So I’ve talked some about the angels and demons and their hierarchy in the setting, since a large part of the story centers around them, but I haven’t talked a ton about non-celestial magic. Which I think is a shame.
While the series is focused on the celestials a lot of the time, there are going to be a number of POV characters in future books who use arcane magic, which is a different thing. This may change when I write it all out, but the way I have magic set up is that it is set up into a few categories and sub-categories. There’s some crossover between them, but I haven’t figured how much or exactly how.
Without further ado, these are the current categories of magic I have set up:
Celestial magic is used by angels and demons, arcane magic is used by most everything else, and glamour is used by the fae races (which is a significant category of species from sidhe to sluagh). A caster of each type doesn’t tend to have much crossover into other types absent a multi-species individual (half fae, half elf, for example). However, some angels and demons are capable of using arcane magic powered by celestial powers. Primal magic is used by creatures such as therianthropes who can shapeshift at will but aren’t typically “casting” magic exactly. While it’s a process that involves it, the magic is innate and limited.
Magic also comes in several types: channelled, invoked, and ritual. Channelled magic is just magic someone uses without “casting a spell” more or less. Again, to pull up the therianthropes, they just do it. Invoked is typically what most folks think of when they think “casting a spell.” It would be a word, a geture, or something of that nature driven by intent and manifested as an exercise of will. It typically requires training of some kind, even if someone is born with the innate talent to cast it. This is more the D&D type spellcasting where you cast “shield” or “Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.” Things like that.
Finally there’s ritual magic. Since magic is inherent to most things in the world, almost anybody can do ritual magic even if they aren’t casters. They also most often use ritual magic for utility things like powering street lights, handling heating and cooling, or various other such applications. With ritual magic, a lot of the time, the power is in the ritual itself. The downside is that rituals have to be performed exactingly. A mistake can result in catastrophe. Or, at the very least, the caster being pink and lime green polka-dotted for awhile. Which is a fashion catastrophe if nothing else.
For small magic, sigils are a common tool. They channel small amounts of energy. Some individuals get sigils tattooed on their joints to help channel energy, like a built in heating pad. Others use them as light switches and so on. Their uses are various and sundry. Not everyone uses them or is educated on it, but they’re common enough that folks more or less expect them in places and is familiar with it.
On a more writerly side of things, I went with magic being mundane in this series because I don’t see too many series of books, TV shows, etc. that have that element. The only one I can really think of where magic is commonplace and everyone knows it is Avatar: the Last Airbender which has a very different take on it than I do. Do you know of any series like that? Tell me about them in the comments!
E. Prybylski has been in the publishing industry as an editor since 2009, starting at Divertir Publishing and eventually partnering with her close friend Richard Belanger to begin Insomnia Publishing.
Ever since childhood, E. has been an avid reader and writer of fantasy. The first chapter book she remembers reading is The Hobbit, followed swiftly by most of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. In high school, she perfected the skill of walking while reading without slamming into anyone. Mostly.
When she isn’t reading or writing, E. is an active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and has a B.A. in European history from SNHU. In addition to her many historical pursuits, E. is a musician of multiple instruments, a cat mom, and a loving wife to her husband, J. E. also speaks out for the disability and chronic illness communities being a sufferer of chronic migraines and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.