So often when we hear the word illusion, we think of the magician, pulling bunnies out of hats. We think of having people see something that isn’t there, from terrifying visions to even changing the physical attributes of who and what we are. I am sorry to say that none of that is possible, however illusion magic is very real, is very practical, and is something that I feel any witch can use to add to their arsenal of go to spells to help them in their lives. In this post, I plan on covering what are illusions, how does illusion magic actually work, give examples of illusion spells and how you would use them, and most importantly hopefully educate you on the realities of a powerful and misunderstood form of magic.
What is Illusion Magic?
As defined by the dictionary, “An illusion is a distortion of the senses, which can reveal how the human brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation”. Illusions work by adjusting the perceptions of people around you, adjusting the perception of a situation, and by changing the thoughts of an individual. Illusions are not tangible things and they do have limitations. For example, it is impossible to have someone see a spectral figure or to alter the basics of ones personality to a major degree. It is not possible to have other people see you with red hair if you are a blond. It is also not possible to cause mass hysteria or alter someones emotions if it is not part of who they are innately (i.e., if someone is extremely angry, you cannot make them feel joy as that goes against the very fabric of who that person is at that time).
Illusion magic is not fancy, it is not what you see in TV and video games, and it is not something that can change the actual world. That being said, Illusion magic is more of a subtle thing. It is something that alters the perceptions of a person, a situation, or group of people. It is usually a small nudge, a thought in the back of the head, maybe even a whisper to the person’s subconscious to alter their train of thinking. Illusion magic is a pretty big umbrella and contains everything from invisibility spells to glamorous, even left hand uses. Unlike dream magic, illusions work on the mind while it is awake, making them a bit more difficult to control and for them to succeed, and also why when working with illusions a light touch is better than smacking someone upside the head with a hammer.
Illusions can be case on an individual person, they can be cast on groups of individuals, they can be cast around specific situations as well as over physical objects and areas. Some of the best wards are illusions, making it so people feel uncomfortable or even frightened the closer they get to an area, or can make it so someone will look at a book and think nothing of it, or even feel like they shouldn’t look at it. They can even make something so insignificant that the person forgets what they are looking at or saw.
How do Illusions Work?
In order to understand how illusions work, there are a few scientific and spiritual concepts we need to touch. The first, is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be altered. This is a scientific fact of energy. The next thing we need to understand is that our perception of the world is actually simply information, transmitted from our senses to our brain in the forms of energy, and then the brain processes the energy and patterns to perceive the world around us. A good example of this is people who are color blind. They do not have the proper rods in the cornea to process the color, so when the signal gets to the brain it is distorted and incomplete, causing the colorblind person to see either in gray or another color. The third thing we need to understand is that all of this energy in our bodies and brains creates a magnetic field that stretches beyond our bodies (by some estimates by as much as 70 feet), also called an aura, that interacts with the world around us. Have you ever seen someone, gotten a bad feeling, and decided to cross the road? In my opinion, this is due to your brain picking up on the energy and aura of the other person and, after analyzing the information, deciding they were not someone you should be near.
Now that we understand those concepts, we can get into the theory and understanding of how illusions work. So, based on my research and understanding of the nature of the various sciences, illusions work by creating a small short in the processing center of the brain, the place where we take in and process data, to create a small change. It changes the electro/chemical signal that is sent and adjusts it to something that the witch wishes the other person to see. This could be done by casting a spell on the individual directly (i.e., changing how they perceive a situation), or by creating an aura that affects anyone that comes in contact with it (i.e., glamorous and wards).
The most important thing to know about illusions is they are often small hints and gentle suggestions. As such, they do have limitations and can be fragile. They cannot fool anyone who knows the target too well (i.e., you cannot cast a spell to be “invisible” on family or close friends as those individuals have a strong sense of who you are and can see through it), you cannot plant a suggestion for someone to perceive something that goes against their nature (i.e., you cannot cast an illusion that everything is fine on a mother while she is listening to their baby cry), and you cannot cast an illusion that goes against the persons innate sense of who they are (i.e., you cannot convince someone who is an introvert to get on stage and perform in front of a large crowd).
Common forms of Illusions
One of the most common forms of illusions is wards. By creating a ward, you are creating the suggestion that a person should avoid or stay away from a person/place/thing. Wether this is by avoidance or a feeling of unease is up to the witch
Glamours are powerful illusions, used to show the word a version of ourselves that we want them to see. Whether this is to be more confident, be perceived as attractive, or intelligent, glamours highlight something about ourselves we want all we come in contact with to think about when they see us.
Invisibility spells. While they will not make you actually invisible, they DO work by masking your aura, effectively making it so people will not notice you until you want them to. This also works by adjusting your own aura to make it so you simply blend into the background.
Adjusting the aura you give off. This can be very useful by throwing an intention into the spell, such as making everyone around you feel a bit calmer, or even a sense of familiarity. People might not remember how they know you, they will simply feel familiar around you and treat you more as a friend than a stranger (I have used this quite a bit when I am in situations where I am surrounded by strangers).
Inspiring a person. You can use illusions to inspire in the way muses do. Most of the times, when a person has a block or needs a nudge, they simply need to see the person or situation from a different perspective. By inspiring them to do this, oftentimes you can help them get over this hump by having them see something new, something that makes them think, and maybe start to slowly change the way they perceive the situation in general.
You can use illusions to make people more agreeable to you or a situation (or disagreeable if you need it). Ever heard of the book “How to win friends and influence people”? Consider this type of magic to be the magical version of this book. BY simply nudging someone to be more agreeable in general, or disagreeable, you are helping to control the narrative and their decision. While you are not actually controlling them (ergo it is not a compulsion spell), they could be much more inclined to agree with you. (I believe there is a Honey Jar in Hoodoo/Voodoo that has similar effects).
In conclusion, Illusion magic is brilliant. It is subtle, it is gentle, and it can impact major changes. That being said, Illusion magic is fragile. If someone has too strong of a sense of who they are, or who you are, they can break the spell. As long as you remember the basics of what illusion magic can and cannot do, you will find that illusion work in general can be a very versatile form of magic. One that doesn’t make actual change, but instead changes how we see and experience the world around us. One that is powerful, subtle, and life changing.