View Full Version : Magic Systems

08-28-2005, 12:36 AM
I was just wondering if any of you could give me a site or sites on all the magic systems or how magic is done or used in books out right now.


08-28-2005, 01:21 AM
Huh, if there's a website or book like that I'd like to know about it too. Most encyclopedias of fantasy or magic only cover one cultural tradition and time period, not all types of magic.

Personally I found Emile Durkheim's Elementary Forms Of The Religious Life (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/002908010X/qid=1125177309/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-1761584-3580930?v=glance&s=books) and Carl Jung's assorted works of theory useful in designing my magic system, but that's because mine's more social psychology of ritual and visualization than actual magic.

08-28-2005, 02:34 AM
No web site, but Writer's Digest has a book called The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference that I've found very useful. It has chapters on magic, witchcraft, etc. I've also spent time at Barnes & Noble checking out the shelves with all the embarrassing stuff like "How to Tell Your Future with Tarot Cards."

Diana Hignutt
08-28-2005, 03:43 PM
That would be a useful website, but there is no substitute for doing your research. A few books to give you some ideas.

The Golden Bough - Sir James Frazer. The first work, never rivaled, of comparative religion, mythology and magic.

Magick - Aleister Crowley. Love him or hate him, his ideas brought the Western occult tradition to the masses.

Tales from the Arabian Nights - Trans. by Sir Richard Burton. A treasure trove of magical lore.

The Magician, His Training and Work - W. E. Butler.

The ABC's of Witchcraft - Doreen Valentine.

There are tons of books of the diffent systems of magick in the world. I did extensive research on magick, druidism, celtic mysticism, comparative mythology, etc. for my fantasy books.

Best of luck.


09-09-2005, 09:27 PM
I've read the Writers Complete Fantasy Reference, the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (ISBN 0-517-36245-7) and about Wica. And, you can try the Catholic Encyclopedia, or go to http://www.newadvent.org/

IMHO why follow? If it's just magic, make up your own!

09-09-2005, 11:22 PM
Patricia Wrede has a good set of questions for building a fantasy world, including your own magic system. It's here: http://www.sfwa.org/writing/worldbuilding1.htm

09-09-2005, 11:32 PM
Check out the Pagan thread on this very board(under spiritual relig.), there are listings for multiple multiple websites designed to help understand all types of magic, from druidic to wiccan

09-10-2005, 07:53 AM
Check out Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy. It has an excellent section on creating your own system of magic, and in particular the cost of magic (for great power is rarely without a price!) He deals with how your system of magic influences the possibilities of your plot, and vice versa. Very useful book in general, but that section is especially enlightening.