Lesson 1) Introduction to Personal Casting
As we begin another term at Hogwarts, I would like to welcome you back to Charms. As you probably know, I am Professor Virneburg, your teacher! Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions. I am easily reached here on HiH. A list of my PAs can be found here should you ever need assistance and I am unavailable!
In your First Year, you learned the very basics of spell casting: the basic components of a spell, how to tap into the magic within you, and how to manipulate it and release it in a controlled fashion. In Second Year, you practiced controlling your magic, applying spells to specific objects, and building the relationship between you and your wand. Hopefully you’ve been practicing over the break and can confidently cast all of the spells we’ve learned without fear of backfire or accident. This year we’re going to focus on more subtle but difficult magic. We’ll start with a few useful personal charms, make our way to more complex magic (such as basic healing charms) and then focus on some mental magic.
The concepts we will be learning, and the spells we’ll be practicing, will require more practice and attention than we have seen previously. You’ll want to dedicate your full attention when practicing; casting a spell incorrectly this year will be painful at best, and much worse than breaking a teacup, so it’s very important that you practice regularly! You can practice here in the classroom anytime, just let me know and I will be sure to have someone here to supervise! You should not attempt these spells unsupervised before we cover them in class, and it’s important not to practice alone outside of class just in case there is a mishap. Remember that the Hospital Wing is located on the first floor if you need assistance.
It’s also important, especially toward the end of the year, to avoid using the spells we will cover on your peers. Not only is it difficult to use magic against someone who is unwilling, but attempting to use mental magic against a fellow student may result in grievous harm to yourself or your classmates, as well as serious consequences. If you choose not to heed this warning, you risk expulsion from Hogwarts and punishment by the Ministry.
There will be a few required essays this term, but there will also be several Extra Credit written assignments. I encourage you to give these extra assignments a shot to get a sense for what I’m looking for in terms of grading and writing and to keep your writing skills sharp.
Your essays will be graded primarily on content, but clarity, structure, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are also important. Correct use of English accounts for 10% of your grade for each essay, so don’t slack on proofreading! If any of the prompts confuse you, feel free to owl anyone in the Charms department.
If you don’t understand why you received the score that you did, or you believe there was an error or mistake, feel free to send an owl to one of the Charms PAs or professor. They can take a look at the assignment and perhaps explain your grade, recommend improvements, or advise you to submit an appeal to have your grade changed. Be aware when sending owls or submitting appeals that courtesy does matter! We will respond with considerably less sympathy to students who are demanding and rude.
We have a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism; copying work from the lessons, textbooks, other resources, or other students is never acceptable. If you are caught submitting an essay that is not your own, you will receive an automatic 1%, zero House Points, and you will not be able to retake it. Inappropriate submissions will also receive a 1% and may lead to an account ban depending on severity. Remember that your essays are graded by real people who volunteer their time to enrich the Hogwarts experience, so be nice to them!
Remember that you may put “NES” at the top of your essays if English is not your native language, or “LD” at the top if you have a learning impairment. We will take these things into consideration when grading, but as your essays are submitted anonymously, this must be noted at the top of every assignment.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact a Charms PA or professor by owl.
Introducing Physical Magic
When using magic on a living thing, particularly another human, there are many things that have to be taken into account. A physical object doesn’t usually contain any magic, and even a magical item is typically protected so that spells can be cast on them without affecting the item’s properties.
A person, on the other hand, is incredibly complex and made of a variety of materials. To properly cast most spells on a living thing, you have to understand what the spell does. If using a Tattoo Charm, you need to know how the magic affects the skin the spell is used on, for example. Some spells, particularly those commonly used against someone in a duel, don’t require this precise level of attention. Those spells are designed to be used for a single narrow purpose and have been popularized because they’re easy to use.
Today we’re going to focus on magic that affects only the surface. The charms we will practice in class are usually easier to cast on yourself rather than someone else. You understand your own body and magic, so making changes is easiest when performed on yourself. I’ve already mentioned the first spell we’ll attempt, the Tattoo Charm. I wanted to start us out on a more fun note and this is often a favorite.
The Tattoo Charm
Incantation: Corius (‘coh-REE-us’)
Wand Movement: Press and hold where the center of the tattoo should be.
Concentration: Moderate. The design to be placed on the skin; the caster must maintain the image they want to create until the magic is finished.
This spell creates a temporary tattoo on the indicated spot. The tattoo will last up to two days depending upon how practiced the caster is and how well the spell is cast. More intricate designs require more concentration and willpower or the design could be marred. This spell is typically taught to students because the backfire is only a mild burning sensation and a black mark. Tattoos, as well as any backfire marks, created with this spell can be removed with the Effect-Cancelling Charm.
We’ll be discussing several more charms over the next few weeks, but we’ll end class today a bit early so that you can practice the Tattoo Charm as well as the Effect-Canceling Charm. Again, if you’re not sure you can cast all of the spells we’ve previously covered fairly well, please take the time to practice.
Before we dive right into the more advanced spells, we’ve come up with a couple of exercises for you to practice to help you with control over your casting, and to become a bit more familiar with your own personal magic. They’re very simple, and you’ll probably find them very boring, but if any of you feel like it’s still a little bit of a struggle to get your wand to produce precise results, then these simple, daily practices can be quite helpful for developing the sort of finesse you’ll need this year.
- Try taking up meditation, Muggle-style. This can help improve your concentration and put you more in touch with your magic. Being able to quickly quiet and calm your mind is also an immensely useful skill, especially when you need to cast complex spells quickly and accurately.
- Try practicing the simplest of spells, for example the Wand-Lighting Charm, just as you wake up, or just as you’re falling asleep, in the kind of groggy, half-conscious state that is ideal for keeping a dream journal. Instead of switching the light “on” and “off,” try to very, very gradually fade it in and out, never getting much brighter than moonlight. Practicing with less power will help you gain more control over your will. Practicing when you’re very sleepy like this will help you to draw upon your magic in a more natural way. Relying solely on brute force of will and conscious thought will quickly become overwhelming and exhausting as you learn more advanced spells. Being able to cast simple spells without thinking, and others without thinking terribly hard, will also give you a good head start toward wordless casting (though we won’t come to that for another few years).
- Try doing your homework, reading a book, or any other task that requires a fair amount of your attention, using only Lumos Numerosa for light. This will help you push using and maintaining magic from a conscious act on which you focus, to second-nature “muscle memory.” By using light, you’ll always notice when you start to lose the spell, since you will no longer be able to see. (Careful, though--reading in dim light is bad for your eyes!)
- In the Practice Room, you’ll find some pieces of cloth with mazes and various shapes printed on them. You can use these and the Severing Charm to work on maintaining your concentration and increasing your magical stamina, so to speak. You’ll also need to practice being very precise to complete the mazes successfully. See how far you can get with just one cut!
Once again, welcome to Charms 301. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns. I hope you enjoy the course!
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