"The Wand-Lighting Charm is simple, but requires concentration. Take care not to accidentally set your wand alight as damage of this kind can be permanent. If in any doubt about your abilities you would do better to buy yourself a magic lantern."
Miranda Goshawk regarding this charm[src]

The Wand-Lighting Charm[1] (Lumos) was a charm and a light-creation spell. It was used to illuminate the tip of the caster's wand; this light was fairly warm[2]. The counter-charm for the spell was the Wand-Extinguishing Charm, (Nox) which was used to extinguish the light from the caster's wand.


Despite its apparent simplicity, the Wand-Lighting Charm was not invented until the 18th century. It was first used publicly by its inventor, Levina Monkstanley in the Ministry of Magic in 1772 — to the astonishment of her colleagues — to help her look for a fallen quill in a dusty corner.[3]

However, Garvin Lügner (a German wizard) claimed to have been the one who invented the spell, while he was developing his Instant Darkness Powder. It later transpired that Lügner had been lying about the invention of the charm, and that his Instant Darkness Powder did not do too much more than slightly dim the lights.[3]

This spell was taught in first year defence classes[4] and was detailed in The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection[1], another unidentified spellbook[4] and Book of Spells.[3] This spell was also used frequently as people skulk about the castle or the Forbidden Forest, used numerous times by Hogwarts students.  


"To illuminate the end of a wand, the caster must call out the incantation "Lumos." If correctly incanted, the end of the wand will then illuminate and cast light in the immediate vicinity of the caster. It can also be used to illuminate unseen entrances."
The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 2[src]
One of the simplest and most useful spells, yet not invented until the 18th century. It not only illuminated the wand tip, but could repel spectral foes such as Gytrashes and malevolent spirits.[5] The light worked as a directed beam rather than a general light source.

On charging the spell properly, it appeared as lemon-yellow; while if over-charged, the charm appeared as a vibrant scarlet.

Known uses

Caster(s) Date Notes
Harry Potter 1993 Harry used this charm to follow the trail of spiders leading into the Forbidden Forest.[6]
6 June,1994 He used it when trying to gain entry to the upstairs of the Shrieking Shack. Also used when Harry was in the passage beneath the Whomping Willow which leads to the Shrieking Shack.
30 June, 1997 Harry used this spell when he and Dumbledore were searching for the Horcrux locket in the crystal cave.
August, 1997 Harry used this spell while the Trio was hiding in Grimmauld Place after the fall of the ministry.
September, 1997 Harry used this in the forest while the Trio was on their hunt for Horcruxes, after infiltrating the ministry.
24 December, 1997 Harry used this spell in Bathilda Bagshot's house while he and Hermione were searching for the Sword of Gryffindor.
2 May, 1998 He used this in the passage way leading to the Shrieking Shack during the Battle of Hogwarts.
September, 2020 Harry uses this charm to light the room while talking to his wife in their home.
Severus Snape 1993 Snape was using this charm when he was patrolling the Hogwarts corriders at night, during which he caught Harry Potter out of bed, but the pair was interrupted by Remus Lupin.
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Hermione Granger 6 June,1994 She used it when trying to gain entry to the upstairs of the Shrieking Shack. Also used when Harry was in the passage beneath the Whomping Willow which leads to the Shrieking Shack.
Albus Dumbledore spring 1995 Dumbledore even used this charm when looking for Mr Crouch in the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest.
30 June, 1997 He used this spell when he and Harry Potter were searching for the Horcrux locket in the crystal cave.
Nymphadora Tonks 5 August, 1995 Tonks used this charm when she and other members of the Advance Guard escorted Harry Potter from Surrey to Grimmauld Place.
Ginevra Weasley 31 August, 2020 Ginny used this spell in her home to light the room before asking Harry if he had had a nightmare.

Know practitioners


The incantation Lumos is derived from the Latin lumen, meaning "light".

Behind the scenes

  • This is the only spell whose hand motion stayed the same between Pottermore and Wonderbook.
  • It is possible this charm was not affected by The Trace, perhaps because of its simplicity or because it resembled torch light so closely.
  • If one listens closely in the third and the sixth films, one can hear a very soft humming sound.
  • In the films and video games, there were three variations of this spell.
  • On any Android phone (on Lollipop or better), if a user types Lumos in the search bar on the Google app, the torch will turn on. Respectively, Nox turns it off.
  • A charity founded by JK Rowling is named after this spell


Notes and references

Defence Against the Dark Arts (D.A.D.A.)
D.A.D.A. at Hogwarts
Classroom 3C · Temporary Classroom · Hogwarts Turris Magnus · Professor's Office · Storeroom · Staircase · Lesson Cup · Race Cup · Dumbledore's Army
Albus Dumbledore · Galatea Merrythought · Patricia Rakepick · Quirinus Quirrell · Gilderoy Lockhart · Remus Lupin · Barty Crouch Jr. (as Alastor Moody) · Dolores Umbridge · Severus Snape · Amycus Carrow (as Dark Arts teacher)
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection · Break with a Banshee · Gadding with Ghouls · Holidays with Hags · Travels with Trolls · Voyages with Vampires · Wanderings with Werewolves · Year with the Yeti · The Essential Defence Against the Dark Arts · Defensive Magical Theory · Dark Arts Defence: Basics for Beginners · Confronting the Faceless · Magical Drafts and Potions
Spells studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Curse of the Bogies · Disarming Charm · Freezing Spell · Hex-Breaker· Hex-deflection · Hex Zapper · Impediment Jinx · Knockback Jinx · Nonverbal spells · Reductor Curse · Seize and Pull Charm · Shield Charm · Stunning Spell · Verdimillious Charm · Verdimillious Duo Spell · Verdimillious Tria · Wand-Lighting Charm · Cruciatus Curse · Imperius Curse · Killing Curse
Creatures studied at Hogwarts under D.A.D.A.
Boggart · Cornish Pixie · Grindylow · Hinkypunk · Iguana · Inferius · Kappa
· Red Cap · Vampire · Vampire bat · Werewolf