Magic and sorcery are the basis of mystical powers.Magic can be considered a substance and sorcery the manipulation of that substance.
Sorcery requires training and practice.Genetic and personal affinity for sorcery are also helpful. The use of magic also requires energy, usually provided by the user.
According to Superboy, Zatanna's spells always leave behind a microscopic magical residue that looks slightly different than say Doctor Fate's or Thirteen's. Each magic user's residue is like a signature and Martian magic is basically a signature in different language.
Magic can be channeled in a variety of ways:
Spoken words are a common method. A variety of languages are used, though an individual sorcerer will typically use a single language almost exclusively; for example Wotan and Kent Nelson use Latin, while Zatara and Zatanna use English spoken backwards. This method is referred to as "baby-magic" by a more powerful sorcerer, Klarion. This indicates that it may be the simplest way to channel magic.
Atlantean students at the Conservatory of Sorcery are given mystic tattoos to enhance their powers. These tattoos glow when magic is used. Users may use spoken words when invoking their powers, but more often do not.
Particularly powerful sorcerers, such as Doctor Fate and Klarion, are capable of using magic seemingly at will, without the use of spells or objects.