An incantation or incantations are the words spoken during a
ritual, either a hymnor prayerinvoking or praising a deity, or in magic, occultism, witchcraftwith the intention of casting a spell or an object or a person. The term derives from Latin"incantare" (tr.), meaning "to chant (a magical spell) upon," from "in-" "into, upon" and "cantare" "to sing".
medieval literature, folklore, fairy talesand modern fantasyfiction, enchantments (from the Old French"enchantement") are charms or spells. The term was loaned into English since around AD 1300. The corresponding native English term being "galdor" "song, spell". It has led to the terms "enchanter" and "enchantress", for those who use enchantments.
The weakened sense "delight" (compare the same development of "charm") is modern, first attested in 1593 (
ome collections of charms
Old English Metrical Charms
Carmina Gadelica, a collection of Gaelic oral poetry, much of it charms
Atharva Veda, a collection of charms, and the Rigveda, a collection of hymns or incantations
Hittite ritual texts
In folklore and fiction
fairy tales or fantasy fiction, an enchantment is a magical spell that is attached, on a relatively-permanent basis, to a specific person, object or location, and alters its qualities, generally in a positive way. The most widely-known example is probably the spell that Cinderella's Fairy Godmother uses to turn a pumpkininto a coach. An enchantment with negative characteristics is usually instead referred to as a curse.
Conversely, enchantments are also used to describe spells that cause no real effects but deceive people, either by directly affecting their thoughts or using some kind of illusions. "Enchantresses" are frequently depicted as able to seduce by such magic. Other forms include deceiving people into believing that they have suffered a magical transformation.
Examples are "
Abracadabra" as might be said by a magician during a trick, or the Stunning Spellin the Harry Potterbooks.
Effects of incantations
To be enchanted is to be under the influence of an enchantment, usually thought to be caused by charms or spells.
Latin"incantare", which means 'to utter an incantation', or cast a magic spell, forms the basis of the word " enchant", with deep linguistic roots going back to the Indo-European "kan-" prefix. So it can be said that an enchanter or enchantress casts magic spells, or utters incantations, similar to what are called Mantrain Sanskrit.
Carmen (verse), the term for an Ancient Roman incantation
John Cluteand John Grant, " The Encyclopedia of Fantasy"
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