Monthly Columns

Peeking in the Shadows: Crafting a Book of Shadows and Light


Over the next few months, we’re going to take a look at the categories and sections you may wish to include in your BOS. What you add to your BOS is as unique as you are and will evolve and change as you evolve and change on your path. Flexibility is key to organizing your BOS, but you should have a method of organization as well.

This month our focus is on Spell Crafting….

I set forth these words
as the moon shine Full bright
The Crab holds the deep waters
of intuition and lens of clear sight
That all who read may learn, explore
and grow
In the ways of spell working
and the seeds of desire they wish to grow

Written Full Moon in Cancer

High Magick vs. Low Magick (Practical Magick)

There are generally two specific types of magickal working. High Magick and Low Magick. This does not denote that level of effectiveness or potency, but rather the nature of the working and more specifically the energies and entities involved in the process.

High Magick is work done with the specific intent of achieving a spiritual, mystical goal. Ceremonial Magick, commonly employed by followers of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Qabalistic Magick all work with the formality and formularies of High Ritual. The work is done in a ritualistic manner; always with a circle being cast, energies of the quarters called and statement to the seen and unseen regarding the intent. The work is formal, structured and well planned in accord with the desired results. The intent is one of connecting with the Divine, in celebratory or communal process and for the purpose of devotion and/or personal spiritual development.

Low Magick includes Folk Magick, spell work and those workings that seek to affect the mundane world using the tools and energies of the mundane in concert with the spiritual to bring about a desired result. These are the practical workings that we do on a daily basis in accord with our life or community’s needs. Those who were the pagans of an agricultural society and worked from dusk to dawn, had little if any time or need for elaborate ceremonies; therefore, the practice of low magick was straightforward and to the point with little fanfare. Feathers, stones, herbs, flowers and other natural items were the ingredients used to work magick to ensure a good crop, fertility in marriage or protection from those who it was perceived would do harm.  These needs have transformed to some degree in modern society, but the underlying premise is still the same; that of improving or safeguarding those things we need or desire.

Now, this is not to say that never the two shall meet. In fact, workings that are intended to affect change at a global or cosmic level often incorporate both the structure and formalities of High Magick as they employ their work at a mundane level using many of the same tools of ingredient that operative magick would make use of.

The Basics of Spell Work

Practical Experience and Knowledge of s/SELF:

The mechanics of spell work force us to expand our knowledge base of Self, as well a show that Self operates in the larger cosmos. What begins as a desire to manifest a specific outcome, quickly becomes the tool upon which we base our greater work. The paradox is that to do a healing spell we must become the healer. To affect love we must first be the love that we desire. To change the world, we must be that change. You and the energy of your intention are the most important tools in the success of the spell of manifestation you set forth. Having a balanced sense of your parts of self allows you to engage those that will be of best assistance in achieving what your goal is.

Meditation and Breath Work:

These are the recurring themes that form the foundations of ALL your work. Meditation is a primary and essential part of magickal work. Training oneself to sit quietly, observe their thoughts or listen for inner guidance is a discipline that will spill over into your mundane as well as spiritual life. It teaches you to relax and quiet your physical being and your mind. Setting aside time on a daily basis to engage in this discipline also teaches you how to focus and either expand or narrow your perception. These are the skills needed as we work magick and in ritual to keep us anchored in the work we are engaging in. The process of meditation is the creation a firm base of self-awareness, heightened experience and union with the Higher Self and the Divine.

The act of meditation has been used for centuries as a tool for health restoration, spiritual endeavor behavior modification and self-awareness. A regular practice of daily meditation has been clinically proven to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, enhance the ability to maintain productive attention and contribute to the general well-being of an individual. Despite all these obvious benefits, many people find it difficult to establish a regular and consistent meditation practice.

The focus of your meditation does not always need to be the same. This can change as you move through your work. You will want to use this quiet time for connecting with or gaining information from a Deity you may be working with; use it to enhance your visualization skills; de-stress after a stressful day; or as part of ritual or personal work to enhance the overall concentration and intensity. Be sure to record in your journal your intent, focus and results. These can be quite useful in the months that follow. And, in accord with the act of meditation, it is generally the easiest time to write down thoughts with clarity as you have stilled the mind to outside distraction and opened to a source within. Energy follows awareness. Breath builds and directs energy. Learning to more effectively control, direct and manage your breath can make for very effective direction of energy and focus in your spell work.

Crafting The SPELL:

A magickal working directed toward the achievement of some goal such as obtaining, banishing, changing a condition, etc. Sometimes refers to the verbal part of the ritual…

Spell work is generally categorized as Low, Operative or Practical Magick. We cast spells as we cook. Carefully preparing and choosing the finest ingredients to produce pleasure and nourishment for ourselves and those we love. Sitting and writing that special sentiment in a birthday card or sharing condolences intended to comfort are crafts of spell work. Prayers offered up for a loved one’s health and the even the simple gesture of a hug and kiss accompanied by words of “have a good day” are spells cast. Sending out the intention to obtain a parking space or have the traffic light change in our favor is spell work. These and more are done transparently and largely unknowingly as we move through our daily routines. Now, doing these actions purposefully and in full awareness transform the routine into the extraordinary.

The Tools:

Adding layer upon layer of compatible and supportive tools onto the energetic working of the spell gives the extra oomph for success. Additionally, the extra time, care and effort in selecting just the right ingredients activates the process of intent and desire before the actual working is done. When each of these preliminaries is checked off the list, you will have sent out the etheric template of what you wish to manifest and set up the first steps of calling forth what you desire. Use the template below to incorporate your spells into your BOS….

A Record of Spells

(Your Magickal Name)



Where did you begin the working? What was the setting-indoors, outdoors? Was it in a space regularly used for ritual or spell work? Was it part of a ritual?

What Tools/Form Was Used: 

Record here if you used ritual as the vehicle for the spell crafting.

Time Begun: 

This is when you started the intention and process of the spell working.

Time Ended: 

This is the end time you have set as goal for manifestation/outcome of your spell.

The Intention For This Spell:

Write as much as is needed for you to have a clear picture of the intention and purpose of this spell. This will be important especially if you are planning to engage in several sessions for the same purpose or return to these pages after a lengthy period of time.

How Did I Prepare For This Spell Crafting?

Were there specific actions taken, ie: energetic protocol, creation of sacred space, alignment with lunar or solar phase, or just on the fly?

What I Have Learned About Myself:

Use this space to record what you have learned about your process in spell crating.

What have you learned of your responsive nature when guided by will?

What have you learned about how you decide upon the appropriate steps and settings in support of your working? (the steps you go through mentally and emotionally)?

What would you change about this spell to make it more effective?

Other Impressions:

Write any other thoughts, ideas, emotions that you may have about the spell crafting you have completed.

In Gratitude to Myself and to those Beings Seen, and Unseen. So Mote It Be!

Your Homework:

Select a goal that you desire to manifest. As you move through the planning for wat will be done complete your template each step of the way. Because spell crafting is often not a one-off event, you will be using (and adapting as you need) the content over a selected period of time.

Next Month:

Nuances of The Great Work-Part One


About the author:

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path, the 12th Coven within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path.  

Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and the Western Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice.  A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers.

Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following a practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th (Elder) degrees within the Assembly Tradition and has served as High Priestess of two ASW covens since Samhain of 2001 and the Winter Solstice of 2015.

As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she uses Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work.

Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally.  She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented.  She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival. Her most recent projects include a channel on youtube: A Journey to the Inner Chamber. She also shares audio pathworkings and ritual on her bandcamp site: Teachings on the Path with Robin.

Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings.  She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 40+- year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education.


Coven of the Mystic Path,

Her books can be found on Amazon or purchased directly through her website:

For more info

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 It’s Written in the Stars-Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 2 Poetry of the Spheres-Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 3 Awakening the Paths-Qabalah

The Light of SELF: Consciousness, Spiritual Practice and Learning to Breathe

Magickal Verse: A Collection of Poetry and Prose

A Year of Gaia: The Eternal Cord

The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of SELF

Temple of the Sun and Moon: Luminous Devotions

Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection: Musings for the Year

The Magickal Pen: A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Enchanted Gate: Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

The Temple of the Sun: An Astrological Solar Year

Writings in the Shadow: An Exploration of the Shadow Nature