"Those who would practice magic must be scrupulously honest in their personal lives. In one sense, magic works on the principle that 'it is so because I say it is so.' For words to take on such force, you must be deeply and completely convinced that it is identified with truth as you know it. To a person who practices honesty and keeps commitments, 'As I will, so mote it be' is not just a pretty phrase; it is a statement of fact. - Starhawk, The Spiral Dance
The knowledge of how to do magic is a gift revealed to us by the gods when we take the trouble to get to know them and honor them. Doing magic is much more than following a "spell" recipe in a book. Spell books do exist, but only to provide examples and suggestions. Traditionally trained Wiccans do not depend on spell books for their magic.
Teachers of traditional Wicca are very careful of choosing to whom they teach magic. The teacher is responsible for what happens to the knowledge they provide so they must be absolutely sure of the intentions and ethics of the student. For this reason you will not find traditional Wiccans talking freely to strangers about how to do magic nor do they give out "spells". Traditional Wicca teachers guide qualified students through the process of designing their own spells when the time is right. Please read this page on "Spells" before going further.
We offer here some basic guidelines but caution anyone interested in magic to first develop their relationships with the gods, elements and a good teacher before proceeding.
a. Definitions of Magic:
The art and science of focusing your will and emotions and the powers and forces of the Universe to effect change both in the world around you and the world within you.
b. When we do magic:
We do magic when what we want to accomplish can not be accomplished by other means.
If possible, work magic with the appropriate phase of the Moon as discussed in Lesson 4. In an emergency-know that your heightened emotions and energy will make up the difference if the phase of the Moon is not quite right for the work you need to do.
c. Raising energy:
We all have energy within our bodies which we are constantly using and replenishing. As long as we lead fairly healthy lives and keep a positive outlook we are keeping our energy batteries charged. But what if we need more energy than that which we have stored in our bodies? Where do we get extra energy? What if we find our energy depleted below normal levels either gradually or suddenly? Concentration, chanting, drumming, dancing, etc. are all ways to raise energy.
From where do we raise the energy? In Wicca we believe the energy is found in nature: in the elementals in the Earth, Moon, Sun and within the gods and goddesses. We also believe that it is essential to develop a good relationship with the gods, the elementals and nature in order to learn how this energy works.
d. Energy passing exercises:
Some group exericses include: sticky hands; passing objects; passing energy; chanting.
e. Grounding energy:
Failure to ground excess energy can lead to disorientation or a headache which can be severe (We have seen it happen). Squat or kneel and place palms flat on the ground or floor and allow the energy to drain down into the Earth.
f. Ethics and magic:
"An it harm none do what thou will".
In Wicca we use magic only to heal and help, never to manipulate or harm.
A good way to determine if your plan is ok is to list pros and cons on a sheet of paper. It is also recommended that you do some type of divination to determine the outcome of your magic. All angles and outcomes must be considered.
2. Five Rules of Ethical Spell-Working (from Spells and How They Work - by Janet & Stewart Farrar)
Never work to harm anyone.
Never work to manipulate anyone against his or her own will or natural development.
Never assume you know all the factors involved in the situation or person you are working on.
Never work for your own gain at someone else's expense.
Word your spell precisely and carefully, to leave no loopholes which may result in your inadvertently breaking Rules 1 to 4.
3. Creating Spells
Formulate: Decide through careful thought, divination, and/or group discussion:
a. Does this spell need to be done?
b. What is the best type of spell for this situation?
c. What materials if any are needed?
d. Is a chant or rhyme appropriate?
e. Will it cause harm?
Prepare your working space:
a. Cast complete circle including sweeping, calling Elements, etc.; or
b. Center, ground, cast circle around yourself mentally
Ask for assistance of the God, the Goddess and the Elements
a. By chanting,
b. Dancing, or
c. Whatever else works.
Send the energy.
Ground leftover energy.
Thank the God, the Goddess and the Elements.
Close the circle.
4. Rites of passage:
a. What constitutes a rite of passage:
"A rite of passage enables us to integrate the art of noticing into each day's experience. . . All moments of your individual experience may be perceived as moments of growth and initiation. Any moment you choose may be marked with a rite of passage." (From Celebrating Life - Rites of Passage for All Ages by Tizpora Klein).
b. How we can celebrate rites of passage:
Rites of passage can be commemorated alone or with friends. The ritual can be simple with few props, or as elaborate as you choose. The following is a list of a few of the events which can be considered rites of passage:
Conception Birth Dedication to the Gods
Initiation Menopause Becoming Grandparents
Death Retirement Miscarriage
Wiccaning First Solid Food First House or Apartment
First Steps First Day of School Abortion
Puberty Driver's or Pilot's License Handfasting (marriage)
Graduation First Union First Visit to a new Country
First Job Betrothal (engagement)
5. Paths of Power
There are so many things to learn and skills to develop in the Craft. We find it easier to concentrate on different skills at appropriate times on the Wheel of the Year. This does not mean you can not practice divination in the summer, or raise herbs in the winter (especially here in South Florida) The Paths of Power give you a defined space of time in which to concentrate (and perhaps make a vow) to improve yourself in a particular area.
Meditation and Trance (between Samhain and Yule):
This is a good time to make a point of meditating every day even you can not manage it year round. It is a time for looking inward and evaluating what has happened during the past year. It is a time for determining what in your life needs changing.
Divination (between Yule and Imbolc):
Pick one or two types of divination to study in depth. Use your divinatory skills to examine how best to change those things in your life which need changing that you discovered through meditation. Traditionally, this was a time for divining when planting time would occur so everything could be made ready.
Astral Projection (between Imbolc and Ostara):
This is a time when we may be restless and anxious for the spring, for travel (a migratory instinct perhaps?) or just something new. Take some time to visit and work on your astral temple. Explore and discover new areas. If you have no place for an actual garden you can plant one in your astral temple. Try doing a complete ritual in your astral temple.
Herbology (between Ostara and Beltaine):
If you saved seeds from your previous crop of herbs this is the time for sorting them out and planning your herb garden. If you have never grown herbs before choose three to study in depth and grow if possible. Learn about the medicinal and magical purposes of herbs.
Love (between Beltaine and Litha):
"Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty". How many ways are there to show love? Think about doing some volunteer work in your community. Take a fresh look at all the relationships in your life.
Music and Dance (between Litha and Lammas):
Have fun. Traditionally, this time between planting and harvest would have allowed for a some leisure activity, and any work in the fields was sometimes accompanied by singing.
Ritual (between Lammas and Mabon):
This is harvest time, a time for celebrating. Practice your ritual techniques and work on developing your own traditional rituals.
Psychic Development (between Mabon and Samhain):
The veil between the worlds grows thinner and we can feel our psychic awareness growing stronger. Test your ESP and practice psychic other development techniques (there are many books written on how to develop your psychic abilities).
Review all of the class material for a quiz next week. Be familiar with the Elemental Correspondences in order to fully participate.