Sunday, October 3, 2010

Is Sharing Spells/ Ritual effective?- Part One


In the article “When a Spell Becomes a Ritual-Magical Definitions for Pagans and Wiccans,” Elizabeth Yetter, points out the differences between a Ritual and a Spell.

Modern day Wiccan spells are very much like the spells used centuries ago. There are the spoken words, usually a rhyme that states a desire, and there are usually a few props, such as candles and incense. According to Hill and Williams (1965), “[t]he power of the spell derives from the power of words and incantation” (p. 154). For example, a love spell may require the person searching for true love to light a red candle and chant a simple set of words. After the person performs the spell, she is finished. She will not need to cast the spell again.


Rituals, on the other hand, do not rely on the power of incantation alone. Instead, rituals rely on repetition. In the Oxford American Dictionary (1980), ritual is defined as “a procedure regularly followed” (p. 585). By this definition, a simple spell can become a ritual when the same person repeats it for a continuous desired effect. A repetitive procedure can be a group ritual where a coven initiates a new person into their group. The same welcoming ritual will be performed each time a newcomer decides to join the coven. Another form of ritual is casting a circle. Casting a circle is performed each time a practitioner of Wicca performs an act of magic, and is meant to create a magical barrier of protection.
Another dictionary defines a ritual as:

Ritual- according to the Free Dictionary

The prescribed order of a religious ceremony.
b. The body of ceremonies or rites used in a place of worship.
a. The prescribed form of conducting a formal secular ceremony: the ritual of an inauguration.
b. The body of ceremonies used by a fraternal organization.
3. A book of rites or ceremonial forms.

Right, we’ve got the definitions out of the way. Now lets get down to the reasons we seek to perform these spells or rituals.

Rituals in themselves give us a sense of stability. Performing a ritual over and over again inculcates certain ideas and associations in our minds. We begin to feel comfortable that things are going right.
But why do we need to feel this way? Spiritual practice as a whole connects the individual to the wider existence. Whether we work in a group, or on our own, the intention is the same. We like feeling a part of something larger than ourselves. All spiritual paths create this connection. Where witchcraft is concerned, however, our free-will gives us permission to actively do something to change our situation. Once we decide the direction we wish to go, a spell is usually our first option to introduce the change. For some, ritualizing the change assists with the reinforcing of the idea, and keeps the person on track for a longer period of time. This usually happens with deeper inner work which requires a mental shift in the perception of the practioner, nessecary over a longer period of time. We all know that changing an in-built mind programme is not easy.

In order to create the change that we want, our symbols in our work must connect with our inner core. For us to know the symbols that connect deeply, we need to know ourselves. A good place to start is the symbols/associations that we are drawn to most. It is also extremely helpful to know how we learn. This will be dealt with in the next Blog post.

Does the Spell or Ritual correspond to your inner core?

Some basic learning styles are visual, auditory, tactile, and I would like to add olfactory and gustatory. This are of course linked to the five senses, and all senses are required to cement the experience of the spell/ritual. Workers in Magick are all tactile. We want to do the work ourselves, not sit passively by and have it done for us. J In my experience developing a practice for myself, I have come to learn that the most effective spells are those where there is a lot of use of colour and scents. I am a very visual person, drawn to colour (being an artist I guess) and smells have a profound effect on my mental state, and can trigger emotions. As for the auditory part, silence is best for me. I can focus best there. (Some people work best with music). I have not explored the gustatory method effectively, and have only done two spells chanelling energies into food I prepared, the idea being that by ingesting the food I was ingesting the energies which would give me the power to achieve my spell’s goal.

Basic guidelines for each of the learning styles would be:

Visual – Knowledge of colour associations, symbols and understanding of emotions caused by images. Crowley’s Liber 777 is still the best reference for this.
Colour Therapy knowledge helps greatly. And techniques can include drawing the goal, crafting the image through collages etc while planning out the colours and symbols which would be used.

Auditory – Key to this is the understanding of the emotions that musical keys evoke in ourselves. Just like there are visual universal symbols, there are universal emotional reactions to the vibrations of the notes. More information on this can be found at:
Olfactory- This obviously is where the incense comes in. Knowing the associations for each scent is also key. But also remember that if the scent is offensive to you its best to find an alternative. Liber 777 can also help as well as

Gustatory- Deals with the effect that taste has on our emotions. This is addressed in Magickal Cooking. The most comprehensive look at this aspect I have seen has been in the WITCHSCHOOL’s course on Magical cooking. But to culminate a spell with “cakes and ale” associated with your goal has to be exciting to anyone! Of course a knowledge of herbs and their associations help as well.
Additional resources:

The next part of this topic will explore how we can understand our touch stones and open discussion on creating our own rituals.



Mortalez said...

Yes sharing and mixing can help to make spells more stable.

Celtic Crystal said...

True...agree with you there, but the point i'll make in the follow-up to this post is that the inner work must be done for the individual to figure out his/her personal touchstones, those aspects or symbols which speak to their hearts most....and not only to borrow symbols from other's spells......should finish up that soon.

DeadEyes. -_- said...

I'm just happy to look here and learn at all of thing! When my sister and I were little, we were tired of being roman catholic, it seemed to be too hypocritical. So, she read deeply about wicca, and we learnt that is wasn't something HORRIBLE, it was just a worship and appreciation of nature. What can be more beautiful and rewarding than that?