A few fundamental concepts underlie all magic: One, that thought empowered by emotion and will produces an outcome in the material world; two, that other realms of reality beyond Earth exist, populated by various entities and intelligences; and three, that magic blends your intention with the creative energy of a higher force. Regardless of which path appeals most to you — the formalized rituals of the Golden Dawn, the nature-based spirituality of Wicca, or the otherworldly journeying of shamanism — your magic will be safer and more effective if you follow some basic guidelines.
Magic and Miracles
Both magic and miracles defy the generally accepted laws of nature. They make lies of physical limitations. But that doesn’t mean magic and miracles aren’t natural or real. All it means is that the generally accepted ideas most people hold are too narrow. Newtonian physics postulated that the reality of the material world was distinct and separate from human beings’ perception of it. Today’s quantum physicists are showing that when you look at something, your perception and interaction with that object literally changes it. That’s the view magic takes, too.
People who don’t believe in magic or miracles are less likely to experience them than those who do believe. Even if hardcore skeptics do witness a miracle or magical result, they probably won’t realize it.
The main difference between magic and miracles is that unlike miracles, magic is intentionally and consciously directed. When you do a magic spell, you choose an objective and design your thoughts and actions so as to bring about that objective. Miracles occur as a result of putting yourself in a state of receptivity and allowing a force greater than your conscious mind to produce a result, without predetermining what that result will be or how it will come about. Magic is active; miracles are receptive. In both instances, however, you serve as the conduit through which energy flows. In other words, you’re the catalyst for whatever results.
At some point, your magical practice is bound to entail spiritual guidance. Many practitioners have guides upon whom they call for help, illumination, intervention, and advice. The Freemasons performed their magical work under the watchful eye of the Architect of the Universe. Pagans call upon the assistance of various gods and goddesses when doing spells. Shamans seek the aid and protection of totem animals. Whatever terms you use, and whatever power you choose to believe in, you’ll need to align yourself with forces beyond your consciousness to perform magic.
Spiritual Assistance in Spell-Working
When some people do magic, they think of themselves as a co-creators with Divine Will. They consider Divine Will to be the animating force in the universe. You could call it God, Goddess, Spirit, Creator, or Source if you prefer. No matter how you view it, your job as a magician is to connect with this force, channel it through your mind and body, and shape it with images, words, and movements to bring about the desired outcome.
Magicians often use magic wands and other tools to direct spiritual energy. In many tarot decks, the Magician card depicts a man in a ritual stance, holding his arm above his head with his wand pointed at the heavens. This gesture draws down the divine force, so he can use it to work magic.
You’ll also want to request spiritual protection while you are operating in magical realms. When shamans journey to other worlds, they go in the company of a totem animal guardian, just as a traveler to a foreign country might solicit the knowledge and direction of a native guide. Your spiritual guardian prevents other entities from harming you or interfering with your intentions.
This guide can also serve as a facilitator who helps you achieve your goal in the most expedient and correct manner. At the end of a magic spell, it’s a good idea to turn over your intention to a higher power by saying something like, “This is done in harmony with Divine Will, my own True Will, and for the good to all.” By doing this, you allow the spiritual force — which has a broader vantage point and understands factors you may not be aware of — to effect results in the best possible way.
Contacting Your Spirit Guides
There are many ways to connect with your guides, including meditation, guided imagery, visualization, dreams, relaxation techniques, and even a simple request. In theory, your guide is an entity or personality that accompanies you through your life. Some people call this entity a guardian angel. If you don’t believe in angels, then think of this guide as your higher self, or as an evolved spirit who has your best interests at heart, or even as someone you love who has passed on. A guide may even be the soul of someone you knew in a past life.
Brian Weiss, a Miami psychiatrist and author of Many Lives, Many Masters and several other bestselling books, refers numerous times to the “masters.” He defines them as evolved beings that are no longer in physical form, although they may have been human at one time.
You may wish to place an image — a statue, icon, or painting — in a place where you’ll see it often, to remind you of your guide’s presence and to keep you connected. Some people even tattoo their bodies with an image that reminds them of their guide.
Some people make offerings to their spiritual guardians. Burning incense is a traditional offering among Buddhists. This is a good way to begin a meditative session in which you seek to communicate with your guide. If you have a favorite essential oil that relates to your guardian, you might wish to dab some on your wrists or third eye to awaken your intuition. You can also light different-colored candles to invite your guide to join you.
Your spirit guardian can provide assistance in any situation or problem. Bestselling author and medical intuitive, Caroline Myss, recommends asking, “Why is this happening? How can I best respond to it?” “From this position,” she writes, “you will be receptive to guidance and the clearest level of insight.”
Before you begin a magic spell or ritual, you’ll want to remove any unwanted energies from your person and from the sacred space where you’ll be working. Some magicians take ritual baths before performing magic. Pour a few drops of a cleansing essential oil, such as pine, sandalwood, citrus, or eucalyptus, into your bathwater. If you like, burn candles and play relaxing music. Clearing your mind in this way also enables you to put the cares of the day behind you so they don’t distract your attention.
To clear the area where you’ll perform your spell or ritual, light a sage wand (a bundle of dried sage, tied together) or a stick of sage incense. Waft the fragrant smoke around the space until you feel the air is cleansed of any harmful, disruptive, or unbalanced energies. If other people will participate in the ritual with you, purify them before they enter the sacred space by waving the sage smoke around their bodies (front and back). You might also wish to draw a pentagram with essential oil on each person’s forehead.
You can use a ritual dagger or sword to disperse negative energies, too. Hold your tool parallel to the ground with the point facing out while you walk around the space you are sanctifying. Or sweep the area clean with a broom — not just the floor, but the air as well — as Wiccans sometimes do. Some people ring bells, singing bowls, or chimes to chase away unwanted vibrations.
Casting a Circle
Think of Stonehenge, a great circle of stone megaliths. Or consider the enormous ditch in nearby Avebury, England, that is 1,200 feet in diameter, and the ring of standing stones within it. Stone circles like these dot the landscapes of Britain and Ireland. Circles symbolize both wholeness and protection, which is why magicians usually perform spells and rituals inside the perimeter of a magic circle.
When you cast a circle, you work on several levels simultaneously. At a physical level, you’re defining the boundaries for your magical work, separating it from ordinary space. At a spiritual level, you’re imbuing the space with your personal power and erecting a psychic barrier to keep out any unwanted energies.
In The Spiral Dance, Starhawk describes the circle as “the creation of a sacred space … Power, the subtle force that shapes reality, is raised through chanting or dancing and may be directed through a symbol or visualization. With the raising of the cone of power comes ecstasy, which may then lead to a trance state in which visions are seen and insights gained.”
If you wish, you can draw a circle with flour, sea salt, sticks of burning incense, candles, feathers, flowers, or, of course, stones. But you needn’t use a physical substance to cast a circle; you can simply envision a wall of white light surrounding you instead. You can cast a circle outdoors or inside. The circle should be large enough to accommodate the number of people who will be doing magic inside of it, as well as any objects that will be in the circle and your work area (such as a table, altar, or fire pit).
Bring all the ingredients you’ll need and everyone who’ll participate in the spell or ritual into the area before you cast the circle. Once inside, no one should leave the circle until the spell or ritual is finished. Cast your circle in a clockwise direction, so that when it’s completed you’ll be inside it. Begin at the easternmost point of the space where you’ll be working (use a compass to find this point, if necessary). Move clockwise to the south, then the west, and the north, and finally come back to the east again to close the circle.
You probably manifest things daily and don’t even realize it. Perhaps you simply take these magical happenings for granted, or, as happens in many instances, you don’t notice them at all. But in order to attract what you want consistently, you need to become aware of how manifestation occurs and begin to observe even the smallest things you’re causing to manifest. This requires paying close attention to your thoughts and feelings throughout the day.
Manifestation means making something materialize in the visible world. As you already know, your thoughts are the seeds from which the fruits of your life grow. Everything that happens to you is the result of your thoughts taking form, or manifesting. And as simplistic as it may sound, like attracts like. Positive thoughts and energy tend to attract positive things: smiles from other people, compliments, favors, opportunities, good health, and abundance. Conversely, angry, negative thoughts and emotions lead to unpleasant things: rudeness from others, disappointments and frustrations, losses, even injuries and sickness. Good luck doesn’t just happen; you create it yourself.
Focusing on Your Intention
Confused or unclear thoughts produce muddled, delayed, or unpredictable results. To bring about what you truly want, you need to be able to really focus on your intention. One way to do this is to collect pictures of the outcomes you desire. Place these images where you’ll see them often.
For example, Elizabeth needed a computer but didn’t have the money to buy one, so she cut out a photo of the model she wanted from the manufacturer’s literature and taped it on her desk at home. Shortly thereafter, she got a new job. Her boss, without consulting with her, bought her a computer to use at home — exactly the model she’d been envisioning.
Make your own manifestation book, a loose-leaf binder with pictures of all the things you intend to manifest — a home, a new job, good health. Look through it often to focus your mind on your objectives. Keep updating it as necessary, adding pictures that represent new wishes and removing pictures that depict things you’ve already manifested.
You could also write a list of the things you intend to bring about. Although there’s no limit to how many intentions you can manifest, most people can’t focus their minds on a large number of ideas simultaneously. Therefore, it’s usually best to include no more than ten things at a time on your list. Read through your list first thing in the morning and last thing at night. As soon as you manifest something on your list, remove it and add another wish.
Writing and Burning
Identify your most important objective, the one wish you most want to come true. Write this intention on a piece of paper. Remember to state it as an affirmation, in a positive way and in the present tense (see Chapter 2). After you’ve written it, read your affirmation aloud. Then burn the paper, releasing the thought into the cosmic web. As the smoke rises up to the heavens, ask that your wish be acted upon by Divine Will (or whatever higher force you choose) and brought into manifestation now, in a way that’s for the good of all.
Ideally, you’ll only have to do this once per wish. If you harbor any doubt or don’t feel your power is strong enough, however, you might have to repeat the writing and burning ritual several times before you see measurable results.
Once you do a spell, let it go. Trust that your intentions will manifest at the right time, in the right way. Don’t worry about whether you did everything just right. Don’t keep doing the spell over and over, for this indicates doubt. Don’t get impatient if you don’t see results immediately — some things may take a while. Letting go means getting your ego out of the way and believing with all your heart and mind that the seeds you’ve planted will bear fruit.
The Power of Words
Words produce vibrations that echo through the cosmic web and create effects in the visible world. Words also act as verbal symbols that embody your intentions. Uttering chants, affirmations, and incantations serves two purposes: to focus your mind during spells and rituals, and to project your objectives out into the universe.
Pay attention to any words you speak in connection with “I AM.” Because this statement is imbued with creative power, it has a profound effect on you. Never say things like, “I am stupid” or, “I am afraid” or, “I am incapable of doing something.” Such expressions are likely to manifest the conditions you’ve described.
Magicians use certain words and phrases for special purposes. These words contain secret meanings beyond their obvious, everyday ones. “I AM,” for instance, represents the divine spark, spirit, or life force within you that links you to the creative source of the cosmos. When you say this, you affirm your indestructible and eternal nature and accentuate the divine power within you.
Some magicians prefer to speak words from Sanskrit, Arabic, or other ancient languages. In many of their ceremonies, ritual magicians intone god names taken from the Hebrew language. The vibrations in these sounds produce a physical result known as harmonic resonance, which can be felt on other planes of existence. One of these words, YHVH, is an abbreviation for the word Jehovah and is considered most sacred. The vowels have been removed because the actual name is said to be unspeakable.
Wiccans often greet one another with the words “Merry meet.” Another phrase, “Blessed be,” may be spoken as a welcome, at the end of a ritual, in parting, or any time you want to wish someone well. This simple blessing contains the vibrations of love, and it thus attracts positive energy, dispels harmful vibrations, and confers protection.
Ending a Spell or Ritual
Spells, like books, have a beginning, middle, and end. Properly concluding a spell or ritual is just as important as doing the other parts. These final actions seal your spell, activate it, and allow you to step back into your everyday world. Perform the following before you open the magic circle.
Binding a Spell
The number three represents creativity, form, and manifestation in the three-dimensional world. Therefore, you can end a spell by repeating a statement three times or performing a gesture three times. For instance, you could tie three knots to close a charm bag or pass a talisman through incense smoke three times.
It’s customary to close a spell with a definitive statement. The phrase, “So mote it be,” is often used by Wiccans to bind a spell. If you prefer, you can say “So be it now” or, “So it is done” or, “Amen.” In her book The Spiral Dance, Starhawk offers this closing statement you can use to bind a spell:
By all the power
Of three times three,
This spell bound around
To cause no harm,
Nor return on me.
As I do will,
So mote it be.
To make sure your spell only brings about positive results, say something in conclusion like, “This spell is done for the good of all, harming none.”
When you perform a spell for another person, the vibrations you activate produce a ripple effect throughout the cosmos. Therefore, the energy generated will have an impact on you as well. Magicians believe that whatever you send out will return to you, like a boomerang, but multiplied threefold; thus, you actually receive more than you give.
Gratitude is the final step in doing a spell. Always end every spell by showing gratitude to whomever you see as the source or creative power in the universe. Even before you see results, say thank you. Gratitude has two purposes in magical work. It indicates that you fully believe your intention will be manifested, and it acknowledges the help you receive from forces outside yourself.
An expression of gratitude may be as simple as saying “Thank you” at the close of a spell. Some people like to make an offering of some kind. Others demonstrate gratitude for the help they’ve received by giving help to someone else. How you choose to show your gratitude is less important than the intention behind it. Sincerity is what really matters.