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One of my favorite moments in my young adult spiritual fantasy, Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy, is the explanation given for the strange phenomenon that occur at the start of the book. While commonly referred to as a book’s magical structure, my approach was to blend pure fantasy with both spirituality and science:

“Think of it like gravity,” said Cassandra, “or the earth’s magnetic field; it is invisible and yet it exists all around us. And, just like gravity or magnetism, this energy can be manipulated and controlled. We call it anima after the Latin word for ‘breath of life.’ A person who can tap into anima is called an exso, after the Latin exsomnis, for ‘awake’ or ‘wakeful.’ Such people can do things most others would consider impossible. That is how I was able to open the gate in your backyard, as well as convince you to accompany me despite your insistence on going to the hospital.”

Bobby leapt to his feet, sending the contents of the bowl in his lap flying across the room. “I knew it! You’ve been controlling me this whole time, using magic to make me do what you want.”

“Bobby, sit down and listen to me; there is no such thing as magic. There is only anima—life energy. Everything alive contains it. The key distinction is that you have the ability to control it while most others do not.”