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The methods described in pages are a theoretical discussion ONLY. Methods are discussed in only the broadest terms and I hold no qualifications in the fields discussed.
Because a method is listed here does not indicate that I approve or recommend it. In some cases, I definitely don't!

Potions! Oh, that most beguiling of ways to change shape! It is such a wonderful idea to believe that we could gulp a single draught of magic liquid and change shape as easily as losing a headache! Or along the same vein, to smother our skin in some magic balm and thereby transform.

A potion is simply a liquid that will imbue a magical effect upon the person who either drinks it or rubs it into their skin. One could include magical foods in this category, such as the feast Circe used to transform Ulysses's men into pigs, which she apparently laced with Enchanter's Nightshade (a common plant whose scientific name honours that event: Circaea lutetiana).

There are two sorts of such potions. Either the ingredients are magical in themselves, or a normal drink has had a spell put upon it. A potion might last for only as long as it remains in the body, or it might confer a permanent change, requiring a counter-potion to restore human shape, if so desired. I've read (and written!) a few stories where the latter requirement was neglected, leading to the subject becoming trapped in their new form.

Ingredients frequently invoke sympathetic magic: one or more items lend themselves to the use to which the potion is intended. As an example, the notorious polyjuice potion used in Harry Potter required hair or nail-clippings from the intended target.

Opinion is divided on whether, even allowing that magic works, potions are possible or not. Some believe that any work of magic requires the conscious input of a magical practitioner and that magic cannot be "stored", battery-like, in a liquid or object. Others believe that the act of making such a brew is a conscious spell and that some ghost-like facsimile of the caster's intent attaches itself to the substance.

As with spells, be very, very wary about buying potions. Quite apart from the fact that the Internet is full of unscrupulous people willing to make a quick profit at your expense, there is the phyisical danger: how do you know what is in it? It could be anything from a halucinogenic to poison. There is no regulation on potion brewing! For this reason I've deliberately not linked here to anything beyond Wikipedia's scant entry.

Wikipedia Entry on potions.

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