There is a lot of new people coming to the site asking about which spell to cast, what spells work, what is the easiest spell to cast and the like. I am hoping that in writing this people will start to have a better understanding of spell work and answer some of those questions.
Many people try to cast spells, with no effect. Some people say that the spell must not be real, or that it is not possible, or that you need to learn the basics first. Well, these may be true at any given point. However, I think that the biggest problem is that people dont understand spells.
So, there a few different explanations about how spells work. There are several theories on the subject. I am going to present a few different theories. I am sure there will be discussion on these, and other will present other theories. I welcome those and hope the that the conversation helps people learn and explore new possibilities. There are many ways that a spell can be done. You can light a candle and say some words, you can make a talisman or magical object, you can do invocation or evocation, and many others. What I am not going to discuss is what you do outwardly, but what you do inwardly.
First, there is the theory that we focus our own intentions, energies and thoughts to produce some effect. We use our own energy, direct it with our own thoughts and desires, and it produces a change. So, under this theory you have to be able to focus you thoughts completely and powerfully on your goal through meditation, be able to focus energy in the proper way to cause the goal to come into effect, and you have to understand the symbolic correspondences between your goal and the representation of that goal which you use in the spell or ritual.
Second is the theory that you call upon some other entity to assist you with your work. It may be a god or goddess, a spiritual entity, angel or demon, nature spirit or anything like that. In these cases you are asking, or commanding in some instances, them to do the work for you. With this, much like the first example, you have to be able to focus you mind to a singular purpose. Now, typically with this kind of work you will start off with your mind focused on connecting to the entity you are working with, and then switch your focus to your goal so that it can be conveyed to the entity. There is an exchange of energy sent to the entity to work with. So, in addition to being able to focus your mind, properly direct energy and understand the symbolism of your goal you must also understand the symbolism of the entity. Not all entities work toward all purposes. You should have already spent time learning about the entity and establishing a connection to him, her or it before calling upon it.
The third theory is like the first two. In it, you direct your thoughts and energies to the universe or creation through your subconscious mind to have them actualized in reality. The key difference between this and the first idea is that you see the connection and the oneness between you and everything. The first method goes along with the thought that you are a separate entity trying to effect reality. The difference between this and the second is that you are not connecting to a specific deity, but just the oneness of everything that you are already a part of. It is not something outside of you, but it is a part of you. With this, like the others, you must be able to properly focus the mind, direct energy and have the correct symbolism. Also, you must have established proper communication and established a proper language with the subconscious. It deals with a language of visual images and symbols, and its meaning may be different than what you are consciously choosing a symbol to be at that point.
In discussing these, it is evident that before a spell is attempted a foundation or groundwork must be established. You dont just jump into practicing medicine without going to med school, or start driving a car without drivers education. Those of us who are successful have spent time laying that foundation within ourselves. Now, that foundation may be different from individual to individual, but there is some kind of work that was done before just casting. Notice that all of these ways indicates not just meditating and directing energy, but doing it in the proper way. There are many forms of meditation and some work better than others for magical work. Likewise, depending on the path, tradition or current you follow you may find that some method are more suited for that path. Obviously, the symbolisms that are used vary from tradition to tradition. What is important is that these symbolisms have meanings for you.
The amount of time spent in preparation is going to vary as well from person to person. Some people take to it quickly, some take longer. Of course, is you wake up in the morning, never having studied any of this, and decide you are going to start chunking spells that change reality you can be fairly certain that you will not be ready to do so by noon.
Again, we will probably see some interesting discussion about this. I hope it is a lively and respectful one.