Spells
A spell is the name given to a magickal working.  When some people hear the word “Spells” they think of bubbling cauldrons, reciting strange things from old dusty books or pointing a wand at a prince to turn him into a toad… but this is not what a spell is.

Think back to your birthday parties when you were young, did you have a birthday cake with many pretty coloured candles on top.  Were you told to blow them out and make a wish?  Did you realise that you just performed a spell!

A spell can be as simple as a prayer to the Deity, or as elaborate as a full ritual with many candles, incense special robes etc.  The basic thing you need is your mind.  All a spell is, is basically you asking the “higher power”  (Some call it Spirit, some call it Goddess, some call it God etc.) for a change to occur.  To get something you desire, to be rid of something …the principles are basically the same. 

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You often see spell books that call for many weird and exotic ingredients (and some that use not-so weird or exotic things), these are all “props”, they help you to cast the spell, but are not strictly necessary.  Herbs and crystals aid your power, as they contain earth magick within them, we can use this power to add to our own, but we don’t have to use them.  Candles and incense help to represent the elements Fire and Air respectively.  This again helps to add their power to yours, but are also not necessary.   By charging candles and other items to use in spells, you are helping to keep your mind focused on what you want to achieve.  You can perform spells with no tools or ingredients, and perform them in your mind’s eye (using just your imagination).

A simple spell is no less effective than a complex one, as long as the person performing it is focused.  You can have all the candles in the world burning, but if you don’t focus on what they are burning for, they are almost useless.

Spells can also be done in the mind's eye, when performing them in real life is not possible.  Like asking for protection on a train, visualising yourself surrounded by protective light.  Imagine the whole ritual or spell, as if you were watching it on television.  The tools you use, such as the candles and herbs, help to focus attention on the spell that is all, they are not necessary.   The test of a good Witch is not how many tools they have, but how well they can do spells without their tools.

So how do you actually cast a spell?  Some require you to simply light a candle, some might require you do say something while doing something else.  You may have to make an amulet or something.  It can be very different from spell to spell.  Some people say that spells need to be done in a Magic Circle, some people say they don't.  You can do whatever you feel is right. 

The main thing that is needed however is for you to focus on what you want to achieve, and put energy into that.

A spell is basically a way to focus your intention, and to give it power to help it manifest in the physical world.  When you do a spell you have to want the outcome with “every fibre of your being” and you have to focus on what you wish to achieve and send energy towards that goal to make it happen.

Hexes

A hex is a basically spell cast on a person to cause that person some form of discomfort.  That may be as simple as a headache, a slight case of bad luck, or as severe as causing the person to have a major illness, and according to some people, death.  I personally think that there are better ways to bring justice or even "make them pay" than just a hex.  If you feel that a person has done something that deserves a hex, stop and think.  Is it your place to punish them for what they have done, or will you leave that up to the Goddess and God.  I believe that only the Goddess and God have the power to punish us adequately (they can see the "bigger picture" if you will), so there is little point in us hexing another.  If you follow the Threefold Law, always remember that if you send out negative energy, you will receive negative energy in return.  Many Witches believe in something called "the law of three" or the "Threefold law" which states that for every energy you put out into the universe, you will receive it back three times as strong. "Evermind the rule of three, what you send out, returns to thee."  So if you send out positive energy, you will receive positive energy back, but if you send out negative energy, you will receive that back three times as strong.  So remember that if you do wish to cast any sort of spell on someone, whatever you have sent them, will return back to you, but three times stronger.  So if you send them bad luck, prepare yourself and buy a crash helmet, as that energy will come your way too.

A Wiccan shouldn't cast a spell on or for another person without their consent, even a positive spell like a healing spell (If you do a spell on someone without their permission - it can be changing their free will).  It may not be possible to ask the person for their permission in person, but there are other ways to get their permission.  Like asking their Spirit or Soul.  When casting a spell I think it is best to state that if they are not willing to accept this energy, or they are not destined to receive it, then you will allow the energy to go to another who needs it.  That way they don’t have to receive the energy, and they can block the spell.  Another Wiccan 'rule' is that you should never perform a spell to change the will of another.  Witches have long been known for their "hexes" but in reality, most Witches (even if they aren't Wiccan) will never perform a hex, as it is causing harm on another, and hard to do effectively.  Even many witches who are not Wiccan believe that hexing is wrong.


Binding spells

There are spells called "binding spells" which are considered more acceptable than a hex.  A binding spell is done to stop a person from causing further harm.  If you have seen the movie "the craft" you will have seen an example of a binding spell.  Where she took a photo and wrapped a ribbon around the photo, saying that you wish them to stop doing what they are doing (The movie uses the words “I bind you <name> from doing harm, harm against yourself, and harm against other people” - or words to that effect).  Binding spells are also done using what are called "Poppets" which are also known as "Voodoo Dolls".  You do not stick pins into the doll, but you do declare that the doll represent the person, and that whatever you do to the doll, happens to the person.  The binding spells you do with a poppet involve wrapping a ribbon around the part of the body that  is causing the harm (The groin for a rapist, the mouth for a liar etc.) saying that you wish them to stop harming others.  There are other forms of binding spells, including honey bindings (where you place a photo or the name of the person into a jar of honey, in the hope they will become sweeter), or a freezer binding, where you place a photo or their name on a piece of paper into the freezer, and ask for them to stop what they are doing.
Love spells
Love spells may also be considered acceptable, or not acceptable, depending on the way you cast them.  A spell to make a specified person fall in love with you is wrong, because it is causing them to fall in love with you against their will.  Not only is that wrong bad for them, but that person may not be the best for you in the long run.  However a spell to bring Love into your life, I believe is acceptable.  That is, if you do not target a specific person, and just ask for love in general, and leave yourself open to whoever that may be.  I have seen various love spells where you state the name of the person whom you are attracted to, and you ask that if you are destined to be together, can the Goddess and God make it so, if not then may they send someone better suited to you.  I think that these type of love spells can also be acceptable, as long as they are done in a manner that allows the person to remain free to choose their own path.  Remember that you may not be destined to be together, or you may not be destined to be together just yet.

Another way of looking at love spells is that if the situation were reversed, and someone you didn't like tried to perform a love spell on you, to make you fall in love with them, would you like it?  Always remember that if you wouldn't want it to happen to you, the other person probably wouldn't want it to happen to them. Remember that saying "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you" that is a good example, treat other people like you wish to be treated yourself. You are probably thinking "why can't I just send the person I like 'love energy', and then it will return to me?"  This would work in theory, but not necessarily in practice.  Sometimes things don't work out the way you planned.  Yes if you send out love to another, you will receive love back, however, if you send that love out with a harmful intent (As in sending it out in the hope they will return it to you) you are still trying to manipulate them, and trying to change their free will, and for that you may get negative energy in return, not love.  Or you may find that you do receive love back, but from another that you do not wish to love you.

In my experience people who are looking for love, and do love spells, are usually low in self esteem and self confidence, or have been hurt in love, and have some reson why they are not yet ready to fully receive the love of another.... which might be one reason why they are not with a partner.  Perhaps try looking at yourself and as well as doing your spell for love, try to boost your self esteem and self confidence too and work on healing any emotional scars you may have.  This will make it easier for you to attract a partner and keep them.  Think about why you want a lover/partner.  If your answer is along the lines of "because I feel empty without one", then your Love spell may not work, as what you need to do before you can enjoy a partner, is to heal yourself and realise that you are complete within yourself and you do not need anyone to complete you.  This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way!

Ever wonder why it seems that people who aren't looking for love seem to find it?  Or in your own life its when you aren't looking that you actually find someone?  I don't think it is merely coincidence.  I believe that when you are no longer looking it is because you are at a stage where you are happy within yourself.  Others find this more attractive that someone who is uncomfortable with themselves.  That's just my opinion anyway.....

Remember that there is no such thing as the "perfect man/woman".  There is the perfect partner for you, but they are not perfect.  Nobody is perfect.  Your perfect match will have flaws, just as you have flaws.  So remember that.  If you ask for the "Perfect man" for example... you can't get your wish.  He doesn't exist.  If you ask for the "Perfect man for me", then you might just get your wish.


Healing Spells

Healing spells are done when you know a specific person is ill, or has injured something, and you cast a spell to help them recover.  There are two ways of casting a healing spell on someone who is ill, one gives them healing energy to heal themselves, where they can chose to either use that energy, or to decline it.  The other way is to send them healing energy, and will them to become better.  This last method is causing them to change, to heal, and therefore some would consider it morally wrong, as you have violated their free will.  Although you may wish for that person to get well, they may not want that for themselves, and you cannot force them to become better if they do not wish it so.  It sounds silly, but sometimes people will themselves to be sick. This can become confusing, as a healing spell to change the will of another is not usually considered to be as wrong as performing a hexing spell.  Where do you draw the line between right and wrong.  This is a question that has been discussed at length for a very long time.  Yes, in a healing you are causing them to change, and although it may seem to be for the best, is it really?  Was that person supposed to remain ill?  That is why I always ask the permission of the person I am casting a spell and while I am casting it, I say something like
 
"I am sending this healing energy to .....(the person's name).....
If they are not to receive this energy,
may it be sent out into the universe
to be given to another who needs it most."


That way, if they do not wish to receive it, or they are not supposed to receive it, my energy will go to another who needs it.  Another difference with the way I do healing spells is that I am not forcing them to become better, I am simply giving them the energy they need to help themselves.


Intent
The intention behind the spell is a huge part of Spellcasting.  If your intention is to cause harm, then you will receive back negative energy in return.  If however your intention was good, but it resulted in something that ended up being bad, then I believe that the negative energy you get in return will be lessened (if you get any at all).  Your intent is also what helps the spell to grow.  If you aren’t really sure what you want, you can’t expect to be able to get it.  You must keep your intent strong.

As you can see there are many areas of Witchcraft that are hard to define as right or wrong.  This is because of the many different beliefs that are contained under the heading of Paganism/Witchcraft.  For example, I am a Pagan, and so is a good friend of mine.  I am basically a Wiccan, she is not.  We both believe in the Goddess and God, but we worship different ones.  She worships Apollo and Artemis, I do not worship a specific deity.  I have another Friend who is a Pagan, She believes in the presence of only the Goddess, and yet another friend who believes that a God exists, but does not worship him.  I believe that there is a Goddess and a God.  I believe that hexing spells are wrong, and my best friend thinks they are perfectly acceptable and justified.  I think that some love spells are perfectly acceptable, when not targeting a specific person, whereas I have a friend who thinks that all love spells are wrong.

Are any of them right?  Are any of them wrong?   Something that is wrong to me, may be perfectly acceptable to you, and vice versa.  Yet we all follow the same religion ?   That is what attracts many people to Paganism, you are free to believe whatever you want to believe in (within reason).  Although there are some commonly accepted beliefs in Witchcraft and other forms of Paganism.  The best thing you can do is listen to your heart, and if you believe in it, follow that basic rule of  "If it harm none, do what you will". Read books, learn whatever you can about the craft, and make your own set of beliefs based on that.

Before you cast a spell on someone, stop and think. Is it ethical? Are you prepared to accept the Karma? Did they do  (whatever it  was) out of malice, or are they just reacting to an inner conflict they have and therefore need your sympathy not wrath?

Focus & Specifics
There is a saying that goes "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it!"  To most people, that is an encouragement, but to a Pagan, we realise that it is actually a warning.  Be careful how you word your spells, and be careful what you ask for, because sometimes what we ask for, and what we really want are two separate things.  For example, if you need money for something, and you do a spell to "bring me money".  That sounds like a reasonable request, doesn't it?  It could be, but then again, it may not.  If you win the lotto, and receive money, that is great, however if your aunt died and left money to you in her will, you would still be receiving money, but to the sacrifice of something else.  Be careful how you word your requests.  Try to think of any loopholes, and write the spell so that there aren’t any (or few)

Another problem people have is when they ask for "happiness"  "love" or "wealth" etc.  These have not been given a value. How happy do you want to be?  What do you define as happy?  how much money do you want?  What is you definition of rich? what type of love do you want – self love? Love from another?  Motherly love?  There are too many different options.  I think of it like this: If you ask the Goddess or God for a cake, they will be wondering, "what kind of cake, chocolate, sponge, iced?" so they can either decide not to give you a cake at all, or they may give you a cake which they have chosen.  However they might have chosen a cake you did not like.  Sometimes I think they chose the wrong cake, just to teach you to ask properly next time!

So when you are asking for something, make sure you are as specific as you can be, even if that means writing down every aspect of the wish.  That way, the Goddess and God know exactly what type of cake you desire, and you stand a better chance of getting it.  Notice I didn't say you would definitely get anything you asked for?  Have you ever wanted a piece of cake just before dinner, and your mother said "No", because you’d have spoiled your dinner?  The same applies for wishes, if you don't get your wish, even after asking properly, maybe you aren't destined to have whatever it was you asked for, or do whatever it was you wanted to do.  Or maybe you have to wait for a little while, and then you will receive your request.  Some spells have to "Grow" and therefore need time.
 

Am I ready to cast Spells?

Many people tell me that they feel they are not ready to cast spells.  I think that spell casting is sort of like learning to drive.  You need to study a little bit first, but the only way to learn to do it properly is to actually do it.  Like the way you have to study first to get your learners permit, but then you learn to drive by actually driving in a car.  Start off with simple spells first, perhaps ones that other people have written, and then, as you get more confident, and you can see that you are getting more powerful and your spells are working well, you can start writing your own spells, and performing them.  Just as long as you are aware that Witchcraft isn’t a game, it is something serious and to be treated with respect.  You also have to be prepared to fix problems that might result from badly worded or constructed spells.  But the only way to know if a spell will work is to do it.  If it flops (or nothing happens at all), work out why, and try to fix what you did wrong.

I have found that as a Witch matures and grown more confident and powerful, they actually do less spells.  I believe this is because after a while, we realise that the Spellcasting side of Witchcraft is only a small part of a greater belief system, and that we can actually solve many of life’s problems with “mundane” solutions rather than resorting to Spells.

I think it is useful to keep a spell diary.  Write in there the spells you do, how the ritual/spell went and then write any side effects or experiences to do with the spell.  If it worked or not.  What happened after the spell was cast.  Things like this can help you work out where things go wrong, and if nothing else, may be funny to look back on in the future ?
 

When should or shouldn’t I cast a spell?

You should never cast a spell if you are preoccupied with something and can’t focus on anything else.  You need to focus your energies 100% on the spell for it to work, and if you are 1% thinking about hanging the washing on the line, or taking the dog for a walk, you spell may not work.  You should never cast a spell while you are angry or upset.  If you do decide to hex someone, you must do it with a calm frame of mind.  The general rule is to wait at least 1 day after you’ve decided to hex someone, as sometimes you will have decided it is not worth wasting the energy after you have calmed down and thought about it.  It may sound funny, but hex spells should be done with a calm frame of mind if you want them to work effectively.  If you can’t focus the energy enough to do a hex when you’re not angry, then you don’t need to hex someone.  When you are angry you can be open to other negative energies, and you can make mistakes that can backfire on you.  (And spells – even hexes – cast when the person was angry rarely work as effectively as other spells)

I also believe that spells should be used as a last resort, you should try to fix the situation yourself first, THEN try using magick if that doesn’t work.  You can use Magick to help you as you try to solve the problem (Like a spell to aid concentration while studying for exams), but sometimes you should avoid using Magick instead of solving it yourself.  Life puts problems in our path for a reason, and “zapping” it away by using Magick may be stopping you from learning the lesson.  Sometimes you’ll find that you’ll get that lesson over and over again, until you solve it in a non-Magickal way.
 

My Spellcasting Guidelines
 (You don’t have to follow these of course!)

I like to think about Spellcasting before I actually cast a spell.  Usually if I think about it carefully, I find out that I don’t really need to cast the spell at all ? Or I think of a better way to word it, or something like that.
 

  • Magick should enhance life - not replace it.
  • Try the “Mundane approach first, if that fails, then try Magick, but perhaps there are valuable lessons to be learned that you will miss out on if you “zap” your problems away.
  • Perform Magickal workings only after you have thought of the possible side effects the spell could have.
  • Take time to clearly set out what you wish to occur so that you do not cause problems through hasty and incomplete wording.
  • If you follow the Wiccan Rede, remember that you should not perform any spells that will harm others or change their free will.
  • If you do not follow the Wiccan path, but believe in the 3 Fold Law, or Karma - consider any possible negative outcomes that may result from your spell.
  • Believe that it will work - If part of you is saying that the spell won’t work, is feeling guilty about casting it, or you are uncomfortable - you will counteract any positive energy sent out and the spell may not work.  If you don’t think it will work, it won’t.
After you have cast the spell, let go.  Don’t walk around thinking “Ohh.. should I have said something else”  Write these thoughts into your spell diary, but try not to be consumed by the “What if….”, “I should have…..” etc. of your spells.
     

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