Written and compiled by George Knowles.
Mention magic to most people and they immediately start thinking about Wicked
Witches, Wizards and Sorcerers conjuring up evil sounding spells and poisons
from boiling bubbling cauldrons sat on blazing smoking fires. Others
imagine comedians on stage with funny pointy hats and black and white wands.
Still others think of Illusionists making people disappear then re-appear from
boxes and other contrived stage props.
Since time immemorial magic has been used in witchcraft, and many myths and
evil associations have been attributed to its use. Here I shall
concentrate on real magic and how it is perceived by witches of today. Not
everybody agrees and there are many theories on the subject, so this is my
theory, based on my opinion and my experiences. At the end of the day you
shall have to form your own.
So what is magic really? (Or “magick” as those in the craft would
term it). How, what, where and when should it be used? These are
the questions I aim to answer here.
First let us destroy the myths of wizards throwing around lightening bolts
doing battle with evil sorcerers, and all other such nonsense’s. Magick
is a force utilising power, wisdom and knowledge. It is both more and less
powerful than the ignorant can suppose. Magick can only be used to change
the changeable, for instance - it can be used to cure a sickness but not to
replace a lost limb. Magick is not a power to be used in place of our
other powers, meaning those of our physical, mental or emotional abilities.
Nor is it a crutch for the weak or an ego-boost for the inadequate. Magick
is an art and skill unto itself. It needs to be learned then trained to
develop, and that takes time and patience.
If we believe that everything and all originate from the same source, then
the ability for using magick must be retained within us all. Magick then
is a forgotten art passed down through aeons of reincarnations and it resides
inside us all. Therefore magick is a skill that needs to be re-learned and
trained if it's to be used well, effectively and wisely.
In modern days magick is used not only in ritual ceremonies, but also on a daily bases during spiritual communication with the Goddess and God. It is used daily for healing purposes and perhaps more frequently for personal purposes like reducing negativity, protection and improving the self. It can also be used for many other purposes as determined by the individual while bearing in mind “The three fold law”.
Magick in essence is the use and control of natural energies or power to
produce and effect needed change. There are three basic sources of natural
energy or power used: Personal Power, Earth Power and Divine Power.
Is the life force that sustains us and protects our earthly existence.
It's the power that resides within our own bodies; some may call it
"willpower". As we go about our daily business we are constantly
absorbing energy, be it from the sun during the day or the moon during the night
or the food and drink we consume. This energy we store and release during
movement, exercise, sex, and even through our emotional states. This we
all do quite naturally.
In magick we learn to harness and arouse this personal power, infuse it with
a particular purpose, release it and direct it towards it's goal.
Is the power that resides within our planet and its natural products.
Such things as: Stones, Trees, Wind, Fire, Water, Crystals, Oils and Scents.
All these things and more possess unique powers and give out specific energies
that can be harnessed and used during ritual and magick.
Hold a stone in the palm of your hand (receptive hand), concentrate on your
hand and visualise the stone. Feel it's force tingling? A crystal
can be charged and then held against the forehead to clear up migraine or
headaches with it's healing properties. Like-wise herbs and oils can be
charged then rubbed onto the body to effect internal changes. These are
just a few examples of earth power and it's uses.
Is spiritual power, that which is charged and channelled by the Goddess and
the God. Personal power and earth power are both manifestations of divine
power. Divine power is the force of life, the source of everything, the
power of the universe that created existence.
To use divine power the Goddess and God need to be invoked to bless the
magick being prepared, this is normally done inside a properly constructed
circle (see Circle Casting). For instance during ritual, personal power may be used to effect
some personal change, then directed to the deities asking for a specific need to
Magick is not just about the use of power; one cannot just stand up, call out
to the Goddess and God and demand that magick be done - "So Be It".
A lot of work is involved in preparation for the use of magick. Once a
need for the use of magick has been identified, careful consideration
needs to be given to other associations if a successful outcome is to be
achieved. Other associations cover such things as - Time, when should the
magick be performed. Tools, which tools are best employed for the task.
Then we need to consider co-ordinating - Colours, Candles, and Incenses.
All these influences when combined together increase the power and lend added
effect to the spell or rite.
I have listed correspondence tables for Magickal Days, Candles, Colours and
Incense on other pages and quoted them in the paragraphs below.
When planning magical workings, consideration needs to be given as to when
the work needs to be performed for best effect. We need to ascertain the
best time or day for when to perform it. Days have their own magickal
associations, which are similar to and connected with the other tables.
Thus creating harmony during ritual and generating increased power when all are
working together. Days in general are associated with and influenced by
the Sun and six of the Planets. (see Magickal
As with most other religions, tools are used in Wicca to aid and enhance
ritual. Tools have no powers within themselves save for that which
we pass through them, though they do have powerful symbolic significance’s,
which help us to focus our will and concentration. Tools are used to
invoke deities, banish negativity, and direct our energies though touch and
intention. Thus we need to know and understand the properties and
symbolism of our tools in order to use them properly and correctly. (see Tools).
Candles have long been used in association with magick, as indeed they have
been adopted and used by many other religions for spiritual communication.
Candle magick is probably the oldest and simplest form of ritual magick still
performed today. Ever since fire was discovered, the naked flame has been
regarded as sacred. In ancient times lighted touches were used to invoke
the Goddess and Gods. Today we symbolise those acts by utilising candles.
The naked flame remains the finest and easiest means of focusing in on power and
The use of differently coloured candles symbolises the nature of intent and
ultimately can influence the outcome of a particular spell. Coloured
candles are therefore used to pinpoint our focus on a particular deity or
planetary association. We need to understand the colour properties
and other associations of candles to make our magick work for best effect.
Colour plays a powerful role in ritual Witchcraft and Magick. Colours
are carefully considered and assigned to all aspects of spell making, ritual
magick and festivals.
Colours have symbolic associations representing occult powers, and have their
own energy frequencies that emanate specific influences. Careful
consideration needs to be given to colour associations when used with Candles,
Clothing, Symbols, Deities influences, Planetary influences, Causes and Effects,
Zodiacal influences and Magickal Days. (see Colours).
Incense like candles have long had associations with magick, and like candles
are used commonly by many other religions. The use of incense in
witchcraft is threefold:
(1) It conditions the mind by stimulating our senses of smell.
(2) In connection with spells, it draws down the spirits through its
magickal association with the elements of Air.
(3) According to ancient beliefs, when a spell is done. It raises
the spell up into the ether and sends it on its way.
In magick, the type of incense used needs to correspond with the nature of the spell being worked. Most spells require incense associated with a particular planet or deity. Many types of incense are used for their purification and cleansing properties during ritual. (see Incense).
There are of course other associations and considerations I haven't
mentioned. These include zodiacal associations and planetary associations;
even hourly associations can have an effect. But then how far would you
wish to take it? Like anything else you can go overboard. Consider
that by trying to include everything in your preparation, would you ever have
time for the actual working? It's often been said that the most effective
magick is simple magick. Leave the complicated stuff for the adept's or
until such time as you have been trained and gained considerable experience.
Magick then is a process in which we work closely and in harmony with the
divine power source. This is envisaged as the Goddess and God with whom we
communicate through the use of earth power and personal power. Magick
begins within us. By learning to harness and control our personal power,
so then can we use magick to produce and affect needed change for others and
Magick begins within us, its already there, an intuitive knowledge and
instinctive ability passed down to us through aeons of regenerated
reincarnations, it sits there deep in the back of the mind waiting to be used.
The mind needs to be trained in the techniques of meditation, visualisation,
concentration and imagination if once again we desire to use these forgotten
Given the pace of life in society today and the stresses and worries that go
with it, it’s difficult for most of us to gain relief and let go of our cares
and woes. Meditation is one way to induce total relaxation and normally
precedes any act of magick or ritual. Let’s face it; we cannot begin to
work with magick, which requires our full concentration, if we are worried about
mundane everyday things. Meditation is also the quiet time in which we
release our hold on the conscious mind and confront our inner-self, or through
our psychic awareness communicate with the deities.
Choose your time and place with care, ideally somewhere peaceful and quiet,
and where you won’t be disturbed. Perhaps the last thing at night after
all has gone to bed, or early in the morning before the household arises.
Light a candle in a darkened room (White or blue symbolises spirituality and
meditation, see Candles.), and burn appropriate incense if you wish (Lotus,
Myrrh or Passionflower may help but use what feels right for you, see Incense). Sit comfortably in a chair and take a moment to savour your
surroundings, the lighted candle glowing softly in the darkness, the scent of
the incense stimulating the senses, feel and listen to the peace and quiet.
Relax as much as you can, empty the mind and think of nothing, breathe deeply
in through the nose and out through the mouth, gradually your breathing rate
will slow down. For those who haven’t tried this exercise before, care
needs to be taken at this stage in case you fall asleep. If you feel sleep
coming on, snap out of it and start again. As your breathing rate slows
down and while inhaling, use your imagination to visualise incoming peace and
tranquillity, while exhaling, visualise your hate, anger, tensions and worries
leaving the body and dispersing. Feel yourself relaxing more into the
Now we can open up the conscious mind allowing it to become receptive and
alert. Your psychic mind will also open and awareness will grow each time
you practice. Call out to the Gods and talk with them, discus your
troubles and ask for advice, or look into yourself and see what you can find.
Once you have finished meditating, it might be a good idea to record your
findings, the thoughts, images and sensations you experienced, so you can pick
up on it again the next time you practice.
Is probably the most important aspect of any magickal working. Its what
we use to guide and direct the power and energy raised during ritual and while
using magick. We all have the ability to visualise, but most people do so
randomly. Perhaps when sitting in the car while stuck in a traffic jam,
the mind takes flight and begins to wonder? Or when sat in a classroom
during a boring lecture, we might start thinking about favourite things, seeing
them in our minds eye while the teacher drones on in the background? This
is random visualisation.
For use in magick we need to train and control this ability, so that we can
see, hold and shape whatever it is we want to see, and then direct our powers
and energies towards it. For instance I may want to protect my home from
intruders. In which case I would raise personal power while holding an
image of the home in my mind, then visualise an energy field encircling the
house sealing the doors and windows. Outside the house I may imagine the
police apprehending intruders. I then direct my raised power and energise
the visualisation, thus bringing it into manifestation and leaving the
protection in place to work its magick.
This then is the art of visualisation control, the ability to see in the mind
what isn’t there, to hold a non-existent image or happening and shaping it
into being what you want it to be. Visualisation is not “the power” or
“the energy”, nor does it create it on its own, more that it directs raised
power and energy to its final conclusion.
Visualisation in itself may sound easy and it is while sat in a chair in a
relaxed state of mind. But visualising is only part of the process of
working magick. The difficult part is to retain your visualisation with
your eyes open, stood in the centre of your circle with your hands and mind
occupied in manipulating your tools and other tasks. It takes a little training and
practise to perfect this technique.
You could start by incorporating a few simple exercises into your daily
meditation practise. While still in your relaxed state with your eyes
closed, visualise a still object, something familiar to you like an apple, a
toothbrush, or something equally simple. Hold the image as long as you
can, allow nothing else to interfere, and then let it go. When you can
hold the image without interruption for five minutes, try the same exercise but
with your eyes open. This is a little harder but practise daily and it
Once you’ve accomplished this, we start again. Visualise the same
image, only this time play with it. Turn it around, see it grow or expand,
maybe change its colours and textures, or try to see it from different angles.
When you can do this, try it again but with your eyes open. As you become
more proficient, you might want to incorporate it into your active life, try
doing it while occupied with mundane things, like when cooking dinner or washing
up afterwards. See how long you can hold the image in your mind’s eye
while washing the plates and dishes.
The final exercise is to visualise a non-existent image or something you have
never seen before. Use your imagination to create something, something
meaningful to you perhaps. I use a silver white unicorn with wings, riding
down a sunbeam into a picturesque forest glade. Whatever you use, see it
as a real thing in your mind, make it so real you could almost touch and feel
it. Hold the image as long as you can, then let it go.
As with the other exercises, we need to be able to see the same image with
our eyes open and while occupied with other things. When you can do this,
you’re well on your way to using magick.
Finally a note of caution to anyone new to using magick. Magick begins within the self. Its already there in the back of the mind where it's tied up with our energy and mental facilities. When working with magick you can be working with some powerful energy and forces. Repeated or excessive use of magick without proper care and attention to the self, deplete's the self's resources and can lead to debilitating personal health difficulties, such as mental exhausion, headaches and migraines etc.
To combat these difficulties, witches use a technique called "Grounding and Centering". Before any ritual, magical working or divinatory activity, a witch will first 'Ground and Center' to booster the self's resources by infusing 'Personal Power' with 'Earth Power' using the techniques already mentioned above. This technique can also be used to calm fear, anxiety and agitation.
To do this, plant your feet firmly on the ground (some people prefer to do this bare footed, standing on bare earth or grass, but it can also be done seated and regardless of where one is or how one is dressed). Close your eyes, blank your mind and steady yourself. Inhale a slow deep breath and release it slowly while visualizing any retained negative energy or influences flowing out of the body through your feet and dispersing harmlessly into the ground. Inhale again while visualizing positive 'Earth' energy being drawn up into the body throught the feet. Repeat this process untill you feel that all your negativity has been released and the incoming energy has touch and infused all your body's chakra points (these are the seven zones within the body that retain energy, the subject of another lesson, but later). You should now be feeling calm and energized to commence with your magical workings.
Once the rite or working is complete, repeat this excersize to disperse any residual energy. Most witches then follow up with a 'Cake and Ale' ritual, food and drink to replace and replenish spent energy.
Once your work is done and all is completed, a period of self-analyses should follow. Carefully monitor the subject of your magic and record your experiences in your 'Book of Shadows'. This will provide you valuable information for future workings.
The late Scott Cunningham and his book -
WICCA, A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner, inspired a lot of the above
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - By Raven Grimassi
To Stir a Magick Cauldron - By Silver Ravenwolf
Witchcraft for tomorrow - By Doreen Valiente
Princlples of Wicca - By Vivianne Crowley
Candle Magic - By Phillip Cooper
wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders and Elders)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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