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Craft, Wicca, Witchcraft, and the Old Religion are all names for the spirituality that holds a holistic view of the world in which each of us is related to all life through the flow of universal energy. How that energy is gathered, directed, and worked with forms the basis of magical practice in Witchcraft, for magic is the art of creating changes according to your will. To successfully practice magic, you must understand that the energy flow is real, and that it is Divine.
book is focused on the mechanics of energy raising and manipulationhow the magic works and how to put your Craft elements together for successful spell work. Because this book is about the components of magic in the Green Craft, there will necessarily be some information here that has been touched upon in one of my previous three books about my family tradition: Green Witchcraft: Folk Magic, Fairy Lore, & Herb Craft (Llewellyn 1996) provides some background for Green spell crafting; Green Witchcraft II: Balancing Light & Shadow (Llewellyn 1999) identifies tools and correspondences that relate to the Dark Aspects of the Divine; and Green Witchcraft III: The Manual (Llewellyn 2000) presents the course I occasionally teach. Between these three books, a student has at hand sufficient material to construct spells and perform ritual magic, but here I want to delve into the components of what Green magic is and what the practitioner is capable of doing with it. Unlike the other books, however, this book contains no Esbat and Sabbat information, no Rites of Passage, no spells, no guided meditations, and no divination material. Whenever appropriate, I will refer the reader to sections in these other books for further reading. Additionally, I feel that while there are some concepts and bits of information here that may be gleaned from the other three books, not everyone who reads this book will have read the others, and so these are relevant to creating a complete picture in one place on the practice of magic. The many lists of correspondences so vital to the crafting of spells are collated from the other three and placed in Appendix A of this book. The intent of this particular book is to examine how the magic works, utilizing the methods and psychology behind the Green Craft as I learned them, so a person will be able to enhance their own magical practice.
today is basically a modern revival of the pre-Judeo-Christian view of the universe, and sees our place within it as intrinsic partners with Nature rather than standing apart from Nature. The Green Craft that I write about is what I learned from my mother, and she from her mother. While I have no documentation or first-hand knowledge of Craft practices prior to the 1890 beginnings of my maternal grandmother, it seems reasonable to me that since her maternal line is Iberian Celt (from Galicia), the family tradition has most likely bubbled along quietly for some time. I grew up with Nature magics and Elemental connections; candle magics and spell crafting; Rules of Conduct and spiritism; meditations and positive visualizations; all of which I still practice today, and which I have passed along to my now-adult children. We never added the “k” to the end of the word “magic(k)” as is often done in Craft writings to distinguish it from stage magic, tricks, or sleight-of-hand, but this additional letter is a growing trend in Craft writing. To me, the context of Witchcraft, especially among practitioners, makes the meaning of the word self-evident, so I will continue with the spelling to which I am accustomed, with only the statement that this book does not discuss stage magic, tricks, or sleight-of-hand. The Green Craft, then, is very natural, practical, grounded, and Earth centered. Before launching into the nuts and bolts of Craft magic, however, a brief review of Green Witchcraft is in order.
Witchcraft is the Old Religion, grounded in the powers of Nature, formed in a time when people interacted as communal, social equals, addressing the Goddess and the God as the powerful forces of Nature. The term “Green” describes the prevalence of herbal use, the approach of Witchcraft through Nature and the Elementals, and the imagery of the Divine as the Lord and Lady of the Greenwood, or the Wildwoodas Mother Earth and Horned Godemblems of fertility, power, and all-encompassing love. In many ancient Western societies, the color green is also associated with Fairie, the Other People, and those Nature-attuned people who commune with them. The Green level Craft is the foundation of all magic tradition, harkening to a time before the development of social stratas requiring deities to represent and authorize the assumed power of rulers, law makers, the supporting priesthood, and warrior class who enforced the new system. Instead, the Green Craft retains the natural magical relationship with the energies of the Earth from which a variety of Pagan and Witchcraft Traditions have arisen.
Green Witch is a Natural Witch, a Hereditary Witch, a Kitchen Witch, a Cottage Witch, a Hedge Witch (a rustic itinerant Witch who pauses along the roadside hedgerows to create charms and other spells for people), and generally, a Solitary Witch (one who works alone or only within a small family group). The Green Witch does not fear Nature and the woods, but finds both comforting and homey, having a sense of belonging and connection with the Earth and the universe. The practice of the Green Craft draws the powers of Nature into the individual to create changes through magical workings. This power is not intangible or amorphous, but palpable energy that can be brought into your own energy field to work in conjunction with your energies and through you to achieve your goals without draining yourself.
the arrival of social-hierarchy religions, the power of Divine Nature was denied to the people, with the rituals then confined to an elite priesthood while the rest of society participated peripherally as observers or in less important associated activities. But the old ways persisted, often hidden among the people and passed along through generations as folk magics, superstitions, and even as practices incorporated with one pretext or another into the new religions. In this way, the sacred days of Paganism, most notably Ostara, Yule, and Samhain, became the holidays of modern religions, complete with the earlier Pagan customs of bunnies, eggs, and baskets; decorated tree, presents, and an elder gift-giver (Saturn, the Holly King, and now Santa Claus); and All Souls’ Eve Mass (Roman Catholic) with candlelight church services at midnight. Other Pagan holy days, including Lughnassadh and Imbolc, became saint’s days, incorporating Pagan customs. Returning to the Nature foundation of the Green Practice awakens the ancient spirituality of our ancestors within us, however, and because of this, many people who turn to the Wiccan path say they feel that they are “coming home.” This is to be expected, actually, because they are in fact returning to their spiritual roots.
are three basic approaches to the Green Craft available to the practitioner. The Craft may be considered folk magics under a mainstream religion, often with the religious figures of the social religion viewed in Pagan termsSaint Francis as the Greenman, for example, or Mary as the Goddess and Jesus as the God. There are images that may be drawn from other religious backgrounds as well. The angels, archangels, saints, prophets, apostles, and so forth all have attributes that may be utilized in focusing the power. Ceremonial Magicians use a Judaic-Christian framework in their practices, and many Eastern deities that are currently reverenced have been adopted by modern Pagans.
may also be practiced by working directly with the energies of Nature without reference to deities, ignoring the trappings of religion altogether, in which case a work area rather than an altar is used. This kind of Green Craft calls upon the power drawn through uniting with Nature the Mannuz (my mother pronounced this Mahn-nuThe Selfrelated perhaps to the Runic symbol Mannaz). Success comes from working for your Self rather than against another’s Self, and this style of practice is very energizing on a personal level.
third method is that of religion, working through and with the Divine as the Lady and the Lord, the Goddess and the God. If you want to practice the Craft while remaining within the socially accepted fold of mainstream religion, the first style is for you. If you want to work without religious connotations, simply to be connected with Nature, the second style is for you. If you seek spiritual fulfillment through connection with the Divine along with oneness with Nature, then the third style may suit your needs. I have utilized all three approaches successfully, so I know all three work. It is simply a matter of what is comfortable for you in the current stage of your life.
work with the Deities, you may want to attune yourself to aspects with which you are familiar, or that you feel drawn to. Yet, I feel that choosing names for the Divine in the Green Craft is not especially important, simply because most of the deity names we know are merely titles or descriptions of Divine aspects turned into proper nouns in another or archaic language. In the Northern Tradition, as an example, the God and the Goddess of Nature are Frey and Freyanames that translate as Lord and Ladywhile in other cultures there are deity names translating as Beneficent, Good Goddess, Abundance, Bear Lady, and Star Lady. For the working of magic, it is sufficient to know in your own mind what influence is being sought rather than what name matches that influence; thus I feel that a generic “Lady and Lord” can prove more effective because this does not confine the deity to a limited aspect.
you may research various pantheons (Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Celtic, Northern European, Mesopotamian, Minoan, Egyptian, Indian, Oriental, Polynesian, Native American, and so forth) and learn the myths of the various Gods and Goddesses in order to select an appropriate patron and patroness deity, you may also have a successful practice using various generic terms for the Divine, such as Lady/Lord; Goddess/God; Great Lady/Great Lord; Great Mother/Great Father; or the Ancient Ones. After a Dedication Ritual used to em-bark upon this third style of practice (ritual begins on page 152 of Green Witchcraft; Folk Magic, Fairy Lore & Herb Craft), when the Divine gives the practitioner a secret name to use in ritual and spell work, you may ask for their own secret names, which they will reveal for a more personal connection to them. This is a trust, and you must not divulge this to others, for it is your personal link to the Divine.
of the key issues of magical use are guided by the Witches’ Rede, a lengthy rhyme created at least in part by Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente. The string of proverbs (reminiscent of a scene from Hamlet in which Polonius advises his son Laertes with proverbs, including avoiding the company of fools) is most often presented with the salient parts in one piece:
the Witches’ Rede ye must; in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Rede thou must fulfill: An’ it harm none, do as ye will. What ye send forth returns to thee, so ever mind the rule of three. Follow this with mind and heart, and merry ye meet and merry ye part.
Witches generally accept the rule of “If it harms none, do what you will,” as the key to their practice, and not all accept the idea of threefold returns. With the basic tenet of harming none being followed, everything else is a matter of selecting what actually works for you. Using this principle, the Witch determines what change is desired and how to set about achieving the desired result.
modern Witches’ Rede is very similar to the Rules of Conduct my mother told me her mother repeated to her as she was growing up. My mother solemnly intoned these same rules throughout my childhood and early teen years so that they became part of my life. She said:
careful what you do. Be careful who you trust. Do not use the power to hurt another, for what is sent comes back. Never use the power against someone who has the power. To use the power, you must feel it in your heart, and know it in your mind.
words and her tone and manner of presenting them meant to me that magic is not a game, but a sacred act, involving a genuine connection with the Divine: the Divine in the Elementals, the Divine in Nature, and the Divine within each of us. We must use care in what we do so as not to harm one another or ourselves, and we must recognize that other Witches are our kindred. My mother would often add after the injunction not to use the power against someone who has the power, “for you both draw from the same well.”
modern Wicca, there is a Law of Threefold Return, which states that what you send returns to you threefold. My mother only spoke of what is sent returning, meaning that the energy you generate and send outward will attract like energy back to you. The “knowing” of this energy means that it is not an act of faith, but of understanding a different aspect of realityit is fact that is felt and comprehended, and so of course it works. Magic, then, is a great responsibility, and you must take this to heart in your practice of the Craft. In these pages I am presenting information based on my mother’s instruction and on my own developing practice.
are variations in what I do from what is taught in many Traditions, but this information is part of my family heritage, which I lay before you to use as selectively as you feel appropriate. Magic is generated through spell work of one sort or another, but in using another’s spells, always make a change, either through substitution, alteration, deletion, or addition to make it your spell, to tie it and the desired results to you. It is my hope that with this book, the practitioner will be able to more clearly understand the magical process and how these rules apply, in order to more effectively select the method and focus to direct raised magical energies successfully.
is a general impression that Witchcraft operates solely as sympathetic magicthe concept that all things are linked together by energy fieldsbut this type of magic forms only one aspect of the magical practice. With Green Witchcraft, magic is differentiated by the components involved and the usage; by the purpose and by the method. Some people speak of white, black, and even gray Witchcraft (the latter inferring something in between), but in my experience, these are terms associated with the good/evil polarization of modern religious thinking and have nothing to do with the Old Religion. Witches act in attunement with the Earth and Nature, practicing spiritually connective rites with balance, not dichotomy.
is a feature of modern societies (the past 2,0003,000 years, depending on the localesee my book, Origins of Witchcraft: The Evolution of a World Religion, Llewellyn, 2000), not ancient societies and cultures. With this modern view, white (or light) is associated with “good” and black (or dark and shadow) with “evil.” Gray is some sort of mixture of good and evil, becoming what I like to call an ambiguous spiritual soup. None of this is part of the Craft as I was taught it by my mother and grandmotherthey taught balance and interconnection.
I was very young, my mother and my grandmother took me to a forest by a lake where we stayed in a little cabin for a few days. There, I quickly spotted an owl that had taken up residence in the roof rafters of the screened porch, and a snake that swam in the shallows next to a small rowboat when I was set in it to play by my mother and grandmother while they watched. I was fascinated by these creatures as my grandmother held me in her arms in the cool outdoors and lovingly talked to me about them. Although I was only three years old at the time, the images of the owl and snake by the cabin at the edge of the dim woods and dark lake have never left me. The time we spent there has gained special significance for me over the intervening years: for awhile, we were maiden, mother, and crone in the wilds of Nature, watched over by the emblems of the Goddess and the God. Is it any wonder that the images have been imprinted on my mind? This is how magic worksnaturally, not forced or strained at, but gentle and pervasive. Once it is felt, you will never forget the sensations that accompany it and will recognize it in your spell work.
rituals of Green Witchcraft may be carefully planned and conducted or they may be spontaneous and fresh. The items used in spell work are often of natural materials so as to engage the essences and powers of the life-force within. The Green Witch respects the powers and spirits of Nature, and in working with them, knows that these energies never die, but may be directed to accomplish a goal. Thus, when using an herb for a purpose in a spell, the energy of that herb is addressed and called upon to work with you in creating the effect you desire. When you burn the herb in a candle during a ritual, you are releasing that energy to blend with your own for directing it in your magics. That energy, once focused on a goal, is then sent to work the magicto create the desired changes.
most magics, the objects of Naturestones, water, herbs, trees, plants, shells, clay, soil, feathers, creatures, and even clouds and the air (seen as the Four Winds)take on special significance. These are all kinfolk to us, related through the life energy of the God expressed through the manifesting forms of the Goddess. Because we are interrelated, we must respect our kin in Nature, of which we are a part, and ask these objects for their help in our work, never taking from Nature without permission.
Green Practice utilizes herbs in spellwork, magical teas, healing, and folkcrafts, and by using the objects in Nature, the Green Witch is able to construct spells with materials that are readily at hand. These spells, charms, and other magics work through the Elementals, the four basic powers of Witchcraft and magical practice: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. My previous books have provided tables of correspondences for a useable Spellbook, or Book of Shadows, and in Green Witchcraft III, I suggested pages for tabbing in Green Witchcraft to make the book a more useable tool in your practice and for use as a text for the course of study. With Green-level magics, there are associations made to herbs and other plants, impressions that colors create on the spirit and mind, and energies evoked in non-herbal items of Nature such as feathers, rocks, sticks, pebbles, crystals, minerals, natural clay, volcanic lava, pumice, and the waters of springs, rivers, sea, and storms. The Elemental forms of Air, Water, Fire, and Earth figure in all these associations, affording a grounding in the Lady and the Lord of Nature.
Elementals are usually addressed in Green practice, but the use of ritual in conscious spell work develops according to the preferences of the practitioner. Magical tools such as knives (a black-handled ritual knife called an athame, and a white- or brown- handled working knife called a bolline), wands, crystal balls, and divination cards will become imbued with the power of the individual Witch, so that, over time, the tools for specific intentions will be intuitively recognized. You may want to use an oak wand for some magics, a willow, elder, or hazel wand for others, and one topped with a crystal for yet another typeby using them, you develop a feel for them. Anything that you personally sense as meaningful to your objective becomes an acceptable tool for your magical use.
understanding of the Elementals and such things as the pentagram (five-pointed star in a circle), sigils of planets, and focal words formed through a numerological planetary square (see Migene González-Wippler’s The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies, and Magic, Llewellyn, 1988) or alphabetical Witch’s Circle (page 57, Green Witchcraft III), Square, or Rectangle, will vary with each person. Some practitioners may routinely burn inscribed candles, while others prefer to tie knots in a string of yarn or burn a paper with keywords for magical action. This happens because we are all uniqueno matter how similar in background, temperament, training or character, each person is an individual, whose perception of the world is Self-integrated. I like to compare people to snowflakes, because like these, no two of us are alike. Nature has an amazing capacity for vast diversity, and in this we see the living evidence of the Infinite, the Immanent Divine. Your unique perspective gives you the power to mold the natural items of the Craft and attune these to your own personal inner energies for directing.
working magic, you will find that categorizing the properties and attributes of colors, herbs, oils, and incenses in your Spellbook or Book of Shadows (BOS) will develop this tool into a practical guide for your Craft work. The key to Witchcraft and successful magic work is being able to combine all of these elements in the formulation of your spells. But beyond mere mixing and blending (rather like the tarot card, Temperance), you have to understand what it is that you are doing. I shall therefore identify in this book the components of spells, describe the various types of spells, discuss the twin aspects of magic (purpose and method), and describe magical techniques incorporating the above so that you are able to select the best magical route for success.
Basic Components of
Creating and Casting
conducting magic in Green Witchcraft, it is through the four Elementals that you draw and focus energy. Spells are the vehicles of magical workings, thus any ritual, brew, charm, chant, prayer, amulet, talisman, or crafted item created for magical purpose, utilizing the movement of energy, the speaking of a word or formula of power, in the generating of intent into manifestation is a variety of spell crafting. Even so, the varieties of spells are usually separate terms, and the word “spell” is often used to designate a procedure. In nearly every spell, be it ritual, charm, or craft, there will be references to Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. In the Green Craft, there is a strong inclusion of Elementalism, but as “kinship” rather than as the dictionary description of “worship.” In a ritual format, you will normally find that salt is used to represent Earth, incense smoke will convey the impression of Air, a candle flame will indicate Fire, and a bowl of charged water (ritually blessed and energized, thus, “holy”) will symbolize Water. These images are used for blessing, consecrating, and charging other objects with the Elemental energies.
is often initiated with the casting of a circle that becomes the sacred space wherein magical work is to be conducted (see Appendix B for a Basic Circle Casting Ritual). This circle acts as a barrier between the practitioner working between the worlds (at a gateway between planes of existence) and the outside (physical or mundane) world. It is also an energy field that concentrates and enhances the energies raised within by the practitioner.
the magical circle is drawn, the Elementals are called upon at the Quarters to hold the circle firm and to lend their power to the work at hand, with one Elemental assigned to North, East, South, and West. In some Traditions, there are variations in which direction an Elemental is invoked and even a changing of location according to the time of day (Draconian Tradition), but for most Witchcraft the general practice places Earth at the North, Air at the East, Fire at the South, and Water at the West. The placement of the altar or work area within the circle also differs with Traditions or with the visualization needs of a particular spell, but the Green Craft usually places the altar at the North, the realm of Earth (where desires are manifested) and the seat of Wisdom (realm of the Crone), although it may be placed at the West for calling upon the Sidhe and Shadow work.
a ritual context, certain tools are also seen as aligned with particular Elementals. With the Green Craft, the athame is considered an Air tool, being used to cast and open the ritual Circle, to raise and direct energy, and to inscribe candles (some practitioners use the bolline for this) with symbols which provide a mental or inspirational association that applies to the work being done. The wand is recognized as a Fire tool, for invoking or calling upon the Elementals, spirits, beings, and essences within a magical context. It is also used, like the athame, to raise and direct energy. In some traditions, the alignment of Fire and Air is reversed so that the athame becomes the symbol for Fire, and the wand becomes the symbol for Air. The chalice or cup represents Water, and holds a ritual beverage. The cauldron may be considered an emblem of Water, or of Spirit, since it may be used to hold the libation (offering) to the Divine (a bit of the beverage from the cup), or the workings of the spellfor it is within the cauldron of transformation that a spell may effect the magic. The pentacle represents Earth, and is a circular flat disk inscribed or engraved with a pentagram upon itthis is where spell material is combined and placed for manifestation, so you may be setting the cauldron on top of the pentacle during your spell casting. This object is often made of wood, tile, metal, stone, or ceramic, but other materials may be used so that even a pentagram drawn on paper will serve as a pentacle.
the word choice of pentacle or pentagram, some individuals consider all jewelry or other use of the circled star as a pentagram, while others see these as a pentacle. In my experience, the word pentagram refers to a figure, while the word pentacle describes a five-pointed star object, hence, once the figure is turned into an object, I feel it has been translated from a pentagram figure (such as drawn after a signature or written spell) into a pentacle. Rings, pendants, and the ritual object on the altar may all be pentacles, while the use of the word pentagram relates only to the image of the encircled star. You might have a pentagram in the lines of your palm, for example (often associated with Werewolves, so watch out for Full Moons!), but not a pentacle. Jewelry may be considered either depending upon the presentation as the isolated object (a pentacle) or as an inscription on a background of other material such as metal or stone (a pentagram). This is how I define the use of these words.
the working of spells, various aspects of the process are performed with an envisionment of the actions being in sets of three’s. Three is a sacred number in many religious practices, but was especially so to the Celts (thus Saint Patrick used the clover as a means of associating the Celts’ mystic three, the Triskele (TRIS-kel), or Triskelion (Tris-KEL-ee-on), with the Christian Trinity). Three times three, or nine, is another sacred number, being related to the Goddess and to the binding of energy to a goal. In using a ritual Circle, you could invoke the power of the number three by casting, asperging, and fuming (not raging, but spreading incense smoke around the circlealso called censing), or the power of the number nine by deliberately focusing on performing nine pacings of the Circle:
. The area is swept
. The area is delineated in the casting
. The area is asperged
. The area is censed
. The Quarters are prepared with a candle lit or raised at each position invoking light and the quality of the Elemental at that place
. The Elementals themselves are invoked [ritual is then
. The Elementals are farewelled
. The candles are extinguished at the Quarters
. The Circle is opened
envisioning steps as a numerical form, the entire magical event is given the energy influence of the selected number, which in the above example is nine. If the candles at the Quarters are extinguished at the time the Elementals are farewelled, or if they are not used at the Quarters, then the power of the number nine can be fulfilled through taking the spell work itself to each Quarter and addressing the Elemental for assistance in relation to that Elemental, such as calling upon Earth to bring the spell into manifestation, Air to give the spell swift passage, Fire to energize the spell, and Water to move the spell to a satisfactory conclusion. You have to consider how each Elemental figures into the actual spell process to make this effective. Another format that utilizes the energy and binding power of the number nine is to repeat the spell wording nine times (if short enough) or to state after one casting of the words that the spell is “empowered by three times three.”
are also part of the spell-working process. Your hands become tools for beseeching and invoking. Hands form gestures of blessing and unification, but they are also used to draw energy inward and to extend your own inner energies outward to others for sharing. Energy is readily released or absorbed through the palms, thus the practice of “laying on of hands” for healings. Rubbing the palms and then using your open hands to “smooth” out static energy in an aura, keeping your palms about an inch away from the person’s body, is one type of healing. The negative energies are either motioned down and into the ground, or drawn into your hands from the aura being cleansed, then shaken out and released into the ground by touching the Earth with your palms. In magical practice, the hands may also be used to gather the energies of the forces called upon to be directed into the spell materials. In the exchange of energy, it is important not to deplete your own reserves, lest you become ill, tense, or nervous. This is why the practitioner should always ground and center (drain off your own excess or static energies, thus stilling yourself to draw up the energy of the Earth and bring it into your personal internal alignment for calm directing) before conducting any spell work, ritual, or meditation.
and centering work together to join the practitioner with the energy of the Earth, but even among Witches, the perceived order sometimes differs. I see this process as a grounding of my own excess energies, be they stress or excitement, so that I am calm, while in the same sweep I am drawing inward the powerful energy of the Earth to my inner core to be merged in solid strength and connection. No matter how you differentiate the process, what is happening is a stilling of your emotional and mental self, finding your center of quiet and energy. Some people like to focus on the chakras (energy points in the body), seeing the internal color energies of the red root (base of spine), orange sacral plexus (abdomen), yellow solar plexus (navel), green heart, blue throat, purple third eye (forehead), and white crown (top of the head) balanced and perhaps cleansed by bringing the white light of the crown down through all the chakras and back up. You then connect with the source of energy outside your bodywith the Earthby visualizing and feeling the energy of the Earth rising up into you. Grounding and centering is completed when you interweave the Earth’s energy with your own. Once this is done, you may cast your Circle, perform your rituals and spells, then return the excess energy back to the Earth with gratitude and appreciation for the assistance given to you. This second grounding is when you touch the Earth (or floor if working indoors) with the palms of your hands to drain out the excess energy. This MUST be done after magical workings or you will be nervous, headachy, tense, hyper, or irritable for some time afterward.
setting up your altar space or working area, there should be some degree of symmetry in the arrangement. This is conducive to the flow of energy. There is also a triangular aspect to this flow (incorporating the magic of three) in the flow of energy to you at the apex, and from you toward the broad base of the altar. The altar may be structured with the left side designated for the Goddess, the right side for the God, and the center for Both. Ritual objects may be placed on the altar according to the Elemental (and therefore Deity) association, with Earth and Water generally seen as Goddess elements, and Air and Fire generally seen as God elements. Thus you may have the water and salt on one side and the wand and the knife on the other along with the incense, unless you prefer a different symmetry. The idea behind feng shui is the proper placement of objects for the auspicious movement of energy, and with an altar, this is found in the setting of Craft items. I prefer to see water as Goddess-related since the Goddess of Nature is reverenced at holy wells and sacred springs, while salt is related to the God since the Horned God of Nature is an Earth God. I see the wand and the knife divided between the two, with the wand for Her and the knife for Him, and so they are placed on opposite sides on my altar. But the key here is that this is how the energy moves best for me. As long as you have a symmetrical envisionment, the arrangement of tools on an altar is as good as the energy flow you derive from it. Therefore, because of variations in Traditions, in your own personal associations, and in the aspects of the Lady and the Lord you are working with, the placements will vary. Another difference lies in the idea of what is left and what is right. For some practitioners, myself included, the left and the right are extensions of their own sides as they face the altar, but for others, the left and the right are reversed (a mirror image) from the perspective of the altar facing the practitioner. All that matters is that you are comfortable with the arrangement and it has meaning for you.
objects used in magic should be cleansed and consecrated to that purpose. To prepare your athame, wand, cup, cauldron, pentacle, and other tools for magical work, pass each item through the Elementals, calling upon that Elemental to cleanse it of extraneous energies and charge it with the power of that Elemental (see Appendix C for a Tool Consecration Ritual). The tool is sprinkled with salt, passed through incense smoke, passed through candle flame, and sprinkled with blessed water. Inscribing the tool with magical signs and runes (or other such symbols), including your Craft (not Working) name, helps to align the energies to you and your purposes. You state the action you take to make the bonding complete:
the names of the Goddess and the God, (names), I consecrate this (name of item) to be used in my practice of the Craft. I charge this by Elemental Earth (touch the item to the pentacle or sprinkle with salt), by Elemental Air (pass through smoke), by Elemental Fire (pass through candle flame), and by Elemental Water (sprinkle with blessed water). This tool is now by powers bound to aid me in my work. So Mote It Be!
charging crystals, also hold the crystal to the center of your brow, above and between your eyes (Third Eyesite of psychic power), and visualize the purpose you want this crystal to have. Some crystals are used for divination, some for balancing energies, and others for enhancing and transmitting specific types of energies. In candle magics in particular, you will want to smooth an appropriate oil (Appendix A) over the object so that the associated energy of that oil will further prepare the item for use in a spell.
spell work is also encouraged by making use of timing and astrological information. Moon phases are the major influence for Witches, with the Waxing Moon promoting growth and new projects, the Full Moon bringing plans to fruition, offering healing and empowerment, the Waning Moon helping with spells that cleanse, release, or banish energies, and the Dark or New Moon bringing aid to meditations and divinations. Besides these, there are astrological influences that can be useful in choosing the timing of spell work. Each astrological body has certain attributes in magical practice, and there are planetary associations for each day of the week. By selecting a day under a particular planetary influence, you gain that planetary assistance in the raising and focusing of energies. Hours of each day, separated into twelve-hour segments after sunrise and twelve after sunset, also have planetary associations that can be drawn into the spell working. Even the weather may play a role if you add in the explosive power of storms, the gentle cleansing of soft rainfall, the coolness of winter, the heat of summer, or the calm energies of a placid day. Comets and meteor showers can be sources of energy flow as well, and may be invoked to give some spells an extra boost.
you are doing in the construction of spells is making selections from your lists of correspondences, combining ingredients much as a chef creating a new culinary delight. You work with what is available, choosing substitutions as needed, and so you should always have more than one ingredient for a particular effect. Your lists include colors, herbal associations, incenses, oils, hours, days of the week, and runic or other symbols. After you review the available resources, you can draft your spell and ritual. Using the correspondences, the timing, and the goal you seek to achieve, you can now construct the words, the gestures, and magical associations you want to evoke.
ahead keeps things moving in the right direction. Once you raise energy, unless you focus and direct it quickly, it will start to dissipate or wander about your circle. Then you will either have to clear the circle and start over, or expect lesser results. So know in advance what you will do, what you will say, and how you will utilize the energy raised. I find it quite annoying when energy has been successfully raised by a group, then is allowed to weaken or dissipate because the leader did not know when to release that energy to fulfill the task assigned. While some people might not notice the drifting of the energy, others certainly will, so, especially in group settings, do keep your focus and remember that you are working with something that becomes tangible and may need to be released sooner than your ritual had proscribeddo not drone on simply because you wrote a pretty speech.
can place a spell within the context of an Esbat or draft a ritual specifically for the spell. In the case of the former, the spell work comes before the Cakes and Wine (or Simple Feast). I do not recommend doing spell work during a Sabbat as this event focuses energy on connection with the Divine during a celebration of a solar phase that marks a point in the calendar relating it to symbolic myths of the Goddess and the God. Unless the moon is in a special phase or other circumstances are present, Sabbats are holy days of observance on the Wheel of the Year, with energy devoted to invocations to the Divine directed more toward connectedness, community, and global welfare.
do not require a lot of ritual, but can be conducted in a very straightforward manner. Casting the circle and moving right into the spell work is acceptable, and in a rush, even the circle need not be cast. You have to make the determination as to what you need to conduct a spellthat is what makes magic a craft, an art. and the best way to learn is through practice.
you draft your spells and rituals, be as thorough as possible. Have all your tools and ingredients laid out, the altar arranged, the candles and incense lit, and perhaps notecards with your spell in steps. Think about the Elemental influences you want to use, and the Deity aspects you want to invoke. Do you need the assistance of the Goddess as Crone, Mother, or Maiden? The Great Goddess? The Sun God, the Horned Hunter, or the Lord of Shadows? Again, this takes us back to associations. All the portions of the spell should match and correlate, so that from start to finish, you are consistent in the energies raised and utilized.
basic components of a spell ritual include determining the timing of the spell, outlining the ritual and preparing the tools and materials, but also preparing yourself and the work area or sacred spacethe circle. By bathing with sea or mineral salt and a sachet of herbs you have selected for their affinity to the spell you are planning, you cleanse yourself of daily stress and alert your senses to a new awareness. This is the initial stage of reaching an altered state through which you are able to work with magical energies. Now is a good time to ground and center, drawing up into yourself the Earth energies you will need. You then sweep your sacred space with a besom (a broom used only for the circle and magical work):
I sweep, may the besom chase away all negative and chaotic energies within this circle that it be cleansed and made ready for my work.
the circle comes next, then you invoke the Divine, perform the ritual observance, raise and direct energy, ground the residual power, take some refreshment, acknowledge the Divine, farewell the Elementals and open the circle, putting away your tools and disposing of spell materials. You may want to disperse a spell into a breeze, bury the remnants in the soil, or release the residue into flowing water. Normally you will not be re-using the candle, so after the spell is completed this will be disposed of as well. Crystals can be cleansed in cold running water and set on a bed of amethyst (most rock shops have these) or overnight in a bowl with sea salt. Other tools may be simply cleaned and passed through the symbols of the Elementals once more before storing.
the working, the energy will flow through you and through the natural ingredients. You weave together your own energy with that of the Earth, the herbs, the Elementals, and the Divine to create a magical event. When the spell is finished, you visualize it as completed, not as in process unless you plan to repeat the spell periodically, as when you draw something to you over a period of several days. Here is where your skill in visualizing is needed. If you cannot see the effect of the spell in your mind, then you need to practice more on visualizing.
are a number of good visualization exercises, including imagining every detail, aroma, texture, sound, and sensation of peeling and eating a fruit (such as an orange or apple), walking in a wood, swimming in the ocean, riding a bicycle, or driving a car. To practice, select an exercise, then imagine the process step by step. You will go back and add to the sensations until you have a completed visualization. With the bicycle one, did you straighten the pedal with your toe before pushing against it to start your ride? Does the chain clank against the chain guard? Are there creases in the rubber handlebar covers? Are there stiff plastic streamers of red and white coming out the ends of the rubber covers? Is the seat broad or narrow? Is this a mountain bike or an old blue Murray with twenty-four-inch wheels? The latter was my favorite childhood bike. Feel the sweat in your hands on the handlebars? Is the rubber worn thin on the ends so you can feel the metal tubing against your palms? Is the road dirt with pebbles or smooth dust? Are you on a paved bike path? Are you bouncing over rocks and jumping logs in the woods? Is it hot and sunny around you or cool and damp? Is the pavement wet and sending up splashes of water from the tires? What does the air smell like? Is there a scent of flowers or willow? Or is there a metallic odor about as you pedal past a railroad yard? Are birds chirping or are there noises of industrial sites or automobiles around you? Think about all the minute details as you proceed through a visualization exercise. Then apply this technique to your magic to make it real and comprehensible.
ýhe clearer your vision of your magical goal is obtained, the more likely your success will be. All magic begins in the mind, and all that we know must first be defined by the mind to be known. This concept forms the basis for perceiving our reality, and it is also why we need to know clearly what we are trying to accomplish in performing magic. Until you can define your purpose and your objectives, knowing them as “fact obtained” is impossible. The best you can achieve is a scatter-shot approach, which amounts to a wasted effort garnering unsatisfactory results. By practicing visualizing detailed scenes, objects, or experiences, you develop that ability, and it is vital to the practice of magic.