Casting a Spell or Setting Up A Ritual
In the same way that every party has the same underlying structure, whether it is a party for child’s birthday, having a few friends round for drinks or a formal dance event to raise fund for the local community, your spell casting will follow the same basic format, whether you are casting a short impromptu spell or setting up a more open-ended ritual.
If you work from a basic magickal format, you can devise anything from a five-minute spell to call a friends’ missing cat home to a full-scale welcoming the spring for a hundred people on a local hillside.
What is more, once you have decided how the different components fir together you can change the order round to suit your needs. There is a huge variation in practice across the witchcraft community. Sometimes even experienced witches follow an order or way of doing things they were taught or read about that doesn’t fit with their own natural rhythm. Even if you are doing it right by the book, your magickal energies won’t be as powerful as if you were following the flow of the occasion. So, for more experienced practitioners, I am describing my practices for solo and group events so that you can re-examine your own structure–and then maybe decide it was right for you all along (Or that you are turning the whole ritual format on it head and creating an entirely new and exciting system).
For newcomers or established witch, coven member or solitary practitioner, once you have internalized a structure that suits you, you can create your own spells and rites, complex or simple, instinctively without needing to check that you are on track.
You will discover that some spells do not use the altar but are focused on the setting and everyday items. In these the structure is compressed but still effective. Don’t feel you have to go through all the stages of altar casting, for a simple spell. You can adapt the suggestions to either working alone or in a group.