Spellwork (article)

Spells: The Art of Crafting and Casting

an article from The Pagan Forum, written by Raphaeline

What Exactly Is A Spell?

Before we don our black, conical hats and get down to work at the potion table, let’s take a look at what magic and spells are really all about – and how each of us might connect to the art of casting and use it to our benefit.

Just about everyone has already accepted some definition of what a Witch is. Some of us feel that Witches work with or for the Devil, while others consider him or her as a ditzy hippie. It all comes down to that thing they do; casting spells. It’s important that, before we take a look at what a spell is, we establish what a spell isn’t.

A spell is not its incantation, and a spell is not its components. Just because you say the words, just because you added just the right herb and lit the corresponding incense, does not mean your spell will be successful. In the examples most people have seen, such as Harry Potter, it’s the opposite; if you don’t wave your wand just the right way, you’ll end up with a horrible mess. That’s not the case! It is your energy, your mindfulness, your mentality that counts.

A spell is not the easy way out. The single most attractive thing about magic (other than, perhaps, the theater of casting) is the concept of instant gratification. As you will find out below, you will get out of a spell what you put in, and this means that Googling a spell on finding a job and throwing it together in a half hour will not likely be as strong as a spell you spent three days creating, and waited a week for the correct timing. That means that making magic isn’t as simple as uttering four rhyming lines and having a new car by morning. It’s something that takes effort and concentration; fortunately, crafting and casting are so much fun, it’s easy to forget Witches call it “working” a spell for a reason!

In addition, a spell doesn’t work on its own. You have to work with it, which means working in accord (which we’ll look at later) and having faith in your work.

A spell isn’t something you have to have a license to perform.You don’t have to go to Witch School, and you don’t need anyone’s permission, to cast a spell. Witches don’t have some kind of natural hierarchy, and there certainly isn’t One Right Way to do everything in Witchcraft.

Plenty of folks who’d love to con you out of your money would try to tell you otherwise. Most of the time, I admit, the issue with these people is a craving for personal power; beware of those who claim to be helping you while withholding the “how”s and “why”s. The truth is that there is no one standing between you and your personal advancement on your path. If someone insists they interpret signs for you, speak to the gods for you, or offers you information with no indication of where they gained it, they may be just attempting to seem mystical and powerful.

I should add that some Witches will ask for money in exchange for spells; most of the time (and especially through websites advertising for it), this is a hoax, but there are times when this can be acceptable. At times, this is reasonable because those who have experience in casting might offer to help if you can assist in paying for materials. They may even ask for payment for their time, which isn’t always a bad thing depending on the circumstances. However, it’s important that you ask to be involved; even if you trust this person enough to pay them for their assistance in casting, you should always be involved in magic for your own benefit. Use your own judgment; only agree to this if you truly admire their work, you know them personally and trust them, and they aren’t asking for an unreasonable payment.

Spells are not inherently evil. Countless movies and books have been portraying Witches as baby-eaters and Satan-worshipers for centuries. Even those who are not Christian sometimes have fears that Witchcraft will awaken some dark, malicious creature to haunt them, or will summon demons to murder the caster. I recall, in my childhood, taking a Parker Brothers’ Ouija board to a sleepover only to be asked to leave it outside. There is a natural fear that humans have of the unknown; all it takes is a few spooky stories about what evil lurks in the shadows and how a black candle and a mandrake root can bring it all rushing into our world to put the fear of Witchcraft in generation after generation.

Keep reading; you’ll see that casting spells has nothing to do with sacrificing children or pledging allegiance to bloodthirsty demons. This is one of the most harmful misunderstandings about magic; that it will ruin your life and even your afterlife.

So, what does that leave us with for an idea of spells and Witchcraft?

A spell is a mental, psychological, and emotional expression of personal power. Witches tend to feel very strongly about having a personal impact on their world, generally in a positive way. Witches utilize spells because they are a way to work with the universe, taking an active role in your own destiny. They are a way to connect to the unseen element of your world, and to some, a way to attain a closer relationship with your God, gods, or to the universe.

Magic is different to everyone; a inward feeling, an outside force, a transcendent blessing, an enveloping presence. Five separate advanced practitioners could give five, wildly varying, intricate descriptions that would have little in common. However, what we can say about magic is that it is a comfort in stressful times. It is an experience that gives even the smallest of objectives a large impact.

Casting a spell makes us feel involved when others feel helpless; spells help us connect to our life instead of just trudging through it; spells give us a way to make something beautiful out of even the ugliest of life’s problems. Using magic allows us to create art from our daily lives; our lost romances, our financial pressure, family loss, and missed opportunities. The acceptance of magic in the real world has long been something that we’ve associated with the innocence of childhood or the bliss of the simple-minded… fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Magic need not be something we give up in order to grow up.

(In different places, cultures and faiths, magic can seem very different. The magic that we practice in modern America is very different from the magic you’ll see in, for instance, many African countries and cultures. Practitioners in some African places consider it perfectly ethical to accept payment in exchange for performing magic to kill a woman’s abusive husband, while in America we shudder at the thought. This article focuses on magic in the neo-Pagan sense, and certainly doesn’t speak for magic in all cultures.)

How Do Spells Work?

The basic definition of a spell is the manipulation of energy to attain one’s will. The point behind a spell, no matter what aspect you’re looking at, is to send out energy with the goal of completing some task or creating some outcome, generally speaking. There are many variations of belief in exactly how a spell completes its goal; some credit the success of their spells to their deity (which might be the Abrahamic God), as they see a spell as a kind of prayer. Others see magic as a living force that listens to the caster and actively creates the spell’s goal. Still others perceive of magic and spells as scientific occurrences. Most consider magic a mix of these and more explanations.

One of the interesting aspects of Witchcraft is that a theory of how the magic happened usually arises only after the caster has done his or her own first spell or two. This is probably because crafting and casting are such personal experiences, and each practitioner feels the process in a different way. Not only this, but some people are comfortable with different concepts; some have a dedication to their God or gods that they feel present in casting, for instance.

One currently popular explanation of how magic works is provided by Phyllis Curott’s Witchcrafting:

“Witches know that making magic does not defy Nature, but works in harmony with it. So, if we understand Her laws, which is the science of physics, we can make magic far more effectively. It’s just that simple.

I don’t think we need science to justify our spirituality, but personally, I’m much more comfortable with a religion that doesn’t defy science. And the amazing fact is that science is now confirming what shamans and Witches have known for thousands of years: There is a hidden order or dimension of reality – the quantum level – and there are laws that order this reality. At its most fundamental or smallest level of organization, the Universe is a continuous energy field in which everything is interconnected. All the seemingly isolated, material objects we perceive appear to us to be distinct and separate objects. But it’s a scientific fact that at the level of subatomic particles, which is the smallest building block of reality, they are all energy. (So much for dismissing Witchcraft, animism, or pantheism out of hand – it turns out that there is energy within the rocks and hills and water and air!)

And at that subatomic, quantum level, all the old rules about how things are ‘supposed’ to work are called into question. But what’s most fascinating of all, particularly for the practice of [Witchcraft], is something called quantum superposition: According to this axiom, no particle has any particular property until you measure for it; for example, it doesn’t have spin until you measure it for spin. In fact, it doesn’t even become a particle until you measure it as a particle! (And as soon as you look at a particle, it can become a wave, and vice versa.) What seems to be happening is that all the properties of a quantum particle exist simultaneously, but al the moment of measuring, one feature emerges.

Why does this matter to magic? It seems to indicate that reality is not so easily divided between energy and matter, and that reality shifts according to your perception, participation, and expectation. It fits with our magical principle that we can alter our consciousness, and thereby alter reality. It also implies that we have a profound ability to interact with material objects – changing their very structure at the particle level. So, when a human being looks at a particle, it suddenly turns into a wave, and then back into a particle again.

There is also an observation in quantum physics that supports the spiritual principle of interconnectedness. It’s called the Einstein-Podolsky-Roisedan Paradox, which isn’t really a paradox but a fascinating truth – namely, that things that are physically disconnected work in unison. A very powerful real-world example is what happens when you put separate living cells from a heart into a Petri dish – they beat in the same pattern. At the quantum level what’s happening is just as mind-boggling. Split a particle – say a photon of light – into two parts, creating two photons of light. Quantum theory says that when you do this the polarities of the two photons have to be opposite; If one is polarized horizontally, the other has to be polarized vertically. But remember, neither has a specific polarization until they are measured. So if you take the two photons, separate them by a billion light-years, and then measure one of that as vertical, the other will immediately become horizontal, even though it is one billion light-years away. How could the information that the first photon is, suddenly, vertical, be passed along instantaneously to the second photon when supposedly nothing can travel faster than the speed of light?
The current thinking is that this instantaneous transmission of information happens because the particles are always entangled, or connected, in some sort of other dimension, subspace, or parallel universe, and so when measured you get instantaneous results. So here’s the payoff for Witchcraft – this new law of physics, explaining how reality works, supports out magical and spiritual principle that all life is interconnected, for it literally is, at the quantum level. There are connections transcending our usual models of space and time and separation. And it is these connections that Witches work with as they make magic.”

This description of magic in a very real, testable sense is exactly what many are comfortable with in the world of science and logic. To many people, the concept of accepting scientific rule and law and filling the empty gaps with faith is a method of finding a stable belief system, and having a scientific support for our faith is beneficial for those who practice Witchcraft.

Spells don’t have one repeating process in their operation. There is a variation of paths that spells may take to manifest, rather than one designated procedure.

First of all, there’s the obvious element of energy that we just looked at. The energy that we send out is the physical element, a force that exists on a physical plane. When you’re casting a spell and focus on sending energy out into the world, that moving energy, which initially seems like the only way a spell could actually work given its description, is actually only one way the spell might manifest.

Second, there is a psychological element. Say for instance that you were casting a spell to do well on an exam for school. Say your spell involves following each line in the textbook chapter with the same pencil you’ll use on the test; in a way, then pencil is “learning” the information to help you recall it on the test. In a manner of speaking, you’re following that information with your eyes as well, reading, studying, which not only helps you on the mental level but also enters the information in your brain, even if only subconsciously.

In the same way, if you perform a spell to gain a promotion within the next year at work, you’ll find you have more confidence in your ability to succeed (which, I might add, will make you a more appealing employee and increase your chances at that promotion).

Thirdly, there is an emotional element. Spells that involve a personal event in your life are a perfect example; spells to help you move on after the passing of a loved one, spells that accept a new love into your life, and so on. We already do such things, even non-Witches, usually without noticing it. Rituals such as a wedding, a funeral, or a birthday have significance in their symbolism, just as you will use in spells. The concept of closure presents itself in a variety of ways, and using a spell to do so is not only a potentially beautiful way to bring about such a farewell, but a ritualistic act that holds more of an impact on our emotional lives.

Putting Together The Pieces

The first thing to remember about spell crafting and casting is the power of symbolism. Because our minds are the key behind successful crafting and casting, and symbolism holds such power over our concentration, this drives everything behind a spell. Even in the movies, you can’t just throw together any old candle, any random incense, toss whatever parts are handy into the cauldron and gain your intended goal.

We need symbolism for one important reason; without those symbols that we see and use in a spell, we can’t expect as high a level of concentration. With an altar full of reminders of your goals and with symbolic actions that you are actively participating in, the focus you have on your objective is stronger.

There are some symbols you’ll find in Witchcraft that have traditionally associated meanings; for instance, sage is a symbol of purification in many, many religions, and rose quartz is commonly associated with love and romance. Some of these may be obvious to you, some might not have a clear connection for you. What’s important to remember is that a certain symbol may have had a meaning for thousands of years, but it has no power if you don’t make that connection for yourself. The key is to make sure that the symbolism you use means something to you.

Let’s say that that a woman wants to do a spell to find her true love. She lights an Ocean Breeze candle that was sitting on her nightstand, ignites a stick of incense she found in a drawer, digs up some parsley and sage she found in the old spice cabinet in the kitchen and sprinkles it into a nearby stream. She says, “Bring me my true love,” and that’s that.

While Witches don’t all rely on the exact same herb or candle to mean the exact same thing, there has to be some kind of meaning to what you’re using.

Now let’s say a man wants to do a spell for the same purpose. He locates a candle that is layered pink and red (because pink symbolizes friendship and red symbolizes romantic love, and he knows a real relationship can’t survive without both). He finds incense with the sensual aroma of jasmine. He collects salt for purity of word, sage for purity of mind, and cinnamon for purity of heart; all so he knows there will be honesty in the love he finds. He waits for the stars to align perfectly according to his wishes. He lays out his tools and materials on a red altar cloth, sets the mood with soft music, takes a moment to clear his mind, and says something like,

“I ask to know, I ask to see

The loving soul that matches mine.

I ask the stars to lead to me

A soul that bears of love a sign.”

The second example is far more likely to see success. The caster was careful to include meaningful symbolism. More work in acquiring and organizing a spell helped him give more thought to his goal and made him feel more secure in his success. Using symbols that meant something to him made sure that his mind was as focused as possible. The rhymes of his words put him in a “magical” state of mind and made him feel above reality. The second example is what casting and crafting are all about – the dedication to your purpose, helping you gain faith and focus, and truly connecting with the world around you.

Tools And Materials

We know that symbols are the key to helping us concentrate and provide a strong push behind the energy we’re sending; but what kind of symbols are we looking for? The answer is … pretty much anything. Witches use a far wider variety of materials than we’ve given credit for! Everyone knows spells involve things like incense and candles, but we’re not limited to using the symbolism of these types of things.

Of course there are your classic tools; candles, incense, herbs and flowers, stones and gems, sigils and signs, animal totems, and so on. These things are likely to be found in any correlation or correspondence table on a witchcraft website or in a book. These –and especially those first few, including candles, herbs and gems – are closely associated with witchcraft outside of the religion itself. It’s fairly easy to locate these things in context with what you’re doing; key “herb fertility” into any website and you’ll get suggestions on which herbs you may want to use for a fertility spell. Always remember, though: it’s the personal symbolism you want to pay attention to above all else! If someone tells you that quartz is a powerful protection stone but you think tiger’s eye is far more useful, use your own idea. It matters most where your mind is, regardless of whether you’re adhering to a traditional use.

If you are considering using something for a spell that you know little about, do a little research first. Because some of these materials haven’t been widely used for so long, there’s a good chance you won’t have any preexisting association between some items and their traditional meanings. Therefore, if you’d read in several tables that basil is associated with money, but you don’t understand why, read up on some information concerning what it was used for in history. If you don’t see the symbolism, it greatly helps to form your own connection between that symbol and it’s traditional representation.

An altar might be considered one of these tools. Many Witches choose to use an altar, a space that is only used for casting and is mentally set aside from the mundane furniture in your home. Others create this space only when they need it, perhaps laying out a cloth in the floor to perform the spell on. Either way works perfectly well! The value of having an altar lies in having space that sets your actions outside of the mundane world. If you have a space set aside permanently, or if you set everything up when you’re ready to work a spell, you’ll still be experiencing the transformation to something different, and that helps you to focus on the work at hand rather than your everyday life.

Less popular are other items of symbolism that aren’t “witchy”; things like carpenter’s tools, marbles, baskets, an empty soda can, and just about anything else you can think of. Those things may sound like a strange thing to use in a spell, but sometimes there is no better symbolism to be had in a New Age shop. As an example, a wrench was the most powerful symbol of strength I ever had. If someone was doing a spell to protect the Earth from pollution, they may cast a spell on an empty soda can, and then recycle it. Symbols don’t have to be ancient and cryptic – what better symbol than the ones we associate with every day? A protection spell involving your home security system, a study spell on your laptop, a healing spell for your broken down car? Why not?

Here is a good time to mention that while some catalogs and websites will make the romantic, ancient-looking tools and materials look appealing, they aren’t needed. You might choose to spend $55 dollars on just the right candle, but remember that a candle of the appropriate color anointed with the appropriate oil can be just as powerful. The same goes for things such as a chalice or a ritual robe. I wear a comfortable, loose hanging dress most of the time during casting, and I bought my chalice for half-price at Hobby Lobby. Neither of those has less value than an embroidered cloak and a sterling silver goblet.

Playing By The Rules?

Any beginner is likely to look for (and usually find) The Rules For Witchcraft© . Fortunately, those don’t exist. I’ve seen a collection of 13 Laws, I’ve seen The Code of Three… in reality, no one can tell you what you can and can’t cast. In Charmed, spells are forbidden for use for personal gain. Thank gods we don’t live in the TV.

Sometimes you’ll hear that the Threefold Law applies to Witchcraft; however, this is a purely Wiccan concept. To say that Witches had to obey the Threefold Law would be the same as saying Witches would have to obey the Ten Commandnents of Christianity and the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru and the Buddhist Eightfold Path. These are systems of moral guidance that belong to their respective religions; although they may be used with Witchcraft, they are not inherently part of it.

Are there really rules? No. Good Witch, bad Witch… just about all of us are in the gray. Sometimes we cast for a good cause, other times we cast for selfish, offensive, or dishonest objectives. Most of us look at Nature for balance, and we try to live that balance.

Although they don’t offer moral guidance, there are some very important things to remember in the art of Witchcraft that I refer to as rules. These aren’t rules to abide by on pain of punishment, but instead, they’re personal rules that form the solid foundation of casting.

1) Energy Follows Intent. This reminds us to have a clear intention that limit the way the spell manifests and to remain in a focused state of mind while casting a spell.

When it comes to intention, one of the most important things to remember is never to restrict yourself. There is a huge difference in “I wish for Kyle Smith to fall in love with me,” and “I wish to find the love that is best for me at this time.” The key is to avoid wording that will trap you in something that isn’t right for you. You may think you want Kyle Smith, but in reality, you truly want a meaningful, pleasurable, loving relationship. You might think that’s Kyle, and you might be disappointed. Let the spell manifest without trying to force it to happen one way or another.

2) Act in Accord. This one is obvious, but easier said than done – if you cast a spell to get a job, don’t forget to fill out some applications. Don’t cast a spell to get a good grade on a test if you don’t study for it. To some, this might sound redundant (“if I’m casting a spell to do something, wouldn’t doing it in the physical world be redundant?”), but you’re helping your spell manifest. We’re human beings; the physical world is most useful to us; it’s what we’re accustomed to living in. We have to affect things in our physical sense first before a spell can help.

At times, this can be harder to do than it seems. Sometimes the temptation is the let the spell do the majority of the work for you; for instance, you might be tempted to do nothing more than what’s required to keep your job and wait for that phone call for the promotion instead of getting out there and making yourself the best candidate.

3) Doubt Kills A Spell. You’ve heard this kind of thing before; believe in a spell or it won’t come true. Look at it this way; Once you’ve cast a spell, you can’t just look back on it as absurdity (especially if you felt that way while you were actually casting it. Talk about lack of focus). If you do that, you won’t see the result right in front of you. Doubt can become a blindfold.

4) You Will Reap What You Sow. Spending fifteen minutes on crafting a spell isn’t likely to give you the same powerful results as working on a spell for two weeks. Obviously, some cases won’t allow you time to hash out all the details or wait for the perfect Moon phase, but definitely take everything into account when you can. For that matter, rehearse. The first few spells I ever did involved a lot of fetching last minute items mid-chant. The more prepared you are, the better your focus.

A Step-By-Step Look At Crafting

Crafting involves studying one’s goal and intention to draft and re-draft a spell, including the symbolism involved, the words one will say, and the actions to perform.

This section will look at crafting in a simplified and organized manner.

A) Consider Your Intentions.
Ask yourself a few questions considering your objective. Is this truly what you want? Does your wording and intention allow the spell to manifest in its own way? Do you honestly think you may regret it in the future? Do you feel comfortable with the ethics? Question yourself honestly and openly; if you find some reason not to go ahead with preparing the spell, you can always approach the topic from a different perspective.

B) Choose Your Method.
The best way to look at this is in such a way as how you feel about the topic. Say you’re performing a love spell to find true love. Are you opening yourself up to the possibility of finding a partner? In this case, you may want to use visualization involving becoming open and receptive. Are you calling out to a potential lover? Use visualization involving an outreaching plea. If you’re trying to break a connection with an abusive ex, literally see ties between you being broken. Think of it in terms of what you’re really doing. In some cases, a simple thesaurus might help give you ideas: a synonym of protect is “shield”; how about letting your spell cast a shield around you?

Get a basic understanding of the underlying action. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to think of some related symbols. If your objective is to call out to a potential lover, perhaps you may want to use the concept of writing a letter and dropping it in the fire so that the smoke will take your message. If you are breaking ties with an ex, perhaps you will want to break some item that they gave you or that you shared in common, or maybe you’ll take a knife and break a robe that is symbolic of your tie to them. Don’t limit yourself by things that sound odd – the whole point is to find an act or image that is meaningful and significant.

C) Choose Your Tools. Outline A Script.
This part looks for the big picture, the basic idea of your spell. Once you’ve decided what your big idea is, build around it. If you’re going to, say, destroy a bottle of alcohol in a spell to break a drinking addiction, it’s time to look at all the other things you’ll need to do so. You’ll want to take care of some mundane things first; how will you keep glass from getting everywhere, for instance (which can be part of the spell; you may decide to break it wrapped in a black cloth after which you place it in a box, and bury it – a powerful symbol of death to Americans who’ve seen a funeral burial). How will you break it and where? Remember, every aspect can mean something! Break it in a place that had great meaning for you, maybe the place you realized you had a problem or somewhere far away to represent putting distance between yourself and the addiction.

The goal in this step is to make sure you have the basics that you need to perform the action that will be symbolic of your ultimate objective, and outline the overall script. It may look something like:

1. Meditate on all the negative things I’ve lived through because of my addition, use these thoughts to build up anger at the bottle and confidence in my ability to overcome it.
2. Make a procession outside to express taking this problem out of my life and out of my home.
3. Break the bottle with a hammer after wrapping it in a black cloth. Bury it and make an oath to move on with my life without the need for alcohol.

NOTE: If you decide that calling a deity is what you want to do, learn about that identity first! Talk to people who honor them regularly or have some relationship to them to find out what their personality is like and how you should respond to them.

D) Check The Tables.
Here is where you’ll be looking at correspondence tables; but don’t get caught up in every little thing labeled “protection” and end up with five herbs, four candles, three animal totems, six gems, calling two deities, and so on. Just because it’s somehow related doesn’t mean you have to use it; in fact, all it will do is distract you to have a pile of materials.

Look at what means something to you. Sometimes this may mean you feel the utilization of herbs would be most useful, or it may be that you always prefer the use of stones in your casting. It’s wise to take into account what you have, what you have access to, and what you have time to gather. It’s also a good idea to follow up with research on any item you aren’t very knowledgeable of.

Once you find good symbols, it’s just as important to know what you’ll do with them. Say you’re doing a home cleansing spell and you’ve chosen sage because it’s a popular herb for purification. You could sprinkle it on the floor around the outside walls, or you could make an herbal infusion to anoint the walls, but you might decide instead to burn it in an incense and spread the smoke against the walls. Perhaps you’ll mix and match, doing smoke at the walls but lining the doorways and windows with the infusion.

Take a look at your five senses and what you will do to involve them; for instance, what incenses you might burn, or what music you might play.

E) Write Your Script.

This is probably the hardest part; working out the kinks in the details. This script should be in detail so that no small thing nudges you out of focus; for instance, noting the placing of candles so you don’t reach over one and burn yourself while trying to move something behind it. Detail exactly what to do with all your materials; work out everything you can think of ahead of time so that nothing surprises you when you’re casting. Write out several drafts. If you have the time, by all means, memorize your spell! Rehearse it several times to make sure you have every bump smoothed out. It sounds like a lot of work, but if you’ve spent money on special materials, waited for the correct astrological timing, and have looked forward to casting, it means a lot more when it goes smoothly. Needless to say, it’s also going to help your results.

Don’t forget to write out your incantation (remember rhyming helps get you in the right state of mind and helps you remember the words!) and feel free to use resources like thesauruses and rhyming dictionaries. Will your words be spoken or silent? Will you sound forceful or gentle? What language will you use? (Anything you’re not fluent in, you may want to find someone to double check your meaning.)

F) Find A Place, Find a Time, Set The Mood.

Lots of calendars will show a Moon phase – it’s useful to check at least this detail if you’re not interested in astrology, waxing is useful for gaining or growing spells, while waning is good for banishing or lessening. Choose the time of day because it has just as much impact; you might want to use the dawn for spells involving beginnings, noon for the power of the Sun at its peak, etc. I have to admit that I find myself often doing spells at night regardless because it helps me get into the proper state of mind.

Where to set up shop? Some folks have a special place that they always do work in, but others may have a mobile set up. In that case, you might want to go outside (have a back up plan for rain), or to some secluded place in your home.

Make sure you’ve set the mood. Make sure the baby’s down for a nap, the phones are on silent or unplugged, the electronics are turned off (with possible exception of a CD player, because music is an exceptional mood setter!) You might want to don some headphones if there are other people in the house, but at least let them know not to disturb you. Dim lighting, additional candles for the atmosphere of the room… anything that will make you mentally aware that you’re no longer a part of the mundane world, but you’re set aside from everyday life. You’re above that; you’re somewhere else.

Also, it’s important to remember to take a moment of silence before you begin your spell. Clear your mind and take several deep breaths to rid your head of cluttering worries and any stress left over from the day. Centering yourself or meditating helps make sure you’re not bothered by any other thoughts about the mundane world while you’re trying to focus on casting.

G) Make A Checklist!

… and go over it several times! A Wiccan group I once joined for a Sabbat forgot two or three items during a ritual and cut a hole in our circle repeatedly so someone could run for something. As amusing as it was, it was a distraction, one that could have been avoided if we’d taken just a moment to double check that we had everything.

In case you do forget something (because not every spell can wait for days of preparation), don’t get bothered by it. Focus on it as though the act of getting the forgotten object itself is part of the spell. Getting frustrated could only cost you the rest of the spell in a calm state of mind!

H) Review.

We learn by doing; practice makes perfect! Doing spells will get easier with time, and to help that process along, you will want to include a review of the spell and its results along with your record of the spell. Always keep those spells (sometimes they are kept in a certain book -or binder, or file on your computer- called a Grimoire or a Book of Shadows) and look back on them as your results unfold. Write a review right after you finished, recording how you felt while you did it and any notable signs you observed. As any results occur, record them as well so that you can decide whether or not you want to keep the spell and how it was helpful when you used it.

Quick Spell Guide!

Don’t have time or resources for a long preparation and detailed script? Here’s a helpful guide.

Intent – Focus on what the spell is for. Meditate on it for a moment or two.
Privacy – If you can’t be isolated, try to find a quiet place. Public restrooms are ideal if you are not home. Privacy is very much a feeling and we rarely realize how watched we feel out in public.
Color – Other materials might not be around, but we can always visualize the corresponding color. If you can’t find the color to focus on, close your eyes and imagine it flooding your vision.
Words – A short and simple chant that identifies your intent works best here. If its possible, rhyming helps a lot.

(Assorted birthday candles and a lighter might be useful from time to time; and they aren’t expensive to tuck away in your purse or car. Salt for purification of a space to cast can be secured from packets given in restaurants!)

Spell Worksheet

• Date & Time Spell Was Created:
• References Used:
• Specific Goal or Objective:
• List Of Tools and Materials Required:
• Specific Location Required:
• Date, Time When Used:
• Results:
• Step By Step Instructions For Preparations &/or Use:

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