The Magickal Universe

Where Magick is a way of life!

Spells and Magick.

Spell: /spel/ n
1 a form of words and/or actions used as a Magickal charm or incantation
2 an attraction or fascination exercised by a person, activity or quality, etc.
(Oxford Complete Wordfinder)

Spells and Magick.

Magick is the art of performing works of wonder or gaining knowledge through supernatural means.  Magick is allied with Alchemy, Occultism, Spiritualism and WytcheCraft.

The term is derived from the Ancient Persian Magi, whose Priestly occupations included dealing with the Occult.  The ancient Greeks and Romans also practised Magick.  According to Anthropologists, Magickal beliefs and practices exist in most cultures.  Moreover, Magickal beliefs and practices, such as Divination, Necromancy (communication with the dead), Astrology, and the use of Talismans and Charms, survive even in the most advanced cultures.

The modern Sciences trace their origins from practices and beliefs that were originally Magickal.  For instance, Medieval Alchemy led to the development of modern Chemistry and Physics, and Astrology led to modern Astronomy.

Magickal practices may be grouped under four headings.

  • Sympathetic Magick, is based on symbolism and 'wish fulfilment'.  Desired effects are accomplished by imitation or by making use of associated objects.  The most common use of Sympathetic Magick by Pagans today is for healing at a distance.   Sympathetic Magick is based upon the Hermetic Laws, which we shall examine in more detail later, but suffice it to say that the symbol and the object, the Macrocosm and the Microcosm, are subject to the same laws, structure and activity.  This is what is meant by the phrase "As above, so below..." as used in modern Paganism.  By bringing the symbol and the object together through Ritual, dance, altered states, etc. the symbol can be made to affect the object of the Spell working.
  • Incantation, or the chanting of spells, verses, or formulas that contain the names of supernatural beings or of persons who are to be helped or injured.  When we invoke we bring into our everyday Psyche something that is hidden in the deeper levels of ourselves and expand our consciousness.  To evoke means to 'call forth' or to 'call up' and here we break off a part of our Psyche and separate it from ourselves. Evoked consciousness is broken off and 'flung out' of the Circle by the will of the group (or Solitary Practitioner) and 'sent' to do its work
  • Divination, the acquisition of secret knowledge by Sortilege (casting lots - runes, tarot bones etc), Augury (interpreting omens or portents - tea cup reading etc), Astrology (interpreting the positions and conjunctions of the stars and planets), and Speaking in Tongues (inspired utterances by persons in a state of trance, by oracular Priests, or by mediums, this may also include automatic writting).  The practice was closely allied with Religion among Pagan, Hebrew, and early Christian peoples.
  • Thaumaturgy ( 'Miracle' or 'Wonder-working'), which includes Alchemy, WytcheCraft, and Sorcery.  The word 'Miracle' derives from the Latin word mirari, which means "to wonder at", and essentially describes an event, apparently transcending human powers and the laws of Nature, that is attributed to a special Divine intervention or to Magick! Stories of miracles are a common feature of practically all Religions.  In some societies, a Shaman may have the power to heal through contact with outside forces.  Many Religious leaders and founders - including Zoroaster, Confucius, Lao-tzu, and Buddha - have been credited with miraculous powers.  Moses and the prophets of Israel were said to have performed miraculous acts at their God's bidding.  Muslim tradition includes accounts of the miracles of Muhammad, such as his extraordinary Healings. Miracles have played an important role in the history of all Religions, Paganism is no exception.  The traditionally close connections between miracles and faith, which tend to reinforce each other, explains why in new Religious Movements and Spiritual Revivals (including Paganism), the occurrence of the miraculous, especially in healing, plays such a prominent part.

In practice, most Magickal Rites of are generally mixtures of all four of these forms of Magick.

Before You Cast.

Before you begin casting spells you need to know and understand the basics;

  • Before you cast a spell consider ALL the consequences - Think of the old story about throwing a pebble into a pond, we all know about the ripple effect (that one actions has created a 'ripple' of further actions) but how many of you have thought about the 'hidden consequences' - what about the rest of the ripples? ......the poor frog sitting under the water who gets clonked on the head by the pebble, or the fish eggs that get crushed, or even the poor beetle on the land whose home was under that pebble....all unexpected and unseen results from throwing the pebble and magick can be just just like this - unseen, unpredictable.

  • Do you know how to cast a ritual circle of protection? The simplest form is just to visualise a bubble of light surrounding you, however you may prefer to cast a Basic Circle or even to do a full Ceremonial Circle (as this requests assistance from Elementals and Deity as well as adding your own energy to a spell) depending upon your beliefs and traditions.
  • Create your own spells, rituals and practices. The Craft should reflect your individuality. There are many lovely rituals and spells available but any Pagan should be able to craft their own. (I don't know if it's accurate but I remember reading somewhere that using another's spell/ritual was like wearing someone else's underwear - eeewww gross!). Besides that your own spells and rituals are tailored to you personal requirements and use of energy. Although a pre-made spell may work, spells and rituals created by your own hand will definitely have better results
  • When using a spell you have not written yourself, you need to be very specific in what you say and do. In order for magick to work it must be as detailed and specific as possible, ideally you should write your own spells, then each spell working can be designed specifically to achieve your intended desire. However should you wish to use a spell that has been written by someone else you should adapt it so it fits your circumstances. When a skilled practitioner creates a spell for another they ensure that it has been tailored to the individuals requirements.
  • You will also need to know the appropriate correspondences for the desire you are trying to achieve, and understand how they work both as a stand alone and in combination with other correspondences. Some such correspondences may include; candles (shape and colour), colours, crystals, herbs, Elements, Deities etc All of this information is available online, however it pays to also listen to your instincts - many pages online may not have been written by an accomplished practitioner and may be incorrect or incomplete.
  • You require an understanding of the Hermetic Laws - these are the Laws that govern the universe and therefore Magick. (Many of the posts online are written to go over your head, I have posted a simplified version here: Hermetic Laws)
  • Your intention and desire for the spell to come to pass must be strong and focused. You must be willing to dare the consequences (magick is an art and a science but things can still go awry). You must be able establish the energy required and be able to direct it. You must not talk about it with those who may not believe (as intention is a major part of creating a spell - any disbelief will be counterproductive, working against the energies you have created) and you must know what your doing, understanding the basics isn't really enough, magick is simple when you understand the principles behind it, but they should be understood before you attempt to cast a spell....(this is called "The Wytches pyramid" - To Know, To Will, To Dare, To be Silent)
  • Many people will tell you that spells for personal gain rarely work unless the need underlying the desire is not for selfish purposes.... (example a spell for money will generally not work - however if the spells is for financial assistance so your kids don't go hungry, it will generally work). Im not sure why this is taught other than it prevents one from becoming overindulged in the material world and then realising you have lost your spirituality, personally I have seen no evidence of this as truth, the universe ultimately allows or prevents magick from succeeding, there must be balance within the universe so often you WILL get that which you desire but you may loose out in another way.
  • Magick does have a cost! Many people assume that you can cast a spell and wham you have what you want cost free - it simply doesn't work that way, everyone knows the old adage "you don't get anything for free" and this is true. Even magick has it's costs - magick which is performed with good intention and pure of heart, follows the laws of nature and has the energy raised by hard work within the circle- generally will work at a small cost - that of the energy raised. However should any of those points not be correct - intention not 100% pure of heart, (even if you were just pissed at your neighbour), tried to go against another's free will for example can have some nasty costs. Love magick so often is one of these cases, people with little understanding cast a love spell and get what they wanted, only to realise that what they thought they wanted wasn't - but they are then stuck with a person who has been made to love against their free will and has no control over it.
  •  Therefore ethics in spell creation is an important consideration. Before any spell is created, you must think of ALL the spell's implications. There really are just two rules for Magick (or for Living a Pagan Life) and they are: a) to do no harm b) to not remove someone's free will. So why is it that so many ppl think they should be able to magickally remove another's free will? (eg a love spell that makes someone love you) or harm someone without just cause (and what exactly constitutes just cause? - personally for me just cause is anything that I would do in the mundane world - so if you wouldn't punch someone in the mundane why would you magickally hit them?) In the mundane world those actions are considered crimes. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think it's okay to commit a negative act or crime magickally that they'd never consider committing in the physical world. So, think hard before you put pen to paper and create a 'black' Magick Spell!!!! (see paragraph above on the costs of Magickal - cause and effect are definately in play with magick)
  • Do  you really need to use magick for this particular situation? It's easy to start casting spells and conducting rituals for every little thing. Magick is powerful but it's not always necessary or the best alternative. A spell can work in an unexpected way. They can also work less promptly than we'd like or have interesting side affects. Magick can also make a situation more complicated. So before doing a spell, first brainstorm and work out mundane solutions to your problem. Generally it takes less time and less energy to follow through with the mundane solutions. Magick isn't a cure all and it doesn't not work without the caster taking an active role in bringing about the desired results (for example you want to pass an exam - so you cast a spell - but you still need to learn the work and study hard....see what I mean?). Remember when you affect the mundane world with magick you can create effects you have not considered....if you think magick is very powerful and seems like an easy simple and safe way to get what you want - think again.
  • You shouldn't  think that because you did a spell that it will definitely work. There are many reasons why spells don't work. Even the most experienced of Pagans cast spells that don't work. There are many reasons for this which are discussed in the page on "Why didn't my spell work?"

So in summary. remember to ask yourself these three questions before you casting a spell.....

1) Have I done everything I can to resolve the situation without magic? Try all the mundane methods of attaining your goals before resorting to spell craft. If you want a job, send out your resume before you break out the green candles. If you want to meet someone special, try reading the personals or signing up for an adult ed class before you reach for the aphrodisiac. If you're having conflict with someone at work, try talking to them about the problem before you go looking up binding spells. As my teacher taught me - "this way, you can be sure that your intentions are pure."

2) Do I have consent to perform this spell, will this spell harm another, or bend someone's will to mine? Pagans do not generally cast spells meant to harm someone else. Nor do they cast spells on other people without their permission, no matter how honourable their intentions. There's a good reason for this: harmful and meddlesome spells have a nasty tendency to backfire on the people who cast them.

When you're watching someone close to you suffering, it can be hard to consider all situations objectively. I've been asked for spells before and upon digging deeper, it turned out that spell craft was totally inappropriate. If possible, discuss the matter with another trusted pagan friend or preferably your Mentor if you feel you may not be able to be objective. It is probably a good idea in the early days to run all spells past your mentor before casting them to make sure your not missing anything..

3) Am I prepared to accept the costs and consequences of this spell, whatever they might be? (Think long and hard about this one). As I've said before, you may cast a spell with the best of intentions, but end up with unexpected consequences. Meditate a bit on it before you decide to cast the spell. Talk to other Pagans and see if there isn't a better solution. Either way, your spell has a better chance of success if you fully "own" it, and anything that results from it. The best way to avoid unforseen consequences is to follow the guidelines set out above -- and, most importantly, to cast the spell with love in your heart. Making magick is a powerful and transformative experience. In the midst of the spell, you become the subject, and you become the result. Make sure that what you're asking for is something you'd like to become.

For example:
Pagans are 'prohibited' from doing harm to others. This is generally interpreted as forbidding any spell that seeks to dominate, manipulate or control another person without their expressed wishes and or desire.
Consider a love spell as an example:

Pagan 1: - This Pagan could design a spell to make a specific person fall in love with her. (That would be black magick, because its intent, goal and effect would be manipulative - to control the other person for the benefit of the spell caster. A Pagan would be 'forbidden' to perform such a spell)

Pagan 2: - This Pagan could design a general spell to make a specific person more open to love in his life. (This again is black magick and excessively manipulative. The target person could be trying to avoid romantic relationships at this stage in their life, for whatever personal reasons). However, this type of spell IS allowable, IF the Pagan first obtained the permission of the target of the spell (eg their partner may be having difficulties and the Pagan has offered their help and been accepted of that help)

Pagan 3: - A Pagan who is desirous of starting a romantic relationship could cast a spell to make themselves more open to love in their life. (That would not manipulate anyone else; it would not harm others; it would not harm the spell caster. It would be acceptable but a very open ended spell).

Pagan 4: - This Pagan would have tried all the mundane aspects of trying to become romantically involved, they have thought about the consequences of what they are desiring, they have written their spell to ask the universe to bring them the ideal lover and partner. They have sat and thought for some time about what they want from a relationship and what they have to offer. Then they have cast the spell and continued to try and find love in the mundane manner but on the lookout for Magickal indications or signs. When they do find love and have the desire they sought, they do a small ritual to thank Deity and Spirit world for the assistance to bring about the desired outcome. - (This is the correct way to cast a spell and perform magick!

If you are ready to take on magick's responsibilities and accept its disadvantages, It is a joyous experience to work with magick and to create the means to work with it. Just remember that it's also a force to be respected.

Crafting a Spell - Researching

Writing your own rituals and spells can be very fulfilling, however you should take the time to learn the basics before attempting to do so. Magick allows you the freedom to worship Deity the way you want. So you can be assured that you can create a ritual or spell for any need or time. However along with this freedom comes huge responsibility! You will wear the 'cost' of any magick you perform, so it pays to ensure you understand what you are doing, before you proceed. You may wish to follow this procedure to assist in the research for your Spells...

1. Write down the name of each type of spell on a page in your Book of Shards (
eg prosperity, love, health and healing, employment etc.)

2. Write a few notes on the Spell’s significance (eg Prosperity - to bring abundance) where and why it may be used

3. Begin with the first Spell type, (eg Prosperity) don't try to work on more than one form of Spell at a time. (the point here is to gather informaion and allow yourself to absorb it while also creating your basic spells, this will be of greater use later than just throwing all the information together without taking it in).

  • Read all the information you can find on this particular type of Spell, gather the information together (you may wish to include reference tables, correspondences and actual spells). Copy the correspondence tables into your Grimoire at the beginning of your Spells section as a later reference guide.
  • Now study the various sources of information you have gathered, look at the various spells you have compiled, Do they have any common themes? Do they use common elements?, What parts instinctively appeal to you?
  • Which of the structures and actions do you like the most?, (you may wish to also record these separately for later use), Which would you feel strange or silly performing? (a spell won't work if your too worried about what you are doing, you should be comfortable with your actions and wording)
  • On the page in your Book of Shards, write down those actions that seem instinctively right for you also include specific correspondences etc that work with this particular form of Magick, also record what that were common themes.

4. Continue this process with each of the Spell types, you may choose to do one a night or one a week etc.

5. When you have completed this with all the types of Spells, You may begin to pad out the Spell’s structure (as set out below), Don’t rush this process these Spells will become the Heart of your Magickal practices!

6. Finally begin to bring all the elements of the Spell together, not forgetting  your correspondences (eg. candles, herbs, crystals and Altar cloths) words and actions

7. Polish the Spell adding any instructions that have been omitted such as “Cast Circle” or if you intend using a specific Circle Casting, you may wish to add the name, where it is recorded and the page number it is recorded on (eg "Ceremonial Circle Casting, Grimoire, page 42)

8. Copy the finished Spells into your Grimoire under the correct section. (eg. Magick - Spell Working - Prosperity Spells - Candle Magick)


Note: there are some fantastic resources in the members section, in the Free Pagan Stuff pages (downloadable e-books etc - on witchcraft, Wicca, Correspondences, alchemy etc...) that might come in very handy for your research. 

Crafting a Spell - Basic Outline

The following can be used when crafting a new spell or when performing any spells, as a Magickal Record for your Book of Shadows.

1. Outline the situation (eg need a spell to assist with an upcoming exam)

2. Determine if it is a long term situation or a short term situation (short term - needs to be fixed now, long term will need ongoing attention - this in part determines the form of Magick used)

3. Select an appropriate divination to assess the situation (eg Tarot reading)

4. Decide on the mundane work that needs to be done in conjunction with the Magick (eg if you are doing a spell because you need help with your study - read the work!)

5. Choose the appropriate Magickal application (eg. Sympathetic Magick, Incantation or a combination)

6. Determine the correct correspondences (eg. phase of the moon, day of the week, colours, herbs etc.)

7. Check how many of the correspondences you can employ, given the time available, choose those that will be most appropriate. (eg. the moon times may possible to include, you may not be able to wait if your exam is in two days time!)

8. Will it be a simple Spell or a full Ritual including a Spell? (You will need to decide which is appropriate - this often depends on need, you may only require a simple spell to help with your exams or you may be required to involve a full Coven of Wytches in a ritual spell for a desperate healing)

9. What Circle Casting, Quarter Calls etc. will you use. (this depends on your tradition, what you feel comfortable with and the complexity of the spell working you intend to perform)

10. Gather the necessary Tools and other requirements (eg. herbs, crystals, poppet etc.)

11. Ground and centre. (how will you do this?)

12. Create Sacred Space. (Depending upon your spells complexity you will either surround yourself with white light or cast your circle, call the quarters and evoke deity - or perform whatever appropriate actions you are required by your belifs and tradition )

13. Perform Spell. (see above on crafting spells)

13 Raise and send energy. (how are you doing this, eg.  drumming, chanting, dancing. How ill your focus and direct the energy, eg. Cone of Power, infusing a poppet, or directly into the recipient for a healing?)

14 Ground. (again how will you disperse any remaining energy - it is not usually a good idea to finish a spell or tiaul without grounding as the effects of an excess of energy within the human auric field are generally not pleasant!)

15. Close the Sacred Space (this will obviously depend on how you created you Sacred space to begin with)

16 Clean Up (don't leave remains of your spells laying around, often parts of a spell working may be buried, or otherwise disposed of. They may disrupt the working of a spell if left for someone to find, even an animal ingesting part of a spell can cause unexpected results - unless that was the intended result)

17. Record the Ritual or Rite in your Book of Shadows (as per record sheet - you may wish to use this format and just record results or you may choose to use a worksheet which you can keep a master copy of and simply photocopy when you need more, the section on Magickal Record Keeping, has more information on this subject)

18. Wait for the results and record in Book of Shadows.

Sources and Resources

Terra Sphere Book of Shadows