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quotations about magic

A little magic can take you a long way.

ROALD DAHL, James and the Giant Peach

Mystery is the basic appeal of magic. Once the secrets are known, the magician becomes a mere manipulator, an actor in a suspense drama which has little impact because the audience knows the ending in advance.


The magic of drama is infinitely more powerful than the magic of trickery. It is as available to the conjurer as it is to the actor. The only difference is that actors take it for granted, whereas few conjurers are even aware that it exists.

HENNING NELMS, Magic and Showmanship

I confess that Magic teacheth many superfluous things, and curious prodigies for ostentation; leave them as empty things, yet be not ignorant of their causes. But those things which are for the profit of men -- for the turning away of evil events, for the destroying of sorceries, for the curing of diseases, for the exterminating of phantasms, for the preserving of life, honor, or fortune -- may be done without offense to God or injury to religion, because they are, as profitable, so necessary.

HEINRICH CORNELIUS AGRIPPA, Three Books of Occult Philosophy or Magic

I don’t want realism. I want magic!

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, A Streetcar Named Desire

There is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics.


Magic and all that is ascribed to it is a deep presentiment of the powers of science.


Magic is a faculty of wonderful virtue, full of most high mysteries, containing the most profound contemplation of most secret things, together with the nature, power, quality, substance and virtues thereof, as also the knowledge of whole Nature, and it doth instruct us concerning the differing and agreement of things amongst themselves, whence it produceth its wonderful effects, by uniting the virtues of things through the application of them one to the other.

HEINRICH CORNELIUS AGRIPPA, Three Books of Occult Philosophy or Magic

Magic is not a practice. It is a living, breathing web of energy that, with our permission, can encase our every action.


We can choose to function at a lower level of awareness and simply exist, caring for our possessions, eating, drinking, sleeping and managing in the world as pawns of the elements, or we can soar to new and higher levels of awareness allowing ourselves to transcend our environment and literally create a world of our own -- a world of real magic.

WAYNE W. DYER, Real Magic

The trouble with magic is that there's too much it just can't fix. When things go wrong, glimpsing junkyard faerie and crows that can turn into girls and back again doesn't help much. The useful magic's never at hand. The three wishes and the genies in bottles, seven-league boots, invisible cloaks and all. They stay in the stories, while out here in the wide world we have to muddle through as best we can on our own.


Effective magic is transcendent nature.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

There is magic, but you have to be the magician. You have to make the magic happen.

SIDNEY SHELDON, Are You Afraid of the Dark?

It is human nature to want to believe in the wizardry of the magician--but also to turn against him and to scorn him the moment that he commits the slightest error that reveals his trickery. Those in the audience are embarrassed to have been so easily astonished, and they blame the performer for their gullibility.


We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

J. K. ROWLING, speech to Harvard Alumni Association, 2008

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.


A police officer in Florida could lose her job after she tried to cast a spell on her boss. Yeah, when asked for comment, her boss was like, “Ribbit.”

JIMMY FALLON, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Dec. 2, 2011

I had loved magic tricks from the time I was six or seven. I bought books on magic. I did magic acts for my parents and their friends. I was aiming for show business from early days, and magic was the poor man's way of getting in: you buy a trick for $2, and you've got an act.

STEVE MARTIN, Time Magazine, Aug. 24, 1987

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.

TOM ROBBINS, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Real magic is not about gaining power over others: it is about gaining power over yourself.

ROSEMARY GUILEY, The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

ARTHUR C. CLARKE, Profiles of the Future

True magic is the art and science of changing states of mind at will.

DOUGLAS MONROE, The 21 Lessons of Merlyn

Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.


Magic is the ancestor of technology, the ancestor of what we call applied science. Medicine springs from it. The individual medicine man or Big Medicine among the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent was a man who, by reason of special ability and training, was able to do things that the ordinary individual could not do in the way of controlling mysterious forces of nature. The word "medicine" was applied not merely to what we call medicine, but to rain making, cloud making, wind making, getting strength into the war party, harming their enemies, etc. When we want anything done in what we call the arts of technology, we go to a special individual, e.g., physician, engineer, carpenter, plumber, who has a special training. The medicine man was a man technically trained and able to control mysterious forces. Of course, the ordinary member of the tribe as a hunter, fisher, etc., had his training, and he could do the ordinary things in the ordinary way. But if he wanted anything special done, he went to the medicine man--the Shaman.


And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

ROALD DAHL, The Minpins

You can always find chains of coincidence to disprove magic. That's because it doesn't happen the way it does in books. It makes those chains of coincidence. That's what it is. It's like if you snapped your fingers and produced a rose but it was because someone on an aeroplane dropped a rose at just the right time for it to land in your hand. There was a real person and a real aeroplane and a real rose, but that doesn't mean the reason you have the rose in your hand isn't because you did the magic.

JO WALTON, Among Others

That's the thing with magic. You've got to know it's still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.

CHARLES DE LINT, "Ghosts of Wind and Shadow", Dreams Underfoot: The Newford Collection

There is no magic. There is only knowledge, more or less hidden.

GENE WOLFE, The Claw of the Conciliator

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