Mackled Malaclaw - Myomancy
Malfoy -- Malleus Maleficarum (1486) -- Mallowsweet -- Mandrake -- Manticore -- Maple -- Margaritomancy --
Maze (Labyrinth) -- Memory Charm -- Merlin -- Mermaid/Merman/Merpeople -- Metamorphmagus -- Metoposcopy --
Mimbulus Mimbletonia -- Minotaur -- Mirror -- Mobilarbus -- Mobilcorpus -- Moke -- Molybdomancy -- Monkshood --
Mooncalf -- Morgana -- Morsemordre/Dark Mark -- Muffliato -- Muggle -- Mummy -- Murtlap -- Myomancy
Mackled Malaclaw - colored light gray and spotted with a dark green color, this creature can grow up to 12 inches in length. It lives on land near rocky coastlines in Europe, and can be mistaken for a lobster. Do not eat a malaclaw; it will give one a high fever and a greenish rash.
The bite of the malaclaw makes its victim unlucky for a time of up to a week after the attack.
Magic - most muggles don't believe in magic, the kind of magic which taps into the great supernatural world around us, and wizards have been perfectly willing to let them think like this. But history is filled with belief in magic, or the use of one's will to effect changes in reality. The will, or the gift of conscious choice, is our ability to focus experience and knowledge towards a desired goal. Such a goal is often one or more of the following: attaining love, wealth, and knowledge; healing the sick; warding off danger; deceiving or hurting enemies; gaining success; and foretelling the future. Magic allowed people to feel as if they were helping control the course of their lives, which a lot of muggles now believe science can do for them. Just as science has its own rules and methods, so does magic.
Magic is the art of invoking supernatural powers, or a feat of illusion, depending on how you feel about it. The word itself is derived from magi, which was the name of the high priests of ancient Persia (Iran). In the sixth century B.C., magi were known for their profound learning and gifts of prophecy, which they employed to interpret dreams, practice astrology and advise rulers on matters of importance. They were followers of Zoroaster, who is often referred to as the inventor of magic.
In addition to the Persians, magical practices have come through the centuries from ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans. One distinction in Egyptian culture was that Egyptian gods entrusted mankind with magical knowledge, unlike the Greek myth of the hero Prometheus, who had to trick the gods into giving up fire so that humans might benefit from its warmth. Magic and religion were closely woven together in Egypt and all ancient societies. From the religious perspective, many gods and spirits were believed to control almost every aspect of life, be it the weather, the state of one's wealth or lack thereof, health and illness, and so on. Magic could appeal to these spirits, or control them.
In nearly every form of ancient magic, the magicians had to know the secret names of the gods in order to achieve anything with their spells. Deities frequently had two sets of names. Everyone knew one set, of course, while the practitioners of magic were privy to the secret names of the gods. Such names became the first magic words, because speaking or writing a god's true name enabled the magician to summon all the powers of the particular spirit they invoked. For instance, Moses is said to have parted the Red Sea because he correctly pronounced the seventy-two syllable name of God known only to himself.
Whether ancient or current, magic can be divided into two major categories, called high magic and low magic. The first, the type that had much in common with religion, was motivated by a desire to gain wisdom not available through ordinary living. The goal of high magic was lofty, seeking prophetic visions, attempting to heal the ill, and achieve self-knowledge. Many believers learned that every human was a small version of the universe, containing within himself all the elements of the world without. By developing the intuition, by strengthening the imagination, the magician could focus his powers to cause changes in the world around him. Learning to control his emotions and desire and will was the work of a lifetime, for the high magician. Low magic was the focus of most people, however, intent on gaining fame, fortune, luck, health and beauty; wishing to harm their enemies; or wanting to compel love and to prophesy the future. Many wizards and witches are happy doing all this, plus creating potions and spells, rather than devoting themselves to high magic.
By whatever name, magic was generally more feared than admired in the ancient world. More wise than "modern" people, they realized that another's magic had the potential to harm/influence them. The leaders, in particular, felt wary of astrologers predicting their deaths, of wizards who could harm them with curses. Thus it was that magic and divination were outlawed in the Roman Empire by the fourth century A.D. At the same time, the Christian Church saw magic as a serious competition to Christian faith. Magic was said to be associated with demons (and thus the Devil), and prohibited by Church law.
As always happens, however, this changed over time. Around the middle of the twelfth century, fiction writers presented magic as something appealing. The French, Germans and English all had poets who wove together tales of magic from the distant past, peopled with brave knights, heroic kings and fair damsels. The heroes often had swords which gave them extraordinary strength. Some stories even had dishes which served themselves, much like what commonly occurs at Hogwarts. Also included, creatures from either the ilk of fairies or monsters, dragons being most popular. Not to mention how divination, the casting of spells, the brewing of potions, and healing herbs appeared in these medieval stories. Of course, there were also evil sorcerers practicing black magic, but most of the old tales reflected a positive illumination and charmed readers then as much as they charm contemporary readers.
With the rise of so-called "natural magic" during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, magic regained more respectability once again. Scholars in Renaissance Italy revived an ancient idea when seeking to use magic as a means of mastering the natural world. Natural magic was a science of sorts, based on the belief that everything in nature contained hidden forces called "occult virtues". Gems were reputed to cure disease, alter mood, and simply benefit one with good luck, while herbs could heal. All of the elements of nature were said to be connected in meaningful, hidden ways, which had to be carefully studied before these connections could be used to produce positive ends. Astrology was an important part of natural magic, since many of nature's hidden properties were thought to emanate from the stars and planets. Almost everyone knows, for example, that Venus is supposed to rule love. Therefore, a natural magician would use elements associated with Venus (emeralds and copper) to try and influence love.
Summing it up, the natural magician was a wizard and master at employing the hidden properties of nature. Renaissance intellectuals and scholars wouldn't feel out of place at Hogwarts, for some elements of natural magic like herbology, palmistry, arithmancy and astrology are part of the curriculum.
The practice of raising spirits through ritual magic was never forgetten, however. "Grimoires", or black books, appeared throughout Europe between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. Most were anonymously written but were attributed to ancient sources, such as King Solomon, Moses, Aristotle and Alexander the Great. Grimoires contained spells to conjure up spirits and demons from the ancient world following the old rituals. Basically, the mage drew a large circle on the ground, this circle being inscribed with all the magic words, symbols and sacred names necessary to protect him once he stepped inside. Now the wizard could utter incantations to raise either demon or spirit to do his bidding, then send the demon back.
Muggles accept that the belief in magic started its decline in the seventeenth century, circa 1650, and for them this is certainly true. Science replaced magic in many ways, such as modern medicine: contemporary chemistry, not alchemy (nor herbology), was responsible for creating new medicines to help heal ailments. The scientific method, calling for experiments to prove or disprove a theory, cast aside the need for spells, amulets and talismans.
Nonetheless, magic re-emerges even in the muggle world: humans can fly; people can talk across great distances to one another; we can see each other through the scientific equivalent of magic mirrors, the monitor or television; and the basic idea behind astrology, mainly stating how occult virtues originate in the stars, is true because astronomers theorize that all of the universe originated from the expanding materials of suns which exploded.
Magician - see Sorcerer see Wizard - One who practices magic and sorcery, and also who performs magic illusions to amuse an audience. The Magician knows how to bring metaphysical/supernatural concepts into a physical reality. He or she represents the act of creation. Because he might use his knowledge to make something new, he seems to produce things from a void.
Magic Mirror - see Mirror
Magic Wand - a baton or stick used by a magician (or water diviner) to perform spells. Wands are created from wood, and contained within each one is a magical substance from nature. Take Harry Potter's wand, as an example: it is made of holly, 11 inches long, supple when waved, and contains a single phoenix feather (from Fawkes: see Phoenix).
Some "wand wood" trees are holly, hornbeam, mahogany, maple, oak, rosewood, willow and yew.
Magic Words are the thread which weave spells, and hold charms together. Many originate from Latin, like petrificus totalus, which petrifies the victim, or riddikulus, a word that makes a boggart look ridiculous. Lumos means "light", most appropriate for the spell causing a light to glow at the end of a wizard's wand. Nox, meaning "darkness" in Latin, extinguishes the glow. These are all good examples of an ancient belief that to say something is to actualize it, since words are instruments of power.
For muggles, the best known "magic" word is abracadabra. A third century Roman physician, Serenus Sammonicus, wrote about this word as if it was a cure for tertian fever, a flu-like illness. His book was called Res Reconditae ("Secret Matters"). Rather than being spoken, Serenus believed the treatment worked better if abracadabra was written as an inverted triangle on parchment, and worn as an amulet around the patient's neck.
As the word shrinks, so should the illness. The amulet is removed after nine days and tossed backward into a river that flows to the east, thus ending the treatment. This muggle version of the word is a far more benign spell than avada kedavra.
Mahogany (Plant) - one of the "wand trees".
Malfoy - Mal foy is French for "bad faith".
Malleus Maleficarum (1486)/The Witch's Hammer - a book that was a comprehensive, if erroneous, guide about discovering, prosecuting and punishing witches. Two German witch hunters, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, authored the work that was popular enough, for two hundred years, to be second only to the Bible in sales. This book used as justification for unjust persecution the passage from the Bible many others also misuse: "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live" (Exodus 22:18). It provided "details" about how witches made pacts with the Devil, transformed into animals, cast evil spells, and participated in the sacrifice of infants. This work did not cause witch persecution, but it perpetuated the stereotypical misinformation condemning thousands of innocent people to torture and death.
Mallowsweet (Plant) - burning mallowsweet helps centaurs refine their interpretations of their stargazing. They observe the flames in order to do this.
Mandrake (Plant) - a member of the nightshade family, from southern Europe and Northern Africa. This plant has purple flowers, yellow fruits and a forked root reputed to possess magical powers.
It is the root, which can grow into the ground to a depth of three to four feet, that's the valuable part of the plant, rather than its tufty foilage which is coloured a purplish green shade. Sometimes it seems to resemble a human, and there are legends throughout muggle Europe that a mandrake will scream if pulled from the ground. The scream of the adult can kill. The immature seedling plants (which resemble human babies) can make someone unconscious for an hour or two, so it's necessary to wear earmuffs when repotting them. This plant is worth growing because its restorative properties are powerful and it is an ingredient in most antidote potions, including the potion for Petrification.
Manticore - a monster with the head of a man (typically with horns), a lion's body, and the tail of a scorpion. It was said to inhabit jungles in India, where it was the most dangerous predator around due to its speed, power, and ferocity. Manticore skin repels almost all charms known to wizardkind and its sting causes instant death.
Maple (Plant) - one of the "wand trees".
Margaritomancy - from margarita, Latin for "pearl". Divination using pearls. A pearl was either placed beneath an inverted pot, or it was put in a glass of water, near a fire. The name of someone suspected of a crime was spoken. If the pearl flew up and hit the top of the pot, or it exploded in the water, then the suspect was guilty.
Maze (Labyrinth) - a complex system of paths and/or tunnels.
The maze is the setting for the Greek myth about the Minotaur, which was a man-eating monster with the head of a man on a bull's body. The Minotaur belonged to King Minos of Crete, and this creature lived in the maze. Crete had dominion over Athens, and demanded a yearly tribute of seven young men and women, who were sent into the maze as sacrifice to the Minotaur. There came the year that Theseus, son of the king of Athens, was one of the offered fourteen victims. Minos' own daughter, Ariadne, fell in love with him. She provided him with a sword to slaughter the Minotaur, and a ball of thread to mark a trail so he could escape the maze. Theseus did slay the creature, but he repaid Ariadne not at all, being ungrateful to her. However, he did later become one of the greatest kings of Athens.
Memory Charm (Spell) - a charm which causes any muggle who has witnessed or been part of any magic to forget what they have seen or experienced.
Merlin - Merlin is the most famous wizard, and considered to be one of the wisest ever. He was said to have given guidance to the British kings Vortigern, Uther Pendragon, and especially the legendary Arthur. He might be a wizard who actually lived, but the Merlin muggles know is a character who possibly arranged the stones at Stonehenge, who could turn night into day, foresee the future (some believe he could do this because he lived backwards in time, and had already seen the future), assume a variety of animal and human transfigurations, create phantom armies, and control mens' destinies, to name but a few of his powers.
Mermaid/Merman/Merpeople - beings who are half human and half fish, living underwater. There is a civilization of these folk in the lake near Hogwarts. They speak Mermish, a language that sounds like awful screeching when heard above water, but which is quite understandable beneath the waves.
They are also known as sirens (Greece), selkies (Scotland), merrows (Ireland), merry maid (Cornwall), lorelei and meerfrau (Germany) and rusalka (Russia).
Metamorphmagus (plural: metamorphmagi) - a witch or wizard who has the ability to change their physical appearance at will. This is a trait one is born with and cannot be otherwise learned.
Metoposcopy -wrinkles on the forehead are used for this form of Divination.
Mimbulus Mimbletonia (Plant) - a gray, cactuslike plant covered in boil-like growths that expel Stinksap, a slimey and dark green liquid, as a defensive mechanism.
Minotaur - see Maze - a monster from Greek mythology. This creature had the head of a bull and a man's body.
Mirror - a polished surface of glass, metal or plastic, that forms images by reflecting light. The word comes from the Latin, mirari or mirus, meaning "marvelous" or "wonderful".
Mirrors seem to be everywhere in modern times, so much so that most people don't think about the time in early human history when there weren't any. The only way to catch a glimpse of oneself way back then was in still waters. Men and women didn't know what they saw, however. Many ancient societies thought the images were actually human souls, and some civilizations, like that of Greece, believed seeing your reflection meant your soul had left your body, which put it in peril of being captured by evil spirits, or even water nymphs.
Which helps explain why the earliest appearance of mirrors about 4,500 years ago was a magical miracle. Most muggles no longer see the mirror as something mystical.
Mobilarbus (Spell) - moving objects.
Mobilcorpus (Spell) - to move someone who is incapable of walking or moving
Moke - from Ireland and Britain, this silver-green lizard can shrink itself at will, and muggles have overlooked it as a result of this ability. When not shrinking, the moke can reach an adult length of ten inches. Moke skin is in demand because it, too, can shrink at the approach of strangers, making purses and money bags (and their contents) hard to steal.
Molybdomancy A method of Divination based on interpreting the meaning of the sharp shapes that result from dripping molten lead or tin into water.
Monkshood (Plant) - a poisonous plant and an important ingredient in wolfsbane potion, also known as aconite and wolfsbane. The shape of the flowers inspired the name of monkshood.
Mooncalf - mooncalfs are found throughout the world. They are shy and emerge only when the moon is full, to perform complicated dances on their hind legs in isolated locations. As a result of their probable mating dance, geometricf patterns are left behind in wheat fields and these puzzle muggles no end. They have smooth bodies of a pale gray color, bulging round eyes on the top of their heads, and four thin legs with large flat feet. If their silvery dung is gathered before sunrise and spread upon magical herbs and flowers, the plants grow super fast and become very strong.
Morgana was originally an enchantress of learning and beauty and many powers, but she wasn't depicted as evil. In the thirteenth century, Geoffrey of Monmouth introduced her into Arthurian legend as Morgan le Fay (the fairy). He cast her as a shape-shifter, a woman with the power to heal, and also one who could fly. She lived on an island, Avalon, with eight sisters. When King Arthur fights his final battle, it is Morgan who brings him to Avalon. Here, laid upon a golden bed, the king is restored to health by her special healing gifts.
Some common threads in many of the stories about Morgana have her as a half-sister to Arthur, and Merlin was supposed to have been her teacher.
It wasn't until the late Middle Ages that she was reworked in legend as an evil sorceress. Witchcraft was a grave matter in Europe at that time, and no matter that she was fictional, a woman who possessed magical powers was an object of suspicion. Thomas Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur" portrayed her as a vengeful witch intent upon destroying Arthur, his queen, and their court.
Morsemordre (Spell) - conjuring up the Dark Mark, an immense glowing green skull in the sky, with a snake coming out of its mouth. The symbol of Voldemort.
Muffliato (Spell) - a spell from the Half-Blood Prince, which causes buzzing in the ears of nearby people, effectively deafening them.
Muggle - a person without any magical ability
Mummy - a body embalmed, dried and wrapped for burial, as done in ancient Egypt between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 200.
Murtlap - like a rat in appearance, this British coastal creature has a sea anemone-like growth on its back. If the growths are pickled and eaten, they provide resistance to curses and jinxes. If too much is ingested, though, unsightly purple ear hair might be the result.
Myomancy - Divination using the appearance, color and sounds of mice.
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