Casting a spell creates an energetic atmosphere that encourages the success of your goal. Whether you acquire a spell written by someone else, or you create your own spell, there are certain steps to bringing about this energetic state.
Step 1. Establish your Intention
Take the time to meditate on your intention to make sure that you are very clear about what you want to accomplish. Write it down as a positive statement as if it is a done deal. Do not use words like “Want, hope or wish.” because you are not casting a spell to make you want, hope, or wish something. You can use something like “It is my will that”. Also, avoid negative words like don’t.
I remove negativity from my home.
I am protecting (target) from harm.
I will get a great deal on a new car this weekend.
I will secure a loan for (whatever).
Your statement could just be the title of your spell or it might be the start of a petition or a sigil.
Step 2. Make a Plan
Once you have your statement of intent, you can begin planning your spell. Remember the goal of a spell is to create an energetic atmosphere that makes your intent more likely to come to pass. The thing that makes it a spell, as opposed to a prayer or an affirmation, is that you are using symbolism to alter your own energy and your Will to send it out into the world (or internalize it, or aim it at another target, or whatever).
To achieve this, you will need a few things:
- To set the mood.
- Symbolic items(physical items, sounds, scents, colors, images), actions and/or visualizations.
- A method of raising energy
- A method of releasing or storing energy
Each of these are covered in more detail in their related steps, but you will need to have them on hand and ready to go. If you cast spells often, you probably already have 1 ready to go and a good idea of what you’re going to do for 3 and 4 but you may need to brainstorm a bit for 2. If you are using a pre-written spell, it may have some symbolic items listed and you should think about these and what purpose they serve in the spell. If they don’t make sense, feel free to replace them with something that does.
To begin planning, write your statement of intention at the top of a page in your Book of Shadows. Brainstorm things that you might want to gather around you to support your energetic efforts. Once you have decided what you need, make sure you have everything on hand. Remember that magic is not an exercise in buying stuff, so feel free to improvise.
If you would like to say a chant or an incantation or perform music based on your spell, you should create it at this time and write it down in your Book of Shadows so that you have it ready to go when the time comes.
Step 3. Preparation
You will begin by pre-preparing your space. Many people have a permanent workspace, often called an altar or sacred space. If you already have an area set up you might be good to go, but you will want to give it a good dusting and arrange any items that live there so that you have a clear work space, free of clutter to allow both you and the energy to move freely.
If you do not have a designated spell space, all you need to do is clean up a space where you can work. You should have a workspace that is at a comfortable height to work at if you are going to be assembling a spell item or preparing herbs. If you will be dancing, there should be space for that, all clutter and dust removed to allow both you and your energy to move freely. You can reuse any room, any surface. You don’t have to be picky about this, as long as it is clean and uncluttered.
Whether you have prepared a space for this spell or have a permanent space you’ve set up. You may wish to do some additional smoke cleansing or wipe it down with infused water.
Next, you will prepare yourself. Many people like to start with a ritual bath to cleanse their energy field of any outside energetic influences. You may also have a special item, jewelry, clothing or makeup. Some like to cover their hair. Some like to be completely naked. You may also want to spend some time meditating or journaling about the spell.
You will also need to prepare your spell items. Many people have special tools they use for magic. You may have rituals associated with cleansing and charging your tools or you may wish to charge your tools each time in preparation for a spell. If you are using candles, you may wish to dress them as well.
If you are using any symbolic items, crystals, herbs, or anything else, you may wish to cleanse and charge them as well. Some people do this, and some don’t. This is entirely up to you.
Step 4. Set the Mood
Setting the mood for spellwork creates an energetic atmosphere that makes your spellwork more effective. This can be something as simple and obvious as lighting a candle and putting on inspiriting music but there are established rituals that many witches use to put them in the mood. They are not all required every time for everybody, but many people find them useful so you should give them a try and see if they work for you.
Many witches cast a circle before any spellwork in order to set the energetic mood of the external magical space. Grounding and centering helps set the internal mood and put your mind and energy in ready mode.
Many people like to start the spell with a sound as well, a bell or a drum beat, and then end with the same sound to signal to the mind that it’s magic time. Lighting and snuffing candles can serve this purpose as well.
Step 5 Focus
You’re in the thick of the spell now.
The important thing is to maintain focus on your goal. Some people simply visualize their goal at this time and perhaps repeat their statement of intent out loud.
You may wish to aid this visualization by dabbing on a fragrance, burning incense or other herbs that correspond to your intent to bring your sense of smell into the focus. For example, if you are doing spellwork before going to purchase a new car, you may wish to hang up one of those car air fresheners, or something with that “new car” smell or maybe even the scent of gas, as long as you don’t find it distractingly unpleasant. Or you may wish to burn a Mercury incense or dab on some Mercury oil, which probably smells a lot nicer than the previous options.
You may also wish to play some music or sound effects that remind you of your goal. There are a million classic rock songs about cars…
If you have gathered items to symbolize your focus, now is the time to begin taking them out. Think about what they symbolize and why you chose them.
For example: If you need a new car, you might have a toy car, a car key, a handful of dirt from the tire of the type of car you want to buy, or a picture of the car you want. You may also wish to choose crystals and herbs that correspond to the planet Mercury, as it corresponds to both travel and commerce.
As part of the focus portion of your spell, you may simply meditate and visualize your goal, as I previously mentioned, but you may also manipulate your items in different ways. You may wish to simply move them around, touch them and interact with them, perhaps arrange them into a pleasing pattern to leave on your altar until the spell manifests. Or you may place these items inside a jar or wrap them in cloth to create a container spell.
Other activities you can do to maintain your focus on the spell include, creating a sigil or other symbolic or artistic representation of your intention, crafting an item to carry or wear as a charm (in the case of a new car spell, perhaps create a keychain fob for your new car) or even cooking something or brewing up a tea or a fragrance oil that embodies your intention, as long as you keep in mind what your purpose is.
Step 6 Raise Energy
Step 6 and Step 5 can often take place at the same time. Step 5, Focusing, flavors the energy, and Step 6 charges it up.
The important thing here is to get a rhythm going. You can clap your hands, sing or play a musical instrument, dance to music, or chant. Noise and movement are great. You can also use pleasurable and painful stimulation. If you are working with a partner, you can stimulate each other, as long as you can still focus on the goal. Many covens dance together. Some groups have drum circles.
Step 7 Release Energy
Once you feel you’ve built up enough energy toward your goal or you’ve raised enough energy as you can, you can release it toward your goal. Depending on how you are doing your spell, this can take many forms.
If you are sending the energy out into the world, you can throw your arms into the air and declare that it is done using whatever words or sounds feel right to you. This will send the energy out into the world in general.
If you are sending the energy into an object, perhaps an item you created during the focus portion of the spell, you can simply place your hands over the object or hold the object in your hands and let the energy flow through your hands into your object.
If you are sending the energy to a person, you can send the energy directly into them, or if they aren’t present, into a representative figure, such as a picture or a poppet, or you can imagine them standing there and send the energy into the image. I also like to gather the energy into a ball and then just kind of “toss” it toward the person.
Step 8 End Your Ritual
If you started with a bell or another sound, or by lighting a candle (or both), ring your bell again and snuff your candle to mark the end of your spell.
If you Cast a Circle, open your Circle.
If you did a Grounding and Centering meditation, you may wish to repeat it now.
Step 9 Return to Reality (Ground)
It is important that you return your energy to a grounded/neutral state after your spell. Otherwise, you might feel spacey, unfocused and have brain fog. Some people report being very tired or having headaches after spellwork. The lack of returning to neutral may be the cause.
The best thing you can do is eat and drink something. Have a tall glass of water and a snack. I am a big fan of a nice, juicy, crunchy apple. It takes over your senses with sweet-tart juiciness and your jaw has to do a bit of mundane work to deal with it. It’s a great way to ground. Cakes and Ale closes many coven rituals for just this reason.
Step 10 Clean Up
After you’ve finished your spell, it’s time to clean up. Move your spell items to a safe place where they won’t be disturbed. If you’ve created a spell object, it is usually best to hide it near the target. If you have items to dispose of, you can usually compost or bury them near the target’s home, if they are safe for the soil. If you have cast a banishing spell, these items may best be disposed of at a crossroads or into running water, flush it down the toilet if it won’t result in a plumbing issue or toss it into the regular garbage to be carried far away to the dump.