… a thought making crooked all that is straight.

Spellwork II

For many years I wrestled with the idea of spellwork. My thoughts at that time were based on the philosophical premise that a butterfly’s wings flapping in the rainforest can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world, i.e. every action has a reaction. Unlike Newton’s third law of motion stating that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, my belief escalated the theory into something of disproportionate and devastating scale. It’s hard to see why I wasn’t paralysed in my daily life, crippled by this fear of the uncontrolled reaction. Nowadays, I understand that the fabric of the universe is made of sterner stuff; and my teenage delusion that what I do and believe impacts equally on others has disappeared in a puff of adult reality.

This search for the morality of spellwork was not aided by listening to the experience of active spellworkers. The goals they worked towards seemed materialistic and their motivations often petty. I was chilled by the callous disregard shown by some for anyone that may have been affected by the fall-out of their spell: one Wican (spelling here deliberate) shrugged off the fact that someone else had been fired so that he could get a promotion and take their place; another wizard still brags about making his ex-girlfriend a sex slave in revenge and actually garners admiration from his peers! Encounters with people such as this made me feel I wanted nothing to do with spellwork (whether their claims were real or fantasy). And yet the urge and the questioning continued, and eventually I realised that I was equating the shoddy craftsman with the delicate tool. The tool is neutral, it is the craftsman who applies the skill and turns a hunk of wood into a guillotine or a prayer stool.

In realising this I was still left with a crucial question: what goal is worth doing a spell for? Some people think that the temptation to spell your way through life is too great, and that by doing spells we avoid the real graft and become lazy and immature as a result of avoiding the natural challenges that life brings. But the person who thinks that all you need to cast a spell is to wave a wand, light a candle and mutter a few words is mistaken. The self-examination, research and planning that go into an effective spell equal, in my mind, any efforts I may make on the physical plane. The fact is that in spite of the spell, I will still have to make the effort to facilitate the change I am working towards. You can’t cast for a new job, and then not fill in any application forms. A spell will move the energy in the intended direction, you will be amazed at supportive coincidences and opportunities will arise, where years of previous effort have left you with nothing. There are rules. There are dangers. Sometimes the self-examination which I think is essential will lead you to discover that you don’t actually want what thought you did – hence the serious need for contemplation and precise formulation of your goal.

Ultimately it is a tool, gifted to us by the gods. Used wisely it can be a great thing, giving you a real sense of connection to your deity and aiding you in your path. Used unwisely and without consideration, it can be destructive, chaotic and harmful to both you and those around you. Good intention is not enough – even well-intended fools can cause harm.


© starofseshat 2008

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7 responses

  1. Very interesting thoughts. It’s that age old difference between therugy and thaumaturgy, the former bringing changes in oneself, the latter working changes in the world. You’ve explained it really well, and there’s also a post on this on Starweavers blog. Again, the former changes the magician, the latter changes the world the magician lives in.

    From my very limited experience of spellwork I have found that effective magick flows from the person who has prepared themselves, it’s about carrying out that inner work and establishing that sound inner relationship. This is something that the Gods have been taking me through recently. And it is also about motivation – for example, someone wrongs you, so do you work magick to ‘get back’ at them, or magick to protect yourself from such things in the future? In my book, the latter wins every time, especially when one considers the law of threefold return, and I do tend to have faith in that law.

    You have a lovely blog, thanks for your thoughtful comments.

    June 7, 2008 at 9:38 am

  2. starofseshat

    Merry Meet Andy! I have heard good things about you from The Green Witch 🙂
    I think you are right that inner work and a sound inner relationship are crucial. It is also a matter of aligning yourself with the energies that will facilitate your goal. These energies are expressed in various symbols (colours, plants, metals, angels) and that is where the study comes in.
    And I agree with you about protecting yourself as opposed to outright revenge. This is again where self-work comes in – if someone has harmed you in some way, how did you come to be in that situation and have you contributed to or allowed it to happen in some way? As The Green Witch and I were saying the other day – victims often hold more power than they realise by staying in the situation, by not saying no, by not being true to themselves. I am not in any way blaming victims, but we do have to face our own personal responsibility, and I speak from experience here: It took me 4 years to leave an abusive relationship. One “friend” gave me a hard time for not leaving sooner, but it was a difficult emotional journey. After much soul-searching I was able to leave my ex-partner with no ill-feeling towards him (although I was tremendously afraid, and the fear of him lasted for a good couple of years). Instead I found a sense of compassion for him. I am sure my attitude and the positive energy I invested in our split was responsible for the following month’s sequence of events where I started a new job, found a beautiful new place to live and met my current partner with whom I have now been together for nearly 5 years. A truly bountiful period of my life. How different things might have been if I had left the ex-partner in a spirit of spite, hatred and revenge…
    Blessed Be, Andy. Thank you for your comment.

    June 7, 2008 at 5:00 pm

  3. Merry Meet! I’m glad it’s good things you’ve been hearing about me!!

    I agree with you about personal responsibility, and this is something that I’ve been reading a bit about recently. It’s very easy to point the finger and everybody and everything, but the crucial question is what have we allowed to happen that’s brought us to the place we find ourselves in? Once we’re honest with ourselves, then we can move on and do something about it, instead of wallowing!

    Thank you for sharing your experience with me and I am sure that the positive intentions you sowed during that really difficult time reaped a positive and bountiful harvest for you – what an amazing living example of the fruit of positive energy!

    June 8, 2008 at 9:35 am

  4. The Green Witch

    Extremely thought-provoking and useful stuff! I am really shocked by the cold-hearted use spell work has been made of in your experience – another piece of evidence that people can be highly unpleasant for the hell of it, and a power which has no force for evil by itself can be subverted.

    Lately on the various sites i visit there have been a lot of folks looking for quick n easy spells to use, for a giggle, for a laugh. I found myself feeling very curmudgeonly indeed about this; then wondering if I was being po-faced and unrealistic. Your words have helped me see that I’m not!

    June 8, 2008 at 8:19 pm

  5. starofseshat

    Glad that some of what I’m blathering on about is helpful! 🙂
    Were the people looking for spells young, or at least new to the craft?

    June 9, 2008 at 11:02 am

  6. The Green Witch

    Yes, I’m afraid. It’s a real shame but as I said to another blogger, there’s no point giving them a hard time – they may, in time, realise what it’s all about and spend a life in sincere effort! Leastways, I don’t want to drum someone out of the club for acting like a cub. We’re all cubs at one point or another. Yes, I get irritated, but I figure it’s not for me to exclude them. Just try and be helpful about where the right direction might be! 🙂

    June 9, 2008 at 3:26 pm

  7. starofseshat

    I hate to be cynical, but most will probably drop by the wayside fairly quickly, although if the path is right they may return after some life experience (oh boy, does that sound patronising! But I don’t mean it to, it’s just the way the cookie crumbles). Agreed, no reason to beat up on them – we’ve seen that kind of dreadful behaviour on too many forums! 😉

    June 9, 2008 at 3:34 pm

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