There are two approaches that can be taken in crafting a spell. The first is using what you have on hand. The second is one that requires purchasing components. I tend to fall more along the first methodology. In either approach the same foundational requirements are there.
The question of 'why' you are casting your spell is very important. Before casting any spell, it is good to have a clear idea of what your objective is. For a formal ritual, at the beginning of the ritual, you will state what your intent is. A clear and simple statement of what your goal is serves to front load your mind with your objective at the beginning of your ritual. The simpler your statement of purpose is, the easier it is for you to keep that fixed in your mind as you engage in your spell.
Equally important is to make sure that what you state as your intent is truly what you wish to accomplish. Many people state that their goal is one thing while their true objective is something a bit different. A classic example of this is that they want person B to find 'true love' while they are really seeking for person B to establish a relationship with them. The end result of their attempted love spell is that person B does find 'true love' but it is with some one other then the spell caster. Here, the difference between objective statement and true intent results in a successful spell that does not accomplish the desired result.
At the same time, many spells fail because the cognitive dissonance between the objective statement and the true desired result is so intense that improper focus renders the spell impotent.
The method that you choose to cast your spell can vary widely. Some spells are mere incantations and others require a great deal of ritual and many materials to complete them. There are some people who argue that the high ritual content of more 'formal' spells collects a greater amount of psychic energy. This is because they engage a greater percentage of the mind in the enacting of the spell. Using more of your mind allows you to bring a greater degree of focus to the task and create a stronger initial psychic ripple.
This said, it is possible to have very potent and successful spells that are done very, very simply. One of the ways this is accomplished is by way of repetition. Either a gesture or a phrase is repeated to create successive psychic ripples in the universe that have a cumulative effect akin to the strong initial psychic ripple. The more repetition, the more psychic energy you are moving. The stronger your psychic push is with your spell work, the more likelihood you will have success.
In addition to repetition, one can use volume or intense gestures. Thus, saying something quite loudly and accompanying your spell with a dramatic motion that uses large muscle groups helps to add more of that psychic energy into the push you are making with your spell.
In determining what method you wish to use for casting your spell, you will want to consider the following factors:
- What tools do you wish to use?
- What Elemental or other spiritual beings do you wish to call to for assistance?
- What correspondences* are you using?
- How quickly do you want your spell to manifest?
Magical tools come in may shapes and sizes. The most popular ones are candles, poppets, and sigils. Looking at these three, you will have different physical items required for each magical tool. Candles are the simplest, requiring merely the candle in question and something with which to light it. Poppets require the doll and something to interact with the doll (most often depicted as being pins). Sigils require paper, pen, and a source of fire to burn them (safely). If you are not using combustion in your sigil magic and you are placing them upon other items, it may necessitate different tools and the item in question.
Elemental & Spiritual Beings
Some people choose to call upon Elemental beings and spiritual beings (such as angels) for assistance with their magical efforts. This may require the addition of other tools (ranging from candles, to incense, to an entirely separate altar) and additional invocations.
Correspondences are a system of symbols that serves to identify the representatives of the ideas you are working with. This can range from simple symbols such as a heart for love to powerfully complex ones, such as sigils (which serve a dual purpose of being a ritual tool and part of the symbolic language of magic).
The speed with which your spell will manifest is dependent upon many factors. Some of this is by the method you choose to work your spell. Spells that are done with a short time frame focus (ie long enough for a match to burn down) will generally manifest quicker then spells with a longer time frame focus. I don't entirely understand why, but this seems to be the case. On average, when I am doing candle magic, a birthday candle brings results within 24 hours, a tea light brings results in approximately a week, and a votive candle can be about two weeks. Your mileage may vary.
Another factor to consider is the psychic 'weather' that you are operating in. The moon phase will have an influence on how much and what type of psychic energy is generally available. Waxing phase has energies of increase associated with it. Waning phase has energies of decrease associated with it. Full and New phases can be understood to have a the apex of the phase immediately prior's associated energy and a subtle undercurrent of the following phase's energy. If you put this in terms of the tide, waxing phase is the tide coming in. Full moon is high tide. Waning phase is the tide flowing out. And the New moon is low tide. Sun signs and moon signs will play an influence in your magical efforts, if you choose to incorporate them into your metephysical framework.