A petition is a written statement of intent or desire, ritually created and used as a spell object. While specific methods vary by tradition, generally, the petition is written on a piece of paper, sealed and activated in some way. It may then be used in conjunction with other objects as part of a larger spell, or the act of creating the petition may stand as a spell in itself. While a petition is often addressed to an individual spirit being, such as a God or Saint or a group of spirit beings such as the petitioner’s ancestors, or perhaps the Universe as a whole, petitions can be created without being addressed to anyone at all.
Preparing to Write a Petition
While petitions can be written on any paper one has on hand, there are some traditions and some more modern innovations that may be brought into the work. Hoodoo tradition suggests that the paper should be brown paper and not cut with a blade. Thus, petitions are often written on kraft paper or butcher paper or obtained from plain brown paper grocery bags. They are then carefully torn into the desired shape which is, traditionally, simply a square. Some tradition says that the paper should be torn toward you if you are asking for something to come toward you, and that you should tear it away from you if you are sending something away.
Some witches like to fashion their paper into a shape that they feel is appropriate to the working. A heart shape for love, a square for stability and balance, a circle for unity and abundance, an upward triangle for courage or protection, a downward facing triangle for fertility (symbolism varies by tradition). Likewise, witches may choose to use paper or ink in a color that corresponds to the intention.
Most practitioners will tell you that any pen or pencil can be used to write a petition but some reserve a special pen just for petitions, especially if they use this method often. You may wish to cleanse and charge your pen or pencil and indeed your paper and any other tool you may be using prior to beginning your petition.
Writing the Petition
Some say that a petition should be written without lifting your pen off the page, thus, many witches prefer to write their petition in cursive.
Targeting the Petition
The petition is targetted to identify the person who should receive the final result of the spell. There are a few ways to do this. The target can be identified in the top corner of the petition with the body of the petition written below, like the return address and body of a business letter. Another way is to write the target in the center of the paper and write the body of the petition in a circle around the identifying information.
The identifying information of the target may take various forms. Usually, the name is included and the name is most important. This may be followed by the birth date of the target, though this is not as important as the name. Sometimes just the name and birthdate are written. Often the name is written three times. If the purpose of the spell involves binding two targets together (as in a love spell), one person’s name is written three times on three lines, the paper is given a half sunwise and the next person’s name is written three times over the first person’s name so that the two names are crossed over each other.
Sometimes a taglock is added to a petition as well.
The Body of the Petition
The body of the petition may be written below the targetting information or in a circle around it. The language should be positive in the form of an intention or a statement of Will. It is believed that petition statements will manifest quite literally, so if you write “I wish to meet a handsome man” you will definitely manifest wishing to meet a handsome man. So, a petition statement should say “I Will meet a handsome man” or, if the petition is addressed to a spirit being, it should say “Nameofbeing, please aid me in my quest to meet a handsome man” or somesuch. You can also offer a gift in return once your petition has been granted. For example, many petitions addressed to Saint Jude include a promise to publically publish the petition. You see these occasionally in newspaper classified sections and on Craigslist. Remember that if you do promise something in return, you will have to deliver, so don’t promise anything too crazy. A sacrifice; like a donation or time, money or goods or a demonstration of devotion, such as spending a period of time in meditation and prayer, setting up an altar, or creating a work of art may all be suitable acts of service to offer the Universe or your deity in exchange for granting your request.
Dressing the Petition
Some people like to dress the petition with appropriate oils after it has been written. You may also wish to pass it through incense smoke or sprinkle powders over it, or draw appropriate symbols, sigils, or Vèvè on it. This may be done before or after “sealing” the petition.
Sealing the Petition
Once you are happy with the petition, it is a good idea to read it out loud before sealing it. Some read it once, three times or nine times. Some will open it and re-read it daily until the petition is fulfilled. If the petition is short and sweet, and the best petitions are, you may memorize it and repeat out loud it as it is sealed.
Place the petition on a flat surface and fold it in half. If you are attempting to draw something toward you, fold the petition toward you. If you are attempting to send something away from you, fold the petition away from you. Then, give the petition a quarter-turn (optional) deosil if you are drawing, widdershins if you are sending and fold it once more. Repeat one more time so you have folded the petition a total of three times.
At this time the petition is sealed. You may wish to verbally “seal” it by saying “As I Will so mote it be” or something. Or physically seal it with a bit of wax or tape, if you don’t want to open it up and re-read it later.
Activating the Petition
The petition, now created and charged, may be activated in a number of ways. It can be used as a spell component and added to a larger spell, such as a container spell with other objects and activated as part of the larger spell object.
Or you may wish to use a candle to activate the petition on its own. Simply place the candle on top of the petition (you may dress the candle first if you wish), recite your petition as you light the candle and allow the candle to burn. If you are reciting your petition daily, you may wish to get a sizable candle that you can relight every day as you recite. Otherwise, a small tealight will do.
Some will burn the petition itself. This is especially appropriate for banishing spells.
If your petition is addressed to a specific spirit being, the best place of it is on that being’s altar.
Closing the Petition
Once your petition has been fulfilled, it is important to perform whatever acts of service you have promised in return as soon as possible. Then, the petition may be torn up three times and tossed into the bonfire or buried at the base of a tree, or you can burn it in your candle flame and scatter its ashes over the crossroads.