Spellwork Through Poetry, Lesson 1

What are spells?

Objective: define spells; what constitutes a spell; why have a spell


According to the dictionary, a spell is “a word, phrase, or form of words supposed to have magic power”. If we look at the definition, we learn something interesting about spells: they really are not all that complex. They are actually quite simple. “A word or phrase…supposed to have magic power”. Any word or phrase which you give power to becomes a spell: a wish before taking a test, a hope that the meeting with your boss is positive, a curse to someone who just cut you off on the highway. They are all spells because when you say them, you give power to them. Anything, everything, you do can be considered magickal. So, if life is magick, daily living is the spells that make the magick happen.

Based on this definition, everything is a spell. But, we are going to get more specific. Spells are our intentions, given life with our words. We use them to manipulate energy around us to change for our benefit. Many pagan scholars group the spells together into categories labeled with colors: white, red, green, purple, and black. White magick includes healing, protecting, unhexing, and blessing. Red magick is anything involving love, fidelity, and marriage. Green magick involves money and luck including gambling, prosperity and wealth. Purple magick is to change the will of others to gain the outcome that you want. By now, we can all see where the thoughts of Black magick being evil and White magick being good. Each of the color classifications goes with intent, which we will be discussing with the next lesson.

When you go searching for spells, many of the ones you will find both on websites and in spell books will list important things to include in you spellcasting environment: colors, oils/incense/herbs, stones, time of day, day of the week, moon phase, candle burning time, rune stone, zodiac phase. Each of these environmental enhancers are nothing more than ways to help you set the energy, center yourself to get ready to use powerful magicks. These are nothing more than recommendations; use the ones you are comfortable with and don’t waste time worrying about the ones you aren’t. If you know a lot about color, use color. Or stones. Or astrology. Stick with what you know; using things you don’t know may give you unwanted results or tap into things you are not capable of handling. The most important part is not necessarily the tools you use to assist you in manipulating energies, but the intent behind it. Again, we will be focusing on intent next month.

Some spells which are not categorized and are very hard to locate are spells of gratitude. Walking through a park on a beautiful day, taking in the scenery and feeling the elements surround you. It can be a very magickal experience if you allow it to be. A common practice in the East, but one that has been all but lost in the West, is charging food. This is a simple act of gratitude to the Gods of your choosing for the sustenance you receive. When you charge your food, you are sending energy back to the farmers who grew your food and to the spirits of the plants and animals who gave themselves so you can continue to live. A daily spell to have a good day each morning, and gratitude for the chance to live and breathe another day, can set energy right through your day. Before you go to bed, a spell to sleep peacefully through the night, followed by the gratitude spell in the morning, makes for a great cycle of life.

The need for spells is quite simple. Spells are why a painter paints and a musician plays. They are manifestations of what is in your heart. They are words from deep in your soul, which you express to the divine.

Activity: After reading this lesson, please write a reflection about what spells mean to you. What do you/would you use spells for (money, health, love, healing, friendship gratitude, etc)? What experience do you have with spells?