Spell Crafting

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We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle


Writing Incantations


With this fire
I light my desire

The basis of spell casting is built on two principles: Thoughts are energy. Words are powerful. Writing an incantation takes knowledge, skill and patience. There is a metaphysical law that like attracts like. Mother always said, “Water seeks its own level.” By visualizing an object and affirming that you want this item to manifest itself in your life, you are sending a message to the universe and your subconscious as to what you want. The universe will listen and a corresponding image will soon find its way to you. There is mixed opinion on whether old spells, new spells, or self-written spells are best. Just because a spell is old, does not mean it will work. However, just because you wrote it yourself does not ensure it will work either. Neo-Pagans (new-age types) tend to emphasize the benefits of writing your own spells, while traditional practitioners (old-school types like myself), tend to embrace the benefits of learning spells from elders, or if that is not possible, from written accounts of the old-time ways.

I’m of both minds. I am a passionate believer of the value of scholarship. It is a truth that what is right for one is not necessarily right for another. But it is also a truth that you can better know where you are going if you understand where others have been. Without learning from those who have gone before us, we become a society of perennial newborns. It is the vastly wise who stands on the shoulders of those who came before them and can learn from the mistakes and successes of others. Study spells by other authors; and if you feel you understand the power and meaning of the spell, by all means use it. However, you will ultimately attain more powerful results and deeper understanding of the old spells if you practice writing your own.

Simply taking a spell, not knowing the full meaning of the components of that spell may result in the spell not working. Abracadabra. Everyone knows this word. Advertisers use it to explain how a cleaning product works. No contemporary witch uses this word. It’s overused and silly sounding. But it is much more than a marketing tool or a magic joke in a Saturday morning sitcom. Since the second century BCE, Qabalistic magicians have carefully used this word of power. The word is derived from the Hebrew phrase abreq ad habra, meaning: "hurl your thunderbolt even unto death." I’m not sure that’s what the toothpaste ad meant. But no harm done. Which is an example of “the danger” of using magickal practices you don’t understand. Mostly you just sound stupid and are ineffective. Perhaps, a powerful witch might do real damage. A neophyte is called a neophyte for a reason.

The logic, meaning, intent and energy of incanted words are what bind a spell together. It’s not just pretty phrasing. Modern witches often overlook the value of the written and spoken word as a source of self-discipline and power.

When you learn to write a spell fully knowing the meaning and significance of every word, its order and action, your magickal workings will be powerful. This writing education also helps you fully understand the meanings of other people’s spells. Don't expect the words to simply flow from you. With work, it gets easier. Your psychic mind knows what you need. But I have lived by an axiom that, although is not ascribed to magick, is intricately related to clear thinking, "Without words, one cannot think well." It took me a year to understand the intrinsic rhythm and music of verbal magick. And after twenty years of using that knowledge, I still can’t explain it as well as I should.

CREATING THE WORDS

I try to use hypnotic words (I love those resonant “s" and “th” words) for spells of love, peace, friendship or hard, potent, strong words for protection, healing or banishing spells. I lean toward one syllable words, And match the words to the type of ritual I’m composing. Try to choose emotional words for emotional spells. As a lover of the Elements, I use as many words as I can to express the essence of an element. Fire can also be Sun, Flame, Light, Dawn, Spark, Flare, Blaze, Radiance, Flash, Beam, Ray, Beacon, Lantern, or Lamp. Air can also be Wind, Breeze, Gale, Breath, Storm, Draft, Tempest or Sky. Water can also be Sea, Rain, Spring, Wave, Stream, Surf, Tide, Lake, Foam, Spray, Source, Fog, Well, Ocean, Mist, or Sound. Earth can also be Land, Dust, Ground, Clay, Loam, Strand, Shore, Knoll, Hill, Ridge, Sod, or Turf. These are just a beginning. If you lean toward Astrology, Tarot, God/dess invocation, color, trees, flowers, runes, whatever nature or imagination can symbolize, you can use it in a spell. Even though I am a Fire Witch, my first spells were done using every item imaginable. I continue this path making magick a part of everything I do.


Gods bless my good fortune to be my grandmother’s granddaughter. One of the first spells she ever taught to me, I still do every day. Forgive the repetition of this spell; it is still one of my favorites. Proving simple is always best.

Hair Brushing Spell by Helen McCormick Berry (Circa 1955) Repeated over and over while she brushed my hair before bed.

Down and away, down and away
All the troubles of the day


Next example, since I seek a goal that is Air ruled, I choose Air oils, on an air colored (yellow) candle, lit during an Air ruled day. And then I use an Air metaphor for my incantation.

Clarity - Gardenia* or Honeysuckle* on yellow, light blue on Mercury day. w/Amethyst, Carnelian, Labradorite, Pink quartz, Obsidian, Blue/Golden

Brother Winds come blow through me
Make truth and wisdom all I see. AC 1989


Rhymes have more power than blank verse because rhythm, like chants and drum beats, can be used to reinforce magick. (A rhyming dictionary and a book of synonyms can be useful here.) Witchlings tend to write poetry rather than spells. The best spells are short and to the point.

Wishes - Clove^ on red, green on Jupiter day/hour. w/ Citrine, Moonstone, Quartz Crystals. w/Dandelion, Sage, Sandalwood, Sunflower, Violet

Mother Earth, and Father Fire
Bring the joy of my desire
Brother Sun, and, Sister Moon
Grant my wish and grant it soon AC 1985


For the next, I stole a couplet of Valerie Worth’s from within a different spell to suit this need. Needing a Change of Direction (to take yourself out of the center of your world) was one of my mother’s spells. A spell to help you change your attitude. It won’t cause you to have a car accident or make you lose your job, win the lottery, or draw your true love to you. But it will gently point you to the next book, the next film, the next hobby or project to make you smile, teach you something new or just give you a jump start to get you on a better spiritual, emotional, or physical path.

Change of Direction - Magnet + Honeysuckle* Lilac* on white, red, indigo on Sun day Mercury hour w/Labradorite, Petrified Wood, Golden Tiger-eye w/Peach, Sage

Fire sweet and fire red . . .
Warm my heart and turn my head. VW 1971


EVEN WITH UNRHYMED…SHORTER IS BETTER

Notice the use of words starting with the letter F in the last sentence. That is the binding mechanism instead of a rhyme.

Creativity - Athena* Rose* or Lilac* on yellow or orange no Mercury day, Venus hour w/Aventurine, Carnelian, Labradorite, Venus Hair (Copper) Rutile Quartz, Blue Tiger-eye, w/Honeysuckle, Lilac, Lotus, Rose, Cherry, Wintergreen

Lovely Athena . . . Goddess of art . . .
Fire my fancy . . . and favor my hand


RHYMING AT THE END

…and still using magickal elements. Since Brighid is the patroness of inspiration; I use one of her names, “Bright Arrow” in this spell…

Inspiration - Peach~ on light blue, yellow on Mercury day w/ Amethyst, Moonstone, Petrified Wood, Venus Hair (Copper) Rutile w/Clove, Moss, Oak, Rosemary, Laurel

Bright Arrow of Inspiration, let your Light
Descend to me through all I see


RHYMING RIGHT EVEN WHEN IT’S WRONG

Depression - Eucalyptus + on purple, dk. pink, silver, black Dark (New) moon or Saturn day w/Agate, Malachite, Green Moss Agate, Golden Rutile Quartz, Smoky Quarts w/Apple, Bay, Hyacinth, Eucalyptus, Gardenia, Rose

Dark Moon, Black Sky, Dark Heart undone
Cast off the Night, Cast off the stone.
Old Moon, Dark Eye, Black Stone depart
Cast off this weight. And bring New Light. AC 1989

This is one of those things that my mother would file under the category: “I wish I understood all I know about this.” Study this one…undone and stone. The right vowels but the wrong sounds. Night and light are not found in the proper rhyming place. Neither is depart and heart. Note the repetition: Dark Heart, Dark Moon and Dark Eye. Even weight, night and light, where the "ight" visually goes together even if the rhyme is wrong. The wrongness of this prose is what makes it right. The very fact that it is breaking the rules, stuttering a bit if you will, is why this one is powerful, especially for a banishing spell. It makes you take notice, you can’t sleepwalk through this one. And something tells me that this incantation is the closest I have ever gotten to the oldest style of incantation. There is real logic and power in this one. I wish I fully understood all that I know about the common thread connecting really good incantations.


REPETITION

If rhyming is not your gift and months of practicing still has you uncomfortable with your writing. Use repetition in your spells, repeated several times like a chant. In an unbinding spell, I chanted this as I dressed a black candle. I wrote the chant on parchment dozens of times and repeated it over and over until it filled the entire page. Then I burned it in the candle flame. But again, notice the word choice, "the bonds that bind thee" (tbtbt). (The spell worked in less than 12 hours.)

I loose the bonds that bind thee. AC 1997

Another:


Wish on a Blue Moon – Directly. Or Success^ Clove ^ on lt. blue on (second Bright (Full) moon of a month)

I wish upon thee, Blue gem of the night
Beauty of evening, Blue gem of the night
Mother of morning, Blue gem of the night
A kiss to make my wish come true.


On a wordless day, I visualize my intention in the flame and compel it with the blessing of (the goddess of compassion) Kwan Yin’s mantra, over and over until it feels right to stop.

Na Mo Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva


CLOSING

Or making the magick manifest. The Wiccan closing for a spell is, "So mote it be." I don’t ”mote.” Its origin is questionable and to me, has always had a somewhat Dungeons and Dragons feel to it. Other choices are: So be it or So it is or It is done

In Egyptian: I make this the Word, that goes forth and comes into being.    

In Hebrew: Amen: Meaning-So be it. or It is true.

In Latin: Dictum factum: Said and done.
Dixi: I have spoken.
Factum est: It is done.
Ita est: It is so.

In Greek: Amin: So be it.

In Lakota Sioux: Hanta Yo – Clear the Way.

In contemporary wicca: Blessed Be (Rapidly becoming a multi-use word for both hello, good-bye and I agree.)


DURATION

Mostly, in the beginning, one’s spells have a natural gravity and fade on their own. As your magick gets stronger, every spell should have a time factor. Something like:

...And this spell shall lose its force
When the moon/sun/week/fortnight has run its course

Or simply express the spell as successful

“In two days…she wakes up.” (And she did!)


LANGUAGES

Spells are best written in one's native language, although they can be any adopted language, ancient or modern, that you are comfortable with. Your communication with the universe is actually a psychic one. Speaking in tongues will not work to communicate your intentions, unless you have a firm idea of what they mean to you.


CONCLUSION

It isn't as difficult as it seems to write a spell. Soon a silent kind of rhythm and logic develops. Don't worry if your spells aren't too effective, at first. They will become stronger as the witch becomes stronger. Start with general intentions (mostly for yourself - in my tradition we are supposed to be selfish and practice the craft on ourselves before unleashing it on the community) Write general spells for protection, healing, banishing an unwanted condition, strength, love, peace, health, clarity, creativity, and good fortune.


© 2002-2012 Ardriana Cahill

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