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Casting Spells

Imagine a circle inside a square.

This is where magick happens, in a circle cast inside the square of the cardinal points.

If you ask ten witches how to cast spells you will likely get ten different answers, because each of us has our own way of working. Magick is a very individual thing. Some witches prefer candle spells, others like image magick or cauldron spells . . . there is no right and wrong in this, just what feels right to you, what works and what doesn't.

I will tell you how I cast spells, but that doesn't mean this is the best way for you to work. You have to start, to practice and experiment, until you find your own style, find what works best for you. Creativity is of great importance in spell craft.

I think of magick as being of two types, major and minor. Ritual or ceremonial magick, which includes casting a circle, is the most effective. Ordinary magick is worked without a circle. It can also be very effective, provided your Will is strong enough and focused properly.

RITUAL MAGICK

WHERE

Any place that has good energy, is quiet, private, and without interruptions will do. I usually do spells in the kitchen because most of what I need is already there. It's also the safest place in the house to burn things. Good for you if you have a special place like a grove or garden available to you. If not, don't let it stop you.

WHEN

bullet Spells are usually performed according to the lunar cycle:
bullet Waxing Moon for spells of invitation, growth or increase.  (Example: money spells .)
bullet Waning Moon for discovering inner secrets and spells of banishing, binding or decrease.
Example: spells to end loneliness or financial problems.
Full Moon for:
maximum power, coven work, sex magick, love spells workings of culmination

 There is great wisdom in this but I must admit that as an urban witch who cant see the moon from her apartment windows, I pay no attention to the moon whatsoever. I did follow it, however, whenever I lived in a place where I could see the moon each night.

Spells can also be performed in accord with the Zodiac.
Sun or moon in astrological sign for:

Aries: battle - beginnings
Taurus: money spells - sex magick
Gemini: communication
Cancer: psychic work - lunar magick
Leo: leadership - solar power
Virgo: purification
Libra: balance - work in law or for justice
Scorpio: power
Sagittarius: honesty - expansion
Capricorn: overcoming obstacles
Aquarius: healing
Pisces: psychic work - endings

HOW: The Five Steps

1. INTENTION:

Intention is the focus of your spell and the absolute will to succeed. I try to never do a spell unless I feel it well up inside of me beforehand. Spells don't work unless you are able to focus your Will. Your intent must be clear, or your spell may have unintended results.

2. PREPARATION:  Assembly of tools and materials

The spell actually begins at this stage because your Will starts to focus itself as you gather the herbs, select the candles, choose the incense, decorate the altar and lay out your tools. Knowledge of correspondences is essential here, so that you select materials appropriate to the spell.

Incense, candles, music and ceremonial dress, makeup or masks can be used to make sacred space, set the mood for a spell. You must have something to represent each Element - earth, air, fire, water - on the altar or working surface.

3. CAST THE CIRCLE: (See also: The Cardinal Points)

bullet Call Corners (also called calling quarters)
bullet Cast the Circle, invoking the Lords of the Watchtowers.

Raise power. You should feel it between your hands, like the force of two magnets that repel each other, as you invoke the Lords or Ladies and cast the circle.

4. THE SPELL:

Perform the spell, reciting its words and carrying out whatever actions it requires. The words of a spell should be said aloud, in a commanding voice. This is the Word that goes forth and comes into being, so mote it be. Manifestation of word into deed is the essence of magick.

5. CLOSE THE CIRCLE:

Close the circle and ground the power you have raised. Clean up. Carry out any after-spell actions that the spell required.

CORRESPONDENCES

Think of correspondences as lists of ingredients. What exactly do you do with them? Let's take an example from the Magick page in the Craft section:

Friendship:

bullet Planet: Sun - Venus
bullet Zodiac: Aquarius
bullet Number: 3
bullet Invoke: Gilgamesh and Enkidu - Mitra, for intimate friendship
bullet Plant: lemon - rosemary - passionflower
bullet Jewel: rose quartz - alabaster - turquoise - emerald, to strengthen friendship


Suppose you want to make new friends, and you write or find an appropriate spell for this. Using the correspondences, you could:

bullet Do the spell at noon, when the Moon is in Aquarius.
bullet Place three lemons in an alabaster bowl on the altar.
bullet Fill your chalice with passion fruit juice, make a potion of it by charging it with the spell, then drink it down before you close the circle. You could also refrigerate the potion or make a syrup of it and drink some each time you will be meeting new people. Wear a turquoise ring until you make a new friend

POWER

The power, like the Good Witch told Dorothy, is in you. You effect magick with your Will. Spells, incantations, candles, herbs, crystals and all of that just channel it in the desired direction.

Eight ways to raise power:

  1. Meditation or concentration
  2. Chants, spells, poetry or invocations
  3. Trance, or projection of the astral body
  4. Incense, drugs or alcohol
  5. Rhythm: dancing or drumming
  6. Binding, to control the flow of blood
  7. Flagellation: light scourging, traditionally 40 lashes
  8. The Great Rite: ecstatic sexual union

I usually use incense and psychic concentration, drawing power from wherever I can feel it: the jet stream, an approaching storm, trees, rain, the city, my love, my anger, my desire, the Sun or Moon, even the Universe itself. You have to experiment with different methods in order to find the best way for you to raise power. You will come with practice to recognize the state of psychic readiness that tells you when you are prepared to make magick.

Ways to boost your power:

bullet Invoke the Mighty Ones (the Old Gods)
bullet Work with spirits or elementals
bulletWork with other witches
bullet Go barefoot, to draw on earth energy

Power is connected to the moon. It increases as the moon waxes, decreases as it wanes. Witches are most powerful at the full moon. Many witches wear their hair long because cutting your hair can diminish your power. This is likely why Joan of Arc had her hair shorn before she was burned at the stake.

DIRECTING SPELLS

For a spell to work in the intended way it must be properly directed. You can do this with words or images, putting representations of the person or thing you want the spell to affect on the altar while you cast the spell. Old spells sometimes call for hair or fingernail clippings, but I've never used anything creepy like that. We have cameras now.
 
A person need not be present for you to work magick on, for, or against them. Anything associated with the person can be used to direct the spell: documents, personal items, letters, gifts, pictures - whatever you have. You can also write the person's name on a piece of paper or a candle and use that.

POPPETS

A poppet is a humanoid figure. It could be a root, a 'voodoo doll', a chess piece, a Barbie doll, a puppet, a paper doll, a piece of twisted wire. . . anything you have at hand.

You say:

"Poppet, I name you _____________."


The figure then becomes that person, for magickal purposes. If you have a photograph of the person their face could be affixed to the doll. Poppets should be safeguarded or destroyed once a spell has done its work.

TIME

Sometimes the effect of a spell will be astonishingly immediate, other times you will have to wait a while. I'd repeat a spell if I saw no effect after two weeks, making the second spell stronger. If I still saw no effect, I'd assume the spell was not in accord with the Universe and move on to something else. If it's something that's too important to you for you to drop, try coming at it from another direction.

DISTANCE

Spells can be worked over great distances. I have often cast spells that worked from one continent to another. A personal connection to the people or situation involved is helpful with this.

HERBS

When spells call for herbs you can plant them, pick them, burn them, eat them, brew them, strew them, make floor washes, decorate the altar with them, put them in a mojo bag . . . whatever seems appropriate to the spell.

MATERIALS

Don't make yourself crazy trying to acquire exotic items. Use whatever is available to you. Be creative. Learn correspondences so that you can find good substitutes when a spell calls for something you don't have.

HERBS

Florist shops, the supermarket, and health food stores (for essential oils and herbal teas) are good places to start. Dried herbs sold in jars as spices usually work just fine, but fresh herbs are better. You have sources all around you. Identify the trees that grow on your block or in your yard. Find out if there is a farmer's market or botanical garden near you. Plant an herb garden. Study herbalism.

CANDLES

Any type of candles can be used, from the hardware store, supermarket, card shop or wherever. Tapers or votives are good. Unscented candles are best unless you can identify the scent as appropriate to your spell, such as vanilla candles for love spells. The colors of the candles should also be appropriate. A stock of candles in various colors is useful to a witch.

INCENSE

Joss sticks, smudge sticks, little cones . . . the form isn't important, but the scent should suit the spell. Some plants and resins can be burned directly as incense. Try card shops, head shops, the Internet and other religions. Learn to make your own incense, if need be. Witches always have incense on hand, for use in spells or as offerings.

STATUES / ICONS / PICTURES / POSTERS

Try museum gift shops, magickal supply shops, bookstores and the Web.

PAPER

There's no telling what ordinary paper is made from, so I like to use papyrus or linen bond. Papyrus and flax (for linen) are plants that can be made into paper. Papyrus comes from Egypt and may be difficult to obtain, but linen bond is available from stationers and office supply stores.

ORDINARY MAGICK

Small magick is worked without a circle, often with visual aids. The possibilities for this kind of magick are limitless. Inventiveness is the key here.

My usual method is to assemble things on a tray: candles, incense, herbs, the elements, stones or crystals, and things that represent what I am trying to manifest. As with any spell, I make careful choices in selecting the materials. I leave the tray like that for several days or a week, until I feel it has done its work. I may light the candles or burn the incense if I feel like it, or talk to the tray in passing, stating my purpose aloud. If I see no results I recast the spell formally, with a circle.

Spell bottles can also be used in this way. Everything needed for the spell is assembled in a bottle, which can then be buried.

Balloons can be used for spells. Blow one up, write a name or draw a face on it saying,

"Balloon, I name you _________."

You can then:

bullet pop it to deflate someone's overblown ego
bullet let a little air out of it every day to decrease someone's   influence
bullet set it adrift (on air or water) to release someone, or release   yourself

 Meditate on ordinary items like keys, ice, pockets, bird cages, mirrors and photo albums. Use the Other way of thinking, and I am sure you will invent more spells than I ever could.

More Power To You!

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