After the question I received from a reader this week about how to perform magic without the use of candles I got to thinking about some of the ways in which I choose to cast spells and how some of the less traditional ideas can be just as effective as the established tried and tested candle magic. I’m always very firmly of the mind that the success of the individual witch lies in her ability to listen to what instinct tells her is right. Yes there is a lot to be said for tradition - both personal family history and the methods of witches documented throughout the centuries in various Grimoires and writings - but all the tradition in the world can’t replace (in my view at least) that gut feeling when you just instinctively know how a working should be performed.
So what I’d like to do with the blog this week is to talk about a couple of my less traditional practices and some of the individual techniques I employ in my own magic.
One of the ways in which I work that always feels very natural to me but gets the odd raised eyebrow from other witches is my use of the principle of shaking to activate. I’m very keen on making spells in jars, usually involving a poppet or a taglock of a person inside submerged in relevant herbs and oils. Most often I use this spell for peace and calming when a person is undergoing a stressful situation. I stick the essence of a person in the jar and tell them to shake it whenever they need a little extra oomph from the spell. I like this method because I enjoy the idea of the person for whom I am casting having some element of contributing to the spell. By shaking it they are not so much “activating” as infusing with their own energy and the blend of my working and their energy can be a powerful combination that usually managed to achieve the desired effect.
But the principle behind shake to activate is a simple one – it is the idea that a spell is not a single cast in a moment of time. In my view a spell is an ongoing commitment that can be nurtured, changed and encouraged to evolve over a period of time. Many of the spells I undertake are not designed to be one off affairs but long term workings that grow in potency as new efforts are applied on a regular basis. It is interesting to me how many witches overlook the idea of long term workings – I can honestly say that some of my best work has been the result of slowly building a spell over a period of weeks.
In keeping with the idea of slow building spells, one of my preferred methods of casting is to utilise natural methods of slow release to activate the spell over a period of time. Again this can be more effective than a solitary quick blast of energy applied and then abandoned. Let’s say as an example that I intended to perform a spell to increase my personal finances – this to me would be an ideal working for a slow release spell. Were I to perform this as a one off I might be able to attract myself a modest amount of money as a single windfall but if I genuinely wanted to see an increase in my personal finances I would need to be in a position where I was receiving this money on a regular basis and encouraging money to flow toward me steadily rather than drop on the doorstep as a one off. What I would be likely to do in such an event is to seal my working in some sort of biodegradable covering (a brown paper bag is ideal) and then bury it in the earth. The slow break down of the spell encourages a consistent and even result and that, enhanced with the elemental nature of Earth (substance and material) would bring about the desired long term results.
I like to look at using different materials with the work that I do and one of the materials that has recently played a big part in my craft is children's plasticine. I find moulding plasticine a far more satisfactory method of making a poppet than the old fashioned needle and thread variety. I particularly enjoy the use of them for hex work when a good theraputic pinch of the plasticine doll can deliver some not so lovely results to the intended recipient. Plasticine poppets are also excellent for manipulation work, literally bending and twisting the individual to yield to your desire. In a pinch blue tak can also make a pretty good substitute..
To some extent I call myself a Traditional witch but to quite a large degree I am actually quite modern in my outlook. I consider myself privileged to live in an age with all sorts of technological conveniences and I don’t understand why some witches insist on limiting themselves to the tools of their ancestors and shunning the advances of the modern world. I will quite happily use the microwave - it makes things explode for goodness sakes and that is very useful for a witch! I use the fridge and freezer to store perishable items, I use a coffee grinder to grind up dried herbs (got that idea from another witch and it works like a charm) I’ve even done spells using the toilet where I’ve written things on toilet paper and used the flush of the toilet as the channelling for the spell. Shunning the advances of our species in favour of an elitist idea of "Traditional" limits a witch’s influence in my opinion and also wastes a lot of her time. It’s also a little hypocritical if she only applies this dogged pursuit of Tradition in her magic life – you don’t see many witches of today shunning the vacumn for the broom in their house cleaning. If we’re happy to evolve in our mundane lives surely it makes sense to evolve in our magical lives as well?
Join the Witch Path Forward Facebook community. (Click the icon).