How To Not Cast A Spell

Quartz Witch's Wand

Do you believe in magic?

I do. I’ve seen some things, in my 20+ years as a Shaman-Witch, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt have happened because of a spell.

Thing is, though: they don’t always work, do they?

You get all of your spell ingredients and tools together, the words are just right (and they rhyme!), and the planetary timing is on-point. Your ritual is extremely well-written – one of the best you’ve ever put to paper, if you do say so yourself. And when you perform the ritual – whew! It goes smooth as butter, and you feel like a weight is lifted. You got this – that desire is definitely going to be fulfilled this time, right?

Nope. You could wait for years and never see the result. But you’re no n00b. You’ve got some magical chops, because you’ve seen plenty of spellwork results before. As a Witch, you know a thing or two, so if it doesn’t happen soon, it’s obviously not coming.

And yes, there are reasons for the absence of results.

Reason #1: not letting go. This is when we get into that space that our friends, the Chaos Magicians, call “lust for results.” You hang onto that desire long after the ritual or spellwork is complete. You can’t stop thinking about it.

The thinking-about-it part is fine. It’s when you obsess over it and get anxious that causes you to not see manifestation. Because as soon as you do that, you’re operating out of fear. Even worry (which is troublesome, but still less so than anxiety) comes from a place of fear – and it’s usually about the future. “What will happen if … ???” Operating from that space will constipate your magic every single time.

Reason #2: no emotion. I don’t mean being theatrical, here. You can be as theatrical as you want to be, with the waving of the wands, and the lifting of the chalice, and the deep-booming voice as you project your power into your rhyming stanza. But theatrics aren’t going to give you results. (I might say more about that later, though, because there is something to be said for theatrics and aesthetics.) I mean you have to put your feelings into it.

This example really doesn’t require a big ritual production. But because it’s the easiest to understand for most people, I’m going to use it anyhow.

Let’s say you’re casting a spell to get rid of your asshole coworker. Just going through the motions isn’t going to cut it. If you’re doing this kind of magic, chances are, you’re peeved at your coworker about something. Maybe he’s an all-around prick, and you can’t stand him. Or maybe he’s a shit-stirrer, and always trying to work up your entire Team at work just to get a reaction. Whatever the case, you’re pissed about it.

Use that emotion. Stir up the anger within you. Even if it’s not really anger, but just a little bit of frustration, turn it into anger. Really dig deep and crank up the volume. Feel the emotion well up inside of you and boil over.

If you can’t do that, your results will be limited at best.

Reason #3: no practice. We call this thing a “magical practice” for a reason. It takes practice to really get the results you’re after. Yes, it takes time to build up those magical muscles.

But more than that: no regular practice, means no regular results. In other words: if you aren’t regularly following a basic routine, your results will be limited (or non-existent). I mean things like regularly sitting in the silence (meditation), and consistently working with the expansion of your five senses.

I would say a “regular spiritual practice,” but not all magical folk consider themselves to be spiritual, or even consider their use of spells and magic as a spiritual endeavor. So while I believe that living in two worlds (like a Shaman), communing with spirit beings, and working within a natural Pagan context are important for my spellcraft, that doesn’t mean everyone does.

So, reasons, right? Truth be told, there are many more reasons that spells don’t work, or the manifestation just might not come. Develop a regular spiritual or metaphysical practice, then work that. Practice your spellcrafting and spellcasting. Put some emotion (and theatrics and aesthetics) into that ritual next time. And when you’ve performed the ritual, let it go.

Easier said than done, right?

Maybe. But it’s worth it.

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