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Before You Cast
Creating your own spells and practices should reflect individuality. There are many lovely rituals and spells available but a Witch should be able to write his or her own. I read somewhere that using another's spell/ritual was like wearing someone else's underwear. Your own spells and rituals are tailored to your own needs and use of energy. Although a pre-made spell will work, spells and rituals created by your own hand will have better results.
Writing your own rituals and spells can be very fulfilling. It allows you total freedom to worship the God and Goddess the way you want. You can be assured that you can create a ritual or spell for all needs and times. Along with this freedom there does come responsibility!
If you create a spell or ritual, eventually you'll want to cast it. Well, have you thought about it? There are plenty of people who cast spells everyday. Some are Pagan and others are from a variety of different religions. Wicca believes that everything you do will return three times stronger. If you send out positive energy with your spells, eventually you will receive positive energy in response. This is true for negative energy too. So, before you cast that spell to give your enemy a boil in an uncomfortable place, think! Is it really worth it? Usually it isn't.
Ethics in spell creation are important considerations. Before any spell is created, you must think of the spell's implications. There really are just two rules for spellcrafting and they are to do no harm and to not remove someone's free will. Why should we magically remove another's free will or harm someone when mundanely those actions are considered a terrible crimes? It never ceases to amaze me how many people think it's okay to do a negative act magically that they'd consider wrong if committed mundanely. So, think before you put pen to paper!
Another thing to keep in mind is whether you really need to use magic. It's easy to start casting spells and conducting rituals for every little thing. Magic is powerful but it's not always necessary or the best alternative. Often spells work in unexpected ways. They can also work less promptly than we'd like or have interesting side affects. Magic can also make a situation more complicated. 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. Magic isn't a cure all. The caster has to take an active role.
For example, if you do a spell for prosperity, then don't expect money to appear in your wallet or purse. You shouldn't keep spending your money and doing the things you know are not conductive to prosperity. That just defeats the purpose of the spell. Instead create a situation that can take advantage of your spell. Nor should you think that because you did a spell that it will automatically work. There are many reasons why spells don't work. Even the most experienced of Wiccans cast spells that don't work. I believe that most of the time when a spell doesn't work that it is because we have to learn a lesson or that the spell wasn't needed. If you are ready to take on magic's responsibilities and accept its disadvantages, begin creating. It is a joyous experience to work with magic and to create the means to work with it. Just remember that it's also a force to be respected.
It is not recommend that you cast any will binding spells, unless you are willing to accept the Karma.
It is not recommend that you cast any spells that will harm people unless you are willing to accept Karma.
It is not recommend that you cast any personal gain spells, but rather spells that will help you achieve the means, but not give them to you like a gust of wind.
You need a job, so you say that you will do a job spell. Before you even think about casting try all mundane aspects to find that job. Look in the classifieds, ask around etc. If this doesn't work, after a reasonable period of time, then, and only then consider casting a spell.
If you do a job spell, think that someone else might need it more. A man with a wife and three children who is struggling to make ends meet is competing with you for a job. You cast a job spell, and you get the job. He is evicted from his home, his family starve and his children can't go to school. Think of the consequences before you cast.
When you actually decide to cast, make sure you harm none, don't change freewill and don't do a lot of personal gain. When you have almost finished the spell, add a couple of lines that make sure its for the good of all, harms none, won't have any bad effects etc, after all, it's your karma.
Spells and rituals is an important step. Paganism embraces individuality and personal exploration.
For example you want to do a love spell, but you *KNOW* that that is a no no, but there are ways around that, not in that you will end up casting it onto someone else, but the fact that it might work. But before you do that, you'd have to try and talk to the person, remember the first question, you have to try the mundane way. If that doesn't work, you decide to do a spell, but don't try and bind them into loving you, instead, do a spell on yourself so you can accept love more freely..
Ask yourself these three questions before you decide to cast 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 and patchouli. If you want to meet someone special, try reading the personals or signing up for an adult ed class before you reach for the aphrodisiacs. If you're having conflict with someone at work, try talking to them about the problem before you go looking up binding spells. As one experienced witch put it to me, "this way, you can be sure that your intentions are pure."
2) Will this spell harm another, or bend someone's will to mine?
Please refer to the Wiccan Rede. Witches do not cast spells meant to harm someone else. Nor do they cast spells on other people without their permission, no matter how honorable 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 the situation objectively. One reader asked me about spells to help alleviate anger. When I dug deeper, it turned out that spell craft was entirely inappropriate. If possible, discuss the matter with another trusted pagan friend. If there's no one around to consult with, try asking someone in the chat room or the Forum.
3) Am I prepared to accept the 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 witches 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 magic 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.
Wiccans 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. Consider a love spell as one example:
A Wiccan could design a spell to make a specific person fall in love with her. That would be a negative spell, because its intent, goal and effect would be manipulative -- to control the other person for the benefit of the spell caster. A Wiccan would be forbidden to perform such a spell.
A Wiccan could design a general spell to make a specific person more open to love in his life. That again is excessively manipulative. The target person could be trying to avoid romantic relationships at this stage in their life, for whatever reason. However, this type of spell might be allowable, if the Wiccan first obtained the permission of the target of the spell.
A Wiccan 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 under the Wiccan Rede.
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How to Cast a Circle
To open the circle you will need an athame, a ritual knife or sword. Considering an athame was required to create or close the circle to begin with, you should have one. With the athame in hand, go to the eastern edge of the circle. Draw a pentacle in the air with your athame. To do this hold your athame forward and slightly to the right at shoulder height, bring it diagonally down to your left at hip height, then diagonally up to head height, then diagonally down to your right at hip height, then diagonally up to your left at shoulder height, then straight across to the right where your ritual blade first started. With this done hold your athame in both hands upright before you, slightly tipped forward. Speak the words loudly and clearly “Masters of the East, Masters of Air, we/I thank you for baring witness and guarding our/my Circle, and we/I ask for your blessing as you return whence you came. Love and Light”.
Return to the center of the circle, and then walk to the southern edge of the circle. Repeat the sign of the pentacle and say “Masters of the South, Masters of Fire, we/I thank you for baring witness and guarding our/my Circle, and we/I ask for your blessing as you return whence you came. Love and Light”.
Return to the center of the circle, and then walk to the western edge of the circle. Repeat the sign of the pentacle and say “Masters of the West, Masters of Water, we/I thank you for baring witness and guarding our/my Circle, and we/I ask for your blessing as you return whence you came. Love and Light”.
Return to the center of the circle, and then walk to the northern edge of the circle. Repeat the sign of the pentacle and say “Masters of the North, Masters of Earth, we/I thank you for baring witness and guarding our/my Circle, and we/I ask for your blessing as you return whence you came. Love and Light”.
Go to the center of the circle. With your athame in both hands, raise it up to the sky, and then touch the tip to the earth. Wrap up the athame or put it in its sheath. Raise your arms wide and say “This, my/our circle, is now open but not broken. May my/your/our heart/s be filled with the love of life and the peace of the light”.
With this done you may go as you please.
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How to Close The Circle
You Will Need:
Your first athame to close the circle of three.
Your bell to close the ceremony.
Collect your first athame from the altar and stand in the middle of where you cast the circle of three. Face the North holding out your athame as though it was an extension of yourself. Extend your athame out and in an anti-clockwise direction, use your athame to make three circles around yourself.
1st Circle Say:
Child of the Moon Goddess and Sun God
Close the circle of protection around me and mine.”
2nd Circle Say:
“I close the circle of power around myself”
3rd Circle Say:
“I close the circle of positive energies around me and mine.
I give blessings and thanks to all.
So mote it beand blessed be.
I now close the circle of three.”
The circle is now closed. Go to your altar and ring your bell three times to close the ceremony.
Place the offerings of bread and wine from the bowl of earth in to your garden or a window box.
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How I cast a Circle depends on WHY I am circling. But that's not real helpful advice to someone new to magic...so I'll try ramble a bit about the subject. First questions are usually about 'stuff and tools'. I LOVE all my witchy *Thangs*, but never confuse them with the Source of Magic. Wands don't make magic. If I am outside because it is a full or new moon, or a Solar HolyDay, I tend to bring lots of stuff with me. I don't necessarily bring everything you might see in a group ritual, just what I feel like having according to the moment and the occasion. I've been known to spend the entire day taking things outside to set up a circle in preparation for a ritual just for myself. The preparation, the tools and objects, the creation of an alter, all appeal to the artist in me. It is something I find great pleasure in. If the reason I am circling is more than celebretory, if I have a specific personal goal in mind, I tend to take less stuff with me, choosing only things I feel most appropriate, and those sparingly. I guess I see a division between 'celebratory' and 'working' ritual. I see 'tools' of ritual as more important in Celebratory Circles and to the working of magic in a group ritual rather than a Solitary one. They help to create the boundaries of sacred space, they add a sense of mystery and help to bring a group into the focus that is needed for working together. Tools have less to offer me in Solitary ritual, I just don't need them as much as in group work. In any ritual, regardless of the purpose or number of people, I start by grounding and centering. These two are similar, but I see them as distinct from one another. Grounding is more of establishing a connection. I see magic, the use of power and energy as a gift, a loan, the source being the Earth and the Goddess, Grounding is establishing the connection. I can offer you a visualization that I used to use if you want, (it is one of a tree, sending roots deep into the earth) but I recommend you see this as another 'tool' and use it only as an aid to finding your own source/feeling of power. I don't use a visualization, and I'm not really sure how I can accurately describe what I do....other than to tell you I look within, find inside myself the source of connectedness and power and then let it resonate. This resonance is what I call centering. The feelings of calling and focusing the Energy of the Earth are powerful ones, centering is becoming adjusted to that feeling, finding your own silence in the midst of a tornado of Power. I ground and center sitting on the earth, hands touching the ground, eyes closed. The alter and anything I need will already be set up, there may already be a candle burning, sometimes I will open my eyes and stare into the candle before I go any further to cast a circle. I think of this time as waiting to see the circle that wishes to be cast. I don't usually plan ahead what I'm going to say or whom I will invoke, I wait until these moments and follow my instincts. I usually use smudge, but rarely do a cleansing or banishing in solitary space (and even in group ritual if I remember to add salt to the water its with my Goddess given fingers not some ceremonial knife). To cast the circle I stand in each of the directions E,S,W,N, and call in the spirits of that direction. My roots are Dianic, I invoke only the Feminine as I call the quarters. I do not in Solitary ritual separately invoke the Goddess, instead I invoke Her in each of her aspects as I come to each direction. At times my words, my intent is to call more upon an essence of a particular direction, other times I directly invoke a particular Goddess that represents to me what I am doing and which direction I am facing. I know this is sketchy...Here's an example of what I mean: In the East, I usually invoke the essence of the direction, that of beginnings of birth and rebirth. This is the direction in which I see my Friend and Guide the Owl and the direction of my birth, therefore I usually do not invoke a particular Goddess here. In the South, I will usually invoke a particular Goddess, one who represents either emotion or the emotions that I am feeling in regard to the work I am doing. In the West I will include both the essence of the direction as well as a Goddess Aspect, this direction is an introspective, reflective one and comes easily to me. The North is the direction of the greatest Mystery, I linger the longest and speak the least here, usually invoking using an Ancient Goddess name or names. To call each of the directions I face them from the edge of the circle and raise my arms in what I call the Goddess sign, others call a yonic symbol. I will draw an invoking Pentagram in the air when in group ritual, but in Solitary I draw Pentagrams on my body instead. I draw one over left breast for E, vulva for S, right breast for W and forehead for N, womb for Center. This symbolizes my belief that magic comes from within, and that every woman's body is as the body of the Goddess. I continue around the circle twice more, pausing in each direction, it is a bit of a trance inducer for me and the belief again that we create magic with our actions - casting the circle as I walk it's path three times. Yes, my circle casting does blur the lines between *casting the circle* and *invoking*. I'm sure there are many traditionalists who would look down their pointy lil noses at this. But after a decade of walking this spiral path... I am inclined to smirk at comments from Rigid Witches. If you take any advice from these pages, let it be to follow your OWN sense of Magic and Mystery.
"Spirits of the Mystery Realms, both known and those un-met I call as Priestess of the Mother, daughter of Diana, daughter of Astarte, daughter of Artemis, Mother of All. As my Grandmothers before me From time out of mind In this place that is not a place I dance between the Worlds The Circle is Cast"
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A Way To End a Ritual
Now a great and difficult task still remains:
to bring what we have done here and now back into the mundane!
Why, you ask, must we do this?
Because this is where most of us spend most of our time.
Because this is the plane that really needs it.
How can this task be accomplished?
By spending a few moments each day remembering what we've done here and now,
By remembering and taking a few moments each morning,
and dressing ourselves again in beauty,
in the beauty of our spell.
you now know how!
By looking around you each day and seeing where magic has touched others;
Perhaps even by responding as if it is your spell you're seeing.
For it is!
And how would you react to seeing your desire
opening up into full glory,
out of the blue,
at work or at school,
at the park or in a store,
or even on the bus?
That's what there still is to do!
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Circles, why use them?
They say that the longest journey begins with a single step. So, too, the exploration of Magickal studies begins with a single step. Though the first step in a physical journey is often self-evident, the First Step on a Magickal journey is often not quite so clear. While formally organized groups often have a path of lessons to instruct newcomers, the solitary or isolated student is often left standing in perplexity on this broad plain of knowledge, wondering just where in the heck to begin. And wondering, too, if it’s “okay” to start just anywhere.
While it’s true that studies can begin in any direction that attracts you, the necessary first step must be learning to make psychic shields. There are “Things of the Dark” out there. There are any number of explanations for what these things might be — ghosts, demons, or simply uncontrolled urges of the subconscious mind. In truth, it doesn’t matter what they are. What does matter is that their effect is very real and unless they are put under your control, they will drag you over the borders of sanity into psychosis. You are most vulnerable to them while you’re in an “open” trance or meditative state. That’s why the wise practitioner always begins by taking steps to define exactly what will be permitted through the portals of their “psychic shields” — no matter how simple the ritual. And this, in a nutshell, is what “protective magic” is about.
There are a number of ways to do this. The most common is to begin by drawing a circle (around a group or yourself) and invoking the one or more protective powers. Generally, this is done by candlelight, in front of an altar that holds certain magical objects. The circle may be further “secured” and “cleared” by using salt, salt water, rum, incense, or some other method. You may be wearing a special robe and will have taken a bath (or performed a cleansing ritual) earlier. The powers that protect you will be called on and then you will begin your ritual.
Is it psychological? Absolutely! Is there a reason why protection rituals always take this form? Positively! Let’s take a step back and see what you’re actually doing and how the process works — from a psychological standpoint — and how to use this knowledge to help you refine your circles to enhance your rituals.
Psychologists and psychics alike view the mind’s structure as a three-part entity: The Ego (that which you think of as yourself), the Superego (the “higher self”) and the Id (the child within). The Id is, in a sense, a computer. Like most computers, it operates on the GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) principle. There’s an old superstition: “As you name something, so will it become.” Tell yourself that you’re very unlucky and your Id will obligingly give you bad days by enhancing any negatives in your environment. Tell yourself that you are clumsy, and your Id-computer will obligingly arrange for you to break a leg while stepping off the sidewalk. The bad news is that the Id can’t make a judgement as to whether or not this is a good idea. It only knows that it’s received these “instructions” and must carry them out. The good news is that you can actually program/reprogram this portion of your mind.
You begin programming this Internal Servant of yours by first drawing its attention to what you want done and then explaining what you need done in a simple and clear manner. Repeating the instructions in a chant help fix the goals for the Id — rhymed chants seem to be easier for it to process. Each time you perform the ritual and repeat the chant, the programming is strengthened. Never mind that your ego and superego understand that you’re going to program the child-like Id. It works just the same.
To direct the Id’s attention to the process, you first have to impress it. Using special tools and clothing alert it that something unusual is going on and that it must pay attention. Acquiring hard-to-obtain items, drawing symbols, performing a symbolic sacrifice (donating money, say, to a good cause) are all ways of reinforcing the Id’s impression that this ceremony is very special and that the result will be very powerful. Organized, meaningful symbols, speak to your subconscious mind in ways it understands, reinforcing the goals you have set.
Drawing the circle itself establishes boundaries within your environment (“The rest of the world can do what it likes Out There. All within this circle is in my control!”). Purifying the circle and consecrating it (sprinkling water which has been blessed and salt added) further enforce your territory, defining the borders where you are “safe”. Nothing can enter this area except what you invite inside. You further tighten these borders by calling on certain Powers.
You can call on any powers you like. Some use traditional Christian images. Others call up deities from the religion they are most comfortable with. And many people use the thought/image of a beam of light that represents either God/Goddess (whichever one they like) or the power of light and life and goodness in the Universe.
The number of powers called as guardians varies. You may choose to invoke one powerful being to protect your circle. Or you might call on the Universal Being/Light and four guardians (one for each quarter of the compass). A third approach is to use a guardian for the four quarters of the compass and no higher being. There is no “absolutely correct” system; the correct system is the one that you are comfortable with.
Take time to choose the guardians of your circle carefully. You should select guardians (gods or animals or some form of life) which have a deeper meaning to you and whose qualities are in harmony with your goals. For the new student, it’s best to have all your Powers and Guardians from the same belief system/religion/mythic universe so that the symbols will be consistent and not confuse the Id.
You can use people — saints, movie actors, figures from favorite books as guardians. Do, however, pick someone who’s dead or non-existent. The dead can’t argue with your interpretation of them, whereas the living may be highly offended to be approached as gods/guardians.
As your studies continue, you will find that your totems or guardians change. This is to be expected; as you explore new realms in your studies, you may find you need guardians who deal with very specific areas to strengthen and guide you in these new fields.
But don’t make the mistake of assuming that you’ll become so powerful that you will never need the protection of the psychic shielding circle in some form. And don’t assume that you will not need a circle for “positive” magicks such as healing. Open is open — and open is vulnerable. And circles strengthen and protect you by defining what psychological influences will be allowed to work with you.
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