"I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."People use the word magic in a variety of ways. It can be used in a number of situations, but it always seems to have the same feel. Something mysterious and unexplainable. Something that could be described as supernatural. Most often, magic is used in the sense of supernatural powers or abilities. I believe that this magic can be divided into three different types. I'll be referring to these types as light magic, neutral magic, and dark magic, and going into each type individually. But keep in mind that only one of these is true magic.
The first type will be neutral magic, since this is the simplest type. It could also be referred to as science. This is not true magic, because it isn't supernatural. A common example would be if you were to take any kind of modern technology back to the middle ages. They wouldn't understand it, and it would be labeled as magic. This type of magic applies to more than just technology, though. It applies to anything that can be explained naturally. Another example would be Merlin from the BBC show, Merlin. In episode 1 of season 1, it's revealed that Merlin was born with the ability to move objects with his mind. This, being a fantasy show, is labeled as magic. However, this same ability can be found in science fiction. For example, in Babylon 5, we find people with telekinetic abilities. While this is a fictional ability, it is still explained naturally. As Merlin was born with this ability (as opposed to learning it as a spell), we can determine that this is neutral magic, or science.
The next type of magic is light magic. Again, this is not true magic. It could be referred to as miracles. This magic is supernatural, but is power that comes from God, whether He chooses to act through a person or not. This is not human power, but is still sometimes called magic. An example would be Moses. In ancient Egypt, God performed miracles through Moses. The Egyptian magicians, however, saw this as magic, and were able to bring about some of the same results through their own arts.
This brings us to the third type of magic. Dark magic, or sorcery. This is the only true type of magic. If the power is supernatural, but doesn't come from God, then it must come from somewhere else. This power comes from demons or spirits. The difference between dark magic and light magic is the source. Both are supernatural, but light magic is an act of God, possibly through a person, while dark magic is a supernatural power that a human claims as their own by calling upon demons or spirits. Merlin actually uses two different types of magic. His ability to move objects with his mind would be neutral magic, or science, but when he learns spells and enchantments from his books, what he's actually doing is calling upon a supernatural power.
It is important to note that, depending on what a person believes, some will simply split magic into two types: true magic and false magic. False magic being science, and true magic being any supernatural power. This is seen in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. The story revolves around Egyptian magicians, who compare the "magic" of Moses to their own, believing that he was simply a more powerful sorcerer than they were. It is still common to refer to dark magic, even among those who believe in only two types of magic. However, these ideas are logically incompatible, since the "good" magicians are drawing their power from the same source as the "bad" magicians.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-Arthur C. Clarke