It would be fantastic if you could do a spell and have it show up right away. We see witches in movies and television shows wielding incredible, often scary powers, but that doesn’t happen in real life. Does that mean that spells don’t work? The real answer is complicated.
Are All Spells Bad?
The spells you see in movies and television are more like wish fulfillment. The originator of the spell has an overt influence over an element or sometimes even a person, causing it to whip up and do the spell caster’s bidding right away.
This type of energy is often what people think about witches. Throughout the ages, witches have been scary to the establishment. They represent someone who has discovered an individual power and can’t be swayed by simple propaganda or other things.
Historically, it’s been in the establishment’s best interest to exaggerate what spells can do to instill fear in people. This fear serves to keep others from finding their power and to isolate practitioners when they dare to go against the establishment.
Thus, you get stories of witches eating children, killing crops, or turning people into frogs. The reason for this weird behavior is never fully explained, other than to attribute it to being in legion with the devil.
In reality, witches have historically been healers. The majority have been women because witchcraft was one way women were able to take back some power despite an oppressed history and exert their will in the only way they could.
What Are Spells?
Spells are strong intentions sent out to match the energies in the universe. We can access the forces around us, provided we have the right focus and the right attachment. If we can focus our energies well enough, we can tap into the energy that surrounds us.
For some people, this means affirmations. For others, its meditation to quiet the mind. Think of the way some basketball players perform the same actions just before tossing a free throw to increase their chances of hitting a basket. The actions focus the athlete’s body and align their intentions, so they are better able to follow through with their will (to hit the basket).
Spells work much the same way. You have the desire to exert your will, and so you perform actions that allow you to focus that attention completely. The spells themselves are less about forcing something to happen and more about creating the exact circumstances that will bring about what you want.
Love spells, for example, won’t cause a handsome stranger to show up at your door just after you perform it. Instead, it invites you to be open to all the ways that love can appear in your life and strengthens any existing possibilities of love that are already there.
Other spells work much the same way. You won’t magically stumble into a pot of gold after an abundance spell, but you may be able to get out of your way to allow abundance into your life over time.
How Do I Know Spells Have Worked?
It can be hard to know when spells have worked if all you know of casting spells is from movies and television. You must first learn to trust and listen to your intuition to see the ways that spells can bring results into your life.
The first thing to remember about casting spells is that you must be open to what the universe has to say. There are many reasons that your result may look different than what you intended or wanted, but this is the way.
Once you allow yourself to tap into your intuition, you may notice your spells working because you’ve expanded your definition of a successful spell. Have you noticed that you’re getting out more after you’ve performed your love spell? That you’re more inclined to pitch for new jobs after your abundance spell? Your spell is probably working.
How Long Do Spells Take to Work?
There’s no one consistent answer to this either. For many traditions, you want to continue with your life to allow the spell to begin working in subtle ways. If you haven’t noticed any changes at all for a period of about four weeks, or one lunar cycle, then you can explore repeating your spell.
Some traditions require that you work a spell over a period of time. Hoodoo, for example, has lots of spells designed for working over seven days. The results here should be visible after a certain period after the spell is complete.
Generally, however, the answer is that it depends. Working spells takes time, and learning complex spells also takes time. When you start with small, simple spells, allow your intuition to guide you when you’re deciding to rework the spell.
Ask yourself these questions before reworking the spell:
- What’s the reason you want it to work? – Be honest here. Do you want a boyfriend before the holidays so your parents won’t ask you any questions and the holidays are only a few weeks away? It’s best to allow more time because your anxious energy could scatter the results.
- Am I being selfish? – Do you want the spell to work quickly because you’re unwilling to wait for subtle results? Or are you ignoring the subtle ways the universe is answering your spell because you want to show off? Let that go.
- Is there a new development? – Have you noticed that your circumstances have changed, and you want to enhance the energies already happening? This could be a good reason to repeat or improve a spell.
- Are you working on yourself or someone else? – Work for yourself often takes time because we have fixed expectations of what’s supposed to happen. If you’re working for someone else, they may be able to see connections you can’t. That said — it’s essential to allow time and to encourage the recipient to allow time.
Why Isn’t My Spell Working?
There are so many reasons that a spell may not work the way you intended or at all. First, you may not have the right focus for your spell to align with the energy you need. If you’re doing a spell under extreme emotional duress, for example, that energy could feed into your spell and overpower its intention.
Another common reason is that you aren’t honest with yourself. The universe never seeks to harm and seeks truth. If you aren’t honest about the real reasons you are doing a spell, sometimes the universe will answer by tearing your story apart. This is a learning process.
You may not have the training to perform complex spells yet. Although many agree that spell casting doesn’t require loads of training or initiation, there is still a learning curve to writing and performing spells. Take the time to perform smaller spells and work up to something complex.
One big reason your spell didn’t work is that you refuse to see the results for what they are. This goes back to being honest with yourself about why you’re performing a spell and could also be the case if you are working on someone else without their knowledge and/or consent.
Casting a Spell – The Basics
There are a few types of energies, and thus spells, to be aware of as you come into this act. Sorting these out can help you figure out your intentions and how to direct your energies.
- Correspondences – These are “links” between the physical and the intangible. The rose petals on your altar symbolize love, and the brick dust symbolizes a wall, for example. These elements make up your spell and help focus the right energy.
- Sympathy – Sympathy is another word for attraction. Spells like love spells or abundance spells attract things to you by creating a sympathetic connection between your energy and the energy you desire.
- Antipathy – This is the opposite concept. Banishing bad luck or binding someone speaking ill of you are examples of breaking a connection between you and the energy you wish to repel.
- Connection – Sometimes called “contagion,” this creates a link between you and the energy you’re working with. Getting a lock of hair is a classic example and works by assuming that once in contact, always in contact.
- Inversions – Inversions are a more potent form of repelling magic. They focus on mirroring the bad energy back onto the person sending it to you. Mirrors or evil eye charms are good examples of this.
These connections and intentions are fortified through the concept of repetition, which is why you see so many spells being performed through rhyming words or repeated actions. Burning a candle for seven days reinforces the intention you’re creating and focuses your spell.
These principles exist because you must have a purpose when performing a spell. While that seems obvious, it’s easier than you think to be too vague about your spell. When you don’t have a particular purpose for your spell, the energy is scattered, causing your spell to be less effective.
Crafting A Spell
Use the energetic concepts above to think about how to bring your energetic desire into the physical world. You don’t need complicated or expensive materials. Begin by trusting your instincts and reading everything you can from trusted sources about spell crafting and casting.
It can be intimidating to begin crafting your spells, but the real ingredient is magical intention. Almost anything can be a magical tool when it’s designated as such, so you don’t need to buy a bunch of expensive things. Many you already have in your house.
One thing to note — Once you’ve designated something as a magical object, you can’t go back to using it as a regular household thing. That glass or bowl is now imbued with magical properties, so it might be best to have a separate storage area for your magical tools.
Thresholds are powerful portals to the cosmic world, so directing spells at your window sill, door threshold, or even the transition between rooms could help signal the opening of the veil. Also, transitional times of the day, such as dawn or dusk and the transitional times of the year, such as the equinoxes are also powerful times for spell work.
You don’t need them to make your spells full of intention, however. You must be very specific about what your spell is for and clear and honest about why you’re performing this particular spell. Be sure to “close the door” after the end of the spell to ensure that any energetic portals you’ve opened are successfully closed.
Once you’ve completed the spell, signal that the spell is closed by simply saying “goodbye” or by performing the closing ritual of the tradition you’re practicing. This way, you don’t attract any unwanted energies that can interfere with the efficacy of your spell.
Setting the Right Intentions
Making sure that your intentions are focused and pure can be a massive help in making sure your spells work. You should start by building a targeted, meditative practice to prepare you for spell casting.
This can be as simple as taking a bath or meditating on the flame of a candle for a few minutes to calm and center your emotions. When you’re ready, you can open your spell circle and begin.
You must believe that the spell will work as well because this also helps focus your intentions. If your spell is too vague, you may have conflicting energies about making sweeping changes with magic. If it’s too specific, you may not trust the universe to fulfill the spell in the way that serves your highest good. Focus your efforts and trust the universe’s intentions.
Cast a spell to address only one thing at a time. This allows you to believe fully and focus everything you have on this one intention. Once you’ve cast the spell, you can’t sit around and wait for it to come true either. You must get out there and place yourself in situations that enhance the energies of your spell.
Letting the Spell Go
The most significant part of believing in magic and learning to cast spells is letting the spell go. You can’t sit around waiting for the spell to work, and you can’t obsess over when the spell is going to work. Part of your belief and faith in your practice is building the understanding that your spell will work on its own time.
If it genuinely doesn’t work, it’s not an indictment of magic. Instead, take this chance to explore what may have occurred to block the results.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Did the spell work? – Are you ignoring the way the spell may have brought you blessings? Are you refusing to recognize that the spell worked because it doesn’t look like what you want? Meditate on this.
- Were you honest with yourself? – If you don’t set your intentions or you aren’t giving yourself or your worker the whole story, the universe isn’t fooled. Scrutinize your intentions and regroup.
- Are you blocking the spell? – Did you cast from an emotionally fragile space? Your anxiety could be scattering energy. Also, examine the wording to see if you were too vague, too specific, or were asking for more than one thing?
- Are you doing work on someone else? – What did we say about doing work without the knowledge and consent of another person? Magic is not intended to change someone, bring them harm, or alter their course without their knowledge. Don’t do it.
How to Build a Spell That Works
Crafting a spell is an excellent way to infuse it with all your intentions and devotion. For the beginner, it can be intimidating to build spells however, so many people turn to prewritten spells.
This is a great way to practice magic for beginners, but there is so much value in learning to write your unique spells. If you aren’t sure where to start, follow these few steps to begin creating your very first spell.
Step One – Center Yourself
When you get an idea of what you may want to change about your life, spend some time refining your desire and your intention. An idea is not a focused intention for a spell. Look a the underlying desire and the root cause of your need before you ever begin working.
This is also the time to cleanse yourself of any negative emotions or energies you may have around yourself. Meditate on your desire and free your mind of things weighing you down. This is also a good time to journal your thought to provide more clarity and possibly the language that you’ll use in the spell.
Step Two – Refine Your Wish
Once you’ve spent some time communing with yourself, you’re ready to put your wish into action. Take the time to write down clearly what it is that you want, and — this is a crucial piece — the result you’re asking for.
You don’t want to be too vague or too specific, allowing room for the universe to know what you want and to deliver. It may take some practice getting this balance exactly right, but it is possible.
For example, if you’re working some property magic, you might say:
I am unsatisfied with the isolating location of my apartment. I’m looking for a chance to upgrade my living space to something more healthy for my community involvement.
This leaves the universe many ways to honor your request without saying, “I want a better apartment” (vague intention) or “I want a corner apartment in this particular building on this particular street” (way to specific).
Step Three – Collect Your Tools
Here is where the spell begins to take shape. Use the principles of intentional correspondences to find a fresh piece of paper for your petition. Think of color, type, and a host of other things. This paper is how you’ll make your final desire known to the universe. You can also use the same principles to decide on the type of ink.
It’s essential to write these things by hand because it helps you focus, and it ties you to the traditions of the past. A handwritten spell becomes a type of artifact infused with your energies and only gets more powerful each time you return to it.
Collect the other pieces of your ritual and finalize them. These pieces are the essential workings of your very own, brand new spell. It’s important to know where you’re going before you even begin to think about performing your new spell.
Step Four – Bring Energies Back to Grounding
Grounding yourself before you begin the work is a huge next step. As you’re writing this new spell, you’re pouring a lot of energy into it. Spell-writing can cause energy drains and a feeling of fogginess if you spend too long in a magical place without taking the time to center yourself.
Once you’ve finished getting your spell written down, spend some time doing other things. Bring your energies back to earth. Spend some time using those energies for practical matters to help bring your body back to the physical plane.
Step Five – Imbue Your Tools
Now that you’ve written the ritual, you can begin working with the elements. Decide when you’ll be performing the spell using magical correspondences. Consider also if you need others to accomplish the spell or if you’ll be casting alone.
Gather the physical things of your spell as well. Begin initiating them so that they’re ready to use when you decide to work the spell.
Step Six – Cast and Evaluate the Spell
Once you’ve officially worked your spell, you can take a step back and evaluate how it went. The spell may need tweaking, or you may be curious to see how soon the spell works to give you an idea of improving it for the future.
Believing In Your Magic
Once you decide that magic is real and that you’re ready to open yourself to the universe’s energies, you must remain open to the possibilities. Writing your spell is an excellent meditative practice that can help you focus intentions and give your spell the best chance of working.
Remember — magic doesn’t work the way we see in movies. It connects you to energy and the cosmos, so keep an open mind and look for the signs!