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Ten Steps to Spellworking
Submitted by Wild Light
In the book _Spinning Spells, Weaving Wonders_, Telesco equates creating spells from scratch to baking a cake (now where have we heard THAT analogy before, eh?). She states that you have to go step-by-step, but that once you understand how it works, you'll be able to adapt it to suit personal tastes. I agree with this, in that there are certain things that should take place in order to assure successful magickal workings. Telesco's "Ten Steps to Create Personal Spells" are as follows:
  1. Consider your purpose, choose symbols, and state your goal.
  2. Find components to express intentions.
  3. Cleanse, bless and charge props, focals and tools.
  4. Settle your mind and spirit.
  5. Prepare sacred space.
  6. Cast the spell.
  7. Build the energy through word or deed.
  8. Release the magic.
  9. Ground yourself.
  10. Repeat the spells.
I find this to be a comprehensive list of the components of a spell, although not necessarily required to be performed in the order given, and definitely open to personal interpretation. For that reason, we'll address each individually, keeping an open mind as to the step's placement in the "grand scheme" of the spell and its necessity and representation. 


This first step, in my opinion, is one that cannot be omitted, for it requires you to think. Think about exactly that which you wish to accomplish. Think about the effects of working magick for that purpose, and the all-reaching effect it could have on you and anybody else who may be involved, directly or otherwise. Think about what symbolizes this intent to you. Define it clearly. This step is where ethical considerations come into play. This step is the genuine start of the spell, since it is where you define your intent, therefore beginning to release it into the Universe. Let's use an example: Let's say that I wish to increase my success in my personal business endeavors. First of all, I'll define that as my purpose. Then, what symbols of this intent can I find? Perhaps my business card? Maybe a photograph of something I wish to purchase with my earnings? Find something that literally speaks this intent to you. Finally, I state my goal, in that I say (or write), clearly and precisely, what it is that I wish to accomplish, ie., "I wish to increase my personal sales by 10% each month.". I've decided what I want to do, found something to represent it, and stated it exactly AS I wish to accomplish it. Time to move on to the next step. 


Remember the different correspondences (colors, herbs, oils, stones)? This is the step where those correspondences come into play. Again, we'll use the "business success spell" scenario: I've defined what I want to accomplish, so now I need to find components to express those intentions? Business success? Definitely a green candle, for financial success and fertility. And I'll burn some incense made of pine, cinnamon, allspice, clove and basil for money and prosperity. I'll use patchouly oil to annoint my symbols, candles, and other spell components, to ensure the success of the spell. And I think I'll even ring the candle with some stones - malachite and bloodstone - that are GREEN (the color of money), to make the spell stronger, then I can place a stone in my money bag that I use for my business, when the spell is completed, to draw money to me. See how it works? 


I usually cleanse and bless my tools when I first get them, but I still think it's necessary to cleanse both the space you're going to use, and your spell components, and charge everything prior to performing magick. It only takes a moment to "sweep away" (literally) the residual energies in the area you choose to work, and it only take yet another moment to sprinkle your items with salt water and pass them through incense smoke. This step becomes especially important if you're using stones that have been used in prior magickal workings...they must be cleansed before you use them for a new purpose. This is definitely open to interpretation; if you cleanse, bless and charge items as you purchase or receive them, then it's entirely up to you whether or not you wish to re-empower the items directly before using them. I would strongly suggest "cleansing" the space, however...you wouldn't cook a meal in a dirty pot, would you? 


This step is also very important, for it is the step that guides you to prepare your mind and focus your intent for spellworking. Remember: The energy is going to pass through you...you want it to have a clear path upon which to move. This is the time to meditate and become calm...this is the time to begin your visualization exercises. In my opinion, this is also the time to physically cleanse your body in the form of a preparatory bath or shower, possibly using some of the herbs that you chose to express your intent. This is where you physically and mentally prepare yourself for magickal workings...don't skip this step. If you can't do a full-fledged meditation and preparatory bath, at least try to do some deep breathing exercises and wash your hands and face...it helps. 


Telesco talks about this step in the form of casting either an informal or formal circle. But, when she talks about the informal circle, it's literally as simple as clearing/cleansing the space where you intend to work, putting the pets in another room, removing distractions, and loosely defining the space in which you intend to work. Be aware that you can prepare sacred space by simply doing the things mentioned (removing distractions and identifying the work area), or by casting a formal circle, or by enclosing yourself in a sphere of light. This is another step which is wide open to interpretation, and you need to do what works best for you, based upon personal preference and the spell itself. 


Telesco states that these two steps "work hand in hand," and I'm inclined to agree: You have to do one to do the other...you cannot cast a spell without energy, and it's unwise to build energy without defining specific intent. The "casting" element is that which ASSIGNS the energy which you build in the "building" step. Casting a spell is defined as "shaping our thoughts to transmit and direct energy toward a specific assignment, then releasing the energy to that goal." Casting answers the "who, what, when, where, how" questions that need to be answered in order to ensure spellworking success. This is the step that requires you to write your intent on paper, or state it out loud to the God/dess; this is the ultimately defining step. 

Building energy is accomplished in more than one way. Some of the more common ways are chanting, dancing, drumming, and music. In the coven with which I'm formerly affiliated, we chanted; we used the syllable "ohm," and let it build until we were ready to release it. We started quietly, and at a low tone, holding the sound for 30 seconds or so, then raised the tone and volume slightly with each repetition. The energy built with each repetition, until we were ready to release it toward its magickal goal. If you've ever been part of a circle where the dancing started out slow and fluid, becoming faster and more frantic until the participants collapsed onto the ground in release, you've been a part of an energy-building session. Regardless how you decide to do it and the method that you choose, remember that it needs to start out slowly and quietly, and build to a crescendo for the next step: Releasing the magick. 


This step, again, works hand in hand with the last two steps...if you're going to define intent and build energy to hit the goal, you have to release that energy in order to achieve your result. This release can be accomplished in many ways, either verbally, physically or mentally. As I mentioned before, the "ohm" chant is an effective way to build energy, raising both the tone and volume with each repetition. To release it, once you feel the energy built up, on the last repetition you simply increase both the tone and volume simultaneously DURING that repetition, until you feel that your voice cannot possibly go higher or get louder, then SHOUT it out as release. It's a good idea, using this method, to decide upon a "release word" prior to beginning to build energy, then at the moment of release, literally SHOUT that word out, propelling it with all the energy you've built. To release the magick physically, you can fling your hands upward, or in the case of dancing, collapse to the ground while allowing the energy to speed toward its goal. Perhaps you'd rather envision your release, by visualizing an arrow on its way to a bullseye, with the release happening at the moment you visualize the arrow actually hitting the target at dead-center. No matter how you choose to do it, and it IS a personal decision, this release is essential in order to achieve your magickal goal. 


Ah...the magick has been worked, and now what? You're probably feeling elated and exhausted, light-headed and weary, all at the same time. This is the step that brings you back to Earth, and restores your mundane thought patterns and a normal level of awareness. Sit on the floor and take a few cleansing breaths. Eat something, like fresh vegetables or bread, or even a piece or two of hard candy. Place your hands flat on the floor, or even lie down and allow as much of your body as possible to come into contact with the floor, and imagine that roots are going down into the Earth to anchor you. Do all of these. But here is just a suggestion: Stay put until you feel "back to normal"...if you don't, your legs may be weak, or you may still be woozy, and nobody wants to finish up a spell by stumbling all over the place and possibly injuring themselves. Once you're feeling "grounded" and normal again, you can close your circle or sacred space, and start clearing anything away that needs to be removed from the area. 


This is the ONE step upon which I tend to disagree with Telesco. I feel, very strongly, that spells should be worked with an attitude of expectancy and acceptance, and that your visualizations should reflect the desired end result having already taken place. I think that, when you continually repeat a spell, you're releasing negativity into the Universe because you're actually NOT expecting your will to be done, therefore interfering with the spell. It's my contention that, at some point, faith needs to enter into the spellworking, and the assumption that your needs will be met needs to be in place. We need to remember that sometimes OUR time frame isn't necessarily the IDEAL time frame, and we don't always get everything we want WHEN we want it - it doesn't mean we're NOT going to get it, just that we need to be patient. Telesco states that "repeating our spells provides us with an opportunity to do something constructive while we wait: empower our magic." This is subjective, and I'd urge each of you to decide which you prefer. For "empowering my magick," I choose to carry stones that were charged with the spell's intent during the working, or I choose a spell that involves candle magick over a period of days. I'll meditate on my intent during my "quiet time," and urge the energy toward its goal, so that it manifests for the maximum benefit. But I rarely re-perform a spell once it's been cast. 

One point upon which I STRONGLY agree with Telesco, in this respect, is the reminder to do everything you can to support your magick on a mundane level. Don't bother to work a spell to find a job, if you're not going to prepare a resume and attend interviews. If you're not going to take your medicine and get enough rest, a healing spell is worthless. Going back to the spell example I used for illustration, how can I expect to increase my business success, if I don't talk to people to generate business in the first place? It's not going to come to you if you don't work for it: The only place that "success" comes before "work" is in a dictionary. 

Source: "Spinning Spells, Weaving Wonders" by Patricia Telesco

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