The Animagus Spell[2] (Amato Animo Animato Animagus) was a transfiguration spell used in the process of becoming an Animagus.[1]


While the incantation was necessary for the process, it was not all that was needed to become an Animagus, with the full process requiring proficient skills in transfiguration and potions, and also a remarkable amount of patience.[1]

The incantation had to be recited at sunrise and sundown, every day before the consumption of the Animagus potion. The incantation was also recited just prior to the consumption of the potion, which had to take place just after a lightning storm started. The incantation was recited while placing the wand's tip over one's heart.[1]

As the potion could only be consumed during a lightning storm, prospective Animagi might have to recite the incantation for weeks, months, and even years. Failure to adhere to the daily recitations of the incantation would result in failure of becoming a fully functional Animagus,[1] though the precise consequences were unclear.


Amato is a conjugation of the Latin word amo, which means "I love" or "I am obliged to". Animo and animato are both different conjugations of the Latin word animo, which can mean "I animate" or "I fill with breath or life". Animagus on the other hand appears to be a portmanteau of animo or "animal", and magus, which is Latin for "wizard". Overall, the incantation can roughly mean "My love brings me life, I am obliged to become an animal wizard."

Behind the scenes

Amato Animo Animato Animagus is the only known incantation with four words. It therefore is also the longest incantation revealed.

The four different words of the incantation share similar sounds, akin to a tongue-twister. This perhaps underscores the complexity and intricacy of the process of becoming an Animagus, which is can be a fiendishly long and difficult process.

Three words of the incantation, animo, animato and animagus also share the same root Latin word animo. This is a unique property as other known incantations do not consist of multiple words containing a similar etymological root. Also, the progression of the incantation from animo to animagus seems to mirror the smooth and transformative process of the witch or wizard transfiguring into their Animagus form.


Notes and references

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