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Magick: The Art of Influencing the Universe

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If prayer is communication with and supplication to divine forces, magick is the independent technique of influencing the world around us with or without the assistance of a divine being. This is why  some Pagans (particularly solitary Witches) are atheistic. The power to control one’s environment isn’t supernatural, in this case. Casting a spell for health or finances is no more than a precise extension of one’s will and channeling the energy around us.

To perform effective magick, three necessities must be present: the need, the emotion, and the knowledge.”
–Scott Cunningham, Wiccan author

Magick then, is like a science. Practitioners spend years refining spells and rituals until the results turn out just right. Many of these spells are then recorded in personal journals called a “Book of Shadows” (more on this later). The media and popular culture portrays spell casting and magick with glamorous special effects such as in the Harry Potter films. Mainstream media and even other religions often give us images of gnarly and twisted Witches cackling over a huge cauldron, perhaps boiling children or animal parts for spells.

Welcome to the stereotype.

In the old days, before the rise of Christianity in Europe and the subsequent villainization of Pagans, a benevolent practitioner of such skill was considered a helpful member (usually female) of the community. People would visit her for remedies curing all sorts of ailments using natural herbs and other ingredients. This sort of work constituted the bulk of spell crafting for a Witch and from what I’ve heard this month, modern Pagans (including Witches and Wiccans) use magick for the very same, practical reasons.

As part of the magick working process, spells are also written for other areas of life. Perhaps one is suffering financially. My Mentor recently sent me a few magick spells–very simple ones–that she’s used over the years for such an issue. Here are just a few she suggested:

    1. Keep a bay laurel leaf in your wallet to protect against poverty
    2. Carve and dress a green candle to fit your needs. Put it on a saucer and arrange coins at the base. Light the candle and chant the following:

Money grow, money flow
Candle burn, watch me earn
Money grow, money flow
Flame shine, what I want is mine
This is my will, so mote it be.”

Willpower is energy. If one does not fuse the spell with will and belief, it won’t work.

But something interesting happened yesterday. I planned to write this very post yesterday morning, but then I woke up with a ridiculous headache. One “Congregation” member suggested that I use magick to help with the headache. Perfect idea!

She suggested a tea using ingredients such as skullcap, feverfew, oregano, and lavender, add honey and sip while burning a lavender candle. While making the tea, blend the purpose of the tea and you will into the process. Sip the tea with confidence in your work. I didn’t have all the ingredients listed above, but I did have a blend of tea with other ingredients known to soothe ails, including peppermint, chamomile, and rose blossoms.

I also had another piece growing in my yard.

Mint leaves!

 

After thanking the mint plant for the leaves, I make an offering to the Goddess and God for the plant itself.The Goddess and God get the majority of the stem for the altar during the spell work. I will later plant the stem for new growth.Infused with my will and the power of the ritual, I use one of the mint leaves for my tea.

This is typical spell work, folks. Using knowledge, the natural energies around us, and the power of our will to influence our world. Magick is a practical tool in the life of a Pagan and what you might consider a home-grown remedy might actually have its roots in magick work. It’s curing headaches, giving love an extra nudge, and helping gardens grow. Magick is indeed like fire and bends only according to the intent of the user. More often than not however, if you are bending fire to burn others, don’t be surprised if you come away with a burn of your own.

And yes, the tea worked like, well, magick!

What is your experience with magick and spell work? If you work in this medium, what sort of needs do you find yourself using magick with the most?



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William

posted November 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm


There are MANY instances of pre-Christian cultures viewing magical practitioners as malevolent or at least on the fringes of society. The situation wasn’t nearly as simple as the modern mythology many Wiccans adhere to on the subject.

In Rome certain magical practices were outright illegal. In Greece some thought magic to be “blasphemous” (for lack of a better term) because it sought to usurp the powers of the Gods. In Norse culture, seidr and spae workers often traveled instead of settling in one place because they were viewed as liminal figures. Bersekers were segregated from the rest of their communities because of the magics they employed. Western culture has viewed the “witch” as a fringe figure long before Christianity. Not that Christianity didn’t make it worse, but hey.



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Kora Kaos

posted November 4, 2011 at 12:06 am


You describe and understand magic(k) so well. It’s so simple. One’s will affecting the universe. Congrats. As another pagan said, you understand in one month what takes other pagans years.



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abowen

posted October 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm


Xica509,

That’s indeed a powerful lesson!



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Xica509

posted October 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm


When a man I was interested in moved temporarily to England to do research, I asked a curandera for a spell to ensure that he would think of me and not of another woman who’d been pursuing him aggressively. He had expressed interest in me over the other woman so I took this as a good sign; he’d also introduced me to the curandera–he was from Trinidad/Barbados and I was struck by his use of Latino cultural spirituality as I am of Mexican descent. She said I should place a clear glass of water over his picture and every night at a certain time I was to look directly into the glass at his picture/face and say something to the effect that he would think of me with fondness with love and with smiles. I was to do this for 3 nights and then throw out the water (away from my property). She was also praying/meditating at this time as well. On the morning of the 4th day, he called me long distance (before cell phones in 1992) and said he’d been thinking of me and how was I doing? We joked and laughed and he said he missed me. Woo hooo! We married 4 years later. 3 years after that he killed himself after I discovered his seriel infidelity and left him. My lesson: be careful what you wish for–you just might get it. Sometimes the universe knows things that you don’t; I’ve learned to trust in the power of nature and to let her guide me rather than the other way around. xoxo



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abowen

posted October 26, 2011 at 1:38 pm


Emily,

I appreciate your adding to the topic!



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Emily

posted October 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm


Hillary,
While you are correct that the word “witch” does not come from any word meaning “wise”, and that historically it has had a negative connotation, before the Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England, this negative connotation does not exist.

The word comes from “wicce” and “wicca” (both pronounced with a “ch” sound rather than a hard “c”) which literally translate to the masculine and feminine form of “witch” respectively. The root of these words is “wic” which means “twist” and “turns” and is a reference to the circular dancing of the Vanatru, from whom this practice comes.

Granted, witches in those days had no qualms about using magic to cause harm to those they believed rightly deserved it, and indeed, they were seen as cowards if they did anything less, but that does not mean that they were seen as bad by virtue of being witches. A very interesting essay on the matter can be found here: http://www.angelfire.com/ab4/vanic/witchlord.html



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abowen

posted October 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm


Hillary,

Sweet! I love it when we can clear things up on here. Thank you!



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abowen

posted October 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm


Art,

Thanks! I try my best



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Hillary

posted October 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm


“In the old days…a Witch was considered a wise member…of the community.”
This is a common inaccuracy among Wiccans. The word “witch” has historically been used to denote a person who uses malevolent magic. Other terms, such as cunning woman (or man) or pellar, were used to describe a person who used beneficial magic, often to break the spell of a witch.

Also, some Wiccans CAN be atheistic, viewing the God and Goddess as symbols of the nature of the universe, rather than sentient beings.



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Art Sherwood

posted October 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm


Andrew, I just love how you cut through all the stereotypes and are able to show in such a plain and simple manner the true beliefs and practices of the various religions. Keep up the good work!



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