Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spell Craft: Types of Magic

Magic can generally be categorized as sympathetic or direct. Sympathetic magic acts upon symbolic representations of the target of the spell. Direct magic acts directly upon the target. The most frequently used form of magic is sympathetic. J. G. Frazer delineated in his magnum opus The Golden Bough two principle methods by which sympathetic magic can be described as working through (1).

The first he called the Law of Similarity. This law argues that an effect resembles its cause and that like will attract like. This is often summarized in the Hermetic axiom 'As Above, So Below.' The second principle method he called the Law of Contagion. This law argues that what is done to a material object will influence the target of the spell once they come into contact with said object, and that effect will continue after initial contact is broken (2). Most sympathetic magic is a combination of the two laws being put into effect.

Direct magic is the application of one's efforts to the target in question. Herbalism and most 'potions' are direct magic. The practice of laying on of hands and direct manipulation of one's bio-energy field can be considered direct magic as well. One could argue that direct magic is a function of the Law of Contagion. I would contend that the Law of Contagion can only be applied to items that are enspelled with the intention of having an action upon some one when handled or otherwise coming into physical contact with said person (3).


1. Full discussion of this can be found in chapter three of the condensed version of the Golden Bough. Specifically, reference section one, paragraph one.

2. One could argue that the Law of Contagion was something of a precursor of the theory of quantum entanglement as described in the EPR paradox. It is important to keep in mind that the development of modern physics was not established until after J. G. Frazer's work was published. One must also consider the author's bias against magical thought.

3. People are the most frequent targets of spell craft, thus my examples revolve primarily about them.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Spell Craft: Introduction

Many people become interested in witchcraft because they desire to tap into the seemingly limitless power of spell craft. They see what is portrayed in the entertainment industry and believe that such things are possible with their own efforts. Sadly, they mistake stage craft and illusion with reality. They assume that the fantastic things described in fantasy and fiction are the same as what I, and many others, do on a daily basis.

The closest I come to chanting over a bubbling cauldron is saying a blessing over a pot of soup I'm making. In place of mysterious concoctions made from gruesome sounding ingredients, I make normal food and use various herbs for taste, medicinal, or magical purposes. I can not cast lightning from my hands, but I can throw my spiritual energy out into the universe to call rain to me in a few days. I occasionally use a poppet (also known as a voodoo doll) for healing spells. I read tarot cards and other divination tools (it's a hobby of mine.) but I do not get 100% accurate visions of the future.

My spell craft is simple, homey things. It is part of the reason why I call myself a kitchen witch. It is possible to do high ceremonial magic and get successful results. They will not, however, look like what you expect from Hollywood's theatrics. Magic is a subtle art. As my previous discussions may have made clear, the most important aspect of making magic work is force of will and having one's mind aligned properly. The psychological aspect of magic is at the forefront of most spell work.

Herbalism is classed by some folk as a form of spell craft. I believe it has its own distinction because the mechanisms by which is operates are entirely different. Herbalism operates 99% of the time upon the physical body. It can be a component in spell craft, but it will not be the primary method by which one's goal is attained. Spell craft's mechanisms of action are based in one's spiritual energy and the manipulation of the spiritual energy of the universe. This could put prayer as a form of spell craft, though most people are disturbed by such a suggestion.

There are many different techniques and methods of spiritual energy manipulation. They can be classified by the methodology used, purpose, or tools applied. We will be looking at each major division of techniques independently. Following this, I will help you determine if you should write your own spells and walk you through how to do it.