Whilst I was browsing tumblr’s witchcraft tag one fine, procrastination-filled evening, I came across a post that made me immediately face palm. Not that the poster’s intentions were bad, and I was judging on assumptions here, but it got me thinking about what magic can do and what it can’t do, and, more specifically, how it can do what it can. The post in question wanted to know how to enchant a regular phone to be a godphone. My immediate thought was that they wanted to get text messages from the gods or something, which, to be fair, might not have been what they meant; but nevertheless.
When I think about what I want a spell to do, I have an arbitrary division of reality. On one side are things like phones, chairs, temperature, things that are scientifically quantifiable. On the other are thoughts, feelings, perceptions, spirits, and other things of that sort: basically, things that are not quantifiable and therefore not something that exists in the same way that, say, a chair does.
When you want to effect the quantifiable universe, there are certain things that you simply cannot do. You can’t make sparks come out of your wand at will, or move a drawer with your mind, or make a book hover in the air with the utterance of a simple ‘leviosa’. These things defy the laws of physics (kind of). Trying to make these things happen with magic is about as effective as doing it with science. ie, impossible. Not that you can’t effect the physical world. Things like weather spells, attraction (of things, not of people), etc. are all very possible and in some cases somewhat simple with magic. It’s just that the outcome is not directly forced into being via magic.
If you wanted it to rain, and did a rain spell, an unexpected wind may push a front through your living area and thus, rain. The spell worked, but it wasn’t by a miracle, it was thanks to a long string of coincidences. That’s generally how magic effecting the physical world works: many coincidences that lead to the desired outcome.
Enchanting a phone to get calls from Thor is impossible, at least on a physical level. No matter how powerful the ingredients or energy you have, it just isn’t going to happen. Period. Mostly because you’re trying to enchant a physical object to do something physical and spiritual at the same time. (Now, if you enchanted the phone to give you feelings about the messages your god had for you, that would be well within the realm of possibility.)
You can enchant objects to effect the metaphysical side of things, sure. In fact that’s what a hell of a lot of spells already do. (poppets, anyone? Although those work on a whole other level.)
Effecting metaphysical things is easy, simply because it relies so heavily on perception and human consciousness, something that science itself hasn’t really figured out yet. When you’re thinking of spells, make sure to ask yourself if they’re reasonably within the realm of physical possibility.
(This wasn’t very organized, so I apologize. I just wanted to give my thoughts on this and put them into words.)