The Real Magick of Charmed

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” S.1E.2

In this episode the three sisters struggle with ethics and how to use their powers and come up against Javna, a lower level demon that feeds on the youth of young women once a year for a week.  The sisters fight in the episode because Phobee was openly using her power whereas her sisters are trying not to use them for fear of blunders with them.

Real witches have to deal with the ethics of using magick all the time. In the Charmed universe they can’t use their powers for personal gain. Real witches can use their abilities and magick for personal gain and self-improvement. This is a difficult  subject for fiction writers because the story seems a bit anticlimactic if the witches can solve all their problems with a wave of their movie magic wand. The ethics  most witches ascribe to is the Wiccan Rede: Do as you will, but harm none. Basically this means you can do as you will as long as it is not harming anyone. This is not to say that witches can’t use magick to protect themselves, because “harm none” includes themselves. My quandary is how do you know you are causing no harm? A spell to attract love could spark love between your best friend’s husband and you. Doesn’t that harm your best friend whether you meant to or not? It is a bit gray, because with or without your spell, the husband has a wandering eye and it might be a mercy causing less harm for you to reveal him.

Most witches try to word the intentions of their spells so that free will is not harmed. This means that if someone needs a healing  or any other type of spell, we ask if we can work for them. Some witches only believe in doing spells on themselves to make an improvement to their lives.

Some Witches also believe  there is a repercussion for using your power, embodied in the Three-fold law. It states that everything you do comes back to you times three. Blessing or curse, it returns to you multiplied by the universe three times. This is like some widely-held beliefs about Karma, but is not actually how karma works. Karma is more cause and effect than it is  a spiritual punishment system. In the Charmed universe, using magic for personal gain has a consequence or is nullified in some way. In the episode, the winning lottery ticket numbers disappear, for example.

Not all witches practice or believe in these tenets. Some witches have even more or fewer taboos around using their power based on their tradition of witchcraft. The use of these tenets are up to the witches to decide on for themselves. These tenets are guidelines to help us not create more problems for ourselves and others.