms of a summary, where to buy them, their areas of concentration, their length, and their format.

Each of these factors ought to help you decide which of these top 11 are perfect for you.

What We Reviewed

  • The Amateur Magician’s Handbook
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Street Magic
  • Now You See It, Now You Don’t!: Lessons in Sleight of Hand
  • Magic For Dummies
  • Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic
  • The Royal Road to Card Magic 
  • Strong Magic 
  • Magic: The Complete Course
  • Modern Coin Magic: 116 Coin Sleights and 236 Coin Tricks
  • The Trick Brain
  • The Art of Astonishment 
  • Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards

The Amateur Magician’s Handbook 

(by Henry Hay)

Image via Amazon


A great beginner’s guide, this is a no-frills magician book that will provide the tools you need to perform illusions. It is likely that even experienced illusionists find parts of this book enlightening or mentally refreshing, but this book is written to the amateur. Over 200 illustrations make this book quite easy to read and understand.

Where to Buy

You can buy this book used through Amazon’s offer listings, as it is no longer being printed.

Areas of Concentration

Fundamentals of illusions, object-based tricks


430 pages



The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Street Magic

(by Tom Ogden)

the complete idiot's guide to doing street magic
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You don’t have to be a complete idiot to enjoy this guide. While everything that Tom Ogden illustrates can be understood by a complete idiot, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Street Magic will teach even geniuses great illusions to perform on the street. If you’ve ever envied David Blaine, this is the book for you.

Where to Buy

This book is available through Amazon’s offers section, as it is no longer in print.

Areas of Concentration

Street magic


400 pages



Now You See It, Now You Don’t!: Lessons in Sleight of Hand

now you see it now you don't magicians book by bill tarr
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(by Bill Tarr)


Sleight of hand is more than just a Dungeons and Dragons skill for Rogues. Sleight of hand is an essential skill for the practiced illusionist. Bill Tarr’s book provides a great format for learning about this subtle and impressive art. You can trust this book, which has been in print for over twenty-five years.

Where to Buy

This book is available on Amazon through their offers section, as it is not currently in print.

Areas of Concentration

Sleight of hand


224 pages



Magic For Dummies

(by David Pogue)

magic for dummies by david pogue
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So maybe you’re not a “Complete Idiot” and you want to master magic. If you’re just a “Dummy” (or really, anything more intelligent), then this is the magic book for you. David Pogue applies his vast experience to teaching new magicians how to amaze their friends.

This book is great for those who wish to perform quick, small-scale illusions that will leave audience members scratching their heads.

Where to Buy

You can purchase this book on Amazon.

Areas of Concentration

Card and coin tricks, small-scale illusions


416 pages



Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic

(by Mark Anthony Wilson)

Mark Wilson's complete course in magic
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This book has one of our favorite covers of all the entries on our list of the best magician books. As the title implies, Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic is a complete course. It lists detailed instructions on how to perform over three hundred illusions, including those performed with cards, money, ropes, handkerchiefs and even cups and balls. The diagrams are very useful.

Where to Buy

This book is available on Amazon’s offers section, used and new.

Areas of Concentration

Illusions with cards, money, ropes, handkerchiefs, and cups and balls


472 pages


Hardcover and paperback

The Royal Road to Card Magic

(by Frederick Braue and Jean Hugard)

the royal road to card magic
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Card magic may be among the most iconic illusions performed by illusionists. The Royal Road to Card Magic by both Frederick Braue and Jean Hugard combines mentalism and classic card trick sleight of hand to make you the master of the classic deck of fifty-two. The great part of this book is that it includes video clip downloads to show you the tricks—great news for all the visual learners out there!

Where to Buy

This book is available used and new through Amazon’s offers section.

Areas of Concentration

Card tricks


282 pages


Paperback with video clip links

Strong Magic 

(by Darwin Ortiz)

Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz
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Sometimes that weak magic just doesn’t cut the mustard. Darwin Ortiz’s Strong Magic changes that game. This book has the most mystical vibe of the entries we’ve so far covered on our list of the best magician books available. Its baroque cover opens to reveal a world of easy-to-learn, impressive-to-master, close-up magic tricks.

Where to Buy

This book is available on Amazon.

Areas of Concentration

Close-up magic


379 pages



Magic: The Complete Course

(by Joshua Jay)


With 500 full-color how-to images, Magic: The Complete Course feels complete. You can learn a plethora of tricks from this book, and it even has sections devoted more toward children than adults. Being a “complete” course, it explores a variety of illusion styles.

Where to Buy

Areas of Concentration

Close-up magic


288 pages


Paperback (Kindle also available)

Modern Coin Magic: 116 Coin Sleights & 236 Coin Tricks

(By J.B. Bobo)


Nobody knows coin tricks like J.B. Bobo. With one simple object that most people have in their pockets, you can master over one hundred coin sleights and over two hundred coin tricks. These are much more impressive than just pulling a quarter out from someone’s ear.

Where to Buy

Areas of Concentration

Coin sleights, coin tricks


380 pages


Hardcover, kindle, and paperback

The Trick Brain

(by Dariel Fitzkee)


Understanding the psychology behind a magic trick can take your illusions to the next level. That is exactly what The Trick Brain helps you understand. We find this book to be a bit too advanced for some early learners and teens, but for the magician with their eyes on the prize, this is a wonderful addition to their bookshelf.

Where to Buy

Areas of Concentration

Psychological basis of illusions


314 pages



Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards 

(by Joshua Jay)


One of our favorite features of Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards is that it includes a section of “bets you can’t lose.” That’s right, if you’ve got a gullible acquaintance with deep pockets, this book can help you befuddle them and make some money in the process. The financial aspect alone puts it on this list.

We were hard-pressed to find a better example of a book of illusions that focuses on one aspect of magic so adeptly. Although the concentration on cards may seem limiting, in actuality, one can learn many skills from the focus on one object.

Card tricks require planning, sleight of hand, and a great deal of mentalism to pull off. Plus, we know how the potential for gaining more money will motivate people.

Where to Buy

You can purchase this book on Amazon.

Areas of Concentration

Tricks, Shuffles, Stunts & Hustles, and Bets You Can’t Lose


208 pages



The Verdict

What ends up being the best magician book for you will be determined by the area of concentration you wish to focus on. For instance, if you plan on performing your magic close up, then we recommend you reach for Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz or Magic: The Complete Course by Joshua Jay. If coins are more your style, you just cannot beat J.B. Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic: 116 Coin Sleights & 236 Coin Tricks.

We imagine that most will want a single book with high variety to it. In which case, the Magic For Dummies by David Pogue and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Street Magic by David Ogden will serve you well.

We are highly tempted to give the award to The Trick Brain, which does an incredible job laying out the framework of a magic trick. However, since we know how eager many people reading this list are to amaze their friends, and even make money on some one-sided bets, we award our number one spot to Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards.

13 Magic Symbols You Need to Know and Their Meanings

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one of the many magic symbols

If you enjoy watching television or binge-watching Netflix, you'll notice an upward trend in shows that revolve around magic. From The Librarians to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and several Netflix originals, magic-based television shows have made a comeback. That brings questions about spells and magic symbols that many don't know how to answer. To help demystify the world of magic, we've put together a list of 13 magic symbols you need to know and what those symbols mean.

What Magic Symbols Are All About

While there are definitely over 13 magic symbols, they all have some commonalities. Magic symbols are all meant to do something based on the intent of the user. Some practitioners use magic symbols, such as runes, as a magical language. Others use magic symbols to cast spells and some use them as protective sigils. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure you understand the meaning behind the magic symbol you're using if you want to get the outcome you desire.

To understand magic symbols, and their potential meanings, you need to understand that while most magic symbols are universal among magic practitioners, magic symbols can have different origins and have different uses depending on the magic is being practiced. For example, almost everyone, practitioners and non-practitioners alike are familiar with a pentagram. Someone wears it as a testament of faith but also as a protective talisman and, like most things Wiccan or pagan, got its start in Christianity.

Another magic symbol popular in movies is the Eye of Horus or the Eye of Ra. As the name suggests this is an image of an Egyptian-style eye. Whether worn as an amulet or carved on a rune the Eye of Horus is a magic symbol of protection and all-seeing divine power. Magic symbols can be a language, usually known as runes, that are of Norse origins and created by Father Odin. The word rune means secret and practitioners use them to cast spells and wards with no one the wiser.

13 Magic Symbols You Need to Know and Their Meanings

For movie watchers, understanding magic symbols can make a show more interesting. For those who are new to the art of magic, knowing what to use and when can create the spell or set the desired protection. Whether you are a believer in magic or just a history buff, the meanings of magic symbols are interesting. Below we've listed the 13 magic symbols we think are important to know and what they mean:

blazing red candle

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  • Horned God
  • Hexagram
  • Besom
  • Moon Phases
  • Mars Sign
  • Celtic Shield
  • Ankh
  • Athame
  • Air
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Witches Knot
blazing red candle

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Horned God

horned god

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The Horned God is sometimes depicted as a circle topped by what appears to be a crescent moon and is one of the few male magic symbols. The crescent moon, in reality, is a representation of the horns of a goat or another antlered beast. This magic symbol can mean strength, courage, or any masculine energy. The Horned God can be cast in spells of fertility or as a request for a successful hunt.


solomon hexagram

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A Hexagram, also known as the Seal of Solomon or the Star of David, is actually two magic symbols. The upright triangle is the female symbol of water and the other triangle is the male symbol of fire. Both are elements of nature that are used in a variety of spells. In Christianity, the Hexagram symbolizes heaven and earth and can even be seen in the stained glass of churches. In magic, the Hexagram is used to call upon spirits or spiritual elements.


broom of a witch

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The Besom is another word for a broom. This is another magic symbol that is both male and female with the handle being the male and the bristles representing the female. There are several uses for the Besom in magic. Using it in a sweeping fashion can represent sweeping negativity and bad spirits from your home. Bristles up near a doorway are meant as a protective talisman when placed under someone's bed and offer the sleeper protection through the night.

Moon Phases

phases of the moon

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The phases of the moon have always been important to people. Sailors have depended on it to change the tide. People swear that the cycle of the moon can alter one's behavior. As a magic symbol, the Moon Phases tell you when to cast certain spells. Spells meant for renewal should be done during the new moon, for change during the waxing moon, for bounty during the full moon, for a fresh start during a waning moon, and for peace and harmony during the dark moon.

Mars Sign

mars zodiac sign

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Not only is the Mars Sign notably male and representative of the Roman god of war, it is also an aggressive magic symbol. There are many practitioners who believe in harming none and in a three-fold rule. That means that whatever you cast out will revisit you times three. The three-fold rule is to curb the impulse to cast in anger or out of spite. The three-fold rule is imagined to apply only as long as you are NOT using the Mars Sign. Using this magic symbol is thought to counter any magic cast against you.

Celtic Shield

celtic shield

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The Celtic Shield is a popular amulet design and is Irish in origin. There are two meanings to this magic symbol. The first meaning is eternity, which is represented in the never-ending flow of the design. The second meaning is that of unbroken protection. People wear Celtic Shield amulets and have intricate tattoos today, and the same symbol can be seen in the medieval shields of knights.


golden ankh pattern

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This magic symbol is another one of Egyptian origin and has multiple meanings. If you look at Egyptian art and hieroglyphics, you will see the Ankh everywhere, especially being carried by those thought to be gods. The Ankh is a magic symbol of life, with the top rounded portion being the female and the lower straight portion being the male. The belief is that a person can wear an Ankh amulet to extend live or to protect from evil forces and aging.


athame blades

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An Athame is an interesting magic symbol because it is not just a symbol but an actual item used during certain rituals. Practitioners use an Athame as a representation of cutting. An example of this would be cutting the love of a past love away from you or releasing the thoughts of an ex from your mind. A Boline is used when there is physical cutting to be done, such as cutting a cord or carving symbols into candles.

Witch's Knot

witch knot symbol

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The Witch's Knot is a female magic symbol and has several meanings. The most well-known meaning is one of protection, especially if the knot is drawn in a continuous line against male witchcraft. History suggests that people used the Witch's Knot for weather spells, love spells, and to bind and create strong magic circles. In olden times, you could find this symbol carved on doors to ward against evil people and evil spells.

Signs Used Together

The next four magic symbols are often used together, are important in circle casting, and have astrological ties. The affinity of each one belongs to a specific astrological sign that has deeper meanings regarding love and friendships. Another important point to make about elemental magic is that using these signs does not mean you will ever be able to control the element in question. 


astrological symbol of air

Image source: Wikimedia.commons

The magic symbol of Air is an upright triangle with a line through the top. Astrologically and magically, Geminis, Libras, and Aquarius' have an Air affinity. You cannot control air, but you can work on controlling how you verbalize your thoughts and seek higher levels of knowledge. Air is a male magic symbol belonging to the North and the season of Winter, and those with this affinity work their best magic in the middle of the night. 


water astrological sign

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Cancers, Scorpios, and Pisces' have a water affinity. The magic symbol of water is an upside-down triangle and a feminine symbol. What those with this affinity need to focus on in their lives, and when working magic, is emotions and learning to listen to intuition. Water belongs to the East, the season of Spring, and the best time for magic related to water is sunrise.


astrological sign of fire

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The Fire magic symbol is an upright triangle and corresponds to the zodiac signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. This is another male sign, and those with a fire affinity need to work on controlling their fiery tempers and tapping into their creativity. Fire belongs to the warmest season of the year, Summer, and naturally finds its place in the South. The best magic time for Fire is high noon.


magic earth symbol

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If you guessed that the magic symbol of Earth is an upside-down triangle with a line through the bottom, you would be correct. This last symbol is feminine and goes with the last group of zodiac signs: Tauras, Virgo, and Capricorn. Earth elementals might have a harder life and need to be courageous even when things are difficult. Earth belongs to the renewal of Spring, sits in the East, and does the best magic at sunrise.

If you combine these four magic symbols, you get a pentagram. The top point would be Spirit, which is everything combined. The left and right would be Fire and Air, and the bottom points would be Water and Earth. Fire is also known as transformational magic and often requires candles and smudging. Water symbolizes the womb and is magic used to pull negativity away from you.

The magic symbol of Air means the breath of life and represents our very soul. Practitioners use feathers and incense when doing rituals that require Air. Mother Earth bears the magic symbol of Earth and is used in magic focused on abundance and fertility. Herbs, dirt, and flowers are common components of this magic. In most movies and television shows, elemental magic, whether white or black, is the type that is most often portrayed.


 Understanding the 13 magic symbols is a good start to learning the basics. Magic symbols have a rich history that goes back to a time when most people were illiterate and sought ways to keep their history. Egyptians used magic symbols to tell the story of their gods and goddesses. Pagans and Wiccans have pulled Christian symbols into their world and given those symbols different meanings. Even deciding whether the spell is dark magic, elemental magic, white magic, voodoo, or hoodoo can change the meaning and intent of a magic symbol.

Learning about the origins and history of magic can reveal a lot about magic symbols, their meanings, and their uses. We think a great read is The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic. You can find this on Amazon.

Every culture has its own variation of magic symbols, and sometimes a knowledge of magic is unnecessary to feel a connection to a certain symbol based on your ethnicity. Those of Irish descent might like the symbolism of a Celtic Shield. Others with a Middle Eastern background could feel an attraction to an Ankh amulet or the Eye of Horus. There are some magic symbols that make for great and unique tattoos. Even the elemental magic symbols can have meaning for someone who doesn't practice magic.

Some women wear the symbol of the Triple Moon. The Triple Moon represents the maiden, the mother, and the crone; or waxing, full, and waning. Or, women in the same family may have just a portion of the triple symbol to show where they are in their life. Hectate's Wheel has a similar meaning but also means crossroads and entrances. There are people who associate this magic symbol with overcoming a difficult crossroad in life. Regardless of why you are interested in magic symbols, there is a vast history waiting to be explored and many connections to be made.

4 Quick and Easy Tips on How to Do Magic and Fool Your Audience Every Time

Learn Magic

A desire to learn how to do magic is a calling. People loved to be shocked and amazed, and society continues to be delighted by magic shows even as they have grown more and more cynical over the years. Hollywood films like The Illusionist or The Prestigeindicate there is a market for the stories and the mythos that accompany the mysteries of the world of magic.

Magic has experienced many transformations over the years, and it will continue to evolve as magicians invent new tricks and upstage themselves. But before you begin filling up notebooks with tactics for how to make the Statue of Liberty disappear, it's important to do some foundational preparation. Becoming a great magician takes a lifetime of dedication, practice and constant learning. This article will give you some simple tricks to keep in mind as you begin to learn how to dazzle your friends with the art of magic.

How to Do Magic

Illusion of a girl inside a frame levitating

image source: pixabay.com

The world of magic has become very broad and now incorporates many other disciplines. There are many tactics you can use to augment your magic skills and dazzle your audience. The fundamental thing for you to understand is that it is your job to entertain. The more dazzled, inspired, or off-guard your audience is, the easier it is to get them to succumb to your powers.

Even a magician with poor magical skills can give a great and highly entertaining performance. There is no magical formula for being entertaining. Some shows utilize different elements to a greater and lesser degree. As a magician, you have the flexibility to design your show so that it brings the greatest enjoyment to your audience. Remember, too, that every audience is different, and what works in one venue may not work in another. Always be ready to adapt and listen to the reactions of your crowd. Give them what they want to see and when they respond positively, give them more of the same.

Some common tactics for making a show entertaining are:

  • Confidence

  • Sex appeal

  • Humor

  • Tension

  • Effects

  • Props

  • Gestures








So You Want to Be a Magician?

Developing your stage presence is a critical component, but as you gain in confidence in your abilities, it's important to consider specialization. There are many types of magicians, and as you start to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, you can consider an area of specialization. Remember that the best way to dazzle an audience is to give them something they have never seen before; but creating something new is often simply figuring out a way to rearrange tactics and displays that have proven effective in the past.

Some types of magicians are:

  • Prestidigitator

  • Mentalist

  • Escape Artist

  • Comic magician

  • Street magician

  • Physical endurance or artistic magician


Prestidigitator is derived from the Latin words for nimble and fingers. Sleight-of-hand and conjuring tricks are the work of prestidigitation. The classic trick your grandpa used to perform of pulling a coin out from behind your ear is a basic example of prestidigitation. For all magicians, a certain familiarity with sleight-of-hand tricks is to be expected. As you first begin your journey into the world of magic, you'll probably find yourself practicing with cards or coins to hone your skills.

The downside of prestidigitation is that hand tricks are subtle and can be difficult to present to a large crowd. This can be overcome with the use of screens, but it's generally more effective to interact with an audience directly rather than to force them to pay attention to a projection. Juggling can be a great way to develop your hand-eye coordination and incorporating a few moments of juggling into any magic routine can be a welcome highlight to any magic show.

One of the positive things about prestidigitation is that it can be practiced virtually anywhere with nothing more than a coin or a deck of cards. Prestidigitation requires the same flexibility and muscle control as playing a musical instrument. As you develop your skills, you must learn to maintain and care for your fingers. Learn to massage your hands to keep them from cramping and stretch them to improve flexibility.

Prestidigitation is a good way to practice the showmanship and misdirection of stage performance because, unlike your full body, you can observe how your hands look when you perform. Practice finger flutters that look natural, or seem to have some purpose beyond simply distracting the eye. Remember that in Victorian England many prestidigitators were street magicians by day, and pickpockets by night.


burning playing cards

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It is possible to become a magician even if you have absolutely no interest whatsoever in performing card or coin tricks. Another form of magician is the mentalist, and this field ranges from fortune tellers to hypnotists. Sometimes mentalists presents themselves as having supernatural mental powers by which they can communicate with spirits or read minds.

Developing as a mentalist requires a good ability to read minimal visual cues to deduce information. Many perform by asking open-ended questions and waiting for a subject to respond. Other mentalists develop more precise tricks that can lead to impressive revelations. Props may be used, even to the point of planting a person in the audience who is secretly in on the act.

Examples of common mentalism that most people are familiar with include viral Facebook videos in which a person claims to be able to make you think of a certain number. They then put you through a series of calculations which invariably arrive at some pre-determined number the mentalist selected. Such tricks tend to rely on numerical tricks that always produce the same result.

Even the most skeptical individuals are entertained by the concept of supernatural powers. Magicians who can create an illusion of extrasensory perception, telekinesis, or an ability to communicate beyond the grave will always receive a strong response.

Escape Artist

Escape artists represent a different type of physicality that extends to the whole body rather than just the fingers. Harry Houdini is probably the most famous escape artist, and his routine required extreme muscle control throughout his entire body. Athleticism and physical fitness are required for an escape artist. Houdini relied on various props which included water escapes. However, many of Houdini's performances were done out of sight of the audience, and relied on developing tension among all other things.

Houdini routinely escaped from straight jackets or handcuffs. One of his advantages was that he had long, narrow hands that he could contort almost down to the size of his wrist. All magicians must develop an awareness of their own unique physical attributes which they may capitalize on to astound and dazzle a crowd.

Many modern escape artist performances end by tricking the audience into believing that the escape artist has succumbed to the dangers of his or her trick. The performances usually begin with a nervous announcement detailing the difficulties of the trick as well as the multiple dangers the escape artist is subjecting himself or herself to. This is followed by an explanation of the emergency equipment that is available should something go wrong.

The build up and the tension created by the build up is more important to the successful escape routine than the actual performance. Writing a good script is critical to the escape artist. The actual escape is generally performed in a matter of minutes, with the escape artist emerging triumphant only after the audience has become convinced that he or she has succumbed to the dangers of the escape. Escape performances are still very effective forms of magical performance.

Comic Magician

A little bit of comedy is used in a lot of magical routines, but when the comedy overshadows the actual magic, the magician has moved into the realm of a comic magician. Comedy can be both physical or vocal, and these types of magicians are especially effective for afternoon acts or acts at children's parties. Aspiring to become a comic magician is a good objective for anyone who wishes to have a career in entertainment because it combines many elements of showmanship and requires a good interaction between the performer and the audience.

Street Magician

Working as a street performance is a fantastic way to develop your skills without the pressure or complication of organizing and promoting a performance. Street magicians can be found at many public places that have a large amount of street traffic. A street magician needs only to find a place and begin performingwith the knowledge that a crowd draws a crowd.

Many performers utilize street performances to develop their skills at attracting, engaging, and interacting with an audience. Street performances allow magicians to interact directly with their audience, sometimes while in physical contact. Performing outdoors in the presence of distractions such as honking cars or passing pedestrians allows street magicians to focus on their volume, inflection, and speaking rhythm.

When a magician has developed the ability to conjure a crowd from a stream of passing pedestrians, and hold their attention even among the many distractions of being out on the street, he or she will have no problem maintaining the attention of an audience in a theater. Practicing as a street magician is a great way to learn how to do magic.

Physical Endurance or Magical Art

Some create performances that are effective on a media scale rather than an interpersonal scale. For example, in 2003, David Blaine suspended himself in a transparent box for 44 days near the Tower Bridge in London. This represents a different category of performance as no audience could be expected to sit and watch the magician do nothing for 44 days. Instead, the effectiveness of the performance was its repetition as a media novelty that remained in the public awareness throughout the duration of the stunt.

This kind of physical endurance trick represents a kind of magic as performance art. The magician, in this case David Blaine, used his showmanship and magician physicality to insert himself into the daily public awareness. His action represented the kind of provocative behavior that demanded a response, and every random response from his observers became a de facto part of the act.

Blaine did not have access to food during his time in the box, and at one point observers attached a hamburger to a remote controlled helicopter to torment him. The media, clearly, had to report on such behavior, and it served to keep Blaine in the public eye by injecting a certain random element to his escapade.

How to Do Magic in Your Community

A magician and her assistant practicing magic

image source: pixabay.com

Your quest for how to do magic must begin somewhere, and chances are there are experts in your local community that will be only too happy to help you. Magic can sometimes seem like a fringe occupation, but it's amazing how many highly developed communities exist just outside your door. Here are some tricks that will help you learn how to do magic no matter where you are.

  • Visit the library

  • Purchase magic tricks

  • Find the local magic community

  • Practice

Visit the Library

As you begin your quest to become the next Harry Houdini, you'll find that books are a tremendous resource. Your local library likely has a large section on magic that will allow you to develop the initial skills necessary for how to do magic. A library is a great resource since it allows you to learn how to do magic without incurring any cost. Also, every different form of magic will be available to study at your local library.

In addition to the library, you should also familiarize yourself with YouTube videos. Detailed instructions exist that will give you practice techniques that will have you fooling your friends in no time.

Purchase Magic Tricks

No products found.

Magic stores or online sellers have a wide variety of starter magic kits that you can purchase. Although many of these aren't appropriate for use in a professional show, they will give you a good basis for understanding the mechanics of basic magic that will serve as a foundation when you start to conceive of your own tricks.

Be sure to read as many reviews as possible so you're sure to get the best possible starter kit. Remember to always begin with the low-cost items so that you can gauge if your interest is a flight of fancy or the beginning of a lifetime of dedication.

Find the Local Magic Community

Believe it or not, most communities have thriving magic networks where people can go and share tips or practice their tricks. You can find these groups online or on social media. Also, don't be afraid to approach established magic businesses or performers. Many businesses offer internships, which can be a great way to pick up cutting edge industry secrets that haven't yet made their way into books.


Practicing your skills has to become as fundamental as brushing your teeth, even more so as you should be practicing even when you're not consciously aware of it. Remember: your goal as a magician is to entertain through misdirection, and you have to be flawless in your performance. The sooner you get to a level where you're able to perform all your tricks from muscle memory without dedicating any conscious thought to the matter, the more confident and effective a performer you will be. Practice is the key for how to do magic.

A World of Magic Awaits

Magician equipments

image source: pixabay.com

When you consider how to do magic, remember that above all it is a performance. Even individuals who are skeptical of your abilities will be grateful if your performance leaves them satisfied and entertained. The skills that you need to be a good performer are similar to the skills that you need to become a good musician, writer, athlete, actor, or comedian. Magic can be a great starting point for a career in show business because it utilizes so many skills and abilities that are used in other disciplines.

Learning how to do magic can begin with something as simple as opening a book and can lead you to a performance that can gather worldwide attention. But even if you aspire to be known on a global scale, remember that some of the most effective tactics for how to do magic involve the fundamentals of showmanship. Know your audience, captivate them, be confident, and have a well-conceived performance. Above all, be able to adapt your performance to suit the preference of the crowd, and practice until you can perform your act in your sleep. The most fundamental thing about how to do magic is this: be entertaining!

​Featured photo via Pixabay

Does Magic Exist? Uncovering the Unknown and the Power of the World around Us

Learn Magic

Magic: the word evokes a lot of different meanings. To some, they will think of the mentalism and magical illusions of stage and street magic. Others think about the witches and wizards that are the backbone of so many fantasy stories: Gandalf the Grey, Harry Potter, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Harry Dresden, etc. Still others might think of occult figures such as Anton LeVay, who founded the Satanic church; Aleister Crowley, the noted British mystic; or Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca. This article will answer the question does magic exist?

Does Magic Exist?

person holding wand on top of bowl

image source: unsplash.com via Artem Maltsev

Answering the question "does magic exist?" requires a look at the different types of things we define as magic. If the magic you are thinking of is that of the street magicians or illusionists, then of course it exists and anyone with a flair for the dramatic, the finger dexterity, and a willingness to practice, practice, practice can perform that type of magic. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the type of magic often described in fantasy books. You will never be able to conjure a magic missile, for example.

When looking at the magic of the occult, answering the question "does magic exist?" becomes a lot trickier. This type of ritual magic has been used for centuries in a variety of different forms. Almost every single culture in the world has a form of magic that includes rituals, fortune-telling, potions, and spells. Today, there are numerous different groups of practitioners that still practice this form of magic. In order to answer the question of does magic exist, magical like this, it is beneficial to break the question down and look at different aspects of this type of real-world magic.

The Origin of Magic

street magician holding a card

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The British science fiction author Arthur C Clarke came up with an idiom called Clark's three laws. The third of these laws is the most important when looking at the question "does magic exist?" It states that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Take electricity, for example. We live in a time when electricity is commonplace. If you want to turn the light on in your room, you flick a switch and the light comes on. Pretend for a moment that you lived instead in the 1500s. If someone showed you the electric light going on with just the flick of a switch, you would assume that it was magic.

Clark's third law does not apply just to technology, but also to scientific understanding. The ancient peoples looked at the natural world and did not understand the mechanisms that controlled it according to scientific laws. When the sun disappeared in a solar eclipse, these people did not understand that this was due to the moon blocking the sun's rays from the earth, so they gave it a supernatural explanation. 

You can see this same phenomenon today when looking at the pantheon of gods worshipped by different ancient religions. Look, for example, to Zeus who wields his lightning bolt, or Hephaestus whose divine smithy resides in volcanoes.

The magic practiced by the shamans and wise women of these ancient societies often came from a mystical explanation of natural phenomenons. Folk magic relating to herbal remedies for different ailments often came from medicinal compounds within those herbs themselves. If the shaman made their magical potion for an illness and it included a medicinal herb, the condition of the person who drank it might improve; but the ancient people would likely have given the credit to the shaman's magical potion. 

Looking at this possible origin of magic, the answer to the question "does magic exist?" is likely a no: but there is more to look at first.

The Placebo Effect and the Perception of Patterns

If magic was only the result of ancient people attributing mystical causes for effects with scientific explanations than why do so many people believe in it now? Two possible explanations are the placebo effect and human beings perception of patterns. These will go far in helping to answer the question of does magic exist.

The Placebo Effect

The placebo effect is generally discussed from a research perspective involved in medical research. When scientists are researching new treatments and drugs, they perform double-blind studies of these treatments and drugs. These studies involve two groups of subjects. One group gets the treatment for the drug while the other group gets a placebo. The researchers study the effects the drug has on the group that received it but often find that some members of the control group who did not receive the drug still get better.

The exact mechanism of the placebo effect is unknown, and it might even be due to some unknown mental power we have to cure ourselves when we believe strongly enough. When applied to magical spells and rituals, the placebo effect might bring about the desired changes. For example, say that you performed a ritual to bring your one true love to you. After you've performed it, the knowledge that you cast the spell might make you more outgoing, allowing you to find your true love.

Patterns and Coincidences

Human beings are pattern-seeking animals. This is one of the ways that we make sense of the world: we look for patterns and find them sometimes even in chaos. The same can be said for coincidences which often arise out of randomness when our minds are focused on a specific fact. Often times, people have attributed patterns and coincidences to magic when it was more likely just random chance.

In his famous Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books, Douglas Adams revealed that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is the number 42. After reading his books, many of his friends see that number in a lot of places in the real world. While this could be evidence that the number 42 significance, it is more likely that the number 42 is in those peoples' minds so that they are more conscious of seeing that number.

Some of the "magical" methods of fortune-telling use peoples' innate desire to see patterns and coincidences to get them to believe in the power of the method. Take tarot cards for an example: a knowledgeable reader of tarot cards gives a generalized reading of the cards, allowing the person the reading is about to apply those generalizations to their own life. Is this magic or is this just coincidence and pattern? When it comes to coincidences, patterns, and answering the question "does magic exist," we honestly don't know.

Modern Magical Metaphysics

In the 21st century, magic has gone beyond its ancients roots. One of the more interesting modern magical practitioners are chaos magicians who view magic as quantum metaphysics. Just as a quantum physicist looks at particle waves and probability, the practitioner of chaos magic looks at magic as a way to load the probabilistic dice, as it were.

This is an interesting way to perceive magic, and on some levels, it might provide an overarching theory that can answer the question of does magic exist with at least a "maybe." Magical spells and rituals to a practitioner of chaos magic are a metaphysical process to improve the odds that something happens.

This metaphysical boost to the chances of probability does not exist in a vacuum. Instead, it uses already existing probabilities, only goosing them slightly in the favor of the practitioner who performs the ritual or spell. 

An Example

Take, for example, the spell discussed earlier to bring your true love into your life. If you perform such a spell and then do nothing but sit on your couch munching on snack foods, the spell will probably fail. Your chances of finding your true love while snacking on your couch are almost none. Even if the spell or ritual you performed doubled your odds of finding true love, double almost nothing still gives you little chance.

Some magicians who follow chaos magic principles also worry that if you do not give the magic a way to help you, it might help in unexpected and even unwanted ways. Many practitioners perform spells and rituals related to wealth. As with finding true love, wealth rarely finds you while you're vegging out on the couch.

If you perform a wealth spell without giving the magic and output, maybe the magic will bring you that wealth in the form of an inheritance after your favorite great aunt passes away; not the way most people want to get their wealth.

The avenue chaos magic needs to work its metaphysical magic can bring about the desired effect without any magic at all. If you get off your couch and get yourself out there, you're more likely to find someone, even without magic. Again, human beings' desire to find patterns in coincidences might push us into seeing such coincidences as magic.

So Bottom Line: Does Magic Exist?

magician doing a card trick

Image by flickr

Unfortunately, "maybe" is the best answer to the question "does magic exist" that we can credibly give. We can't prove that magic does exist, but at the same time there is so much we don't know about the universe and how it works that we can't say magic does not exist, either. When it comes down to it, if the belief in magic improves your life, then know that magic exists; at least insofar that it helps you and makes your life better.