To the average person Magic brings thoughts of old ladies conjuring up strange demons, casting spells by making brews of eyes of newts and tongues of frogs. Or they think of TV witches twitching their noses to clean the house or conjure a new dress. Modern witches laugh at these visions.
So what is magic?
Magic is focused prayer. Magic is releasing energy into the universe to create a needed change.
OK, so what is prayer and what is this energy?
I'm glad you asked, let me explain it the way I see it.
All existence is energy, matter is made of atoms made of smaller electrons and protons, and they are even smaller particles. All in the universe is energy. We all have access to the infinite energy, the godhead, the divine consciousness within, and all around us. Call it what you will, it is the same divine spark, the central power source, the God/Goddess. This ocean of energy is what powers us, and we can tap into it to help ourselves and those around us. This is true magic. Magic is a natural science; it mixes physical and spiritual knowledge for practical effects.
What about our bodies, what are we?
We are made of three bodies, there may be other subtle bodies, but most paths speak of three main bodies. They have been written about as far back as ancient Egypt and beyond. The dense physical body, the mental consciousness, and the inner-self or our spiritual soul. All these bodies rely on each other in this life; they are interrelated. When you listen to your material self you rest when you need to, eat and sleep when you need to, and you are healthier because of it. When you listen to your mental self you make the right decisions and function in this world mentally. When you listen to your inner self, that Divine spark, you are listening to the God/Goddess; you are communing in true prayer.
How does magic work?
The universe is like an electromagnetic field; we are like a miniature universe. At the center we find ourselves as we were in the beginning, pure energy, divine spirit, all knowing, endowed with divine power. This divine energy fuels us, we have access to all of it, but we are individuals. We all have our own individual electromagnetic field, our own frequency, an aura, a personal rhythm. When we are in harmony with another person our energy fields can merge, we connect, link, or have rapport. We are truly communicating with each other. Those that are sensitive enough can see, hear, or feel this energy field around others. We can learn to use this skill to interpret illness, read emotions, and to exchange energy in order to heal, to communicate telepathically, or to even exchange feelings of pleasure with another. These skills are not "supernatural", they are as natural as radio, or television operates.
Magic creates needed changes in the conditions around us. To use magic we must tap into our inner divine energy. This truth is so simple yet we make it so complex. Think of magic as focused prayer, a complete focus on our need using this inner energy while in deep meditation. Prayer is not petitioning a god, for we are already divine in ourselves. Prayer or true magic is using our own divinity.
You have your choice of many spiritual paths and traditions, study them and you will find they all teach the same truths. Granted some do not accept that anyone can have access to these truths. Some reserve the skills of using magic to exalted saints, shamans, or a remote founder of the religion. Wicca is one of the religions that teaches magic as being within the reach of us all.
You have said a lot about our inner divine self, how do we reach it?
Most paths or religions recommend meditation. Tune out the outside earth plane and go inside yourself, still the mind, stop trying to think, focus on whatever you consider as holy and good. Reciting a traditional prayer or chant can help. Chanting a mantra in Hindu traditions, reciting the Rosary in Western Catholicism, a Native American drum circle, they all have the same purpose. Modern science says your brain waves change during meditation, they call it Alpha brain waves. There are many teaching meditation techniques today, it is a part of stress management classes, biofeedback pain management, yoga classes, as well as certain religions. Wiccans reach this state by meditation, chanting, ritual, dancing, ordeals, or other ways. Whatever works for the individual is used.
What kind of magic can I perform, what about putting a spell on a person?
Remember that magic must be used only for good, and the good of all. You can not use it to cause harm to anyone or thing. I'm not saying you will burn for eternity if you don't obey, no one in the spiritual world will punish you. It is a rule based on practical knowledge, like crossing the street against the light. There are several reasons for this rule, one is that if you use magic for harm it will be a sacrilege to the divinity within you and you will end up losing touch with the very part of you that is giving you your power. You will lose it. Another reason not to harm anyone is the law of karma. Remember the first law if physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true of the spiritual world as well as the physical world. Every action you create, be it good or bad will have an effect on the universe and the reaction will come back to you. This is a universal truth expounded by many enlightened people throughout history. Some say it comes back to you three times, hence it is called the Wiccan "three fold law". The spiritual teacher, Jesus, said, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". The spiritual teacher, Buddha, said you must think of the well being of all others, have compassion, and rejoice at others happiness. Jesus also said, "you reap what you sow". Wiccans have just one rede, "and it harms none, do what you will." We must not harm anyone or anything, we may be forgiven but we still will have a karmic debt to pay, there is no way to dismiss this. However we may do all the good we can for others (with permission), good magic brings good back to us three fold.
What kind of spells can we perform?
First you must have a great need. We do not perform magic for the entertainment of others, it must be for a purpose. We meditate on the purpose and decide if a spell is needed, sometimes we use a divination method such as tarot cards or a crystal ball to help us see the situation clearer. Many times magic is not needed, the situation can be resolved with much more mundane means. Witches do perform healing spells, prosperity and love spells under certain conditions. We never perform healing on another person without their permission, we never perform a prosperity spell that might hurt another person's prosperity, and we never perform a love spell to make someone fall in love against their wishes. We sometimes must do spells for protection, to disperse anger and bring harmony, or to bring justice. In these cases we do not want harm to come to anyone, we do not want to "get even", we just want to stop any hurtful intentions. The spell must be worded very carefully, for you might get what you asked for and it might not be what you meant. Like the man who caught the magic fish, you may find you were better off without using the wishes.