Welcome back, cosmic warriors. I’m Aliza Kelly Faragher, your resident astrologer, and this is Allure Astrology, a column dedicated to astrology, esotericism, and all things magick. Get ready to heat up the cauldron and join me as we explore the basics of at-home spell-making.
Have you ever made a wish over birthday candles, tossed a lucky penny into a fountain, or doodled your crush’s name on a piece of paper? If so, then you’ve already cast a spell. Though such actions may seem mundane, these practices all have a place in the time-honored tradition of spellcraft.
For generations, humans across cultures have explored their innate magick through various manifestation techniques (“magick”, it’s worth noting, is distinct from magic, which is about entertainment rather than spiritual growth). In 1533, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa of Nettersheim, a young German nobleman, authored a groundbreaking work on different approaches to esotericism. Entitled Three Books of Occult Philosophy (De occulta philosophia), this study detailed three types of magickal practices: ceremonial, celestial, and natural.
Ceremonial magick derives from divine tradition and required the presence of a pious figure, such as a priest, priestess, or shaman. Celestial magick exists at the intersection of the terrestrial and cosmic realms — a perfect example is astrology. Natural magick, meanwhile, uses herbs, candles, crystals, and stones to direct energy through spellwork.
But what exactly is spellwork? What does it mean to direct energy, and how do you get started? Don’t worry, cosmic warriors. The best part of spellwork is that it’s truly for everyone. Here’s what every beginner should know when kicking off a magickal practice, as well as tips and tricks for cultivating your at-home craft.
What Is Spellwork?
The concept of a flowing life force has been explored around the world. It has been referred to as qi in traditional Chinese medicine, prana in Hindu philosophy, and ka in ancient Egyptian religion. These names describe the essence of existence, a powerful current that animates all natural things.
As within all divination practices, spellwork is based on the belief that within each individual is an entire cosmology that mirrors the expanse of the universe — the microcosm symbolizes the macrocosm. Fundamentally, spell-making is the art of identifying, raising, and directing your energy. It requires no creed, book of rules, or special privilege to do. In fact, while most practitioners enjoy using ingredients and tools in their spells, the only required tool is your magickal intention.
Spell-making is the art of identifying, raising, and directing your
A spell is anything performed with magickal intention; an incantation, meanwhile, is a spell created using words. The only difference between tossing a coin, brewing an infusion, or raising a cone of power — that’s cultivating energy by gradually increasing the speed of dancing, chanting, or instrument-playing — is your connection to the action. Remember, cosmic warriors, objects, and rituals are just conduits for our innate power. Objects themselves are not inherently magick, they simply help us channel our own energy.
The Principles That Distinguish Different Types of Spells
The most successful spells are those that originate with purpose. In other words, your pursuit of a magickal manifestation should be a response to a burning desire or need. Your incantation can be a reaction to an event (such as a timely professional opportunity) or an idea (for example, your newfound interest in spell-making), but it’s best to avoid crafting under extreme emotional stress. The outcome of your manifestations will always reflect your temperament at the time of creation: If you fuel your spell with frenzy, expect erratic results. To create positive and meaningful outcomes, channel your magickal energy with focus, wisdom, and empathy.
Channel your magickal energy with focus, wisdom, and empathy.
Ultimately, spells serve as intermediaries that unify entities through concepts. Though there are infinite ways to create a spell, there are different types of spells based on how entities are joined. These patterns of connection demonstrate the different ways a spell can create — or break — a bond. Let’s explore some of the most popular spell attributes.
Correspondences are links between the intangible and the physical, which you can form with the tools you use to make your spell, the time you choose to cast it, and more. For instance, each planet represents a distinctive concept or action: Mercury symbolizes communication, while Venus symbolizes romance and Mars symbolizes determination. Likewise, each “traditional” planet (those celestial bodies discovered with the naked eye) is associated with a different day of the week. If you intend to cast a love spell, it’s best to create your incantation on a Friday, Venus’s day.
Many correspondences (like those detailed in the above example) have been honored for centuries. Others, however, are more contemporary; for example, mirrors are now sometimes used as vessels for incantation, like when you say “Bloody Mary” in the mirror three times. There are plenty of resources that explore this concept, so you can be sure to always find a bond that matches your interests or desired outcome.
Sympathy and Antipathy
This phenomenon of forces attracting one another is referred to as sympathy, while the phenomenon of forces repelling one another is called antipathy. The practice of sympathy suggests that two objects or entities joined in one realm will always unite in another realm. In other words, “like attracts and effects like.” A classic sympathy spell introduces lovers by slowly moving two symbolic candles closer together. When the candles touch, a union is formed, and the candles are bound with honeysuckle vine to ensure a sweet partnership.
Another love spell involves carving the name and birthday (or astrological sign) of your romantic interest into a red seven-day candle. Set your intention out loud and with confidence, light the candle, and let it burn entirely. (If it’s not safe to keep your candle burning, repeat your intention each time you relight the wick.) Note the flame: Is it robust? Dim? Moving erratically? These are indications of how your desired romance is unfolding. When the candle is finished, your spell is complete.
Antipathy, on the other hand, repels forces. To permanently remove someone from your life, place a candle (bound tightly with twine or wire) in the freezer to “put them on ice.” Alternatively, you can also send someone away forever by writing their name on a piece of paper and mailing it to an undeliverable location — just be sure not to include your return address.
When you gift a loved one with a special charm, it can come to symbolize your closeness and become a representation of your connection. Likewise, contagion spells are based on the notion “once in contact, always in contact”: Entities that have been in contact before will remain in contact in some way even if physically separated.
To perform contagious magick, you must obtain something previously belonged to the target entity (for instance, a lock of hair, piece of clothing, or even a used napkin). Since there is already a cosmic link between the individual and object, your magickal intentions will be magnified through contagion.
If you believe you are a victim of a psychic attack, jinx, or simply “bad vibrations,” inversion spells are used to stimulate magickal immunities. Inversion spells function as vaccines: small doses of symbolic toxins to produce spiritual antibodies and build strength. Evil eye talismans or enchanted mirrors can be used to reflect ill wishes back on the spell-caster, while cayenne pepper — a primary ingredient in banishing oils (used for anointing candles, not for consuming) — symbolizes the antagonistic energy of the target entity.
Magickal connections are created and fortified through repetition. Not only does creating a rhythm help focus intention, the cyclical quality of repetition builds a powerful heat that energetically charges any incantation. Writing your crush’s name repeatedly, reciting a chant, or even creating a spell-based habit (such as using a broom to sweep your home of negative energy) strengthens your enchanted bonds, creating an inextricable link between the physical and magickal. Another way you can incorporate repetition into your spells is through rhymes, which leave deep psychological impressions. When you structure your incantation in a rhyme, you are effectively doubling the strength of your spell.
How to Get Started Making Spells
Though it can be intimidating to create your first spell, don’t be afraid to begin your practice. Because the only required ingredient is magickal intention, any object can become energetically charged. Simply put, you do not need to purchase expensive “healing crystals” to perform effective incantations. Sugar, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper are powerful spices that can be used in a variety of oils, potions, and infusions. Your cooking pots can become cauldrons, and almost any candle can be transformed into a magickal device (although that “Bahama Breeze” Yankee Candle may not be your first choice).
The most important thing to remember is that once you repurpose an object and deem it enchanted, it will always be magickal. For example, a wine glass cannot be used both for concocting potions and entertaining guests — unless entertaining guests is a component of your spell. Tools maintain energy, so always be sure to keep track of your mystical devices.
When choosing a location to perform your incantation, note that physical thresholds serve as cosmic entrances. Doorways, window sills, and cracks in the floorboards can become magickal portals, symbolizing the space between worlds. These are excellent places to practice or direct your spells. Similarly, casting your incantation at the intersection of day and night (dawn or dusk), as well as during seasonal equinoxes, can strengthen its potency. No matter where you choose to craft your magick, be sure to always close any door you open by signaling the spell’s completion (this can be through a formal ritual or simply by saying, “goodbye”).
The only true rule of spell-making is that you should never cast a spell out of malice or with the intention to cause harm to yourself or others. The law of threefold return is the karmic principle of magick: Whatever energy you direct will be returned to you with three times more power. If you’re not sure whether you should cast a particular spell, don’t. Your magickal intentions define your spirit, so always fuel your curiosities with love and kindness.
Spell-making is empowering, mystifying, and perhaps most importantly, extremely fun. Enjoy, cosmic warriors.
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