Spells are, at the root, intended to affect reality through an act of will. For that act of will to have any meaning, it must be poured through a clear, focused intent (what the practitioner wishes the spell to accomplish), and given the energy, place, and time to manifest. When considered, this process is very similar to physically moving: you intend your arm to move, and then actually will it to move, before moving it by giving it the energy to move where and when you would like it to, in order to fulfill the movement’s purpose... say, shielding your face from a blow.
The Will is the vessel of the Intent, and the Spell is the vessel of the Energy.
Rituals are spells conducted with the use of predetermined foci and tools, with the intention of either fulfilling an almost religious rite, tapping into the collective unconscious of the human psyche, or as a way to lessen the required focus by assigning elements of a complicated spell to symbolic tools. For instance, instead of directing energy mentally, a knife could be understood to symbolically direct energy by simply pointing it. Ritual and ceremonial “high magick” spells can, however, become entrenched in symbolism which the practitioner may not understand or have the resources for.
Direct Magick is the working of magic without the use of ritual tools, and is usually intended to cause results immediately. The lack of psychic “crutches” (as direct practitioners would call the symbols of ritual magick) tends to make direct magick much more difficult in terms of required concentration and clarity of intent. Rituals also build up a sense of expectation and a certain potential energy which direct magick tends to lack, so practitioners must become skilled in either the manipulation and production of energies, or ways to harness existing energy (such as through sacrifice).
1. First, consider what you wish to accomplish. Without a focused idea of what a spell should do, it will be almost impossible to concentrate on the effect.
2. Formulate a plan. A magical working is best thought through carefully to avoid potential mishaps. Decide on what the energy in a spell will cause to happen, in the most cause-and-effect manner possible. Apply Occam’s Razor to cut out superfluous elements of a spell so that as little energy and focus is wasted as humanly possible.
3. Gather materials and get into the magical mind state, if required. Meditate, clear your mind, burn incense, and perform any other task which might aid you in concentration. This is not an absolute necessity, but may prove quite helpful for beginners.
4. Gather energy in whatever way you have deemed necessary, through symbolic ritual, direct energy manipulation, visualization, or some form of sacrifice.
5. Cast your spell. Follow the plan you outlined, using visualization of any senses necessary to will energy towards your intended result.
6. Await results. The neophyte must accept that their first spell will not send lightning cracking across the sky. Await results patiently, and if you cast a spell for, say, invisibility, do not be disappointed if your flesh does not become translucent. You may well be uncharacteristically unnoticed to others.
TIPS / EXPERIENCE: As I said, go into a spell with a positive expectation, but do not fall victim to illusions of greatness. Magic has remained unseen to the masses for many years because it is subtle, and often manifests in the simplest way possible. Always test to see if a spell has worked in an unexpected way before discounting it completely. Finally, do not despair over truly failed spells. They are an opportunity for learning, not self-deprecation. Magick is not an art which can be learned in a day.
HISTORY AND PERSPECTIVE
A history on spells would literally be a history on magic itself. I will not go into staggering detail, but it is sufficient to say that spells and magick have been an integral part of human culture since prehistory. There is a theory that the cave paintings of the first humans were used in animism, a form of sympathetic magick.
More useful to the neophyte is information which might affect their spells from different magickal perspectives. Most can be inferred from reading around the Vision section of the site, but some noteworthy tips can be found below:
1. Consider morality in general, and then the possibility of Karma. While the “Threefold Law” is by no means a universal idea, it puts anything malicious the practitioner might carelessly perform in a rather sobering light.
2. Decide whether or not the seasons, time of day, and phases of the moon have bearing on the potency of your magick. This might be important for rituals, yet impractical for direct magick. More than anything else, it should be decided by the practitioner.
3. Keep a journal of your spells. Write down your formulas, visualizations, and experiences so that you may analyze them in the future, preserve the successful ones, and tweak spells which didn’t turn out quite correctly.
4. Many believe that personally created spells are and always will be far more powerful than those simply absorbed from other traditions, but said other traditions did not thrive on ignorance alone. Learn from them and incorporate that which resonates well with you.
Links to other fundamental pages will be posted as those pages are created. Coming soon!