Magic is the supposed use of unnatural or superhuman power by a human being. A persons uses magic to try to control human actions or natural events. Magic often seems to achieve results, but the results actually have other causes. For example, a person might cast a magic spell to make an enemy sick. The enemy may learn about the spell, become frightened, and actually feel ill.

Magic is the art of science of persuading supernatural beings to give one power over animate creatures, over the weather and the elements of the earth, and over all things which grow in or on the earth. Magic is older than mankind, because it is a power lent by the gods and spirits, and it is possessed to some degree by representatives of every people of the world.

But, apart from such beings as fairies, who are created with magical powers, it is virtually impossible for any individual to have all-encompassing ability in magicology. The body of knowledge requires is too enormous for any other person to comprehend in a lifetime, and the gods are so reluctant to co-operate in releasing some of their powers (such as eternal life) that even the most competent magician may be frustrated in his search for total power.

The problem is compounded by the fact that different gods and spirits exert influence in different parts of the world. For instance, the sea god Poseidon is very powerful in certain parts of the northern hemisphere, but a magician of the South Pacific who sought his assistance in nautical affairs would be wasting his time. It would be better to call on Maui or some other of the Polynesian deities.

People throughout the world have practiced magic from the dawn of history. But beginning in the 1600s, science has provided an increasingly greater understanding of the true causes of natural events. This increased scientific knowledge has reduced people's dependence on magic. But many people in non-industrial societies still belive in magic. Even in industrial societies, many people still trust in such forms of magic as astrology and fortunetelling.

The word magic also refers to a type of entertainment in which the performer does tricks of so-called magic. In such entertainment, neither the magician nor the audience belives that the performer has supernatural powers.

See also
Practice of Magic | Myths and Legends
Types of Magic | Myths and Legends
History of Magic | Myths and Legends