The Challenges of Magically Restoring Body & Spirit
Healing might be a tricky form of magic, depending on the established rules for your world so far. In addition to magical knowledge, the practitioner will likely need anatomical knowledge as well. Minor scrapes and bruises will likely be easy for almost anyone to deal with, but what about compound fractures? A concussion? Cancer?
Magic is also one of those tools that is often depicted as transcending just the physical. Magic is perhaps able to heal deeper wounds – wounds of the soul and spirit. It would be incredible to have access to magic that would ease the pain of grief and heartbreak.
Healing magic is one of the instances where you will need to establish clear guidelines for yourself as the author. What is truly possible with magic? You certainly can have a world where all disease has been eradicated through magical means, but magic always has some kind of price. What would that kind of world truly be like? There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s just something you need to carefully consider.
- In your story world, is it possible to heal with magic? What restrictions apply?
- Is magical healing available for physical, mental, or spiritual ailments? If so, or if not, for any or all of those, why? Which things is it possible to heal, but it is taboo to do so?
- Since magical healing implies that magic affects someone very directly, what are possible side effects or reactions to magical healing? Is it possible for one to have an adverse reaction to magical healing, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually?
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Rebekah Loper began creating epic worlds and stories as a child and never stopped. She is the author of The A-Zs of Worldbuilding series, and has a fantasy novella published in Beatitudes and Woes: A Speculative Fiction Anthology.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (…ok, ok, they’re chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she is not writing, she can be found battling the elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.
This is a kind of magic most difficult to handle in fantasy stories, in my opinion, because we may be tempet to make healing an easy solution for a very difficult situation (but then, that’s the danger with magic in all instances).
I like that you pointed out that there must be a counterbalance, even when handling something inherently good as healing.
I love your points about this healing. If someone doesn’t consider them, it’s easy to make healing overpowered or illogical (magic can heal a grave wound, but not a heart failure? etc.).
In my world, healing magic is mostly a thing of the past, and though there are those, who can practice it, it’s really just speeding up things that would heal naturally over time – like a wound or a broken bone.
There is a group of people who can heal rapidly by simply absorbing magic (even malicious magic directed at them), but their “ability” comes with quite a sacrifice, and it’s more of a secret than commonly known thing.
It’s definitely a sore spot for me when magic rules are inconsistent like that, not even with just healing magic, lol!
Oooh, but now I’m curious what type of sacrifice must be required for the ability to heal yourself by absorbing magic.
You’re so right that healing is a great place to think about what is possible and what isn’t, and what the costs or side effects may be. You want to avoid the problem that if everything can just be magically fixed with a swish of the wand, there are no stakes to anything. You offer great world-building questions to consider!
Black and White: H is for Hercinia
There is definitely no faster way to ruin a story than no stakes!