31.5.13

Magick and Wicca

Magic is the art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with will.
~ Aleister Crowley 
Magic is the projection of natural energies to produce needed effects.
~ Scott Cunningham
We do not affect fate by our magical operations, we affect ourselves; we reinforce those aspects of our nature which are in sympathy with the powers we invoke.
~ Dion Fortune
Magic is making something happen that you want to happen. 
~ Raymond Buckland
The work of magic involves transformation, and the first transformation is the shift of perception. 
~ Marion Weinstein
Magic is the art of effecting change in consciousness at will. 
~ William Butler 

In this post, I will try to define magic/magick and also discuss its uses a bit. When it comes to this topic, many moral questions get involved, although I won't provide answers to all of them so there may be room for you to find answers to them on your own. 

At the very beginning of the post, I listed a couple of "definitions" of magic. Some of the listed names may be familiar to you, and that is because we are dealing with people who have gained somewhat of a reputation in the field of magic, Neopagan spiritual paths and, ultimately, Wicca. The reason why I even wrote these quotes is because I believe that the people who they originate from definitely do a better job in defining magic than I ever could.

I think it's worth noting that Wicca is primarily a spiritual path. That is, magic doesn't come in first place, but we could call it a sort of a little bonus (if you learn how to handle it correctly) :D

A long time ago, I read an interesting statement (paraphrasing): A Wiccan doesn't have to be a witch and a witch doesn't have to be a Wiccan. What we have here is a play of words between Wiccan and witch. A Wiccan is, by definition, someone who is initiated into Wicca, although my personal beliefs are that one doesn't have to be initiated, but rather that it is enough to follow a certain moral code that is a part of Wiccan beliefs as well as agree with some of the aspects of this spiritual path. Witches are usually defines as people who practice magic. I personally know a number of Pagans who don't practice magic at all; not because they don't know how, but because they don't want to. Basically, magic isn't obligatory!

As a student of the English language, my inner linguist is making me emphasize one more thing. In English, you may find the terms magic and magick being used for the same thing, but I believe that they should be differentiated. When we say "magic", we're usually thinking about magic tricks (e.g. card tricks, rabbits in hats, saw tricks...basically what magicians do). As for the word magick, this is actually the Old English spelling and is used in the Craft when talking about controlling/sending energy (please reread the definitions at the beginning to get a more detailed definition of this word). You will see me mixing these terms depending on my mood and how professional I want to sound :) please don't hold that against me :)

"Black" and "White" Magic

I would like to state, at the very beginning, that this categorization doesn't hold water (I would dare to say that it's completely inaccurate, but that's my opinion). Let me explain, the term "white magic" is often used for magic behind which are good intentions, while "black magic" is usually thought to be ill-intentioned. This seems to be quite logical, but it implies all sorts of things. These terms come from the Persian concept of Good and Evil (Ahura Mazda = the sun = light = good and Ahrimanu=the dark=evil). It is logical that one cannot know good without evil or light without darkness because it is precisely these contrasts that make these opposites recognizable. I hope you're following me :) these concepts were later adopted my Mithraism (Mithra = the Indo-European god of the Sun) thanks to which they came to the West and also to Christianity.

When it comes to this topic, I always like to quote "Hamlet" in which you can find the following line: "...for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Magic, in itself, cannot be neither good nor bad. It is our perceptions and intentions that make it so. Therefore, we can say that our intentions may be "black" or "white" (even though not even this is completely accurate), but magic (energy) cannot be neither good nor bad (i.e. white or black). And no, it also cannot be pink or even orange with green spots.

Intention is key here. Intention is what will define the outcome of a magical deed, the strength of your magical rite and also the karmic outcome etc. If you think (or will think) of yourselves as a follower of any Pagan path, I believe that bad intentions are far away from your thoughts, but I still have to mention moral play an important role in magic, but I'll talk about this more later on in the post.

Magic as energy

Magic is, essentially, energy. This is what makes it so mobile and adjustable. Actually, it all depends on you (on your knowledge, ability, physical and mental health etc.). In this section, I would like to talk about your energy. When doing magic, it is important that you have enough energy of your own so you are able to control what you are doing (for this reason, doing magic while you are sick is not recommended). Also, being overweight (but also underweight) can influence your physical health quite badly. What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't neglect your physical body in the process of mental and spiritual growth because they are equally important. This doesn't mean cutting out sweets or fatty foods from your diet or even meat (although nobody can really stop you from being vegetarian if you wish to do so), but you should learn how to balance out your diet so you don't affect your body badly. I, for example, am not a vegetarian because I believe that my organism needs meat, but I don't smoke, I avoid drinking alcohol and unhealthy foods, and I even avoid taking medicine (as in chemically-altered drugs). Physical activity is always a plus! Remember, all of this is needed for a healthy organism, and this is the kind of organism you want to have in your rituals (as well as in life in general). Because of the same reasons, pre-ritual baths are often recommended as well as fasting for 24 hours (i.e. eating only bread, honey and whole-wheat cereal as well as refraining from sexual activity).

You have probably heard this hundreds of times, but your body really is a temple, and you should cherish it. Life a healthy life and you will see that it will pay of both physically and energetically :)

Magic in rituals

Magic really does play an important role in rituals (more on this subject in my earlier post entitled "Ritual Form"). To elaborate, magic (if we're talking about energy) is often used in rituals, for example when opening and closing the ritual circle, when invoking or banishing etc. Another point I have to make when it comes to this topic is that it is recommended to do magical works only inside the consecrated and cleansed ritual circle. Why, you ask? Energy tends to escape very quickly, and the circle helps to direct and keep this energy on the right track (i.e. towards your goal). It helps to send energy for a more quality performance.

Feeling, intention and visualization 

Feeling and intention are the two most important factors in magical works. It is necessary to have a goal, and in doing so, you already have a certain intention in mind. This intention has to stay constant and stable throughout the whole magical work; from the establishment of the essential idea, through the preparations, execution of the plan all the way to the end of the whole performance (and preferably even after this). In doing all of this, you put more and more energy into that specific magical rite, and the more energy there is, the better the outcome will be (imagine it like making bread; the more times you knead the dough, the more time, effort and energy you put into it, the better and tastier the bread will be).

The second factor is feeling. Without feeling, you won't get very far. You have to feel what you do and be excited about it. This is why it is recommended that every individual does magic only for themselves or for a certain goal that induces subjective feelings and emotions. Basically, the more you want something to succeed, the bigger the chances are that it actually will!

Visualization is the development of a mental picture of the final outcome. Remember that you shouldn't visualize any phase of the process, but rather the achieved goal (when everything is done), what you want the whole situation to look like after the finished ritual.

Let me give you an example to make things clearer. Let us say that someone very close to you is having financial problems. Up to this point, everything is appropriate because we are dealing with someone close to you and for whom you have positive emotions, all of which will enable you to work with emotions. You also have to have an intention (not to harm that person, but help them) and visualize the final outcome. You won't visualize that person staying at home and being a couch potato, nor as they are doing some job they don't like. You will visualize them signing a contract for a full-time job with a firm that they want to work for or them happily fulfilling their professional obligations etc.

It is important to say here that magic is not done without any reason. It should only be done when necessary! It shouldn't serve as a means for gloating or bragging or a selfish way of getting what you want because if you do function like that, then there won't be as much feeling in the whole process nor will the intention be good and, ultimately, the outcome will not be positive (not to mention that the chances of you goal/wish even coming true is very small of not not-existent).

If you want to succeed in what you have set out to achieve, you should doubt it the slightest bit. Not until you are completely sure that you magical rite will work (without doubting it for a second) will it actually work! If you're not sure in what you are doing, there is probably a reason for that and it's better in that case to not waste your time or energy on magical works.

Timing

There are many magical correspondences that you can take into consideration when doing magical works. Pagans usually look toward the phases of the moon for guidance since it is a sort of general indicator of energy. The waxing moon is excellent for doing constructive magic (e.g. for raising /enhancing something, getting something you want and so on), while the time of the waning moon is the best time for destructive magic (bad intentions have nothing to do with this either. This type of magic is "destructive" because it puts and end/finishes something, gets rid of bad things, for example bad health, habits etc.). The full moon is thought to be the energetic peak of the month and is hence believed to be the best time for doing constructive magic. Of course, try to aim at doing more constructive magic because this is where fulfillment lies. Aim at gaining, not eliminating! :)

Magical Correspondences 

Certain days of the week, phases of the moon or the sun (as well as others) can affect the outcome of magic. Also, some colors are more welcome in the circle than others depending on what kind of magic you are doing. The same goes for metals, crystals etc. Why is that? It is believed that every color, every object, day etc. has certain vibrations (or energy if you wish) which it radiates and that magic will function best when all of these vibrations are synchronized (you can think of them as chords in music which are in harmony).

So I don't end up talking about these correspondences to infinity, I have written out a few tables here in hopes of helping you out. Fro more details on the subject, you can have a look at Raymond Buckland's The Complete Book of Witchcraft or perhaps one of his other works entitled Wicca for One.

Colors
Correspondences
Red courage, health, sexual love, strength, vigor
Pink honor, love, morals
Orange adaptability, attractiveness, encouragement, stimulation
Yellow attraction, charm, confidence, persuasion, protection
White truth, honesty, cleanliness
Greenish-yellow anger, cowardice, discord, jealousy, sickness
Green fertility, finances, healing, happiness
Brown hesitation, neutrality/indifference, doubt/uncertainty
Light blue health, patience, peace, understanding
Dark blue variability, depression, impulsiveness, toxicity
Violet healing, peace, spirituality
Purple ambitions, professional progression, power, tensions
Gray cancellation, neutrality, dead-end situations, brilliancy, reflections
Black confusion, disagreement, negativity, loss, indecision, neutrality

Astrological sign
Date of birth
Primary color
Secondary color
Aquarius January 20-February 18 blue green
Pisces February 19-March 20 white green
Aries March 21-April 19 white pink
Taurus April 20-May 20 red yellow
Gemini May 21-June 21 red blue
Cancer June 22-July 22 green brown
Leo July 23-August 22 red green
Virgo August 23-September 22 gold black
Libra September 23-October 22 black blue
Scorpio October 23-November 21 brown black
Sagittarius November 22-December 21 gold red
Capricorn December 22-January 19 red brown

Day of the week
Color
Planet
Metal
Correspondence
Monday white Moon silver ancestors, pregnancy, dreams, healing, instinct
memory, clothes, chastity, theft, innocence
Tuesday red Mars iron enemies, prison, initiation, devotion, marriage,
protection, war, wealth
Wednesday purple Mercury mercury work, fear, communication, debts, journeys, losses
Thursday blue Jupiter tin dressing, wishes, honor, harvests, marriage, vows,
wealth, agreements/treaties
Friday green Venus copper beauty, growth, family life, friendships, love,
fertility, concord, nature, pleasures, sexuality,
water, strangers
Saturday black Saturn lead building, doctrines, freedom, gifts, life, protection,
real estate, crops, strength, immunity
Sunday yellow Sun gold agriculture, beauty, hope, creativity, destiny, money, victory, expression

The days of the week and planets will help you time your magical rites, while colors, zodiac signs, metals and their interconnection be of great use when choosing a certain colored candle for your candle magic rites, what colored decorations you should have in the circle/on your altar, materials for your talismans, the color of your cord when doing cord magic etc. Of course, there are many types of magic and these are just a few of them. I won't be dealing with them here, but just so you know that they do exist. My main goal with this post is to give you some basic information on magic :)

Preparation and warnings

Before doing any magical work, it is necessary to prepare and secure the space in which you will be working. So here are some suggestions and warnings on this subject. You choose which you will listen to :)

Suggestions:

  • when opening the circle, go around it once more and energetically secure it to ensure the energy doesn't "run away"
  • meditate a bit before magical rites
  • do your magical works in a consecrated and cleansed ritual circle (preferably always)
  • cleanse yourself beforehand (by bathing, visualizing etc. especially if you're not going to be working in a circle)
  • make sure that you're comfortable while doing your rite (nothing should distract you!)
  • make sure if you have everything you need at hand (candles/cords or anything else you might be using as a medium)
  • if you are going to fast before a ritual, hunger shouldn't distract you (this fast doesn't mean not eating anything at all, in fact you should eat. I already mentioned what is acceptable to eat/drink in this period)
  • develop your concentration (work on this because it will be useful and you can find many handy exercises in literature or even on the internet)
  • ground yourself after you have finished the ritual (be it devotional or magical, this is a good thing to do. This is done by making contact with the earth; lying on the ground, touching the floor/ground with your hands, eating...we often let go of the left-over energy in doing so)

Warnings:

  • be careful how and what you invoke (don't order the God and Goddess to come into the circle but ask them nicely and don't invoke anything without know what it is any why your want it there...or simply put: don't play with fire!)
  • don't break the circle while working (because of concentration, draining energy and letting negative energy into the consecrated circle)
  • always take into account the consequences of your actions (more on this is the next section: Magic and Morals)

Magic and Morals

There's that main "rule" in Wicca which reads: " 'An ye harm none, do what ye will." This should definitely be kept in mind when doing magic (and rituals in general). So, before even beginning to do anything, think hard about who your actions could affect and in what way. Remember that every person has their own consciousness and the right to choose freely and if you affect this in any way, then you have already crossed the line and interfered in the private life of that person (and everyone deserves their privacy). If you notice that you are impeding someone's will and freedom, then it is best that you stop what you are doing unless you want to feel the consequences. I don't mean to sound rude or frightening, but that's what it's like in real life too. Everyone should mind their own actions, otherwise the whole system falls apart.

Let us take as an example the most popular type of magic - love magic. Everyone will ask themselves what harm there is in making someone fall in love with them. If that person isn't already in love with you, then by doing so you are taking away all other possibilities for that person. Maybe that person is in love with someone else or simply isn't ready for a relationship. By doing love magic to get that person to love you, you are harming them and not taking into account their feelings and wishes. Similarly, you can do harm to yourself by attracting the wrong person (without realizing it). Of course, "harm none" implies that you shouldn't harm yourself either.

So remember: harm none!

I hope that this post wasn't too tiring, but I thought it was necessary to cover this subject before you set out to do anything magic-related :)

Although, magic isn't as bad as I might have made it seem. It really can bring you some wonderful things. Not everything is about seriousness and bad consequences. You just have to be careful what you do and proceed with good intentions and happy thoughts! :D

The post really does cover a vast range of topics, so feel free to contact me with any questions you might have in case something is still not clear enough or if you feel that something has been left unsaid. :)

Until next time. Yours,
Witch's Cat

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