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Spellcraft

Foreword

One of the interesting things about Wicca is that it has no "bible" as such (although two books in my own personal collection call themselves a Wiccan bible or Witch's bible).   This means that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to do spellwork, although most of us would agree that you shouldn't torture animals, use blood, or break any civil laws in connection with your spells.   Otherwise, it's pretty much up to you.   I mention this because occasionally I hear from people who say, "I liked your page on basic ritual, but you left a few things out," or, "When you call the quarters, you should always call them 'the watchtowers.'"

An example: On December 24, 2001, I received the following e-mail from one mothercuveen@yahoo.com (this is an excerpt):

Leave "Robin Artisson" to actual Traditional Witches, who have no connection to "wicca" and the new age. Such a venerable name should not be connected with such a modern and contrived movement.

Regards,

Helice Marotin,
Droen Green Gown.

This attitude that has no place in Wicca.

My way of doing ritual is certainly not the only way to do it, and is not the only RIGHT way to do it.   You like to do it differently?   You're okay with me.   Just don't try to tell me that you're right and I'm wrong.   Witchcraft doesn't work that way.

You may have noticed that (a) there aren't any actual SPELLS on this website (well ... except one) and (b) that I've included a "shell" or a basic format for ritual.   If you're looking for spells, and don't want to write your own, try here (an off-site link).

   "Magick is a means of operating on one level of nature by manipulating factors on another level through a theory of correspondences (symbols) sometimes called 'occult sympathies.'   Magicians believe in a consciousness that permeates everything, and that all things can be interconnected on different levels by tapping into this energy."
— Gareth Knight

      "When considering how to cast a spell or what spell to use, most Witches rely on gut feelings before logical thought, though logic does come into play during the working at some point.   Most Witches do what feels right, trusting our intuition or higher selves to guide us.   Good spellcasting rises out of our mental oven, sort of like Grandma's famous sticky-buns ... Count how many Witches live on this planet and you'll find an equal number of spellcasting techniques."
— Silver RavenWolf, To Light a Sacred Flame


A Framework

The basic ritual that I've put together is simply a framework.   Here are a few guidelines for spellwork:

1.   Make the spell fit YOU.   You should feel comfortable doing it.   Even if you're not ready to write your own spell, and you're using someone else's, don't be afraid to "touch it up."

2.   Planning is important.   Be prepared; have your tools and supplies lined up and assembled, and have your spell written out.   This is important because you may want to do this spell again at a future date, especially if it works!   Read it aloud to yourself at least once (a "dry run") before doing the actual spell.   It has been said that in a well-crafted spell, we are "acting out" the things that we want to occur.   To cast a spell is to project (or attract) energy through a symbol.   Words are symbols, of course.

What are the most common subjects of spellwork?

     1.   Money (unfortunately, you can't live without it)
     2.   Protection
     3.   Finding a lost object (or person)
     4.   Fertility (you want to get pregnant)
     5.   The weather
     6.   Success in legal matters (this one comes close to being a "prohibited" manipulation of people)
     7.   Employment
     8.   Conflicts with one's superiors (the boss, your teacher, or Mom and Dad)
     9.   Health and healing
    10.   Weight loss
     11.   Breaking bad habits (such as smoking)
     12.   Banishing negativity (in a new house, for instance)
     13.   To win the lottery (if you have a spell that works, send it to me!)

First, you "line things up:" the tools, the words, the deities, the herbs, the cycle of the moon (that is, timing: at or near a Sabbat, perhaps).   You coordinate them the same way an interior designer selects the drapes to match the bookshelves and the sofa.   Generally, you do "increase" spells when the moon is waxing (getting bigger); you do "banishing" spells when the moon is waning (getting smaller).   I don't try to coordinate planetary hours or days of the week because the information I've read about these "micro-management" aspects goes in too many different directions.

3.   There are certain magickal tools that you use every time you cast a circle (the wand, the bell, the candles).   But there may be other equipment that is unique to a particular spell: dried leaves; flowers; stones; a mirror; jewelry; parchment with writing on it; a photograph; dolls or poppets; fruit or vegetables; an amulet or talisman; money; a statue of a particular deity (Quan Yin, for instance).   One woman put a large piece of chocolate pie on her altar, and cast a spell to give herself the willpower to go on a diet!

4.   Be "generally specific," that is, state what you want but leave it up to the Goddess as to HOW it will manifest.   Try to describe what you want without describing the exact form in which it should arrive.

5.   If possible, avoid expressing your spell's goal or intent in the negative (for a banishing spell, this may be impossible).   Put your wishes into positive form.

6.   If possible, make the words of your spell rhyme.   Some witches become very skilled at writing poetry.

          I know I can, I want to try it,
          This night I'm going on a diet!
          Not beauty, but good health I seek,
          Give me strength when I am weak!

7.   Don't cast spells on people.   The only person you have the right to "work on" is yourself.   That's why "love spells" are a breach of ethics.   Magick should not be used to gain power over others or to make them do something they don't want to do.   One exception to this rule would be a spell for protection from a specific person who has threatened you (I'd probably also make an exception for influencing the outcome of a presidential election ... but that's just me).

8.   Remember that you never need a "revenge spell."   The Rule of Three takes care of "payback."

Question: Before casting a healing spell, should I ask the sick person's permission?   My answer is "no."   I still haven't met anyone who enjoyed being sick.

9.   Consider playing soft background music while you circle, of the "meditation" variety, or perhaps one of those CDs that consists of ocean sounds (and of course, we all like Enya).

10.   Breathing is important.   Breathe slowly and deeply.

11.   The final step to any spell is "acting in accord."   After the spell is finished, plan to put yourself in places and positions where your spell can manifest.   No magic spell is going to bring results unless channels are opened into the material world.   For example, a job spell is useless if you're not willing to go out and interview for jobs or at least let potential employers know that you're available.   In the same way, a healing spell is no substitute for medical care.   Do everything you can on the "practical level."   Think of it as just another part of your spellwork.

12.   With spellwork, as with anything else in life, practice makes perfect.

13.   Be careful what you ask for.   Magick is not entirely predictable.   One writer says that magick sometimes works by making everything fall apart.

14.   Keep records of your spellwork   -   maybe on your computer, in an encrypted MSWord file.   I know ... parchment paper and a handwritten Book of Shadows (using a feather-quill pen dipped into an ink bottle), created by candlelight, is much more traditional and "spiritual" than clicking away at a computer keyboard.   But an encrypted file in your word processing directory is just about bulletproof.   A basic rule of life is that anything that (a) you write down on paper which (b) you want to keep secret, will eventually be found.   By the wrong person at the wrong time.

You'll be keeping records of (a) the actual specifics of the spell and (b) what happened afterward.   And little practical notes such as, "Had to substitute dill for 'joe-pye weed,' which is impossible to obtain.   And remember to set up outside, since this spell ends with the burning of the herbs."

15.   Keep your mouth shut.   Talking about your spell dissipates its energy.   Remember the Witches' Pyramid:   "To know, to dare, to will, and to KEEP SILENT."

Later on, when you get really serious about spellwork, you'll find that there's some special herb that you really, really need but just can't find.   A good source for esoteric herbs is Penzeys Spices.


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