In order to cast spells, the witch must first get free of spells which have been cast on her. Spells are cast on us in childhood and later in adolescence, up through about age 19, when we define our adult personalities. Thereafter we chiefly react against the spells we carry from an early age, following the contradictory guidance of other spells (for spells often oppose each other). The witch must come to grips with these spells, one by one, and lay them to rest. In some cases the spell is so deeply ingrained that it must be accepted as part of the witch’s magical personality; in order to do this, the reactions against the deeply laden spell must be somehow pacified and reconciled with it. More recent spells, frequently reactive in nature, can be simply laid aside.
Here is an example. I come from a broken home, and in my adolescence lived first with one household, and afterward with the other one. I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth from one half-family to the other, and every time I arrived I was subjected to a barrage of questions: “What did your mother say about me? Well, don’t tell her this, but…” “What did your father say about me?” And so forth. In order to cope with this, I resolved back then to lose the ability to recall the details of conversations. For years I carried a mental block against remembering what people had to say, when asked about it. I would have made a poor witness in court.
This was a spell I laid on myself, in reaction to a situation I deplored but couldn’t escape. I still have difficulty recalling conversations, but by realizing the origin of the spell, and training myself to relax while remembering, I have succeeded in reducing it to a minor kink in memory. When it recurs, I ask my interlocutor to wait, and go off for a time by myself, involving my attention in something neutral. Then I write down a few phrases that come to mind, and return to my questioner with these. But frequently I will also say “Don’t talk about anyone when they are not present.” I have thus been identified as a neutral in interpersonal squabbles, and the occasions for questioning have become rarer.
In this way, the power of the spell to block memory has been reduced, and at the same time integrated into my personality as a positive, because freely chosen, feature.
This process of stepping back from family and other interpersonal feuds is something that will help the witch in her training for spellcraft. In modern witchcraft we don’t so much seek to enspell others as to cast an impersonal spell, called in some modern traditions an act of intent, on everyday reality. Sometimes we seek help in doing so. On three occasions in the past I have called on my dead father to help me find work, in exchange for forgiving him for each of three occasions in the past when he was instrumental, deliberately or unwittingly, in injuring me psychologically. On each occasion, a job (or at least a temporary contract) opened up to me the next day. Once I had run through the three occasions, however (the only times I can recall when he hindered my well-being), this no longer worked. In fact, after those three times I had a vivid dream of him where I shook him and yelled at him, saying “How could you have done this to me?” But he merely smiled frostily and replied that he had to go away now, as he had other work to do. And that was the end of such transactions for me. In fact, he disappeared from my dreams for a long time thereafter.
On another occasion I sought the help of the Lady of witchcraft in finding a job closer to where my children lived, so I could be part of their daily lives. This was a very heartfelt spell, cast while I lay full length on the floor in front of her idol. I cast in this fashion three times. Then I started looking for contracts and jobs farther south, in San Diego County where my sons lived. In the course of three months I had three job interviews, and one was favorable. I took it, but asked for three instead of the two weeks conventionally used for notice given the old job. They didn’t like waiting the extra week, but agreed to it. So I gave three weeks’ notice at my old job. When the third week came, my M+1 (my boss’s boss) called me into his office and confessed they had not turned in my notice because they knew an attrition order was coming up, and they hoped they could lay me off instead of letting me quit. It came through, and I received a severance of about $30,000 (minus quite a bit for Uncle Sugar). I wept in front of him. Then I used the money to pay off debts but withheld about $2,000 and used it to buy CD players and other electronics. When I saw the check, for nearly $20,000 (after taxes), I did the math and realized that I still owed exactly the amount I had reserved for my own fun – to the penny! The Lady was generous with me, but in a very measured fashion!
I have only cast one negative spell that worked. I was fired from my last contract, and, feeling the circumstances had been unjust, I performed a Toltec brujería spell against my old boss (the boss of my boss). Thereafter I tried to find more work but, after three interviews, had to give it up (I nearly got one on the third try). I packed up, move to Oregon where I had some family, and lived on my unemployment until I turned 62, at which point my early social security kicked in. I was working part time as well, and, needing some tax information, called my old job. My supervisor there mentioned that shortly after I left, our old manager had been fired. “What comes around goes around,” he remarked. So apparently that wanion worked, and the repercussions from the energy were threefold, as the Craft teaches!
In order to cast spells effectively, the witch must cultivate honesty, in deed as well as in word. If you say you are going to do something, you must do it, in some fashion or other. Try not to commit yourself too quickly to any course of action; practice saying “Let me think about it.” In our culture people feel uncomfortable giving or receiving a moment of silence. Become Japanese or native American and cultivate the habit of silence, just the same. American businesspeople have been known to offer additional incentives in a board room because the meditative silence of their Japanese negotiators unnerved them and they took it for a negative response. Realizing this, the Japanese have taught the use of moments of silence in their business seminars.
The purpose of the above, of course, is to imbue words with power. We must not waste words but put our whole force of will behind them. If we are in the habit of engaging in chatter and small talk, we will show disrespect to words and they will desert us when we try to use them in a spell.
You will know you are ready to cast spells when you notice more lucky ‘coincidences,’ or what Jung called ‘moments of synchronicity,’ popping up in your everyday life. You are beginning to resonate with the energy round about, an increase in magnetism described in the Gaelic Rune of Amergin by the phrase “I am fair among flowers.”
The believing Pagan should consider enlisting the help of the gods, goddesses, daimones or ancestors as a way of linking to his or her emotional depths in the casting of a spell. If you are so solitary a witch that you engage in no devotions to the ancient gods, then you must find other means to sneak past your internal censor and get in touch with the power in your collective unconscious (or whatever you choose to call it). In that case, you might contact Thelema or the Chaos Magic people and train by their techniques.
If you are not a Pagan, then I assume you would not be interested in spellcasting anyway. But I could be wrong! I met a Mormon lady once who considered herself a witch. Go figure!