They’re born into magical families, but they have no magical ability themselves. They never get to go to Hogwarts, they never get a wand from Ollivander’s… But they are always surrounded by magic. Mothers and fathers all casting spells all the time, while they trudge along behind, unable to join in. And it must be the worst, to know about this world and know that you’re the disappointing child who can’t be like the rest of the family.
But what if they just develop their own brand of magic?
Dream with me. We know that Harry & CO learn all about the witch hunts. It’s brushed over in the books and stuff. We only hear about the witches and wizards who get caught, enjoy the process of burning with all their protective spells, and then go on their merry way. We assume that it was a bunch of muggles who were really killed. Weird old women who lived alone in the woods. Young women who made poultices and grew herbs. Men who had great affinity with the earth and the seasons.
They were targeting squibs.
Squibs, who had grown up with magic, but always seen it as unattainable. So they turned outward, toward the magic of the energies of the world. They learned to divine the future with cards and drops of ink. They found a way to gently push at the flow of life around them, doing a smaller, slower sort of magic. And they formed covens, to talk about their way of life and to share their methods.
And as time passes, as history moves past burnings and trials, they still practice. They charge crystals in the moonlight. They have incredible gardens. And, incredibly, they have access to the magical paraphernalia in their homes. Their brothers and sisters come home from Diagon Alley with bags full of mandrake root, because wouldn’t you know it, it’s the perfect thing to mix with mugwort to produce deep, dreamless sleep! They pour over the old family copy of The Standard Book Of Spells for tips on how to give a real kick to their sigils. When a friend is stressing over exams, they may not be able to help blocking hexes, but you can bet they’ll be there with supportive words and a fresh spell jar to help soothe anxiety!
And sure, witches and wizards mutter about the incredibly simple magic. It’s a big joke that’s giggled over in Witch Weekly articles. But simple as it is, the magic works. And better, it provides these beautiful, kind people with a community of their own that they can turn to. And sometimes the families will get involved, celebrating Samhain with conjured bats and floating candles, and enchanting maypoles to twirl through the air for Beltane, and always offering tips where they can, for the bits of magic that you don’t need to be born magical to do.
It’s not the right, “normal” sort of magic. It’s magic with a big bold “k” tacked onto the end of it, bold as brass. But somehow, this world blooms in the heart of the wizarding world. Somehow, everyone gets along.