Yellow Dock Ointment
4 parts Rosemary 2 parts Rose petals
1 part Anise 1 part Fern 1 part Myrtle
Make with shortening.
For preserving or re-attaining youth, stand nude before a full-length mirror at sunrise
and lightly anoint your body, visualizing yourself as you would like to be.
The best time to carry out spells and rituals
If a need is urgent then you can work at anytime and picture the full moon or rising dawn whose energies you need, even at a different time of the month or at darkest midnight.
Sometimes the nature of the ritual will dictate the timing. For example, a new beginning spell can be launched on any new date; the first day of the month, the first day of the year, any Sunday the first day of the week, the first hour after dawn or at the crescent moon when it first appears in the sky. Best of all is the first hour after dawn on a Sunday, which is ruled by the Sun, and so offers a double dose of power for that new beginning.
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.
Preparations To Do Spellcrafting
You need to get yourself and the area or altar ready for the spell.
Clear the space you intend to use either psychically or physically. This could involve lighting cleansing incense like pine or lemongrass or having a quick smudge round the room or outdoor area where you will be working. For a more formal ceremony, sweep and asperge the area.
Use a compass to ascertain the four directions or calculate these from known places.
Set up any psychic protection that is required around the area you will be working in. You can concentrate this protection around the edges of what will be your magick circle, whether this is positioned in your mind or symbolized by the candles of the four main archangels or angels of nature. In these positions they could act as the guardians of the four quarters instead of the nature devas.
However, if you have more time available, you may prefer to set up a protective square to act as psychic boundary within which to cast your circle. You could also position your archangels at the edges of your garden or working area, or empower four large marker trees, bushes or stones. You should thank them and bid them farewell once the circle has been uncast.
If you are creating an external physical circle made, for example of branches, stones or shells this is a good time to set it up, with the help of anyone who is sharing the occasion. The standard diameter for this circle is 9 foot, although this can be altered if you are working in a confined space alone or if a number of people are attending and you want to move around.
Set up the basic altar and put everything in its place(for a more formal spell you can dedicate the altar now or at the beginning of the rite).
Basically, a bowl of salt goes in the north, incense goes in the east, a candle in the south and a water bowl in the west.
If you are making a sacred salt and water mix, you will be tipping the salt into the water so remember either to save a little in the bowl for the earth empowerment or have some spare salt in a second small dish at the side of the altar that you can use.
If you are incorporating a cakes and ale part into a longer ceremony or spell (a formal dedication of honey cakes and wine, beer or juice to give thanks to the earth mother and sky father for sustenance and all good things in our lives) set the cakes ready on a plate to the north of the altar. The drink will be put in a goblet or chalice (ceramic, glass or metal) to the west of the altar. Since this won’t be part of everyday spell casting.
As this is natural magick you should aim for organic products, barley wine or beer or organic juice and organic cakes with honey. You may well not have the time to make your own.
If you are having a garden ceremony, you can have a bath beforehand in water to which you have added rose or lavender oil, and put on something comfortable. If you are holding your ceremony on a windy beach, thick sweaters and jeans may be the order of the day. However, you can still cleanse yourself psychically. Anoint your hairline, center of your brow, throat and both wrists with one of your special waters to open your higher chakras or energy centers. Or use an essential oil in lotus, lavender or rose. Mix and match and cut out any stages that don’t fit a particular occasion. For example. You’ll only have the cakes and ale on special occasions and sometimes you’ll want just a simple circle cast while following only the basic spell casting steps.
Amplifying The Power of Your Words In Magick
A funerary spell from a Middle Kingdom sarcophagus (coffin) may be found in a corner of Cairo Museum, a museum where it is said to take many months to see every exhibit. Here is a rough translation of the spell. By reciting the words you absorb magical powers into yourself, or in more modern terms awaken your own inner higher spiritual and magical mind power.
To become the God Heka
I am Heka, the one who was made by the Lord of All before anything, the son of he who gave form to the universe. I am the protector of what the Lord of All had ordained to be.
Reciting this in your mind can be a good way to empower yourself at those times when you are scared or anxious or the odds are totally against you – or to open a spell or ritual when you have a particularly important issue to tackle. In this way you can assume the power of a specific deity of nature and channel this into your spell casting and indeed everyday life.
For example, the Celtic Epona, the white horse mother Goddess who was worshipped even by the Romans, is wonderful for women traveling alone as well as for evoking fertility.
In coven work the High Priestess, sometimes assisted by the High Priest, draws the power of the Goddess within herself for the duration of the rite.
If you work alone, you can ask for specific deity powers to strengthen you for particular ventures.
This is not blasphemous or presumptuous. You are using the inner divine spark we all possess and plugging into an amplified version of that power, as contained with the archetype of ideal of a particular divinity. It is only if you still think you are Isis, who can stop the sun, while you are in the supermarket queue that you need a bit more earthly input to your life and maybe a short break from magick.
The Preliminaries to Cast a Spell or Setting up a Ritual
As when organizing a party, it is important to spend a little time planning your spell casting. Think about the precise purpose of the spell, the best time, most appropriate setting and for whom the spell is being cast. For a ritual you need to consider the underlying as well as the obvious focus of the ritual Do you need to change the emphasis of a tried and tested format? Even a seasonal rite will have a theme, for example the May eve/Day celebrations have traditionally been associated with fertility. This fertility applies in whatever way it is needed, whether personally, ecologically or globally. Therefore you and the guests or participant should decide in advance precisely what you are working towards and carry out rituals to take advantage of the prevailing energies.
Location is important even for a quickie spell. You wouldn’t set a child’s birthday party in the same place you would your great-aunt’s golden wedding. With open air spells or rituals you need a wet weather or sheltered location plan just in case a force 8 gale blows up. Some spells can be planned in advance for a day out or weekend away, but others will be spontaneous, when you happen to come across a perfect location while on your way to somewhere else. There are also urgent occasions when you will have to imagine that crashing sea while stood by the local canal at lunchtime. The timing of a spell is also vital.
Before you cast the spell you also need to decide how long you want the effects of the spell to last and how quickly you need results. Do you want an immediate infusion of power within the 24 hours following the spell? Will the effects take longer–before the next full moon, within three months? You should build this time frame into the spell and declare it in the purpose of the spell.
Should it be a single spell or one carried out, for example, every Friday for a month or on the three days before the fulll moon in order to build up the powers?
Then you need to decide on the symbol or symbols that will act as the focus for the spell energies (you can’t dance and chant round a would-be lover in the office).
Do you need to emphasize any one element in the spell? Is the spell mainly fire based for power or is there a fairly evenly spread elemental mix, for example to resolve a long-term justice or court matter.
You need to think about any special props, magickal tools or substances that are required. After all, you wouldn’t use the same chine or serve the same food at your teenager’s post-exam party as you would if the boss was coming to dinner. Do you want a full altar or will it be mainly a word- or personal-movement-based spell? If on a beach or in the woods, can you use what you find there as tools and symbols?
Finally, who are you inviting to your spell or rite? The friend who has lost the animal you are casting the spell for? Your sister to help you with a love spell? Are you organizing a welcome-into-the-world party for your family, to celebrate the birth of a baby to a family member who lives in another country? Are you entrusted with the organization of your magick group or coven’s autumn thanksgiving?
If you work alone, as many witches including myself do most of the time, you’re still not a magickal Billy or Betty No Mates. You won’t be short of spiritual company. You can welcome the guardians of the four quarters even in a relatively simple spell; invite the wise ancestors to celebrations such as Samhain or Hallowe’en or New Year.
As for the nature essences, whenever you work outdoors or even indoors in a circle of pot plants (my favorite setting on a really foul day) they will be curious. So invite them in and benefit from their energies.
The Power of Words in Spellcasting
We already know, words have the power to heal, to express love, to praise and to comfort and negatively to hurt or criticize.
In magick, words spoke deliberately and rhythmically are one of the most significant ways to build the energies in a spell.
In Ancient Egyptian magick, the basis for modern magick, one of the major creation myths tells how Ptah the creator God, thought the world in his mind and then created it by speaking magical words or hekau. The generative power he used was called Heka, which is also the name of the God of magick. This power is equivalent to the concentrated life force. In some versions of the myth it is Heka himself who speaks the words that give form to the thoughts of Ptah.
The Ancient Egyptians believed that this creation power animated every spell as it did at the first creation. So to the Ancient Egyptians ever act of magick was a recreation of that first act of world creation, using words to bring thoughts into actuality.