This morning, I was reminded of something my old neighbor said to me (I was on PaganForum and an old thread popped up) last fall:
Words are a magic wand, casting pieces of yourself out into the universe. Be careful what you say. the chances are good that they will come back to you.
When I was younger, both in years and on my path, I thought that magic was a *something else*, something mysterious or supernatural, some woo-woo power or force to tap into, to use. But the longer I go along, I’ve realized that I’ve been wrong. Magic isn’t a power you tap into, or some special thing you do to make things happen…magic is everything you do because magic is the underlying fabric of Divinity that the Universe is based upon.
(cue the misquoted 80’s pop) …every little thing you do is magic…
And the best magic is that which you do with a clear intention and purpose.
But every little thing you do is not necessarily a spell. A spell is an (IMO) intentionally ritualized* piece of magic that “attaches” an intention and purpose to an otherwise mundane act or item–brushing your teeth with intent (for clear speaking, or for honesty, or to clean up the potty mouth, etc) can be a spell just as much as mucking around with herbs to make a potion (example: adding some relaxing vibes to a relaxing mix of herbs for tea) or enchanting a necklace or charm for confidence or luck before taking a test or going to court.
Often, I have heard people with the problem of when or whether to do magic. I used to be one of them–don’t do magic if you are angry, don’t do magic if it will cause “harm” (such an ambiguous term anyhow), don’t do magic except as a last result. If that is what your ethics demand, good on you…but don’t expect or condemn others for doing what their ethics demand.**
Honestly, the ethics involved in choosing to use magic isn’t any different than choosing not to use magic and using a hammer or a scissor or a paintbrush instead. At the end of the day, magic is just a tool like a hammer, or a scissor, or a paintbrush. If it works, and we are willing to accept the consequences of using it, we should choose to do so or not in accordance with the same morality (or lack thereof) that we display mundanely.
But whatever your ethics dictate, magic is a tool, and tools don’t get the job done sitting in the toolbox. If you just sit on your arse and wait for shit to happen, you will be in for a rude awakening. To misquote Ben Franklin once said “the gods help those who help themselves”…and so does everything else.
*A spell is a type of ritual, but a ritual is not always a spell.
**This is particularly true concerning the idea of “harm none” that often gets bandied about. First off, its not even the entirety of the Wiccan rede (‘An it harm none, do as ye will). Second of all, if someone isn’t Wiccan, why would they be expected to follow the Wiccan rede as if it were a universal Pagan law (as if there were any of those anyhow!)? And third, the Wiccan rede isn’t even interpreted as literally or simplistically as “harm none” by a good number of Wiccans anyhow.