"From one to another, another to one. A mark of one's destiny singled out alone, fulfilled."

— Star Swirl the Bearded's unfinished spell

In Magical Mystery Cure, Princess Celestia sends Twilight Sparkle the spell to make sense of. Not knowing what would happen, the spell is read out loud - to disastrous effect.

It was my interpretation that Twilight Sparkle's ability to complete the spell

was the final action prompting Princess Celestia to choose Twilight Sparkle as the next princess.

But "completing the spell" really just put everything back to the way it was before the incomplete spell was cast.

What was the spell that Star Swirl was working on supposed to do?

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    I disagree with TS being chosen as next princess. It is most like she was destined. – Mindwin Jul 28 '14 at 14:51

10 Answers 10


According to a report of a Q&A with the show's writers, when asked what the intent of Star Swirl's spell was, they answered:

We never went that far into it.

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    Just gold. If you dig deep enough into the MLP why's, this answer would come up very often, I fear. – Mindwin Jul 28 '14 at 14:50
  • A little side notice that does not deserve to be a standalone answer. In the Journal of the Two Sisters Celestia claims that Star Swirl was working on two spells: one for time travel and one involving cutie marks. Since it is also implied that Star Swirl somehow knew about Twilight, one may say that the spell was created so that she could complete it in the first place. Or maybe they are just planning to retroactively give a meaning to the spell. – SPArcheon Apr 18 '16 at 17:48
  • (while they didn't originally went far into explaining the spell, it is still possible that they explored possible explanations afterwards, in order to tie up loose ends) – SPArcheon Apr 18 '16 at 17:50

My personal headcanon is that the spell was supposed to cause Star Swirl to "ascend" into an alicorn form, but as he could not understand friendship and thus, magic, he could not correctly perform the spell. But unfortunately, there are no real, canon-approved ideas of what the spell was supposed to do.

  • Is there anything to back up this idea? – phantom42 Jun 25 '13 at 10:58
  • @phantom42, Daydream said "my personal headcanon", so I'm going to go with a "no" on anything to back it up. – Brian S Jan 14 '14 at 15:42

I'm going to hazard a guess and say that theoretically (since as @jwodder pointed out the writers claim not to have gotten that far) it was probably meant to combine magic. The phrasing of the original spell seems to be intending to take the ability of one and transferring it/adding it to that of another.

"From one to another, another to one. A mark of one's destiny singled out alone, fulfilled."

— Star Swirl the Bearded's unfinished spell

This unfortunately had the effect of switching cutie marks.

"From all of us together, together we are friends. With the marks of our destinies made one, there is magic without end."

— Twilight's revision of Star Swirl the Bearded's spell

Twilight's revision based on wording basically says that friendship makes you stonger as you gain from your friends as well as give unto them.

Add in Star Swirl's friendship with Scorpan and the fact that Scorpan's brother Lord Tirek is a magic stealer....well it seems plausible


As jwodder stated, the official original answer was just that: they never though about it.

That said, after the season 7 finale there is a new possible explanation that actually would give a meaning to the original spell wording. Mind you, this is still not confirmed, and would at best be a retroactive explanation they added long after the original episode was written.

In the S7 finale we finally discover the reason Star Swirl went missing. He sacrificed alongside the other pillar in order to bind the Shadow Pony.

Now, consider the words of the spell:

"From one to another, another to one. A mark of one's destiny singled out alone, fulfilled."

While S7 Star Swirl seems pretty stubborn, he also seems to value friendship (if you exclude random fights over misunderstandings.. ). A possible interpretation of the unfinished spell could safely be an attempt to craft a spell that would sacrifice only him, leaving the other pillars to live their life.

destiny singled out alone, fulfilled.

That is, his destiny would be to be alone forever in limbo, having fulfilled his task to protect the realm.

As already stated, this is obviously just a possible interpretation and was never intended back when season 3 was made. Still is possible that this is an example of the show trying to fix its loose ends at a latter time, so it is probably worth noticing.
Also worth noticing is that the above explanation would give a second meaning to the fixed version Twilight made.

"From all of us together, together we are friends. With the marks of our destinies made one, there is magic without end."

This weird enchantment is oddly fitting the season 7 finale.
"All of us together", the new elements are together with the old ones
", together we are friends", the pillar become more than a team and now real friends.
"With the marks of our destinies made one,", the destiny of the pillar now is intertwined with the destiny of the new elements bearers.
" there is magic without end.", their original banishment has now ended and they will now live once again in friendship (== magic).

Basically, if you accept this interpretation, it is possible to argue that Twily fixing the spell set the cogs of fate in motion so that the pillar would be saved someday.


I have a theory that the reason Discord is the spirit of Chaos is because his creation was planned by the spirit it's self.Head Cannon: So there are different spirits in equestria. Obtaining Physical bodies gives them certain advantages. The spirit of chaos needed to find away to get one. It finds star swirl and slowly pushes him to try new and dangerous spells. Star swirl isolates himself and eventually tries to create life out of raw magic. This succeeds but only because the spirit of Chaos was providing him with power. The spirit then took the body star swirl made and became the spirit of chaos. Thus Discords reign begins.


I think also that he was trying to become a alicorn but instead turned hi its megan into discord a precise of evidence is from one episode where twilight and princess cadence went to the star swirl the bearded museum and only got seconds into it before discord shows up distracting them. I think the reason why is not only blue flu, but he didn't want twilight finding out about his transformation into his Discord form.if anyone would connect the dots it'd be twilight. It's just my opinion and my piece of evidence I got from one of Bronx notion's videos on YouTube

  • this theory might have more weight if discord wasn't already trying to ruin their weekend. – phantom42 Apr 15 '15 at 1:40

what I don't think the answer is
Some folks are suggesting that starswirl became discord. I don't think so, i do notthink that is the answer.


  • discord was around before the tree of harmony gave the elements.
  • Discord was profoundly touched that fluttershy was the only friend he ever had. Starswirl had at least celestia, and scorpan as friends.

what I think the answer is
Starswirl traveled in time, in space, and tried to make others do the same. his magic was about moving things. the most powerful magic, outside of friendship, is cutie marks. I really think starswirl was out to transpose the fundaments of that potent magic: the cutie mark.

I do not think starswirl held the element of magic. I see celestia holding that. I think the interaction with the elements was unexpected.

I think twilights adjustment makes it from a transpot -a switch, to a combination as happens when elements are combined. I expect that not only is twilight not-dying, but so are the mane 6. maybe. not sure what magic without end is - wishful thinking, duration, volume, or being written in the stars/starry realm.

I've always wondered - what if she got it wrong when setting them back? she might be just trusting that the right body went with the talent. what if somehow two of them got switched and don't know it.

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    at least part of this seems to have been meant as a comment/response to one of the other answers. you should probably edit out that portion and comment as necessary. – phantom42 Apr 30 '15 at 2:14

I hate to deface the name of the Elements of Harmony... but, I'm totally defacing the name of the Elements of Harmony.

Star Swirl wanted to destroy them because they were too powerful. Perhaps they grew a conjointed mind of their own with the hive mind being the Element of Magic.

His spell had no effect on the Magic Element, but randomized the other 5.

Perhaps the true spell swapped the "one" Magic with "another" Element. This would disrupt the power cycle and allow Sta Swirl to destroy all six without a sweat.

But he dies, so... Celestia did it...

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    Welcome to SFFSE! Do you have any evidence and/or sources you can reference to support your argument? – Often Right Sep 7 '15 at 23:16

I agree that it was supposed to turn you into an alicorn. Starswirl wanted to escape death so he wanted to live forever. A popular headcanon (and mine) is that since he did not understand friendship the spell turned him into something the equivalent of an alicorn without the magic of friendship. Discord. The dracconesques spirit of chaos.

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    Wait. Are you theorizing that Discord is really Star Swirl? Do you have anything to back up this theory? – phantom42 Jun 25 '13 at 10:58
  • @phantom42 I have heard this theory elsewhere, but I don't know any supporting evidence. I'm actually thinking that there's evidence against this theory, seeing how Celestia and Luna treat Discord and how Twilight didn't turn into a draconiquis from performing the spell. – shieldgenerator7 Nov 19 '14 at 11:55

I have a theory that stat swirl was wanting to be an alicorn so he went into the palace attacked celestia with his spell one to another another to one: switching and alicorn with unicorn turning statswirl alicorn and celestia (or luna) unicorn.a Mark of ones destiny singled out alone.: the Sun on celestia makes her very important only one to rais the sun so switching there cutie marks if he has one which would make singled out alone a little more important to. Finally fulfilled:he believed his destiny was to become an alicorn.also(head cannon alert)to pretect her self celestia used some spell to change or banish starswirl that turned him into discord

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