What is magic and how do you do it?

Candle on WhiteWicca

Magic is a much misused word and covers such a wide range of concepts that weíll cover some of them here.

The sort of magic we talk about here is not the sort of thing stage conjurers perform – that is sleight of hand – a clever trick that deceives the eye.

There are two fairly well defined types of magic, ritual magic and folk magic:

Folk magic includes such things as candle magic, placket magic, colour magic and poppets.

Ritual magic is the use of magic within a sacred space as part of the ritual. It is something that takes a great deal of discipline and training as it is exercising influence over the environment through psychological transformation and, used well, aids spiritual growth. This magic is linked to the greater cycles of the God and Goddess, and their energies used to power the process of inner understanding and both external and internal transformation.

It’s not my intention to talk about Ritual magic here – if this is something you want to do, the first steps are to train your mind (and body) in certain disciplines such as meditation, visualisation and directing energy. Rather we will talk about some of the folk magic techniques that anybody can perform for themselves, this is called spellworking.

But first a WARNING that you should take heed of: Magic should never be used to change what people would ordinarily do or be used to make them act in a way that they would not do given free will, nor should it be used to get something at the expense of another. Two classic examples: if you are looking for a new job and do a spell for this, make sure you donít do it at the expense of someone else’s employment; if you know someone who you would really like to have a relationship with, but they are not inclined, you might make it happen for a bit by spellworking, but it will end in tears, because you will be making them go against their free will and natural inclination, so save yourself the heartache and do a spell for the “right person” to come into your life! It’s worth ending any spellworking with something like “may the energy of this magic harm none and take a path that is for the good of all involved.” Remember, what you send out will come back to you threefold.

There are some techniques that are common to folk and ritual magic that must be used for spellworking and you can find information on the Meditation page and the Visualisation page.

Once you have mastered meditation and visualisation, the next step is to learn to direct energy.

Directing Energy
This is the ability to take your own energy (and that of any equipment and materials you are using) and direct it towards your objective.

When you charge an object such as a poppet or placket, that energy is initially coming from you. To do it just visualise a white light within yourself, although it can be the colour that corresponds to your objective, forming within yourself centred at your solar plexus. Let the light grow and expand, then direct it up through your body, down your arm, out your fingertips (or through your athame or wand) and into whatever you are charging. Whilst you direct the light and energy, you should visualising your objective as clearly and specifically as you can.

There are some simple spells on the spell page that you may use or adapt to suit your need. Whenever you work a spell you can use the table of intentions for ideas and suggestions of materials to use – the table is not definitive and is only there to provide suggestions. What works for one person may not work for another, so choose what feels right for you and your intent.

Remember to write down any spells that you do. It will give you the opportunity to see how well they worked and give you an objective record of what you asked for.

If you have, or plan to start, a Book of Shadows you can keep your spells in here. With the spells written down, you can keep track of what works and what doesn’t and you can also monitor what you are doing while you’re doing it.

Useful reading about magic:

A Witches’ Bible by Janet and Stewart Farrar
Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual by Eliphas Levi
Magic and the Magician: Training and Work by W.E. Butler
Practical Greek Magic: A Complete Manual by Murry Hope