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Wicca

Wiccan magical spells and charms

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Quote:

bullet"Spells are not about turning people into frogs or granting wishes. A spell is a set of actions and prayers that you do and say in order to ask for divine help with some particular aspect of your life." Mnemosyne's Realm 9

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Charms:

According to a Webster's dictionary, the original meaning of the noun charm was a "chanted word, phrase, or verse assumed to have magic over to help or hurt; an incantation." 1 There are two modern meanings to the word:

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an amulet; an object believed to have magical powers that will ward off evil influences over the wearer, or bring them good luck.

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"any action or gesture assumed to have magic power." 1 A Witchcraft encyclopedia expands this definition by adding: "magical works, phrases, chants, incantations, inscriptions and actions which can be used separately or in combination to make a charm." 2

The encyclopedia's definition for charm is essentially identical to the meaning that most people give to the noun spell. We will consider the two terms as synonymous in this essay.

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Spells:

Spells are one of many ritual activities that many Wiccans engage in. Not all Wiccans cast spells; they are a matter of personal preference.

Spells can be designed to attempt to either harm or help others. Thus, there are both evil spells and healing spells. The same magickal processes are used for both.

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Wiccans are prohibited by their belief system from engaging in spells or other activities which harm others. This is a logical result of Wiccans' belief in the three-fold law, and their commitment to follow the Wiccan Rede -- their prime rule of behavior:

bulletThree-fold Law"All good that a person does to another returns three-fold in this life; harm is also returned three-fold."
bulletThe Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt." (In modern English: "Do whatever you wish as long as it harms no one.") 11 More information.

The Rede obviously prevents a Witch/Wiccan from doing harm to themselves or to others, or attempting to manipulate others, taking harmful drugs, etc. Thus, many activities that have been traditionally attributed to Wiccans -- from the laying of curses to conducting love spells -- are strictly forbidden to them.

bullet"Evil Witches", according to the early Christian church, never existed. But by the 15th century, the church had changed its mind. They taught that Witches did exist, that they sold their souls to Satan, flew through the air on broomsticks, were capable of shifting their shapes to resemble animals, and that they dedicated their entire life to harming and killing their victims. This fictional belief was used as justification for the church's subsequent burning at the stake of hundreds of thousands of religious heretics of all types. In reality, few if any evil Witches existed in the 15th century; they do not exist today either, in any significant numbers. Some individuals portray themselves as Witches for monetary gain and offer to cast evil or healing spells at a price. But they are rare and should not be confused with Wiccans. Such "witches" are not bounded by the Wiccan Rede or Threefold Law. so, they feel quite free to cast evil, manipulative spells and curses.
bulletChristians sometimes pray to their God with the intent of obtaining God's help to change their life or to heal friends and family. Some light a prayer candle in their home or church. Such rituals have many parallels with Wiccan spells. What some Christians call prayers, Wiccans may call magickal spells.
bulletFollowers of other religions also cast spells. "Not all witches cast spells, and not all spells are cast by witches. There are many magical religions out there, wicca being one of them." 3 Most Satanists, for example, cast spells. Their rules of behavior are different from the Wiccan Rede, since Satanism is a separate religion from Wicca. Satanists are not prohibited from casting evil spells on their enemies.

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Allowable spells:

Wiccans are prohibited from doing harm to others. This is generally interpreted as forbidding any spell that seeks to dominate, manipulate or control another person without their expressed wishes. Consider a love spell as one example:

bulletA Wiccan could design a spell to make a specific person fall in love with her/him. That would be a negative spell, because its intent, goal and effect would be manipulative -- to control the other person for the benefit of the spell caster. A Wiccan cannot ethically perform such a spell. 10
bulletA Wiccan could design a general spell to make a specific person more open to love in their life. That again is excessively manipulative. The target person could be trying to avoid romantic relationships at this stage in their life, for whatever reason. However, this type of spell might be allowable, if the Wiccan first obtained the permission of the target of the spell.
bulletA Wiccan who is desirous of starting a romantic relationship could cast a spell to make themselves more open to love in their life. That would not  manipulate anyone else; it would not harm others; it would not harm the spell caster. 4,8 It would be acceptable under the Wiccan Rede.

Before performing a spell, Wiccans carefully think through all the possible repercussions of a spell to make certain that it does not have a manipulative component. Wiccans believe that spells alter the course of the universe and are not to be entered lightly without thoroughly considering all of its possible effects.

There are probably as many types and designs of Wiccan spells as there are Wiccans:

bulletSome spells are very simple, consisting of only a few phrases and actions. 4
bulletThe spell may complex and may involve a full Wiccan ritual, including casting a circle, invocation of deities, statement of purpose, working of the spell, meditation, thanking the deities, and closing the circle. 5
bulletSilver RavenWolf recommends  a sequence of tasks, including 4 main steps:
bulletto know (yourself, what is to be accomplished...)
bulletto will (belief in yourself, Divinity, your sills, practicing)
bulletto dare (to change circumstances, to change your environment...)
bulletto be silent (before the spell, and afterwards...) 6

Many Wiccans believe that it is not important that you follow a spell precisely. Spells may work better if you modify them to match your personality, thoughts, and the specific situation.

SpiritWeb maintains a list of Web sites that publish spells. 7

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References:

  1. "Webster's New World Dictionary, 3rd college edition," Prentice Hall (1988), Page 237.
  2. R.E. Guilery, "The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft,"   Facts on File (1989). Cited in C.R. Miller, "Wiccan Myths: Charms," at: http://fly.to/shadowdrake/wcharm.html
  3. Nicky R., "Spell Checks," at: http://www.the-wire.com/stagenet/wicca/spell.html
  4. F. De Grandis, "Wiccan love spells," at: http://www.feri.com/frand/Wicca1.html
  5. "Spells in general," at: http://www.newmoon.uk.com/spells/46.htm
  6. Silver Raven Wolf, "To stir a magic cauldron: A witch's guide to casting and conjuring," Llewellyn worldwide, (1996). You can safely order this book and/or read 24 reviews. Cited in Black Raven's Wicca Page at: http://www.black-raven.com/magick/spell.html
  7. "Spells (Experimental)," SpiritWeb, at: http://www.spiritweb.org/Spirit/networks-spells.html
  8. "OK, Where are the love-spells in this book?," Mnemosyne's Realm, at: http://www.io.com/~be_think/lovesp.htm
  9. "What is Wicca," Mnemosyne's Realm, at: http://www.io.com/~be_think/wicca.htm
  10. Mike Nichols, "Charmed, I'm sure: the ethics of love spells," at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/7280/luvethic.html
  11. The term "Wiccan Rede" is sometimes used to refer to the short phrase which defines Wicca's main rule of behavior. Other times it is used to refer to a poem which includes the behavior rule and the Threefold Law. More info.

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Books on spells:

We have made it simple for you to order any of these books safely from the Amazon.com online bookstore. Just click on the hyperlink. Many of these books are $10.00 or less plus shipping.

bulletRaymond Buckland, "Practical Candleburning Rituals," Llewellyn Publications, (1987). [Christian & Pagan rituals] Order/see 6 reviews
bulletRaymond Buckland, "Advanced Candle Magick: More spells and rituals for every purpose," Llewellyn Publications, (1996). Order/see 6 reviews [Christian & Pagan rituals]
bulletZsuzsanna Budapest, "Grandmother Moon: Lunar magic in our lives: Spells, rituals, Goddesses, Legends and emotions," Harper San Francisco (1991). [Feminist magick; ancient rituals]  Highly rated by customers; however, we do not recommend her thoughts on astrological birth control! Order/see 4 reviews
bulletJanet & Stewart Farrar, "Spells and how they work," Phoenix Publishing, (1990). [Ancient and modern, basic Pagan spells] Order/see 1 review
bullet>>>Yasmine Galenorn, "Embracing the moon: A Witch's guide to rituals, spellcrafts and shadow work," Llewellyn Publ., (1998). Order/see 46 reviews
bullet>>>Francesca De Grandis, "Be a Goddess! A guide to Celtic spells and wisdom for self-healing, prosperity and great sex," Harper San Francisco, (1998). Order/see 23 reviews
bulletDorothy Morrison, "Everyday magic: Spells & Rituals for Modern Living," Llewellyn Pub., (1998) [Practical spells] Order/see 9 reviews
bullet>>>Silver Raven Wolf, "To stir a magic cauldron: A witch's guide to casting and conjuring," Llewellyn Publications, (1996). [Humorous, easy to read Wiccan magick] Order/see 24 reviews
bulletSilver Hexcraft Ravenwolf, "American folk magick: charms, spells & herbals," Llewellyn Publications, (1998) [Pennsylvania Dutch folk magic] Order/see 4 reviews
bulletLuisa Teish, "Jumbalaya: The natural woman's book of personal charms and practical rituals," Harper San Francisco, (1988). [Vodun/Voodoo] Order/see 3 reviews
bulletPatricia Telesco, "Goddess in my pocket: Simple spells, charms, potions and chants to get you everything you want," Harper San Francisco, (1998).   [Traditional Witchcraft, not Wicca] Order/see 3 reviews
bulletValerie Worth, "The crone's book of charms & spells," Llewellyn Publ., (1998)  [Pre-Wicca traditional Witchcraft] Order/see 4 reviews

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Spells on the Internet:

bullet"A book of spells and rituals," at: http://www.spiritonline.com/wicca/spellbook.html This contains over 60 spells.
bulletF. De Grandis, "Wiccan love spells," at: http://www.feri.com/frand/Wicca1.html
bullet"Spells in general," at: http://www.newmoon.uk.com/spells/46.htm
bulletJudith Lewis, "Book of Spells" at: http://www.newmoon.uk.com/catalogue/spells.htm She lists dozens of spells.
bullet"Love spells..." at: http://www.newmoon.uk.com/bos/34.htm

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Witches' Voice has an enormous amount of information: links to Neopagan websites, lists of pagans and covens by location; teen pagans, etc.:
www.witchvox.com

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Copyright 1999 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2007-AUG-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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