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  • Amy MacKinnon

Harry Potter and Spells

Updated: Oct 24, 2019

One of the concerns that people have is that when kids read the Harry Potter books and then repeat the spells out loud, they will be communicating with a demon, wreaking havoc, and putting their soul at risk.

I’m not going to mock or make fun of those parents. The formation of the souls of their children is something that should definitely be taken seriously. I commend them for having such care for their children.

Is it a Real Possibility?

To deny that the devil exists is denying a basic tenet of Christianity. Since there are demons pursuing the innocent, trying to corrupt and destroy them, anything that seems as though it’s going to contribute to that should be looked at carefully.

Practicing magic in the real world, casting spells, trying to use any means of magically predicting the future or “fortune-telling” are all practices that are serious problems.

By their very nature, they open a door and issue an invitation to demons.

Demons aren’t everywhere (only God is everywhere), but if there are any paying attention to that person, and the door stands open in invitation…that’s where the spiritual danger lies.

That person may have no idea that they’re issuing the invitation, but they are by their very actions.

This is why fortunetelling and magical practices are flat out forbidden in the Bible (Exodus 22:18, Isaiah 47: 8-12, Revelation 22:15).

All of these practices open the door to the demonic.

God Doesn’t Work That Way

So are the magical spells and potions that are in the Harry Potter books real spells?

What’s a Spell?

The word “spell” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for speaking, telling, teaching—it means you’re saying something out loud to convey a message.

But a spell can be good or bad…

I have two quotes for you on this, one from C.S. Lewis, and one from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1909 AD):

C.S. Lewis

Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.

Preached as a sermon in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, England

June 8, 1941. Originally found here (link is now inactive)

Catholic Encyclopedia

The word Gospel usually designates a written record of Christ's words and deeds. It is very likely derived from the Anglo-Saxon god (good) and spell (to tell), and is generally treated as the exact equivalent of the Greek euangelion (eu well, aggello, I bear a message), and the Latin Evangelium, which has passed into French, German, Italian, and other modern languages. The Greek euangelion originally signified the "reward of good tidings" given to the messenger, and subsequently "good tidings". Its other important meanings will be set forth in the body of the present general article on the Gospels.

APA citation. Gigot, F. (1909). Gospel and Gospels. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 16, 2019 from New Advent:

Fairy Tales

The magic in Harry Potter is fairy tale magic, just as it is in:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia

  • Middle Earth

  • Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm

  • Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault

  • Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson

I’m not denying that there are some people who read Harry Potter and take the magic in it seriously, but I would suggest that those people have not read many fairy tales with magic in them.

If people of any age are repeating the spells in Harry Potter and taking them seriously, then they don’t seem to realize that they’re actually jokes: the “spells” are Latin puns—just don’t use them to teach Latin, because the endings are wrong.

The ones that are not Latin puns are also jokes

The claims that they’re “real spells” by people who used to practice magic is something that should be looked at much more carefully.

People Who Practice Magic Are Often Making Up Their Own Spells

If they’re getting them from Harry Potter and those spells “work”—meaning that they unlock a door or light a fire—then that may very well be someone who has already begun practicing magic and has a demon messing with them.

That doesn’t mean that the spells themselves, or just speaking the words for fire or water in Latin, is itself the cause of the spell working.

I do understand the concerns that people have in general, but I really would like to hear what your specific concerns are. If you’d like to share them with me, please let me know here

List of Posts in the "Harry Potter and..." Series

Harry Potter and Spells (this post)

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