A common theme on Charmed was that good magical beings are not allowed to use their powers for Personal Gain, at least not without risk of suffering certain consequences.
Spells cast for personal gain have a tendency to backfire. The nature of a backfire can vary greatly. It can range from simply losing any benefit gained to someone being killed.
The Wiccan RedeEdit
The Wiccan Rede is a rule that establishes that good witches can't use their powers for their own personal gain, including beauty and love spells as well magic used to punish people, as witches are supposed to "protect the innocent not punish the guilty".
If they do they will be punished or their magic might backfire. A case of that was when Paige used magic to punish a man who had a habit of making sexist comments but resulted in her having engorged breasts. It's also possible for witches to not receive a negative consequence, but instead have any benefit from their act of personal gain be negated. For example, Phoebe tries to win the lottery after having a Premonition of the results, only for the corresponding numbers to disappear from the ticket when results are broadcasted.
Evil is not limited by personal gain and can use magic whenever they want. Phoebe herself points out that this is what makes evil very tempting but Paige also points out " That is what separates Good from Evil".
Personal Gain also poses a threat to neutral beings such as the Avatars. Alpha attempted to dissuate Cole Turner when he used his new powers to create a alternate reality in a last ditch to get Phoebe back. In this reality he never got sent to the demonic wasteland, thus becoming vulnerable and finally being vanquished. When Leo became an Avatar, he used the power of Chronokinesis unintentionally and was warned by Alpha not do so again. However, personal gain for Avatars is strongly discouraged because it weakens the collective magical power rather than a rule itself.
Mortals Gain Magic Edit
After the Darklighter Rennek used stolen magical knowledge from Leo, he caused magic to switch sides to all beings that were on Earth at the moment. Because of this, mortals gained the ability to use magic.
With the Earth cut off from The Elders, the Angels of Destiny and all forms of authority, mortals used magic for their personal gain such as magically altering their houses without regard. Piper believed that there would be repercussions, though it is not known if personal gain applies to mortals, as they are technically a neutral party.
Notes and TriviaEdit
- The rules of personal gain were featured more in earlier seasons than in the latter, where the sisters started using magic more casually and it often went unpunished. A notable exception is "Crimes and Witch-Demeanors", where Phoebe Halliwell loses her powers after using them extensively for personal gain.
- There are small instances of personal gain throughout the series with no punishment to follow up, mostly in the form of Piper freezing annoyances or Prue (and later Paige) telekinetically moving objects in order to complete mundane tasks. They might not of warranted any consequences since they're only minor offences with little benefit.