Magic has been worked in the Druid tradition since ancient times. As it is a growing tradition, with new knowledge and techniques influencing it all the time, you can certainly feel free to write up your own spells, using whatever tools you desire, whatever components and whatever technique you feel best suits your practice. Here are some guidelines as to how to go about writing and performing a spell.

First off, intention is everything. You must have a very clear intention of what it is that you wish to achieve. As well, many in the Druid tradition would say that you should only resort to spellcraft if you have tried and exhausted all other, more mundane means. So, if you'd like to bring more abundance into your life, (ie. more money) you can't just expect it to fall into your lap. You will need to look for better paying jobs, or look into other routes of obtaining better pay in return for services. You might look for better investment opportunities, or how to save money each month by recording all transactions and then going over them in detail, to see what you can eliminate. When we are trying hard in the physical world, then we can also add energy from the spiritual and magical realms to our work. If you are unsure as to whether your intention is clear, or whether it needs some work, you can always practice a form of divination, such as the ogham to help you in determining the correct intention and form of address (ie. the spell itself).

Once you have clarified the intention, then it is time to do some research. There are many good books available on European magic and folklore, and these can provide inspiration for you in your own spellcraft. Having studied magic and folklore in my own locality of East Anglia, I feel more in tune with those magical practitioners from the past, as well as the land itself. Immerse yourself in research, in folklore and mythology, and you will most definitely be inspired in your own spellcraft. You do not have to follow old lore to the letter (many of these involve things which would be abhorrent today, like burying a live frog in an anthill in order to collect the "toad bone" to be used in magical workings) but you can see where they were coming from, and adapt the working, if you so desire, to something that is correct for today's day and age. You may like to use ogham or other symbols in your work, and so you will need to know what each means, both academically and in your own mind, for you might have a slightly different interpretation based upon personal experience.

Think about the repercussions of the spell as well. Is it likely to have a negative outcome on anyone in its completion? If so, you will need to determine for yourself the ethics of the situation. Try to envision as many possible outcomes for the spell as you can. You can then word the spell correctly, to ensure that it is ethically sound when it comes to its execution.

Next comes writing the spell itself. It's very useful to actually physically write down the spell, from start to finish, so that you have it set in your mind. Often, when we write things down, we retain them better in our memory. As well, if halfway through the spell you forget what comes next, you can check your writings and carry on.

Then it's time to gather the components, if any, that you will need for the spell. Ensure that you have everything to hand that you will need. You don't want to break your concentration and focus halfway through the work to rummage around your cupboards for the mugwort that you forgot to bring into your ritual space. Make sure you list every component for the spell when you are writing it down.

Then you must determine an auspicious time, if any, to perform your working. Apparently, the ancient Druids were very big on this idea. You might like to perform a certain spell at the full moon, to benefit from the power that can be drawn in ritual and spellcraft. Or you might prefer to work at the dark of the moon, to use those energies which may be more suitable. You might like to check the tides, to find out when the highest and lowest tides are, or check for astronomical and astrological influences. You can even use divination, if you'd like, to find out what the best time for this spell would be. The Celts certainly did; Queen Boudicca herself released a hare before going into battle, to determine whether she would be victorious and have the aid of her goddess, Andraste (whose name means Victory) with her. She did, for a while at least!

Finally, it's time to perform the spell itself. You will need to be uninterrupted, so turn off phones, tell housemates that you are to be left alone, and prepare yourself for the working to come. You might like to meditate beforehand, to clear your mind and ensure that you are working from a clear perspective. You could also sain (smudge) yourself, to "purify" or prepare you for the work (mugwort is ideal). You might also like to channel some energy such as búad or cles energy.

So, broken down, here are the parts in order, that you may want to consider when writing your own spells:

  • Intention - what is the intention of this spell?
  • Divination - do you need to perform a divination to confirm the intention or outcome?
  • Research - take your time in informing yourself, use your wit and intelligence
  • Repercussions - what, if any, negative repercussion may take place as a result?
  • Write down the spell - in your own words, write it down, word for word
  • Gather all spell components - write these down, as part of the spell, so that you can tick them off to ensure that you haven't forgotten anything
  • Determine the timing - the Druids were big on auspicious times, so let that influence you too if you so desire
  • Performing the spell - no distractions, and preparation such as meditation, cleansing or saining and channelling energy are ideal.

Take some time after you have done your spellwork to rest and reflect. Try not to think too much on the work in the coming weeks, but allow the magic and your intention the time to work. Usually you will notice a difference within a moon's cycle, dependent upon the spell that you cast. If you wish, you can boost the power of the spell by visualising the outcome during certain times of the day, adding extra energy to the work but please don't fixate on the outcome all day long. It helps as well to journal your work, so that you know what has been successful, and what hasn't. By recording this, you might try something slightly different, to which you have great results. A small alteration may be all that is needed, such as timing or a certain herb, or your intention. It's hard to remember all these things, so by writing down the spell and its results, you can check on the progress and adapt your future work, if necessary.

Joanna van der Hoeven is a Druid, Witch and a best-selling author. She has been working in Pagan traditions for over 20 years. She is the Director of Druid College UK, helping to re-weave the connection to the land and teaching a modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic religion. She also tutors an online course in Druidry