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We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle
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
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
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,
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,
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.
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
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
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.)
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!)
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.
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.
Defining Terms *
Book of Shadows *
Book of Rituals
© 2002-2012 Ardriana Cahill
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