Spells are a critical part of the practice of witchcraft. But what makes a spell a spell? There are a few key elements that make up a spell, and in this article we’ll explore what those elements are. After you’re done reading about the anatomy of a spell, check out my section on creating your own spells. Spells that you create hold a special amount of power because you’ve already infused it with your own energy by “birthing” it. You’ll learn more about custom spells on that page.
What Makes a Spell a Spell?
Before we dive in to the different parts of a spell, let’s define what makes a spell a spell. The answer is simpler than you may think. There is one element that must be present in order for something to be considered a spell: INTENT.
Intent is what gives a spell its power, because you’re infusing your energy into the steps that you take during a spell. Whether you’re performing a prosperity spell for yourself or you’re doing a healing spell for a loved one who has taken ill, without intent, the spell is just an empty series of events that are performed.
The Parts of a Spell
A typical spell consists of five general parts. However, there may be other aspects present in a spell. It’s also important to note that a spell doesn’t HAVE to contain all of the below sections to be considered a spell. A simple candle spell may lack the charging of a crystal or other gem, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not just as effective. Again, it’s all about the intent behind the spell.
In no particular order, a spell usually involves the following:
- Casting a circle
- Working with materials, which includes:
- Lighting of candle(s)
- Mixing of herbs and/or essential oils
- Burning of incense
- Charging of a crystal, gem, or amulet
- Raising energy
Casting a Circle
There are many ways in which you can cast a circle. Casting a circle means that you are calling upon the Guardians to join you in your magickal space. You can check out my Spells section for a few different methods of casting a circle. A circle is an energetic, ethereal boundary that you create. This is done both for protection (to protect against outside energy coming in) and for intensity (to keep the energy you create inside the circle).
Generally, a circle is cast in a clockwise fashion, beginning in the eastern direction. So you would call upon the Guardians of the East (Air), then the South (Fire), then the West (Water), and finally the North (Earth).
The incantation is the crux of the spell because it voices the intent of your spell. And, if you’ll remember about 45 seconds ago, I mentioned something about intent being the most important aspect of a spell. 😉
According to the Wiccan Rede, the incantation of a spell should be said in rhyme to maximize its efficiency. The Rede says “To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.” But WHY? The general consensus in the Wiccan community is that writing something that rhymes takes more work than simply writing out what you want to happen (which is also a good addition to a spell; they’re called “affirmations”).
When you take the time to write out a spell that rhymes, more energy is expended, thus making the recitation of it even more powerful. But what if you didn’t write the spell? Does it still hold the same amount of power? YES! Why? Because intent. You ‘member, right? If you use a spell written by someone else, that doesn’t negate the energy that was initially used to create that spell.
However, I’m a firm believer in creating your own incantation/rhyme whenever possible. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be in perfect iambic pentameter. Believe me, I’m far from a gifted poet, and I know it (ha! See what I did there?)
This usually follows the recitation of the incantation, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In many spells I’ve performed, I meditate and visualize the outcome I would like to see throughout the various steps of my spells. When you visualize the outcome you want from the performance of the spell, you’re putting that out into the Universe. And if you know anything about the Law of Attraction, you know that what you put out comes back to you. And if you DON’T know anything about the Law of Attraction, well, now you know one thing: what you put out comes back to you.
Meditation is critical not just for spells, but for everyday life. It’s your way to connect with your higher consciousness, your spirit guides, and/or the deities (or Great Spirit, or whatever you want to call it). When you meditate, you’re blocking out the other fifty million thoughts racing through your head like what you need to get at the grocery store later or whether you sent that email to your boss. Meditation helps you to FOCUS, and focusing is important.
Working With Materials
Depending on the spell, you may or may not use a variety of different materials when performing a spell. However, I would say that 99% of the spells I perform involve at least one or more of these materials: candles, herbs, crystals, incense, and written affirmations. Burning candles of different colors helps to focus the main aspects of your spell.
As an example, if you’re doing a spell to banish negativity in your life, you would want to burn a black candle. However, you’ll also probably want to burn a white candle as well, to attract positive energy to take the place of that negativity. I go into more detail about the different properties of candles in my section on candles, gems, and herbs.
For purposes of this article, however, just know that using different materials such as the ones I listed above help to add to the efficacy of your spell.
This is something that occurs throughout the course of performing a spell. However, some spells have a specific part that is dedicated to raising energy. At its most basic level, raising energy is simply meditating and visualizing. You’re focusing all of your own energy, as well as drawing in the energy of the astral plane and, indeed, the Universe as a whole. This is another example of how important your intent is when doing a spell. If you’re performing a healing spell, for instance, then you’re going to want to raise healing, nurturing energy from the Universe and then send that energy out to fulfill that intent.
Spells are as unique as the people performing them. However, these five general sections are a good framework for creating spells, and you’re likely to find most of these in the majority of spells that you come across (especially in my Spells section).
If you want to know more about how to create your own spells, I have a section devoted to exactly that. Check it out by clicking here.
Until next time, Blessed Be!