Flora: You know our magic doesn't work that way.
Fauna: It can only do good, dear, to bring joy and happiness.
Merryweather: Well, that would make me happy.
- Source: If it's gained from God (or the local equivalent), a Council of Angels, a Sentient Cosmic Force, The Lifestream, Sealed Good in a Can, or some form of truly benevolent spirituality or religion, it's almost always White Magic. Other sources can include channeling the power of love, friendship, or "positive energy." This sometimes but not always includes Elemental Light.
- Cost: What is required to make the magic work. Whereas Black Magic may require sacrificing others for fuel, White Magic may instead require personal sacrifices from the practitioner herself, such as Cast from Hit Points or even Cast From Life Force. If any sacrifices from others are ever necessary, these will generally have to be completely voluntary (i.e., they weren't coerced into doing it) and usually altruistic and "pure" in motive. Eye of Newt may be difficult to obtain, but will not require any actual evil.
- Effect: The magic is directly constructed for the blessing, protection, cure, and/or promotion of the general welfare of others. Offensive uses may be reserved for Made of Evil creatures such as demons or undead, by way of Revive Kills Zombie.
As a rule, at least one of these must be positively good, and the other two at least neutral (good is better) to qualify as White Magic.
Unlike with Black Magic, with White Magic you don't have to worry about malevolent side effects. (There may be a sacrifical cost to prove your commitment.) Whereas evil gods tend to despise their human patsies, genuinely good deities tend to genuinely like their devotees. However, with White Magic you do tend to face certain Restrictions, as good gods tend to be pickier about how their servants use the powers granted to them. Crystal Dragon Jesus usually wants his followers to use his powers to go out and help people, and he won't be amused when his devotees run around killing babies.
There are two common methods for imposing Restrictions. One is to limit what sorts of powers the disciples receive to largely beneficial effects that can cause no direct harm; powers of healing, protection, or blessed empowerment. Mature (or merely advanced) devotees might get a handful of spells for offensively weakening and hindering others, though the available "debuffs" tend to be relatively gentle compared to the curses of Black Magic. There may be at least one honestly destructive spell available, but which is only effective against Always Chaotic Evil creatures like The Undead and The Legions of Hell; these spells are called Turn Undead for a reason. Occasionally, there may be exactly one destructive spell that can be used on any and everything — the Holy Hand Grenade.
It should be noted that between the lack of uglifying side-effects of Black Magic and the abundance of healing effects, the followers of Good tend to be much healthier and prettier. (Which may actually serve as a Justification for Beauty Equals Goodness.) Remember, however, that Sacrifice is a virtue. You may be expected to use up your own Life Energy to get the job done.
The other most common Restriction method is requiring the practictioner to abide by a specific code of conduct that stipulates when White Magic should not be used, when it may be used, and when it must be used. This method is most often seen when the brand of White Magic involved features significant firepower. This code may mean contractual technical pacifism, or at least 'Thou Shalt Not Murder' (which is distinct from Thou Shalt Not Kill). Perhaps a priest can never take a life at all, or perhaps, like a medical doctor under the Hippocratic Oath, he simply must never use his powers to cause harm. Perhaps a paladin, like a police officer issued a firearm, is allowed (or even obligated) to use deadly force in certain situations in order to save innocent lives, but may have that power revoked if it's misused.
Depressing as it is, sometimes Light Is Not Good, or else just very stupid. In these cases, people are able to use White Magic in all the wrong ways, either by serving as the personal healer of an evil overlord or by marauding around the countryside, using "holy" bolts to slaughter Dark Is Not Evil races like the aforementioned Friendly Neighborhood Vampires and Blizzard-type Orcs. Either the deity behind the White Magic isn't all he's cracked up to be, or the form of magic doesn't involve a sapient source at all.
Sometimes despite being well-intentioned, Good Is Impotent, and White Magic falls under What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?. Other times, God Is Good and White Magic falls under Heart Is an Awesome Power. Also, though White Magic is good in nature, often it should be used with caution, because if used improperly, it can be quite dangerous.
See also: The Medic, whose Healing Hands are often a result of White Magic. White Mage, who is sometimes powered by White Magic. Black Mage, who is the opposite in gameplay terms. Protective Charm is also generally White Magic.
- In Slayers there is White Magic and Holy Magic. White Magic is a pale imitation of Holy Magic, the "real" example of this trope, and was developed by humans after most Holy Magic spells were lost to them. Only dragons are known to use Holy Magic, but most spells we see in the anime (Flame Breath, Chaotic Disintegrate, even Ray Freeze) are offensive in nature. The show uses the "somewhat depressing" version of the trope, in that the god race and their servants, including the dragons, tend to behave in a less-than-saintly way and don't seem to bother teaching Holy Magic to humans.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has this. It acts just as it should: all healing, no known attacks. Konoka Konoe is particularly good with this one; she can heal anything short of someone's head splattering like a tomato.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, Russia used once the orthodox church to curse his enemies. Not only it is the contrast to England's Black Magic, but also Light Is Not Good used for comedy.
- In Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, white magic is made of spells that allow the caster to enter the spirit world and control it. It has effects like healing and letting the caster pulls a "Freaky Friday" Flip with their target. This is how Azalie managed to take over Childman's body, leaving him trapped in the body of the dragon Bloody August.
- The magic of the Silver Crystal in Sailor Moon. It's the most powerful magic in the universe and seems to be able to do anything - lifting evil spells, healing wounds, defeating any form of dark creature etc. In the anime it's even used to purify and redeem several villains via The Power of Love. It's even able to resurrect the dead - though using the full force of the crystal's power is inevitably fatal.
- Star Wars: The Jedi qualify because the Force can be used to heal. In fact, it can even be used to bring back the Dead! At least, that's what Palpatine told Anakin. That he couldn't learn this ability as a Jedi implies it is Dark Arts instead of white magic though.
- Cast a Deadly Spell: Kropotkin the witch landlady namedrops the trope, saying she only does White Magic.
- In G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown story "The Dagger with Wings," a character talks of using white magic against his enemy. Father Brown deduces from the way he talks, philosophically, that he is the enemy, and he has already murdered the man he is posing as.
"It is true that by studying magic he fell at last under the blight of black magic; the Black Magic of this scoundrel Strake. But my brothers were wrong about the antidote. The antidote to black magic is not brute materialism or worldly wisdom. The antidote to black magic is white magic."
"It rather depends," said Father Brown, "what you mean by white magic."
"I mean silver magic," said the other, in a low voice, like one speaking of a secret revelation. Then after a silence he said: "Do you know what I mean by silver magic? Excuse me a moment."
As he shuffled homewards through the snow, he muttered to himself: "And yet he is right enough about there being a white magic, if he only knows where to look for it."
- Later, as Father Brown left,
- In Dragon Bones, the priests of the goddess of healing are implied to have some magic power. There are also lots of mages with powers they can use for good or evil. There are natural magic sources, which can become tainted by evil deeds, but seem to be otherwise a neutral natural resource.
- In The Dresden Files, "Soulfire" is a source of power that can be used by certain angelic or holy beings to boost the power of magic. In general is is called the fire of creation. It works as a creative force, essentially combining with normal magic to create a sort of magical alloy that dramatically strengthens the power of the spell. Any spell boosted by Soulfire gets a silvery color added to it, i.e. a fire spell boosted by Soulfire comes out as silver/silvery blue flames. The only drawback is that using Soulfire takes power directly from your soul - and burning away all of your soul using Soulfire is a Bad Thing. Happily if the user rests between uses the soul recovers over time. Harry gains access to Soulfire thanks to the intervention of the Archangel Uriel after he redeemed Lasciel's shadow and to counter The Prince of Darkness giving his people Uber-Hellfire.
- In Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, the title character is briefly held captive by a Black Magic user named Mommy Fortuna. When the witch claims she would cut out someone else's liver to keep her, the unicorn replies, "True magic can never be done by offering someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back. The true witches know that."
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Theo argues that there is no such thing as White Magic, that even though he used his powers to blast demons and practioners of very Black Magic, he must give it up to avoid damnation.
- In Prospero in Hell, Miranda hypothesizes that their father thought that sprouting part of the True Cross and carving a staff from the tree using it to resurrect someone White Magic.
- Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian:
- The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper has the Light vs the Dark, where the Old Ones use magic to save humanity. Although it's not always nice to those who have to endure the effects or after-effects.
- A point of in universe controversy in The Witch Watch, is whether or not white magic exists. Is it holy to use magic for the purpose of healing? Not when it turns out it requires human sacrifices to function
- In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, Mae's sisters use this. They find it hard to believe that her powers naturally turn to Black Magic.
- In A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned, all four elemental magics have Black Magic and White Magic inextricably intertangled in them. Each mage must fight every day to focus on the good side of his power and suppress its darkness. It is, however, possible with the aid of the Prince's Crown to transform someone else into an orah, a mage who can call on the good side, and only the good side, of all four elements.
- A slight variation from the usual in that while light magic is drawn directly from elemental goodness (and has to be bestowed by someone else, as it's impossible to claim for oneself), it has no more of a cost than any other magic (in fact, it has rather less, as it's mentioned that light magic is easier to control than regular elemental energy) and there doesn't seem to be any rule against using it as a weapon (the hero blows up a dark construct summoned by the villain at one point.)
- At one point in Pamela Dean's The Secret Country, Fence is described as a "white magician", meaning that he is good. The various styles of magic in that world are categorized by colors, so he is actually doing blue magic. Any of the magic types can be perverted to cause harm.
- A Mage's Power: There is a division of magecraft that serves the purpose of healing magic. It heals injuries, cures disease, and grants greater power to others. The arcane variety is no different in source or cost from any other kind of magic (personal mana) and used by doctors. The divine variety is drawn from the Goddess of Life and used exclusively by her clergy.
- In Sara Douglass' Tencendor novels, the Star Dance is sentient magic that doesn't approve of being weaponised and reacts badly against the hero when he tries.
- In Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, there's an interesting variation. While there is a "white magic" in this setting, it's not the magic of goodness (the good magic is generally blue or gold in color). White magic in this setting is the wild magic, the primal energy which holds the world together, and which consequently is the only thing strong enough to tear the world apart.
- In Prophecy Of The Sisters it is revealed that Lia's mother worked white magic. In an usual twist, this white magic, which was only for protection, was not allowed - higher powers decided that this kind of magic is not for our world, perhaps in an attempt to also keep dark magic at bay.
- In Charmed, all good beings like good witches, white lighters, elders, fairies, and so forth use some form of holy-based spell casting in one form or another. Whitelighters especially are notable - as their power to heal any wound is triggered by feelings of love. Most other forms of magic are triggered by fear or anger.
- Once Upon a Time distinguishes between Dark and Light magic. Dark Magic tends to come with a price or else takes great effort to learn. Light Magic meanwhile is born of love and is used for good. It seems to be that Light Magic in humans is natural - and gets produced when a child is born to parents that have True Love for each other.
- The Bible holds a number of examples of God bestowing White Magic upon mortal men and women, other than simply working miracles around a chosen spokesman. None of it bears any resemblance to video-game White Magic, and there is certainly nothing like MP involved. In the Old Testament, Samson gets Super Strength (and likely some sort of Made of Iron nature that let him take on hundreds of soldiers at once but still get crushed by a collapsing roof). In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul talks about "Spiritual Gifts" that born-again Christians get, that are weapons for spiritual (rather than physical) warfare.
- Jesus also promises that his followers will wield great powers than he does, and declares "Do ye not know that ye are gods?" - pretty awesome statement from the founder of a monotheistic religion. note
- Theurgy, or Theosophy, which was popular among the renaissance occultists, was basically the historical variant of this. It stood in direct opposition to Goetia/Cacodæmony.
- The distinction between the Left-Hand Path and the Right-Hand Path in occult traditions was historically mostly this, healing magic. This is not to say that Left-Hand specialists are evil and Right-Hand specialists are not always good. Others think these distinctions are bullshit anyways.
- The Paladins and Good-Aligned Clerics of Dungeons & Dragons.
- Expanded in the Book of Exalted Deeds, which features "Exalted" spells that can be used by any spellcasters, but require a good alignment. Each one also requires a certain personal sacrifice, which range from a few Hit Points to permanent attribute drain or death. The effects of the spells are almost exclusively for healing, purification, assistance, and evil-destroying.
- Interestingly, Neutral aligned clerics can choose either White Magic or Black Magic at level one, and then are never allowed to change their minds. There are some exceptions: some neutral deities have restrictions based on what they're the god of- Wee Jas, for example, is a death goddess so her clerics are restricted to Black Magic despite her not being evil while neutral nature deities are often restricted to White Magic. It determines whether or not you can swap any prepared spell for a Cure or Inflict spell, and in Pathfinder determines whether or not you channel positive or negative energy.
- Sisters of Battle faith powers in Warhammer 40,000 are a borderline example. While they fit the first two criteria perfectly, and the third from the perspective of the Sisters, the Sisters are fanatical Knight Templar soldiers of the Church Militant, who really like burning people at the stake.
- Magic: The Gathering: White magic is one of the five fundamental types of magic, and heavily associated with civilization, tradition, law, religion and light. A lot of White cards are geared towards healing and protecting players and other creatures without the various side effects other colors get for this, in addition to outright cost-free life gain and tending to non-fatally disable passive opponents rather than kill them outright. That being said, the game’s fluff is quite explicit about none of the colors being outright good or evil, and White remains the magic of order, straightforwardness and stability, not benevolence. It can be quite merciless at wiping out attacking enemies, and has a number of cards that outright kill everything on the battlefield, getting around the no killing ban by enforcing order through emptiness. Finally, while it is the color of peace, faith and just laws, it is also the color of tyranny, blind zealotry and parochialism — in the end, White wants order, and doesn’t much care how that order comes about.
- Shallyan priestess in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay does only have spell that do benevolent things like cure wounds, disease, poisoning and insanities, except one that do damage against followers of the disease god Nurgle.
- Healing spells in GURPS are called white magic, but the third edition Magic sourcebook notes that, because of the way the magic system works, the understanding of life-force and physiology they provide are a prerequisite for necromancy, and the deeper understanding of restoring life provided by the necromantic spells is required for Resurrection, as a result of which many healers refuse to learn it.
- Zig-zagged heavily in Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2. The Lumen Sages use light magic granted to them by the angels of paradiso, and they use their power to maintain balance between light and darkness alongside their counterparts the Umbra Witches. That being said, the angels whom the Sages serve and draw their power from are evil Eldritch Abominations who want to wipe out humanity. The sages themselves are good, but the angels are known for using them as pawns in their plans. The same also applies to the Witches, who use Black Magic to maintain the balance of light and dark. But like the sages, their demonic masters are also eldritch abominations who want to wipe out humanity, and use the witches as pawns.
- The White Mages and Paladins of Final Fantasy are the Trope Codifier. The mechanics are as written but there's only anything approaching moral associations with the magic in IV (maybe IX, but that's because black mages are a separate race), and even then no one was terribly worried about the Black Magic users. What's more is that villains are able to use White Magic too, as heroes can use Black Magic. Though there has yet to be a villainous White Mage character for obvious reasons (in the main series, at least).
- In Final Fantasy XIV White Magic was abused to devastating effect in the ancient city of Amdapor. Despite being associated with healing and nature, overuse of White Magic turned the place into a festering hellhole full of deadly fungus and monstrous insects. (As of the "Through the Maelstrom" patch, you can fight your way through it yourself.) Ever since then, White Magic has been kept and protected by the Padjal people to prevent its further abuse, though players who meet the right qualifications can earn the right to wield it themselves.
- The Paladin Class of World of Warcraft draw their powers from "the Light." While this is no guarantee of the goodness of the player behind the character, as a whole paladins are supposed to be upstanding individuals, and their powers are definitely geared towards helping others. Lore-wise, blood elf paladins used to have the unusual attribute of using the Light by force, which wasn't so nice of them, but that's changed with the passing of the story. The Priest Class is a more mixed bag - depending on Race they are either Priests of the Holy Light (human, dwarf, draenei, blood elf), the Moon (night elf), the Sun (tauren), a group of tribal gods (troll), or the shadow (Forsaken). All are benevolent towards at least their own Faction, though, so that's something, but any of them can Avert this Trope by choosing the "Shadow Priest" talent-build.
- The light of paladins is only semi-sentient, it will respond if they think they're right even if they aren't, which is why the xenophobically insane scarlet crusade could still use the light.
- In Ragnarok Online there is the Priest class, who uses White Magic. His spell are mostly beneficial in nature, sometimes hindering the opponent or placing the gods judgment on him, but NOT dealing damage to something that's not an undead or demon (those better beware!) except the spell Holy Light that might be considered a lovetap comparing to other classes power (But considering that he can make himself almost invulnerable this may result in Death of a Thousand Cuts. And as the name suggests he uses the power of God. And there's the Soul Linker who's powers come the spirits also having mostly supporting or defensive abilities. He has also offensive spells but those only work on monsters not on players.
- Shadow Era has the Priest Heroes, who use white magic to heal and protect their active allies.
- Light Magic in (old verse) Might and Magic has a bit more offensive uses that aren't limited to undead than the norm (though the basic Light spell does double damage to undead), but less so than the other schools of magic. Costwise, it also fits: where Dark Magic has a spell to sacrifice a hireling for health, Light Magic has an extremely powerful healing spell that ages the caster ten years whenever it is cast. In terms of morality, however, a point is made that while Light Magic is mostly used by and associated with good people, it has no inherent morality, and the most important factor is how you use it (The Corruption is not a factor when it comes to Dark Magic in that verse).
- Dark Souls has the "miracle" subcategory of magic. These magics are based on faith, and are usually tied to some sort of deity. These spells tend to be defensive in nature, such as the healing and magic resist miracles. Joining covenants of gods usually grants you miracles as a reward, and allows the use of specific miracles.
- Fire Emblem:
- Both Light magic and healing magic are explicitly said to be based on faith, and practitioners, including clerics and bishops, worship good- or light-aligned gods or goddesses. Some healing staves do not just restore lost Hit Points, but also temporarily boost a unit's physical defense or magic resistance or teleport them out of a dangerous position, among other effects.
- Fire Emblem Gaiden has a series of magic explicitly called White Magic, originating from worship of the good-aligned goddess Mila, and unlike the light magic or healing magic of other games in the series, White Magic is Cast from Hit Points, though it does many of the same things that other divine magic in the series does.
- In both Gaiden and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Light magic is extra effective against the monsters of the world map (many of whom are demons or undead creatures), dealing more damage than any other weapon type against them.
- Played with in Fate/stay night: Kotomine Kirei is a priest who is extremely adept with healing magic, that being one of the only magic disciplines he has been able to master. He's also a sadistic sociopath who delights in others' pain and tries to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Despite his goals and personality, however, there is nothing evil whatsoever about his powers on their own.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, the Restoration school of magic naturally fits. It consists of spells which resist damage or restore wholeness by reknitting the damaged material. It also includes wards, curing of disease and poison, physical fortification, and the turning of undead (a forced purification effect).
- A horrifying possibility of White Magic being used for evil comes up in Bravely Default. The enemy white magic user says that White Magic makes Cold-Blooded Torture more effective, as her side could keep doing it without the victim dying, until their body is healthy but their mind is gone.
- Homestuck inverts this - Eridan Ampora's white magic is exclusively destructive, and leads to the death of one of his teammates and the Rainbow Drinkerization of another. This turns out to be a neat piece of Fridge Brilliance as trolls, a nocturnal species whose planet is at its most dangerous during the day, have an inverse view of the connotations of light and darkness.
- Exiern: It can't hurt, unless it's really powerful
- In Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, some angels such as healers can use white magic using energies channeled to them through their halos. Any other magic causes The Corruption, unless it's an archangel or human angel casting it.
- In Dragon Mango, Mango must have been healed with holy magic while she lay unconscious.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: The Mane Six are able to harness White Magic through use of the Elements of Harmony, empowered by their collective bond of friendship.
- The Fairly OddParents! has Da Rules, which attempts to make fairy magic work this way. In a general sense, fairies are unable to interfere with things like true love; furthermore, it's possible for a fairy's wand to be disabled if a godchild makes selfish wishes without showing any sort of appreciation. There also more specific examples: In one episode, Cosmo and Wanda are unable to conjure tickets to a sold-out event, as they would have to steal them from those who already have them. In another, Timmy wishes for a magic kung fu belt and headband to become a karate champion, but discovers that they only grant him amazing skills when he uses them to protect and help others. However, creative wishing is able to subvert these rules (it's revealed in one episode that a godchild somehow made a wish that caused the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, plunging Europe into World War I). In general the second purpose of Da Rules is to cover poorly-thought-out wishes children might make (Timmy wishing it was Christmas every day was met with an Obvious Rule Patch once the matter was resolved).