Magic Words

Right now, our lives are saturated in Passwords and Pin Codes. I use them for so many things every day that I have to keep an old-fashioned address book as a handwritten backup. Sure, I remember most of them, most of the time but… Between Gmail, on-line banking, social media sites, Goodreads, Amazon and the rest, I often feel awash in MAGIC WORDS.

“Open Sesame” from Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, “Abracadabra” and other magical incantations were part of my childhood. Of course “Please” and “Thank You” were often referred to as “magic words” when I was kid.

Words — even words never written into a spell or chanted before a lit candle — can be magic. There is the very romantic, and seductive, notion that beautiful words inspire love and there is the other, very romantic and seductive notion, that storytelling opens doors to imaginary words. I like both of those magical word incarnations.

In paranormal, horror, fantasy and some science fiction, magic words become central to the story. Crediting words with power is an old idea. Rumpelstiltskin’s name was the key to his nefarious plot. The Golem is given life with words. And countless spells are broken with the proper choice of words.

What are you favorite magic words? What doors do they open? What spells do they end?


  1. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that knowing the name of a thing confers power over that thing. My Vokh never tell anyone the secret names they call themselves, and that need for secrecy has warped their whole language and culture.

    Yet we do it too, every day of our lives. “Friend’ confers trust and affection. ‘Stranger’ confers suspicion and fear. These, and thousands of words like them, are shortcuts to decision points that modify our behaviour. Words are magic indeed.

    • Candy

      All words are magical — in some sense — but secret names are super magical.

      So glad I’ve already downloaded your science fiction novel and I will get to know the Vokh and their secretive ways soon.