Lesson 3) Multi-Layer Physical Charms
We've spent a bit of time discussing surface-level charms and how difficult it can be to cast them. Unlike spells cast upon inanimate objects, using magic on a living thing poses some serious challenges. The spell must affect complex material (like cells) and overcome or redirect the natural magic within your target. Even when you cast a spell upon yourself there can be problems. If you aren't confident in the spell, it could result in some negative side effects. As we delve deeper, it's important to continue practicing spells both new and old and remain confident in your abilities.
Charms of the Second Degree
Today we'll move further into the realm of physical magic with a look at multi-layer charms. These spells are harder to cast because the magic has to reach deeper and affect more things. A First Degree spell (surface-level) affects one or two layers of skin or non-living things (hair and nails), but Second Degree spells can go deeper and heal minor cuts or bruises. Such spells can also soothe sore muscles or prevent choking. Before we move on to the casting details for these spells, let’s look at why they would be difficult.
The Cut-Mending Charm, as its name implies, heals cuts. It may seem like a simple enough thing, but it's important to consider how the magic works. Upon casting, the spell must flow into the skin and down until it has enveloped the entire cut. If there is any blood, then a vein or artery must also be taken into consideration. The spell then latches onto the severed ends of the cut and binds them back together. The spell begins at the deepest section of the cut and works up, layer by layer, to reseal the skin and (if necessary) the affected blood vessels. This spell alone can't heal especially large or deep cuts, but it's very effective at healing paper cuts, scratches, or other minor cuts.
The Bruise Removal Charm is interesting because it works below the surface. Where the Cut-Mending Charm has a point of entry and heals all affected skin layers (if possible), the Bruise Removal Charm affects areas under the skin. A bruise is actually caused when the skin remains unbroken (no cuts) but blood vessels (small or large) break. Bruises can also be sore because other tissue can be damaged by whichever injury causes the bruise. This particular charm repairs the broken cells and vessels and cleans it. The charm isn't too difficult because, rather than vanishing and replenishing the material, it simply makes corrections based upon cells your body naturally has.
The Muscle Soothing Charm makes somewhat similar repairs but can take a bit of time and practice to perfect. Muscles typically get sore for several reasons. When we run or work out strenuously, our muscles need energy to complete the exercise. As we continue putting stress on the muscle, a substance called lactic acid is produced because we just don't have enough oxygen to properly get the energy we need. This substance causes some issues but usually goes away within a few hours to a day. At the same time, however, your muscle also sustains some minor injuries. Repairing these injuries leads to a bit more muscle (which is why exercise helps build muscle) but in the meantime the minor damage is generally painful.
The Muscle Soothing Charm works by speeding up this regenerative process. It repairs the muscle and slowly lowers the body's natural responses (which cause the stiffness and soreness). The charm can affect a fairly large area of muscle but must be applied slowly and continuously over many minutes for maximum effect.
Finally, our last charm, the Dislodging Charm, clears blocked airways. Unlike the other charms we've gone over in class, this one doesn't really repair any damage caused. Instead, it causes the blocked passage (the airway or throat) to expand while, at the same time, applying energy to dislodge the material that is stuck and propel it back where it came from. Once the material has cleared the passage, its momentum slows so as not to shatter teeth. In this case the spell’s effect is rather simple, but the trick is avoiding all the things that lay between the outside of the body and the material to be removed.
It may seem odd to discuss the charms we're going to practice a bit today before we actually discuss the theory, but I think in this case it helps to give you an idea of the bigger picture. Creating a tattoo involves making a minor change to the color of the skin, a non-permanent change. Even the color changing or blemish removing spells deal with fairly minor properties of the skin. The spells we've covered today, however, deal with multiple layers of skin or even the muscle underneath it. The spells may not be too dramatic (it takes time and practice, as well as more difficult spells, to be able to heal large cuts or worse injuries) but they still involve an extra layer of complexity and this is why they're fairly hard to cast.
The Cut-Mending Charm
Incantation: Secare Amendo (Seh-CAH-ray Ah-MEN-doh)
Wand Movement: Your wand must be pointed at one end of the cut as you begin the spell and travel the length of the cut as the incantation is spoken.
Willpower: Minimal; Minor restoration spells take concentration but not much mental push.
Concentration: Moderate; Must be maintained as the spell is cast. The skin undamaged.
The Cut-Mending Charm can repair small cuts to the skin, ranging in intensity from a paper cut to a small (1 in./2.5 cm. or less) cut and deep enough to draw a small amount of blood. The spell works by re-attaching each severed layer of skin or blood vessel, repairing damage as necessary. A backfire can make the cut slightly worse and will cause stinging. The spell fails on larger cuts, and the cut will just re-open in this case. Always consult a certified healer if you are unable or unsure of how to heal a wound; applying magic to an injury incorrectly can make it worse.
The Bruise Removal Charm
Incantation: Decontusus (DEE-con-TUH-suhs)
Wand Movement: The tip should hover over the bruise and move away as the incantation is spoken.
Willpower: Moderate; This spell requires more effort of will due to how it operates (repairing cells rather than just reconnecting them).
Concentration: Minimal; The skin unbruised.
This spell requires that the caster be able to produce enough magical energy, otherwise it will be less than effective. It works on bruises up to several inches wide (perhaps 3 in./8 cm.). In larger bruises the magic will dissipate without effect. Backfires make the bruise feel like it's burning and can make it slightly worse.
You may wonder why you should use Bruise Removal Paste with such a spell in your arsenal. The paste works over much larger areas, can be purchased instead of created, and removes the need to memorize the spell (assuming you do not plan to become a healer or otherwise have no need for it).
The Muscle Soothing Charm
Incantation: Momordi Recesus (Moh-MORE-dee Ree-SESS-us)
Wand Movement: Slow back and forth over the affected muscle.
Willpower: Moderate; Attention must remain upon casting the spell and supplying enough energy to make it work long enough to remedy the pain.
Perhaps the easiest of the spells we're learning about today, the Muscle Soothing Charm, helps alleviate pain and slowly repair muscle tissue. When the spell is working effectively it feels like a gentle heating and then cooling, repeating in a cycle. The amount of muscle to repair determines how long you must cast the spell, from a minimum of a few minutes to up to half an hour, but afterward the pain should be gone and the muscle fully functional again.
It’s important to note that this spell cannot create new muscle or repair serious damage. It is limited to alleviating the general soreness, and related issues, caused by working muscle groups.
The Dislodging Charm
Incantation: Anapneo (An-AP-nee-oh)
Wand Movement: A quick clockwise circle centered on the throat of the target.
Willpower: Moderate; A quick push as the spell is completed.
Concentration: Moderate; On the object lodged in the throat.
Witches and wizards quickly learned that the Levitation Charm was not the proper method for helping someone who was choking. While better than the alternative (a particularly unpleasant hex), it wasn't quite as effective. So, in the early 1700s, a mediwizard named Sigmund Stowe worked with the Ministry of Magic to develop today's commonly used spell.
The Dislodging Charm loosens the muscles around the stuck material and then forces it up. It's simple and effective when properly cast, and there is no real backfire except that your target would still be choking.
This week we'll be spending time practicing these spells on some mannequins that St. Mungo's has been developing. There will be no worksheet and the Extra Credit is to make a record of your practice. As usual, the Extra Credit is not required.
Image credit: e-SAFE, Live Science