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There are a lot of plots that introduce a special event that occurs every 1000 years, some of them involve a celestial conjunction. Eclipse, lunar or solar, is the most common used. During this event, magic power is greatly enhanced (might be only certain magic school, or general magic).

What is special (magically) on a conjunction?

It is understandable that past people regard solar eclipse as a bad omen because of the darkness and the disappearance of the sun, but what gives the mages extra oomph when this (and other conjunction) happens?

This takes place in our solar system, so the same sun, moon, earth, other celestial bodies. You can make up hidden characteristics of the bodies, like they emit a stream of mana or magical power, or such.

Magic Rules

  1. Spell activates by manipulating mana: invisible energy that fills the atmosphere, not necessarily uniformly. You don't need internal mana to cast spells, instead manipulating those already in environment.
  2. To use magic, you only need to know the principle that govern the spell and "will" it, so it is a common thing, except complex spells are harder to understood so it will not be available to most people.
  3. The power increase is greater the more massive the celestial bodies involved.
  4. Anyone can learn magic as long as they are capable of understanding the working of the spell. This makes wizards/mages as common as scientists, and twice as cool and and weird.
  5. The increased effect varies with location and time.

Additional backgrounds (optional)

You can use this, or part of this, as hints, or not.

  1. Lunar phases affect water magic. Interestingly enough, lunar eclipse increase water magic, instead decrease it. The same applies to solar eclipse.
  2. You can cast spell as long as your brain can handle it. If your brain is tired, your spell may fail and may even cause unexpected result (some may be developed into new spells)
  3. You can cast multiple spells at once, though those capable of this feat are very, very rare.
  4. Magic integrates into daily life, and most people know how to use it in simple form.
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    $\begingroup$ In accordance with the magic tag, please define your magic system. If you don't, the answer to this question will be defined by how answerers view magic. If you do, then you'll likely answer your own question. Voting to close as too-opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 11 '17 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ How about, "it's magic". Seriously, make up anything you like. You're dealing with magic, not science. $\endgroup$ – Grimm The Opiner Apr 11 '17 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ @GrimmTheOpiner Magic requires a defined system to allow readers to experience 'the world' as 'real'. Why we love Harry Potter? Because it involve 'Magical Realism' $\endgroup$ – Vylix Apr 12 '17 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ "You don't need mana to cast spells. However, you can involve mana in your answer, if you need to." This doesn't help limit the question. The kind of things I'd want to know: what is different about magic cast during a sunny day, a cloudy day, a rainy day, a night? How often can someone cast? As often as they can say the spell? Or some other restriction? If two cast at the same time, are they each limited to half as much magic? Does a near eclipse increase power? Or only an actual eclipse? What about when the Earth eclipses the Moon? $\endgroup$ – Brythan Apr 12 '17 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ There is no difference on weather or day-night cycle, but lunar phases do affect water magic power. To use magic, you only need to know the principle that govern the spell and "will" it, so it is a common thing, except complex spells are harder to understood so it will not be available to most people. $\endgroup$ – Vylix Apr 12 '17 at 4:31
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I think the most logical cause of such enhancement during celestial events is; Magical energy is linked to celestial bodies and when they align, the amplitude of the energy heightens much like a sine wave's amplitude increases when it meets a wave in phase (Constructive interference). This way it can explain why the magical powers increase.

At the same time this kind of construction could also be used as an explanation why magical powers diminish in a "bad" celestial alignment when you get 'destructive interference' like sine waves meeting out of phase and negating or weakening each other.

If we represent the magical energy emitting from celestial bodies as a sine wave we can use the following images as example:

Constructive interference. Constructive interference

Destructive interference. Destructive interference:

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It's mostly just tradition.

What generates a mass of chocolate eggs on the first Sunday after the first spring moon? Why are there fewer chocolate eggs at other times? It's not because the chocolate factories can't make eggs at other times but tradition works against it.

Magic is generated from the rites and incantations of the wizards. If you get hold of a wizard's calendar it tells you the astronomical events for the coming years. Each event is traditionally associated with certain magic. The wizards could generate the "Mars in conjunction with Jupiter" magic at any time, but they don't, because tradition. It is the combined working of wizards around the world the creates the surge in magical effects at times that are significant in the wizarding calendar.

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The magical power is hidden deep into the Earth; powerful magicians are just simple people with the ability to attract this power from the Earth into their body. This power (like many things) is attracted by a force similar to gravity (this is why it is inside the Earth and the planets more generally).

Thus, when celestial bodies are in conjunction, their gravity-like forces are adding each other, consequently the magical power is attracted to the surface or even worse... directly into well-placed wizards... Just like the Moon and the Sun attract water to form tides.

For example you can state that magic attracts magic and replace the mass by a kind of magical potential in the gravitational equation. I think the Moon would be full of magic, so would the Sun.

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    $\begingroup$ Good answer, but the gravity effects of planetary conjunctions are negligible, whereas the OP calls for major effects. $\endgroup$ – Michael Vehrs Apr 11 '17 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ Magic has no mass so, gravity is not really the answer indeed. But a force that affects magic and looks like gravity could satisfy the OP. I will edit the answer. $\endgroup$ – EngelOfChipolata Apr 11 '17 at 8:54
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Rituals are sometimes considered to work better when you think they're going to work in modern witch circles - they work because it's positive thinking, you think it'll work.

The belief that "this will work really well because it's a special day for it" could greatly increase the mental ability of a wizard - kind of like saying "I'm wearing my favourite underwear so I'm bound to do well today" it would increase your confidence, compared to "I couldn't find any matching socks today and now I feel terrible" - your date could go bad because you're worried about your socks or it could go really well if you're confident about it because it's unlikely your date would notice. I'm going a little off-topic but I'm just comparing it. Thinking that it's a good time for a spell or ritual could give you the confidence you need for a more powerful spell.

It doesn't have to be the moon and this would explain why things like ritual clothing and special herbs or candles also help increase the power of spells. The power comes from the wizard being more confident in their self. Similarly, things being bad omens for a spell would be because it makes the wizard feel more nervous/less confident.

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It lurks in the dark

Magic is linked to darkness of the absense of sunlight. Somehow the light of the sun reduces the effectiveness of magic. So that's why witches and warlocks come out at night. They feel their magic increase. Of course it still needs to offset the effects of daytime.

So magic evolved a predicable ebb and flow. Reduces during the day, then slowly regains strength at night. Now with an eclipse there is a sudden change. Perhaps magic is a living force. It jumps at this occasion and magic worldwide dramatically increases. Perhaps it's trying to overpower the planet before the eciplse end.

It just wants to discharge

On the other hand, a conjunction brings astronomical objects closer together. Perhaps the closer they come together the easier magic jumps the void of space. Maybe our collective human psyche draws magic. With the right alignment we can draw from several planets at once.

It jumps from planet to planet. So the larger the conjunction the more powerful the magic on Earth becomes. This would make bigger conjunctions all the more interesting.

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It block the magic syphon. Earth magic is something like particles (let's call them midichlorians), everything emits them. The larger the object the more particles it spit out. And because they are magic the gravity don't work on them like on air so they can leave the planet it originated from.
But with the whole spinning, turning and forces of other planets the magic is leaving earth mostly through "magic highway".
But when the planets get into conjunction they block the traffic and send/bounce back most of the magic elements. Thus giving more to disposal and making charge time shorter.

Also sun eclipse work in the same way but we are blocked from the sun magic. Same with moon, it's bounce back some of the sun elements but mixed with its own forced to move to earth by Mars.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the idea, but the writing is poor. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Apr 11 '17 at 12:17

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