White magic is used solely for beneficial purposes. It can be used toward the personal well-being of the magician or with the intention of helping or healing another.
White magic traditionally is said to draw its power from heavenly forces. White magic spells are the essence of good, the very opposite of those used in black magic.
White magic spells are never used for personal gain or to harm others. They are used to protect, bless, and heal those in need. White magic also can hold off black magic and break ill wishes and curses.
White magic is found in folktales and fantasy stories around the world. Merlin, the powerful magician of Arthurian lore, practices white magic. Merlin is part demon (or part fairy), yet he chooses to stay on the side of right. The magician Michael Scott of Scottish folklore kept his soul safe from the devil by never straying from white magic.
Perhaps the most familiar practitioners of white magic are the fairy godmothers found in more than 700 versions of the “Cinderella” story. These benevolent fairies cast spells to help the protagonists of their stories to live happily ever after.
Magicians are extremely popular in modern fantasy ﬁction, more so than in the fiction of earlier eras. Gandalf, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series (1954–1955), is a powerful white wizard who refuses to use his magic for ill, even when tempted by the One Ring. And, in J.K. Rowling’s more recent fictional series about the adventures of Harry Potter (1997–2007), Harry is a powerful wizard who uses his powers for good.
It is important to note that Harry Potter is a rare exception to the norm. Magicians generally are not the heroes of the stories in which they appear. In works with a magic user as protagonist, the author must include some check on the power of that character.
It is for good reason that Gandalf disappears for a significant portion of the Lord of the Rings series—if he remained, there would be little worry for the other characters, which would make for a rather dull plot.