13 Weird Tips to Improve your Spellcraft (Parts 2 & 3)

So, You’ve already read Part 1 of this post, right???  If not, You absolutely must because the first 5 tips are the most important!  Go Read it.  Here. Then come back.

Part 2 – Preparing for Spellcraft/When and When NOT to Cast: 

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There is a time for a spell and there is a time to wait.  Sometimes knowing when, and when NOT, to cast is just as important as the components of the spell itself.  Following are some tips to help you determine when is the right time and to prepare for the spell you want to cast. (The inspiration for this particular tip comes courtesy of Bernadette Montana, fabulously witchy proprietress of Brid’s Closet in Cornwall, NY and High Priestess of her own rather phenomenal coven.  Check her out!)

        6.          Question Everything.

Once you’ve an idea to work a spell, start questioning it.  Play your own devil’s advocate, so to speak.  Ask yourself why you want this outcome. Try to ascertain whether you REALLY want it with your WHOLE Will.  (See #4)

The depth and breadth of your questioning, of course, should be commensurate with the scope of the spell.

If it’s a simple spell for some fast cash, you may not spend as much time on this step as you would if it is a spell to change your whole career and start a new life.

Broad scope spells have a much higher chance of yielding questionable results.  Explore the possible outcomes.  You may have in your mind that a great new job is offered to you in your chosen profession in a city where you’d love to live.

But what might happen instead is that you lose your current job, causing a move to another city to be necessary to reduce expenses, followed by a struggle to obtain a position in the career of your choosing. (Note: this type of result can be largely mitigated by practicing step 4 above.)

And if you’re okay with either route, then that’s fine, but just ask the questions and be sure, at the outset that you’re ready for the possibilities.  And, by the way, knowing yourself, as is facilitated by steps 1-5 is extremely helpful in this endeavor.

     7.            Clean Your Side of the Street.

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If your spellcraft involves other people and if your working has anything to do with something that was done by someone else, you’ll want to pay special attention to this step.

Check your intentions and motives.  Examine the situation as objectively as you can and look for the possibility that you may have misunderstood something or that there may be a way to solve this issue with relationship work, talking or a simple apology and an opening of a door to healing.

Make sure that you’ve done all you can, personally, to solve the issue before resorting to magick. Which brings us to….

 8.          Actual WORK.  

There is footwork to be done in the mundane world in order to set the stage for any magick to work.

If your spell is about a job, you’d better get your resume in order and be searching the want ads, or networking in your field.

If your spell is to sell your house and find that home of your dreams, you’d better have contacted a realtor, saved up some money for closing expenses and tidied up and repaired your house to the best of your abilities.

Do the earthly work that will help your magic work.  You MAY even find that taking this step eliminates the need for magick.  Do everything in your power in the material realm first.  Then do your spell, if you still need to.

Part 3 – Now that You’ve decided to Wield that Magic Wand:

Ok, so you’ve decided to do a spell.  Let’s get down and dirty with the crafting of something truly magickal!

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9.         Study the Greats!

I struggled a little with the idea of including this step with the top five.  It sort of belongs in both places.  By “the Greats”, what I mean is great magicians of literature, wise sages of magickal workings, those powerhouses of mystical theory and history that have forged the way for the witchy revolution that is taking place these days.

Gerald Gardner, Alex and Maxine Sanders, Dione Fortune, Doreen Valiente, Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi.  And go back further to Hermes Trismegistus, Heraclitus, Plato, Ptolemy, King Solomon.  The list is endless and study of their work and philosophies is valuable any time.

But before your spell begins, try to do some research into the specifics of that spell in history.  We have modern greats too!  There are so many great magickal “cookbooks” out there!  Check out the work of Judika Illes in the “Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells” and Dorothy Morrison in “Utterly Wicked”.  The point is, study up on the type of magick you wish to perform.  Gather ideas. Check correspondences. Do your homework.

10.         Align With the Cosmos.

cosmos-align

Timing can be very important to some spells.  You must pay attention to things like moon phases, astrological positions, void of course intervals.

I don’t plan every single spell that I do around all of these factors, but I do consider them and decide whether to postpone or speed up my process depending on the positions and influences of the celestial bodies.

11.  Divine! 

It is a great idea to do a divination regarding the spell you want to cast.  You can gain information about the possible outcomes and the things you need to know or do to help make it a success.

I usually use Tarot, which is a great indicator as to your own psyche’s readiness for the outcome as well as advisor on possible components to include in the crafting of the working.

But if your preferred form of divination is something different, have at it.  Grab your pendulum, crystal ball, runes or Ouija board.   It’s just a good idea to do this before casting for those extra insights you may need.  And upon divining you should…

12.        Use your Intuition!

Once you’ve done all of this footwork, then, trust yourself.  Use your own innate wisdom and intuition, fueled by the personal power you’ve cultivated in steps 1 thought 5, the introspection and mundane channels you’ve gained from steps 6 through 9 and all of the knowledge acquired through this step to decide exactly how to cast this fabulous spell.  You’ve done the work, now waive that wand, witch!

13.          Look for Synchronicities – and Acknowledge Successes!

Once you’ve cast your spell, with confidence in its outcome of course, keep aware.  Notice the small synchronicities that usually show up while the magick does its work.  You may see little indications that your magick is afoot!

For example, after casting that new career spell, perhaps you will see a logo for a company you’d love to work for which has an image that precisely matches something you used in your spell.  Take that as the sign that it is and get your resume in front of a decision-maker in that company.  You have to pay attention and see what channels your magick may open up and then follow them!

Acknowledge and appreciate when you see these indications of the change you desire.

Now get out there and put your wonderful magick out into the world and share your successes with me!  I’d love to hear your stories!  With permission, I’d even love to share them with my audience in future blogs!  E-mail me at Renee@WitchintheWorld.com!

And if you’d like to work with me for coaching or divinations check out this page or email to the above!

Happy Witching!

The Woman in Black and Cumulative Magick

woman-in-black“Depression is like a woman in black. If she turns up, don’t shoo her away. Invite her in, offer her a seat, treat her like a guest and listen to what she wants to say.”  – C.G. Jung

Depression is a manifestation of the unheard, unacknowledged Shadow.  I like this quote because it gives me a visual for some of the Shadow work I do as a witch.  And why does a witch do “Shadow Work”, you wonder?  Because it is the source of your deepest power.

I’ve been practicing magick for a long time.  And I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Of course, I started out like anyone else, with the simplest of recipes from some magickal cook book or another.

I think my first spell might have been in high school. I performed a love spell with a mojo bag (red of course) filled with rose quartz, rose petals, rose oil, my lonely tears and possibly blood from a finger pricked by a rose thorn.

Roses are for love, right?  And I have always been drawn (Ha! Pun intended) to blood magick.  Perhaps there’s a bit of vampire in me. Hmmm.

red-mojo-bag

In any case, I can’t remember if it worked or not.  I’m guessing not because I don’t ever remember feeling any kind of love fulfillment in high school.

Anyway, the point is, in spell-work, experienced and novice witches alike tend to spend a lot of time on intention, on correspondences, on the stuff that goes into the mojo bag.  We design elaborate rituals and recite beautifully written, rhyming incantations. We visualize our intention with intense and vivid focus. We chant and dance and burn things and sweat, naked under the moonlight.

And then nothing happens.

This is due, my friends, to the desires of that Woman in Black, the Unconscious Will.

I did my experimentation and performed many, many failed spells.  I put in the time and made the mistakes and wondered and agonized over the “why” of it all.

I wondered if perhaps I was just someone who didn’t have magick in her, which made me very sad and gladly turns out to be very untrue.

If you are wondering the same, dear witchy readers, stop it.  We all have magick in us.  More magick than you can possibly imagine.

After all of the experiments and disasters, when I finally turned my attention inward like the Hermit, I began to understand that there is a far more powerful catalyst for my spells than the things and the conscious intentions that I put into them.

hermit

Don’t get me wrong!  The THINGS count!  Everything counts.  But there is an alignment which must be reached between those things, the conscious intention AND the Unconscious Will in order for a spell to have a chance.

Know thyself, Witch.  This is the first order of becoming a great Magickal practitioner.  And very often, what we think we want, what our conscious mind desires, is not in alignment with our Unconscious Will.

AND, we’ve a tendency to do magick on the very things that the Woman in Black has magickally and magnificently manifested.  Very often our conscious mind labels the manifestations of the unconscious will as wrong or bad.  Our conscious mind says, “No, I don’t want that!”  So we do magick on the things we want to change.  But those things exist in our lives for a reason.

Did that make any sense at all?  No?  Okay.  Let me give you an example.

A number of years ago, I was working a thankless day job of about 50 to 60 hours a week.  This job (the only one I’d been offered in over two years of unemployment) was located about 75 miles away from my home, so I had a commute of approximately 3 to 4 hours a day.  When you figured in all the extra hours and the cost of the commute, the pay I received for said thankless job was below poverty level.

Meanwhile, I was also a very active elder in a large coven, facilitating rituals for groups of up to 150 people at a time, AND running a spiritual center and facilitating workshops, rituals and festivals out of my home.  Oh, yes, I was very busy.  I don’t even know, now, how I found all the time.

My conscious desire was to have an easier life.  My goal, magickal and otherwise, was to have more time for the things that I loved; i.e. ritual, teaching, divination, priestessing.  This meant either finding a better paying job, with fewer working hours, closer to home, or making enough money from my workshops and divinations and rituals to devote myself to that full time.

And don’t think I wasn’t doing magick around that goal!  I was!  Frequently!  And I was working as hard as I could on the mundane channels to achieve it as well.  But this went on for about 7 years.  7 years of toiling, under-appreciated and under-paid.  7 years of being that amazing “ohmygods how do you do it all?!” person that my friends marveled at.  7 years of struggle, hard work, martyrdom!  Ah… there it is!

Why would I stay in that situation for 7 years unless some HUGE part of myself was extremely desirous of it?  The answer is, I wouldn’t.  It was clear that part of me wanted it this way.

That deep-down part of my unconscious, The Woman in Black wanted, longed for, enjoyed and, indeed, LOVED to be known as that marvel who managed so much. She was positively orgasmic over the idea of being the martyr and the ever-struggling one. And she manifested this life-style despite my efforts in the real world and in my spell-craft to produce something different.

(Here’s me, the long suffering martyr.)

martyr

 

The fact is, that any Magick I performed around this conscious desire would be ultimately ineffective without HER cooperation and agreement.

Let’s perform a little experiment, shall we?  Will you participate with me?  Go ahead and raise your right hand in the air.  Go ahead, just do it.  Did you?  Okay.

Now, did you do that consciously or unconsciously?

Most people answer that they did it consciously, because the conscious thought to raise the arm preceded the event.  However, our minds are not capable of consciously firing  each and every synapse in the sequence which is necessary to make the action happen.  The chain of events of muscle movement, tendon stretching and nerve action is far too complicated for our conscious thoughts to comprehend.  All of that is done under the surface, like that proverbial ice-berg.

So, we can’t accomplish much without the cooperation of that dark and steamy underworld dweller dressed ever so provocatively in black.  This means that if something exists in your life there’s a part of you that brought it about.  As the wise witch Carolyn Elliott says, “Having is evidence of wanting.”

It may seem like a harsh truth, but to me, it was a great revelation to know that part of me was that powerful and all I had to do was convince The Woman in Black to agree with my conscious desires in order to get what I wanted!

So, what did I have to do to change that 7 year stretch of martyrdom?  First, I had to acknowledge that the Woman in Black was wearing the witch hat in a way that I never could, and give her the respect she deserved.  And then, I had to let go of the person I thought myself to be.

It didn’t happen overnight.  It happened over time. And all of the magick I did leading up to the “spell that worked”, counted.  Just like the color correspondences, the stones, the herbs, the incantation AND the intentions counted.  Because everything counts.  And it adds up.  Over time, our conscious mind can feed our unconscious mind the desired, well, desire.  But the key was understanding that my deeply held belief about being a struggler, a martyr, a hard worker had to be recognized in order to be dislodged and changed.

Awareness is the first step, right?  So, once I was aware that I was really digging being the martyr, the put-upon one, once I came to know and appreciate the love I had for my identification with the never-resting-ever-working marvel that I’d become, I had to say goodbye to her.  But the Woman in Black wasn’t going to just let her go.  I had to feed her some new identity to latch onto, one she would enjoy just as much.

There are two ways to dislodge and replace a deeply held belief.

Think of a glass of muddy-dirty water.  You want this glass to be full of clear, pure water.  There are two ways of accomplishing this.  The first is to dump it out, wash the glass and re-fill it.  This example would be equal to a deep, devastating trauma that drastically changes your perspective.  And if you don’t have a trauma at hand, but still want to change, then what?

Take the glass of muddy water and start pouring pure, crystal clear water into it.  Keep pouring until it over-flows, then continue to pour until all that mud and silt and sand has been lifted out of the glass and displaced and you are left with a glass of pure, clear water.

That’s how cumulative magick works.  Each time I did a spell, each time I acknowledged the deep desire to be seen as a martyr and each time I focused my intention on wanting the change, I was pouring the pure water into the muddy and displacing it a little at a time.

And how did I acknowledge the desires of the Woman in Black?  I invitedher in, treated her like a guest and listened to what she had to say.  When she told me how fulfilling and wonderful it was to feel that struggle and hard work, I would close my eyes in ecstatic empathy and FEEL that with her.  When she spoke of being known as that miraculous, ever-busy, make-things-happen kind of woman, I grinned and fanned at my fa
ce and neck to cool those passionate flames arising in me.  You have to really get INTO it in order for her to feel heard and understood.

 

And then, in visualization and in my spell craft and in my mundane life, I began to convince the Woman in Black how fun it would be to be able to do all of those things and still have time to rest.  I gave her the image of us lounging decadently or floating in a pool.  I also gave her the image of us identifying with being a godsdamned fierce, badass magickal practitioner.

spell-caster

Finally, I did a spell to bring me a new life.  But this time, I was entirely ready to HAVE that new life.  I was absolutely done with my martyrdom and ready to move on to the next phase of things.  Within about 6 weeks of that final spell, I was living in a beautiful new place, working a job at almost twice the pay of the old one, with rewarding work and within walking distance of my new home.

And I must tell you, it has been one hell of a magickal ride since then too!

So if your spells aren’t working, it’s probably not a problem with your correspondences or the “recipe”.  It’s probably not an issue with astrological timing or the proper chant. (Although it could be those things too, because remember, everything counts!)

But it is much more likely something deep within you which fears, or is not in alignment with, what you think you want.  Have a chat with the Woman in Black and see if she can’t help you figure it out.

Happy witching!

 

*** Links to Image Sources are embedded in the images.