The True Enchanters: 10 Quotations on Art & Magic

September 15, 2020

This past weekend we hosted “Spellcraft,” our first ALL DAY workshop on folklore and creative writing… and it was a whirlwind of inspiration, motivation, and all-out enchantment! We had so much fun spending the day with so many of you. (And how gorgeous was that rain poem we wrote together?) We hope you feel inspired and empowered to keep writing and creating. (Definitely download your workbook if you haven’t already! We PACKED it with prompts and exercises and tips to keep you going!)

We admit that we’re still pretty exhausted from the whole thing (we were on camera for over seven hours!!) We’re simultaneously thrilled and dead. #Introverts

Actual footage of us right now.

But we thought, for our blog post today, and in honor of “Spellcraft,” we would round up some of our favorite quotations about art, writing, and the magic of making. That kind of magic – of folklore, creativity, and bringing your vision to life – is always and forever at the heart of what Carterhaugh is all about. Nothing proved that more to us than our workshop on Saturday.

So enjoy these beautiful quotes (some of which made it into the “Spellcraft” workbook, some of which we will appear in the expanded version of said workbook that we’re currently making!) They continue to inspire us, and we hope that they inspire you too.

5 quotations about art as a kind of magic:

  • “I believe that Magic is Art and Art, whether it be music, writing, sculpture or any other, is literally magic. Art, like any magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness… Indeed to cast a spell is simply to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness” – Alan Moore
  • “All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar, and surprising.” – Joseph Conrad
  • “Art is magic… But how is it magic? In its metaphysical development? Or does some final transformation culminate in a magic reality? In truth, the latter is impossible without the former. If creation is not magic, the outcome cannot be magic.” – Hans Hofmann
  • “Art is magic, and art is powerful. Art saves lives, I really believe that. It gives us courage and compassion we might not have on our own.” – Sarah Cross
  • “He is the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart.” – Washington Irving

And 5 more about writing as magic in particular:

  • “… a writer is very like a witch. With her cat, making magic with words. And maybe changing the world, just a little.” – Theodora Goss
  • “It’s magic – it’s not about magic, it’s not like magic: It IS magic. It’s real magic. […] Incantations, spells, ceremonies, rituals – what are they? They’re poems.” – Ted Hughes
  • “She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells” – Dean Koontz
  • “We write to heighten our own awareness of life. We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely . . . When I don’t write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.” – Anais Nin
  • “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl Sagan

Do you have a favorite quote about art/creativity and magic? Please feel free to leave it in the comments below!


  1. Jody Helme-Day

    “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”.–Pablo Picasso

  2. Gina Baker

    I love all these quotes, especially the first about art/magic changing people’s consciousness. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Connie Todd Lila

    “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” Edgar Allen Poe

  4. Quinn-Columba Friesen

    Significantly relevant as I exploring the Enchantress archetype – thank you!

  5. Connie Todd Lila

    “Perhaps, in this non-animist age, few leave out wine and flowers anymore – but we still have our ‘Muse-summoning’ rituals & talismans: the favorite pen or brand of paper, coffee in a certain mug, paints arranged just so on the palette, the email box emptied or the phone switched off or the desk surface cleared before we can work . . . all those small rituals we do each time, in order to clear the mind, to focus, to prepare for the crossing from the physical world to the realm of imagination. That moment of crossing is a mythic moment – as potent as the old folk tales where the hero crosses running water (once, twice, three times) to enter Faerieland. Some days it is easier to make the crossing and to lose ourselves in the creative process; some days it is much harder – and we rarely know which kind of day it will be in advance. On the most difficult days, one can’t cross at all . . . occasionally I’ve recognized this “writer’s block” as a necessary thing: a time to let the dry well of inspiration fill up with water once more.” Terri Windling, On Myth and Writing

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