"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) is a charm that illuminates the tip of the caster's wand, allowing the caster to see in the dark. The counter-charm for the spell is the Wand-Extinguishing Charm, (Nox) which is 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.[2]

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.[2]

This spell was taught in first year Defence Against the Dark Arts and Charms classes[3][4] and was detailed in The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection[1], another unidentified spellbook[3] and the Book of Spells.[2] 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 yet most useful light-creation spells, the Wand-Lighting Charm's principal usage is to create a light at the tip of the wand in order to see in the dark. This light is fairly warm, and risks igniting flammable things,[5] including the caster's wand if they are careless.[2] Wandlight is also able to repel ghosts and other spectral foes such as Gytrashes, from which they will flee.[6][3]

In addition, the Wand-Lighting Charm is able to illuminate and reveal magically hidden architecture such as doorways.[6]

Known uses

Caster(s) Date Notes
Harry Potter 1993 Harry used this charm to follow the trail of spiders leading into the Forbidden Forest.[7]
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 Slytherin's locket in the crystal cave.
August, 1997 Harry used this spell while the Trio was hiding in Grimmauld Place after the fall of the British Ministry of Magic.
September, 1997 Harry used this in the forest while the Trio was on their hunt for Horcruxes, after infiltrating the British Ministry of Magic.
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 corridors 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 12 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 J. K. Rowling is named after this spell


Notes and references

Charms (class)
PS Wingardium Leviosa feather
Charmbook writers and developers
Delfina Crimp · Miranda Goshawk · Jarleth Hobart · Basil Horton · Randolph Keitch ·
Levina Monkstanley · Orabella Nuttley · Mnemone Radford · Scarpin · Elliot Smethwyck ·
Felix Summerbee · Fred Weasley · George Weasley
Professors Fortinbras · Filius Flitwick
Textbooks The Standard Book of Spells · Achievements in Charming · Quintessence: A Quest
Charms studied at Hogwarts
Arresto Momentum · Banishing Charm (Depulso) · Bird-Conjuring Charm (Avis) · Cheering Charm · Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Engorgement Charm (Engorgio) · Fire-Making Spell (Incendio) · Freezing Spell (Glacius) · Full Body-Bind Curse (Petrificus Totalus) · General Counter-Spell (Finite Incantatem) · Growth Charm · Knockback Jinx (FlipendoLevitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) · Locomotion Charm (Locomotor) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Reductor Curse (Reducto) · Seize and Pull Charm (Carpe Retractum) · Shrinking Charm (Reducio) · Silencing Charm (Silencio) · Skurge Scouring Charm (Skurge) · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Summoning Charm (Accio) · Unlocking Charm (Alohomora) · Vinegar into Wine · Wand-Extinguishing Charm (Nox) · Wand-Lighting Charm (Lumos) · Water-Making Spell (Aguamenti)

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