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This article is about the phenomenon. For the god, see Magnus.

Magic (magicka in the Ayleid language)[1] is the general term used for the focusing of raw energy into various properties and for various purposes. This raw energy, often referred to as magicka or mana, flows from Aetherius into Mundus by way of the sun and stars, and from it the Mundus was created.[2][3] Magicka comprises every spirit, it is the energy of all living things and can be harnessed in a variety of ways. Despite thousands of years of study, there is an enormous amount of speculation about how magic is generated, how it might be used by Aedra and Daedra, and how it might flow between living things.[3][4]


Magnus was the god who designed Mundus, the mortal realm, during its creation. After it was completed, however, he ordered the project terminated, and left for Aetherius at great cost. In doing so, he tore a hole in the veil of Oblivion through which the magicka of Aetherius flows into the world.[5][6] The great rift he left behind, the sun, is itself known as Magnus.[7] Soon, other et'Ada who agreed with Magnus followed his lead, leaving smaller holes which are the stars, through which magicka also flows. This is why the stars under which a person is born have such a great influence on that person's fortunes and fate, and why many materials which fall from the heavens have great magical properties.[2][3][8]


A Sorcerer

Some of the first recorded uses of magic were by the Ayleids of the First Era. Through the salvaging of fallen fragments of Aetherius, they attained great arcane power, which they used to enslave the early Cyrodiils.[2] A common phrase in the Ayleid language is "Av molag anyammis, av latta magicka", which means "From fire, life; from light, magic".[1] With one or two exceptions, wizards of the early First Era were generally solitary, and there was little collaboration beyond the master-apprentice relationship, or standardization in magical practices.[9] Until the Second Era and the construction of the Arcane University, the Crystal Tower of Summerset Isle was considered the pinnacle of magical research and learning in Tamriel.

Many different magical arts have been developed during Tamrielic history for purposes ranging from warfare to technological advancement to religion and divination, and there is often much scholarly disagreement between various researchers.[10] Notable magical endeavors include the Redguards' Shehai Shen She Ru, the Nords' Thu'um, the Bosmer's Beast Tongue, the Maormer's sea serpent-taming magic, and the numerous innovations of the Dwemer. There are many other little-understood magical phenomena, like the mysterious constructs the Towers, as well as the process of surpassing worldly limitations known as CHIM. A person's reserves of magicka are determined by numerous, often unknown influences, and some people are naturally very gifted in various ways, but no one has the infinite power of Magnus himself.[11]

The power of the Aedra and other deities is sometimes, but not always, within the meaning of "magic" on Tamriel, depending on the context.[12][5] The worship of deities is suspected to be desirable to those spirits due to the belief that they transform the energy exuded by the worshipper into another, distinct kind of magic they can wield for the benefit (or downfall) of all.[4][13]

A myriad of great wizards have come from the Altmer from Summerset Isle and the Breton from High Rock, as well as powerful Nibenese battlemages, Telvanni magelords,[14] and Sload necromancers. Many rulers of the Summerset Isle were advised by the Psijic Order, a body of mages concerned with the practice of Mysticism. In particular, the formation of the Mages Guild in the early Second Era altered the political and societal landscape. By forming the Guild, its ex-Psijic founder, Vanus Galerion, allowed magical items, potions, and spells to be bought by any member of the public that could afford to pay. In effect, magic was no longer dictated by the aristocracy or intelligentsia.[15]

Throughout history, many institutions devoted to acquiring arcane knowledge have been erected, including the Crystal Tower, House Telvanni, the College of Winterhold, and the School of Julianos.[16]

Some time before the Three Banners War, the curricula of the Mages Guild was seen as haphazard and disorganized. Gabrielle Benele saw that the Shad Astula Academy divided magic into eight "schools" and that this resulted in novice mages being trained in half the time, so she proposed the Mages Guild follow this model as well.[17] The Guild did adopt this and while the number of schools have changed over time, the concept has endured since its adoption.

The magical arts are not always met with warmth. Often this has been with good reason, as magical studies have proven to be all-consuming in numerous cases, making the mages threats to themselves and others. The Psijic Order, the oldest known magical organization in Tamriel, is now considered a rogue organization by the Thalmor of the Aldmeri Dominion, and the two have clashed before.[18] Most Redguards consider wizardry both "weak" and "wicked", and it fell out of favor with the Nords in the First Era. Necromancy is reviled in most societies.[19] Daedra summoning/trafficking is also hated in many provinces, especially in the wake of the Oblivion Crisis, which many believed was a result of magic gone wrong.[20] Shadow Magic, while rare, is feared because of its power.

Arcane ArtsEdit

There are numerous ways the use of magic can manifest. The most obvious is the practice of casting spells, but one can also brew potions to apply an effect, among other things. There are a few ways in which a spell is different from a synthesis, including the ways in which their failure manifests. A badly put-together spell likely won't work at all, but alchemy gone wrong can be poison.[20]:39


The act of drawing on one's own magicka reserves in order to generate some kind of effect in the physical world is called "casting a spell". The Psijic Order consider it an intensely personal exercise. No two mages weave their spells in exactly the same way. Like painting or sculpting, each artist has their own distinctive style.[21]

There have been seven widely accepted schools of spellcasting over time, each with a number of spells that pertain to its particular purpose:

  • Destruction spells harm the target by damaging its health with either elemental or magical attacks, draining and damaging its attributes, skills, health, magic, and fatigue, making it weak to the elements, poisons and magic, and corroding its armor and weapons.
  • Restoration spells augment the target by restoring its health, attributes, stamina, and magicka, fortifying its health, attributes, skills, stamina, and magicka, granting it resistances to the elements, magic, disease, paralysis, poison, and un-enchanted weapons, curing it of disease, poison, and paralysis as well as harming the target by absorbing its health, magicka, stamina, attributes, and skills.
  • Conjuration spells call upon otherworldly entities through telepathy, certain skilled Conjuration mages can develop telepathic links with each other. Conjuration spells augment the caster by granting them Daedric and Undead guardians, Daedric weapons and armor, and the ability to repel the undead and banish Daedra.
  • Alteration spells alter the physical and magical properties of the target. Alteration spells harm the target by making the objects it is carrying heavier and augments the target by making the objects it is carrying lighter, granting it elemental and physical shields and the ability to breathe water and walk upon its surface as well as open locks.
  • Illusion spells affect light and a sentient target's mind. Illusion spells harm the target by commanding, demoralizing, paralyzing, silencing, and causing it to frenzy, as well as augmenting it by rallying, charming, calming it, granting it invisibility, night-vision, translucency, and illuminating it.
  • Mysticism is an obscure school, though its spells seem to manipulate magicka itself. Due to its spells that bind the target's soul, this school is closely related to necromancy. Mysticism spells augment the target by granting it the ability to detect life, reflect damage, absorb and reflect spells as well as harm it by dispelling its magical effects and trapping its soul, including the ability to move objects through space with telekinesis. The nature of the School of Mysticism is the subject of much scholarly debate.[22]
  • Thaumaturgy does not change the appearance or structure of a force or object, but can manipulate laws temporarily.

The schools of magic have often been subject to revision by existing magical institutes, and some have fallen out of favor. For example, following the Warp in the West the school of Thaumaturgy was rearranged into other schools and was largely replaced by the growing popularity of Conjuration, while in the fourth era the school of Mysticism was gradually consolidated into the other five extant schools. Ultimately, the schools of magic are arbitrary and artificial constructs used to simplify the study of magic.[19][17]


Enchanting is the act of endowing objects with magical properties through the use of various ingredients and tools, and a soul, almost always with the use of a soul gem. An enchanted item's power diminishes with use, in which case additional souls may be used to replenish it. The strength of an enchanted item and the amount by which it can be recharged is directly related to the magnitude of the souls used. The enchanting discipline concerns imbuing physical items with magical properties called enchantments. The simplest enchantments are magical scrolls with a single enchantment that are destroyed with one use. The most complex enchantments are enchanted artifacts, objects with one or more magical effects powered by built-in soul gems. Skilled enchanters also use enchanted items more efficiently, with less waste of the magicka trapped in the soul gems, and even make greater use out of the enchantments. It is said that a skilled enchanter is also a catalyst, and that a ring that can generate warmth for a novice, on the hand of a talented enchanter could "bake a forest black".

It is said that Raven Direnni created the art of enchantment in the First Era, though grand enchanters such as Ahzidal of Merethic Era predated her discoveries. According to other sources, the enchantress merely improved an existing process by developing the Rules of Eldritch Binding. Before her work, the process failed nine times out of ten.

Prior to Vanus Galerion's foundation of Mages Guild magical services, including enchanted items were not available to the general public in the Summerset Isles. The art of magic, including enchantment, was primarily limited to the aristocracy or intelligentsia. The creation and use of magical items were generally kept within the confines of magical institutions such as the Psijic Order, and the general public had limited access to them.

It is possible to utilize alchemical reagents for enchantments.

Some materials are prized by enchanters for their properties in the forging of enchanted weapons and armors, such as Meteoric Iron. Cold Iron is known for holding enchantments very well.

Sigil Stones can be used to enchant gear, and can even surpass the strength of enchantments made with bigger soul gems.


Alchemy is the act of mixing, boiling, and distilling various substances to obtain their chemo-magical properties and create potions and poisons. Potions are usually imbibed orally and usually grant the imbiber with positive effects. Poisons are introduced into the target's bloodstream by pouring it onto a weapon and attacking the target with it and usually gives the target negative effects.

Alchemical ingredients include extracts from plants, animals, undead, and Daedra. Certain ingredients are very valuable to alchemists due to their rarity, many of which are extracts from Daedric creatures. Prospective alchemists often need to experiment with ingredients to gauge what effects can be created, usually by eating samples of ingredients. This practice is referred to as wortcraft. Stationary alchemical stations are often used for the preparation of potions.

In the Iliac Bay, they were often utilized by the temple clergy and the elusive Dark Brotherhood as a service to their members. In Skyrim, such stations were not only used by apothecaries but also installed by court wizards and even some taverns. Some landowners may also have an alchemy laboratory in their own homes. In contrast, within Cyrodiil and Morrowind it was far more common for a smaller travel apparatus to be used by alchemists. These portable laboratories had four components:

  • Mortar and Pestle: used for grinding the ingredients together into a paste to be boiled, required for potion brewing
  • Retort: used for distilling the brew, increases the magnitude of the potion's positive effects, optional for potion brewing.
  • Calcinator: used to increase all effects of the brew, both positive and negative, optional for potion brewing.
  • Alembic: also distills the brew, used to decrease its negative effects, optional for potion brewing

Around 4E 8, tests for discerning an ingredient's four "virtues" (primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary) were developed.


Verandis Ravenwatch performing Auramancy in Nighthollow Keep

Auramancy is an arcane art that involves evoking memories from the auras left behind on objects by individuals' emotions. By casting auramancy on a lingering aura or magic tied to objects, it may reveal a scene from the past in the form of harmless phantasms that act out a scene of the memory. Auramancy works best on personal possessions that are imbued with a significant emotional aura or have arcane residue clinging to them. As powerful emotions are the most likely to leave their mark on objects, the memories that auramancy reveal are usually those of important events. Some consider auramancy to be a useful tool for unraveling the history of ancient, forgotten places. For instance, Count Verandis Ravenwatch used auramancy to recall memories of the vampires in Nighthollow Keep.

Through the use of auramancy, a memory of the caster's choice can be implanted in an object, subsequently causing the object to glow. Upon interaction with the object, the auramancy will activate and display the memory like it would normally if directly cast. Auramancy can appear as golden or red light.

Blood MagicEdit

Blood Magic

Blood Magic is a dark and ancient form of magic. It is most often used by vampires belonging to powerful bloodlines, who can use it to drain life, reanimate the dead, telekinetically lift others from a distance, summon gargoyles, and paralyze others. Vampire Lords can only perform blood magic while levitating and can use their life drain effect to slay mortal men and enhance their blood magical power.

To a lesser extent, non-vampires can also use blood magic in combat to siphon health from enemies. Argonians are said to be naturally competent at blood magic. Blood magic can be also used to drain memories.

Dark MagicEdit

Dark Magic negates, drains and preys upon the magicka and power of other magic users. It also replicates some of the harmful effects of spells cast by Daedra.

Flesh MagicEdit

Flesh Colossus created using Flesh Magic

Flesh Magic is an obscure and ancient form of magic, believed by some to be older than the world itself. It is characterized by what practitioners call the "sixth element", otherwise known as Flesh. According to legend, the element of Flesh was birthed in ancient times by the original five elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Light when darkness turned into day and the Void took form. Said to have been hidden by virtue of its own self-awareness, it remains largely unknown and esoteric among modern societies.

Flesh SculptureEdit

Flesh Sculpture (Legends)

Flesh Sculpture is a style of magic based around the manipulation of flesh of living beings, be it for healing or for cosmetic purposes such as changing one's face.

Whilst seemingly obscure, flesh sculpting isn't something reserved to the underworld of Tamriel. Legend speaks of the Wailing Wheels of Vindasel, where the Ayleids derived strange pleasure by subjecting Nedic slaves to the "art-torture" of using their skin for flesh sculptures. The exiled Barsaebic Ayleids brought this horrific art form with them to Black Marsh, where they enslaved local Argonians for the color and texture of their skin. Cloudrest contains a Faculty of Chirurgeons where masters of flesh sculpture teach their art. Nohotogrha, an oasis found in Hammerfell, is also home to flesh sculptors known as the Hollow-Faced Men. One known practitioner of this art, Galathil, claims to have learned her art in both of these places circa 4E 201. According to Galathil, flesh sculpting cannot be used on the dead, which includes those afflicted with vampirism. Despite its magical nature, changing one's appearance requires conventional surgical tools such as knives.


Kiai is an Akaviri magical practice similar to the Thu'um. Little is known about Kiai's applications. It was utilized by Tsaesci swordsmen in combat, who articulated their power in a similar fashion to Nord Tongues. The use of the Thu'um was once described as "letting it out in a kiai". The martial and mystical arts of the Dragon Knights, known as Ardent Flame, were known to descend from Akaviri teachings. The abilities of the Dragon Knights were also linked to Dragons, and were believed to differ fundamentally from common magic. Whether or not the Dragon Knights were using Kiai is unclear, but at least some Tsaesci swordmasters used abilities identical to Ardent Flame.

Mind MagicEdit

Sea Sload mindscape

Mind magic is an arcane art that involves the manipulation of the mind and memories of living beings. Using mind magic, the caster is able to evoke madness and manipulate the thoughts and memories of their victims without them realizing that their minds have been affected. The Sea Sload are notable for having demonstrated skill in wielding mind magic.

Mind magic can also be used to speak directly into the minds of others, which is described as a strange and defiling experience for the recipient. Molag Bal invades the minds of his prisoners as a form of torture, a process that is agonizing for the victim. By forcing his way into a mortal's mind, he can show them horrific visions. When a practitioner of mind magic forces their way into another's mind, they run the risk of opening their own thoughts to the person whose mind they're intruding upon. Those who have been troubled by a mental link of this nature can see through their assailant's eyes if they concentrate hard enough.


Mycoturgy is a branch of magic involving control and manipulation of fungi. Practitioners of this arcane art are known as Mycoturges, Fungimancers, and Shroomtenders.


Necromancy, also called the Necromantic Arts, Dark Arts, or Dark Practice, is the manipulation of the souls or corpses of the dead. Dragons know it as alok-dilon. Practitioners of the Dark Arts are known as necromancers (or necros in the common parlance). Different groups and cultures have varying positions on what exactly constitutes necromancy. In its broadest sense, necromancy can be understood as any form of soul manipulation. Some might consider it a subset of the conjuration school of magic, as both involve the summoning of spirits and utilizing the powers of Oblivion. However, necromancy is more generally understood to connote the manipulation of the souls of mortals and the reanimation of their corpses. Typically, this soul manipulation is accomplished by binding a soul to a physical form which has been prepared by the necromancer.

Necromancy has generally been considered immoral in most cultures, and sometimes even illegalized, as it is believed to contravene the natural process of life and death and violate the sanctity of spirits. However, there have been significant exceptions, and the relative risks and merits of Necromancy have been a controversial subject for centuries. Much of the knowledge of it is often attributed to Daedric influences, specifically Molag Bal. Molag Bal is also the father of vampires, undead creatures who often practice and have a heightened affinity for necromancy, or work alongside necromancers. Vampirism is sometimes considered to be directly related to necromancy.

Shadow MagicEdit

A Shadowkey

Shadow Magic is an obscure but powerful form of magic believed by some to be related to the schools of Illusion and Mysticism. It was originally harnessed by Azra Nightwielder, who was the first to discover that shadow was not simply an absence of light, but a reflection of possible worlds created by forces in conflict. Shadows can be produced by mundane forces such as light hitting a rock, or by more powerful forces such as nations at war. Shadows are the records of the clash, past, present and future of these forces. Shadow Magic involves the manipulation of shadows to affect the forces creating it. At its strongest, it even has the capabilities of reaching into and affecting the multiverse. Shadow magic has the potential to carry a high price for its usage, for its nature is to turn on their casters, and shadowmages are often distrusted because of this. Shadow Magic is common around the Western Reach area, but is only occasionally used elsewhere. It is often harnessed by "Nightblades".


The Sight is the ability possessed by some individuals that allows them to divine information through visions and prophecy.

Snake MagicEdit

Snake Magic is an arcane art connected to snakes and sea serpents. A powerful form of snake magic was practiced by the Maormer. They used it to tame the sea serpents of Pyandonea for use as steeds and war beasts. King Orgnum was believed to practice rituals that allow the Maormer to control sea serpents and use them to support their fleets. Snake magic can be also used to warp snakes to make them more aggressive, alter their eggs, and charm snakes and serpents of all sizes. Practitioners of snake magic were known as serpent-mages and snake-charmers. They were known to use instruments such as the snake-charmer's pungi and double reedpipes as tools to command serpents. Such instruments were rare in the Summerset Isles.

Soul MagicEdit

Soul Magic is an obscure form of magic focused on the manipulation of souls and vestiges. Practitioners of the craft are known as soul mages.

Spider CraftingEdit

Spider Crafting is an art of magic involving the creation of artificial spiders imbued with magical properties. It is considered adjacent to Alchemy and Daedric magic.


Thaumavocalism is an arcane art of both musical and magical nature that involves channeling magicka through song. Practitioners of this art are known as Thaumavocalists. In order to cast magic, thaumavocalists need to sing. At least some thaumavocalists are incapable of performing magic through traditional means with the usage of gestures or innate mental powers. Their magic is focused through music. In order to improve their abilities, they must study both magic and music. Some scholars link this ability to Tonal Architecture, though the connection between the two is doubtful. Thaumavocalists can cast spells accidentally through singing, even as children without formal magical training. Resonance crystals can be used to improve the strength of the magic of the thaumavocalists.

The ShehaiEdit

A Shehai, also known as a "Spirit Sword", was a magical sword created from the soul of a warrior through sheer willpower. Elite Yokudan Sword-singers, called Ansei, were famous for using this technique in ancient times, but knowledge of it was gradually lost to history.

The Thu'umEdit

The Last Dragonborn using the Thu'um, as seen in Legends

The thu'um, also referred to as the Masculine Breath, the Storm Voice or simply the Voice, is a form of magic inherent in most Nords and some others which uses the words of the language of the Dragons to form "Shouts", the equivalent of spells, of immense power. The word actually means "shout" in the Dragon language. It is said that dragons make no distinction between debating and fighting, and so their words have always been magical and powerful, for those who take the time to learn and understand their meaning. The Nords believe that Kyne, the embodiment of the wind who is viewed as the Nordic aspect of Kynareth, breathed onto the land at the Throat of the World to form them. As such, the Nords believe that their voice and breath is their very essence, and that channeling this life essence is how the thu'um operates. Those who can wield this power are called Tongues by the Nords. Most, if not all, Nords have some capacity for the thu'um, but it takes particular talent and many, many years of study and training to become a Tongue. The thu'um can be used for a wide variety of purposes, anything from sharpening blades to quickly traveling across the land, even controlling animals or killing enemies. Some stories suggest that the ancient Tongues even had the power to "sing Shor's ghost into the world". The most powerful Tongues must be careful when they speak and are often gagged for safety, as their voice can cause great destruction.

Time MagicEdit

Time Magic also known as time travel magic, time alteration, and chronomancy, is a type of magic which involves the manipulation and perversion of time. Manipulating time is notoriously difficult, with most known successes being entirely accidental or full of unintended, and very dangerous, consequences.


An Ayleid Well containing starlight

Varliance (also known as Aetherial Magic, Star-Magicka or simply Star-Magic) is a type of radiant blue magic that emanates from the stars in the night sky. The word may translate to starlight, which the ancient Ayleids believed was the purest form of light, one of the four elements they acknowledged. Of the races of Tamriel, the Ayleids are more closely associated with it. They use both Welkynd and Varla Stones (types of meteoric glass) to store the starlight and repurpose it for a variety of reasons.

Void MagicEdit

A Void Magic trap

Void Magic is an arcane art associated with the Daedric Prince Namira and her followers. Its spells typically resemble Void energy, glowing in a faded gray-green light, though exceptionally powerful incantations do not possess this trait and instead shine radiant blue. Some Void Magic can be cast at any time like other schools, while some forms involve the manipulation of voidstuff. Practitioners of the art are known as void mages, and are most frequently witches of the Reach. Overuse of Void magic can cause a condition known as Void Pathosis, darkening the skin of the afflicted and giving them glowing white eyes. Alternatively, overexposure to the magic can turn those hit into shades, twisting their souls.

Water MagicEdit

Water Magic is an obscure and little-known form of magic involving the manipulation of water.

On Tamriel, water is composed of memory. When a mortal dies, his or her memories become water, and in this way all the memories of Tamriel's histories are stored within its waters. This fact is considered to be one of the most dangerous secrets about the natural order of the world, and is therefore closely guarded by the Demon of Knowledge Hermaeus Mora. Achieving a true understanding of this principle requires a lifetime of study and contemplation, but in the wrong hands this knowledge can be extremely dangerous. For example, circa 2E 582 the water spirit of Halcyon Lake, a nereid named Lorelia, attempted to twist the natural order by stealing the memories of her mortal followers to prevent the desertification of her lake, forcing the servants of Hermaeus Mora to intervene. The burial grounds of Honor's Rest had memorial pools that allowed one to view the past through the eyes of those involved in the Siege of Orsinium.

Weather MagicEdit

Weather Magic (also known as Storm Magic and Air Magic) is magic that involves manipulating the weather. There are quite a few recorded instances of mortals altering the weather using magic.

Weather magic has never been an exact science because of the temperamental nature of what it seeks to control. Minor spells to conjure gusts of wind or forks of lightning are common, but manipulation of a region's climate is much more difficult to achieve. Maormer war wizards have longed for the ability to lower catastrophic hailstorms onto enemy borders as a preamble to invasion, or to halt a blizzard to make an unexpected march through inclement weather.

Although weather magic is sometimes attributed exclusively to certain races such as Maormer, everyone can learn how to manipulate weather.


  • Cheesemancy (the manipulation of cheese) and Visceromancy (divination using human entrails) are two obscure fields of magical practice. Practitioners can be found among the insane mortal residents of the Shivering Isles.[23][24]
  • Ovamancy is an obscure field of magical practice that involves eggs, where one is able to produce eggs with smaller eggs inside. The only known practitioner is Revus Demnevanni.[25]
  • Night Magic is an obscure magical art wielded by the Nightblades.[26]
  • Topiary-mages are an obscure denomination of magic users. They were active in the Imperial City during the reign of Tiber Septim and the previous Cyrodilic dynasties. They used sorcery to construct several heads of former Emperors into the hedges of Green Emperor Way. When Tiber Septim needed advise from them, birds would move the branches and speak through their song, emulating the facial expressions and voice of the former monarch.[27]
  • There is an ancient figure known as Thorgrima, who held the title "Lord of Magicka". He is also known as the "Keeper of Crimson Fire". A stone is commemorated to him in Skyrim, raised by his wife, Lungerd.[28]
  • Some mages are said to be so powerful, radiating waves of magic can be seen by fellow trained mages nearby.[29]
  • Spread across Tamriel are many special crafting stations which provide unique effects to weapons, armor and jewelry created in such places.[30] One example is Night's Silence, which was created by the mad wizard, Mesanthano. Arcane power still lingers in places such as his ruined tower.[31] Another possible example is the Lunar Forge. It is unclear if these crafting stations are related to the arcane art of enchantment.

See AlsoEdit