Apple & Root
Apples & Roots-they are common enough items and yet they have a great deal of magic, mythic, and folkloric value assigned to them-for healing, hexing, blessing, and all manner of ritual & religious uses.
That is the idea behind this blog-to fuse the everyday and seemingly ordinary life with the strong currents of your soul-work, spirituality, and magic. We will talk about religion, ritual, magic, divination-and how these mythic arts feed and inspire our lives and how our lives as a result grow richer, deeper, and more purpose flled.
The Energetics of Magic Part Two: Frequently Asked Questions about Spell work ANSWERED!
As promised in last month’s post-this month I have set out to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about magic and spell work. Whether you are a professional magical worker, a talented amateur, a novice, adept, or someone who just wants to understand how magic actually works-once you start working with rituals and spells these are the questions that consistently come up.
A helpful analogy:
When I am talking with a client about what kind of spell work might be best for their situation we look at the various services I offer and I am almost always met with the following question…”what is the strongest spell you have?” This is problematic for many reasons, the most fundamental of which is that every person and every situation is different. Assessing and responding to those nuanced differences is where much of the art of magic comes into play. But, when due to time I cannot launch into a philosophical conversation with my lovely client, I use the analogy of physical exercise. When you go to a gym or decide to take on an exercise routine in order to achieve a specific result you do not choose what exercises to do, how many reps, or how much weight you will be managing until you first determine what your fitness goal is. If you want to lose weight then you know you have to do cardio work along with possibly modifying your diet. If you want to bulk up your muscle mass you are looking at weight bearing exercises, a desire for more flexibility may lead one to dance or yoga classes. So it is with magic. In some cases a situation is really quite but it may require an energetic push with something like a devotional candle or quick incantation. In other cases there is longterm work to be done and elaborate ritual work performed at the altar and in sacred space is required. Sometimes an act like ritual bathing needs to be repeated every month and sometimes its best if the person wears a physical charm on their body. In other cases a petition, written from the heart and then burned into ash does the trick. We will carry the analogy between magic and exercise with us as we examine the most popular questions concerning spell work…
What is the best/strongest spell?
The easiest answer to this question is also the most obvious-the strongest spell or ritual working is the one that works! Tongue in cheekiness aside, when this question comes up for you or a client I recommend you consider the following things:
—The ultimate goal which the work is aiming to achieve
—The nature of the person doing the work-(are they willing to do long term work if its just a little something each day or do they respond more to a dramatic ritual?)
—The difficulty of the target (is the person or situation that the magic is aiming to effect an “easy” target or are they more difficult?)
Remember our exercise analogy-a person who wants to lose weight does not binge on protein shakes and weightlifting anymore than a person who wishes to bulk up their muscle mass takes a jazzercise class.
How long will it take before my spell goes into effect?
This is a big question that comes up usually before the ritual work is even finished. While there are rules of thumb out there from various traditions (3 days/3 weeks/3 months, 40 days and 40 nights, one full turn of the moon) the answer depends on what type of work has been undertaken and how difficult of a situation the work seeks to address. A honey jar for a successful victory in court may not fully manifest until 6 months from when it was started-and when the trial is finally determined by judge, jury, or mediator. A small candle working might go into immediate effect if it seeks to move something ever so slightly. In some cases spell work is undertaken with the understanding that it may never end-consider the trick of sprinkling sassafras in your wallet so that your dollar stretches-that’s something that can be done forever! Because time lines for magic are nebulous at best its important for you (if you are working on your own behalf) or your client (if you are doing magic on behalf of someone else) to set a timeframe before spell work is started. In some cases the time frame is a given-a court date for December 26th or a two week deadline for college applications give a clear timeframe. In other cases though the work could continue on and on cycling back on itself-until the client (or you) decides that enough is enough. Set a time frame in advance-and then allow the magic time & space to do its thing.
How will I know the spell is working?
I am always surprised by this question because the answer seems so clear. You will know your spell is working when you see signs, movement, and of course the final desired result. When I work with clients who are accustomed to having spell work professionally done on their behalf they often have their own ways to assess whether the work is effective or not—they may ask to see a specific sign within so many days of the work’s completion, they may dream true about the results, they may simply know with that bone deep knowing that the spell is or is not effective long before they see results or a lack thereof. Of course, there are also the cases in which its harder to know if the spell is effective or not-in these situations we may get mixed signals from the targeted person or situation. Look for CLEAR signs that point to the effectiveness of the work but most importantly, look for positive movement that indicates the work is going in your direction or movement that indicates its not panning out the way you hoped. If you start getting a feeling that the work is just not going in the direction you wanted it to seek out a reader that you trust and get their point of view on the situation, then approach it from a different angle.
Could the spell work fail?
My personal belief based on empirical knowledge is that yes, spell work and ritual work can fail. I have seen workings that were thoughtfully done, well performed, and beautifully presented raise absolutely no energy or magic. Most often when a ritual does not take effect I find it has to do with one of two reasons: the practitioner (or in some cases the person who has requested the work) is not as clear on their intention and purpose as they need to be and/or the answer for the desire at this point in time is simply “no.”
How often do I need to repeat this work?
In many cases spell work and rituals are addressing issues that are part of our daily life-jobs, family ties, marriage and partnerships, children, academic success, protection and cleansing-these are themes that we as magically minded people return to again and again. Thus the question of ongoing magical maintenance is one that I have not seen that much written about and I hope to see (and write) more-but again I’ll point us in the direction of the gym analogy. If you join a gym to lose 20 lbs and you do it then usually you are done-you may enjoy the feeling you have after exercising or the way your body has taken on new tone and muscle, and continue, but you have achieved your specific desired result. However, if you exercise because you want to increase your flexibility (for instance) then chances are you will continue going to yoga or dance for many years. So it is with magic. Small tricks, every day blessings, and a devotional candle or two may find their way into your magical repertoire on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. As with all of our other questions the “how often should I repeat” is best answered by you or your client-get clear on your goals and desires and the magic will follow and flow.
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