This post is essentially a second half of my Troubleshooting Spells post, whilst that one is about understanding why it didn't work - this one is to be a small guide to the construction and the act of casting spells, covering briefly about correspondences, frames of mind, set up and pack down. A lot we get questions going "I am doing x spell, any advice or help you could give?" this is hopefully to be a basic reference guide to that question.
Spells can be as complex or simple as you make it/what you believe in also affects how complex they can be - in my Post; Simple Acts of Magic - I mention that Magic is 60% in your mind and 40% something else, a few Witches I've met say its more like 80% - 100% in your mind. So getting into that mind frame is part of what helps your magic go along, but more on that later.
So, say you've found/made a spell that you think will cover what you need to have done and would like to cast it, I always recommend going back over that spell you've got and think critically about, here are some things you should look at.
These Four are my basic guidelines to creating and casting spells, if it doesn't fit your situation, don't do it, magic is better when you're comfortable/in the zone and if you aren't there - its going to go wobbly and die like a balloon exhaling the trapped air.
I did mention a few times 'adjusting the spell' now how do we go about and do that? Adjusting spells can be difficult/hard to do because every spell that is created is specific to the situation it was created under - if you're facing a similar situation then it will be marginally easier. But let's go over different ways/pointers on how to adjust a spell using the Four categories mentioned above.
Wording - the wording of a spell is the easiest to change, look at the incantation or the wording of the method and again, think critically - if the incantation for some silly reason is written in Latin but the rest of the spell is written in English - don't do it unless you know what you're saying - yes you can use translators but it won't give you a clear and concise translation - unless you can take the translation and figure out what the spell was originally saying - my advice, don't do it. Instead look at spells in a language you can understand - recite it in the language you can understand - fluently. If the spell requires you revere the 'Lord and Lady' and you don't - then cut it out, revere the spirits you're working with - it does mean you will need to change the method for example:
- Now take the offering of wine and pour it into the two chalices in front of you, saying this for the left chalice 'Oh lord, I humbly beseech and honor you, take my offering and bless my desire' - repeat for the right chalice going 'Oh lady, I humbly beseech and honor you, take my offering and bless my desire'.
Now, how would I change that? The Spell is saying I need to give an offering to two beings refered to as the 'Lord and Lady' when it comes to spells that revolve around invoking/beseeching spirits - you're going to need to change who you're asking, but only do this if you're actually working with those spirits - another general rule of thumb - if the spell involves spirits you don't work with/know, don't do it. Now if you're working with certain spirits, just change 'Lord and Lady' with the names of the spirits you're wishing to beseech. Spells are generally written in rhyme to help get into a trance like state - if you don't like the current words, change them and use words that fit your intentions.
Are you can create/use verbal charms as incantations that reflect your desire - for example, if I can't think of the proper incantation - I use the Somerset Charm to Obtain Ones Desires. You can even use song lyrics to help represent your desire - popular music has a huge following, and the lyrics are always personal/mean something to the artist, you cna adjust them to fit your desire and as long as you follow the same beat, everything will be fine - the reason I recommend this is because people take lyrics are become emotionally attached to them, and believe in them - giving power to these words, power which can be used.
Ingredients - ingredients are a big one, I've read countless modern spells that go 'You will need one Amethyst, 2 Pink candles, a heat proof bowl, matches, frankinscene, dragons blood, 4 ribbons of differing colours representing your desire, a wax poppet' the shopping list for a spell shouldn't generally be so massive - its okay when the incantation is long, not the grocery list. A lot of practitioners don't have access to these ingredients either at all or for cheap. If a spell I was doing required 4 different kinds of incense, I would stop right there and rethink my life decisions. If the spells ingredients are outside of your budget/aren't easily obtainable - don't do it, you'll be wasting your cash.
Sometimes the best way to conduct magic is as quickly and easily as you need it - I find a lot of my spells now require a large piece of chalk, some cheap candles and salt - I can stockpile these ingredients to last me months for a modest price of $20.00. Magic is also interactive, personal - so some spells will require more intense/harder to get ingredients due to the nature of the work, if you're doing a 'Love Spell' you're going to either need something from the person who you wish to enthrall or you're going to need to make the spell fit the desire.
- If you cannot get a piece of the person, you can download photos of them from the internet, print them off and cut them to fit the spell and attach them to the spell. You can inscribe their name on the candle. If the spell says for you to make a poppet using their hair - either you need to ditch the spell or find a way to make it work for you if you can't get your hair. Use either the photo method or use something they have touched, like a pencil or a piece of paper - even better use a piece of paper they have touched and print their picture onto it. It will have their energy signature/their face.
Ingredients are only as good as how you use them, think about what the spell is asking you to do with it, if it doesn't make sense to you, either do a different spell or figure out why that is done, like why are you sprinkling salt over this chalk drawing? What does Salt actually do in Magic? My best advice for cutting out unnecessary ingredients is to either ditch the spell or cut all that unusable stuff out of the spell and use Salt, Salt can be told to do anything in magic - it is the Switzerland of Magic, true neutral.
An important point to note about ingredients, if the spell calls for herbs you don't really understand/know about - don't attempt to use them, if you cannot use them safely it is best to avoid it for health issues - such herbs include Rue, Mugwort, Nightshade, Belladonna etc just because one practitioner uses it doesn't mean you should, stick to the ones you know and swap out any unknown herbs for ones you can safely use that follow the same intent.
If the Incantation mentions the ingredients as well, change that when you change the ingredients.
Timings - A lot of magic revolves around the right time to cast, the right hour or planetary moment, the reason for this is because this is the time we feel has the most power regarding that intention. Moon phases are generally a good guide and days of the week, the reason is they are simple to follow and easy to observe - when we start going into planetary hours - then we start getting confusing. Planetary Hours whilst potent can be too demanding and confusing if you're trying to do something - if you can fit it into your schedule, good for you - if you can't don't bother - stick to Moons and Days - general rule of thumb with the Moon is that when it Waxes (New to Full) is the best time for anything that ramps up - new love, new journeys, ideas and adventures - this is the start of the cycle - Full Moons are good for pretty much everything - its like Salt - when the Moon wanes (Full to New) is the best time for removal, forgetting things, making things vanish - banishments etc.
Places - locations in magic hold power, whether they be sites of spiritual worship, places where the veil is thin, superstition filled locales or even if its as simple as the Crossroads - where you work the magic is important to adding power to the spell. Generally the Crossroads is an excellent place to work your magic - the reason for this is because it is between this world and the next, spirits cross through there and tend to pick up whatever is left behind. If the spell asks you to go to a place you cannot make within walking distance (Driving distance factors in if you can drive), generally don't do it - if you can get there, do it. If you're going somewhere to work a spell, scope out the place first - find somewhere private where you won't be disturbed - if you will be disturbed wait until no one is around (But if you can't, don't do it).
If the spell is telling you to go somewhere, either figure out how to work it from your home or don't bother with that spell - there are thousands of spells that are the same/are different variants.
Now that we've covered, basically, some of the correspondences, next we're going to move onto Frames of Mind , getting into the zone and preparing yourself for a spell.
Now, a lot of practitioners for this will encourage you to meditate, ground and do all that - there is a bit more to getting ready for a spell - one of the big ones is your Conviction, when it comes to doing a spell you must be sure in what you're doing and what you're wanting to achieve. Never approach your work with dobuts, as soon as you start doubting - things will fall a part, after you've finished setting up, take some time to gather your bearings - think on what you're trying to achieve and essentially meditate on that - Meditation is not to clear your mind, it is to focus on a singular point and ignore the background chatter.
You need to stay focused in your spells, keeping the same rythm and intention flowing - as soon as you break character (A theatre term for losing your focus and exiting your character) the entire spell is essentially botched - you've lost focus, you need to pay your respects to any spirit you have approached, leave the offering and try again later. You can bring it back together, but apologize if you've called anyone - its best if you just step away gracefully and ask for forgiveness - unless you're one of those people can just step back in like nothing happened.
Another thing to help with your frame of mind is what you're wearing, it sounds strange but your mind picks up on little cues like clothes and colours - which is part of the reason why we associate Red with Passion and Lust and Pink with new puppy love. Getting your mind into the game using mental cues will help - if you're doing a love work, wear what makes you feel like love, or wear the colour associated with that spell - the more you wear the better, dress appropriately - if the spell requires you to travel into a little bit of the wilderness, dress appropriately for your situation - don't do what I did and wear nearly formal clothes on farmlands - you will slip over and do your shoulder in.
- When dressing yourself for the work, if you find robes put you into that state - wear the robes, it won't 'empower' your work persay, but it will help your mind go into 'Right, its time for magic'.
It's easy to lose your concerntration when doing spells, so take your time - you don't need to rush a spell - unless say you've got little time - so to avoid that, plan when you're going to do the work and how much time so you don't lose your concerntration - I know real life invades every now and again, so you just have to make do. If you have to stop the spell, close it respectfully and don't rush it.
Take your time
The final section I want to cover is setting up and packing down a spell, like setting up a room for an event, it will take you some time to get ready - find all the ingredients before you set it onto your altar and only set how much you'll need, don't overburden yourself because you'll lose your focus while trying to find that one bit of mugwort amongst your plethora of Jars. Make sure you also have enough room on your altar to do your working.
When it comes to bringing offerings - bring enough for the spell and some before and after the work - make sure they are securely wrapped/contained and untainted.
If you're doing a spell outside, pack only the things you'll need - if you have a huge hefty Grimoire - record the incantation or any important notes, don't bring the whole book out, it will only burden you - bring only the amount of ingredients you'll need - I recommend about one full miniature jar (the ones that fit about 30mls of liquid) and pack them safely, nothing worse than having smashed glass all over your pack. When it comes to packing candles, be very careful, most places have a fire ban and if you are working someone - light the candles/do the work in the sheltered area away from the wind - otherwise there was no point bringing them.
When you actually come to set up, keep your ingredients near you and on hand, so that you can just grab it when you need it - best way to handle this is to practice picking up the right ingredient without really looking at it, so you can just memorise where you put it - whenever you do future workings - always keep the ingredients in the same place, even if it is a different set - your body will remember how far they are away.
If you're working outside, when you approach the space, give an offering to the inhabitants and ask them if you can work there - and thank them for their hospitality
Walk your space, take time to walk it, figure out the size of your circle, and if it is practical - if need be, use some long cord/rope to mark it out - walk it a few times to get you into that trance like state and help clear your thoughts. Focus on your working as you round it.
Packing down is the fastest thing to do, first clean up the space you're working in - close your circles, place everything neatly back into your pack - my advice is to do this in silence and just focus on packing up and leaving - the spell is finished don't let your thoughts linger as you quietly leave the space. If need be, leave an offering of food if you're outside once you've cleaned down or quietly bless/cleanse the space thanking the spirits for their hospitality.
Leave the place quickly and quietly but don't run, never look back at the space where you worked and go home, if you do have to look back either because you're turning around on the path, don't look directly in the direction of the space you just worked in, tilt your head a little to the right or left. Once you're safely in your home you can look back.
Very important thing to note when it comes to any spells, research every part of the spell, look at it critically as mentioned before and undertsand why certain things are being done, why certain ingredients are used and if you can't use the ones listed - find an safer substitute. Never do something unless you understand it, never call in a spirit if you don't know who it is and what they're like - never approach a spirit you don't know - build a relationship first.
This post ended up longer than anticipated and I felt like I didn't cover everything I needed too, but hopefully this post will help point out some basic reminders when working spells or trying to figure out what spell would be best - never go to complicated and keep it within your budget - add some leeway if possible.
Always remember to research, and fit things to your current situation, not everything will fit and a lot of times it is experimenting and if it didn't work - refer to my Troubleshooting spells post for some basic answers to why your spell didn't work.