Friday, November 30, 2012
Using Your Book of Shadows
.....by Llysse Smith Wylle
Spells are not words, memorized or even improvised. They're not
Candles or stones or incense or sigils or crystals or any of the
Traditional trappings that may first come to mind when you may think of
Magic. Spells are a state of mind. In fact, "having a spell" is
A better way of thinking of it than "casting a spell."
When you work magic, you've penetrated another state of
Consciousness, journeyed into a twilight world and entered a dream state
In which all things are possible. Magic is a work of the mind, so it is
Your mind you must train.
If that is so, one may wonder why so many practitioners use words and
Other outer trappings or components when they cast spells.
There are many answers to that question, and one among them is that such
Components can provide inspiration for the magician's mind…
Inspiration that will help in achieving that mental bliss needed to work
The art. Magic objects are magical when they're meaningful to the
Practitioner, and when they transport an ecstatic understanding of that
Meaning to the magician's mind.
The same is true of magic words. When you become sufficiently practiced
Or advanced as a practitioner, you will need no trappings because you
Will be able to achieve the necessary state of mind spontaneously,
Without them. Nonetheless, you may still choose to use them for mere
Pleasure, as such objects are satisfying to use and even to hold, and
The sound and rhythm of magic words are pleasing to the ear.
Using components is an effective way to train oneself in the magic arts,
So long as one realizes it is a mental exercise. Magic words, when
Merely verbalized without other mental effort, will not generally
Accomplish your goal. The idea is to cause change to happen in
Conformation with your will, as Crowley put it. Therefore, try ing to
Effect magic by rote or recipe, without the involvement of your mind, is
As components, words have an especially strong connection to the
Conscious mind, and can focus and evoke your will in a direct way.
However, in order to successfully cast your spell, your will must
Permeate all three levels of your perception: your conscious, your
Subconscious and your super conscious mind.
Using poetry can facilitate the process: well-crafted poetry—poetry
That moves you and sways every part of your mind—can infuse your
Will into each level of your awareness: gnosis.
Sometimes practitioners choose to use sound and rhythm only…
Chanting syllables whose sonorous cadence alone, without the tether of
Grammar or meaning, are meant to help achieve their goals. This is a
More advanced technique, as is the use of "power words." A power
Word is usually a single word that serves as a focus of the
Will—usually without the use of other components, although sometimes
A gesture can be used in conjunction with it.
The Power Word technique is more difficult because your mind must
Already be very near to component-less casting. Poetry, however, can be
Especially effective in word magic, particularly for the beginner,
Because it combines sound and rhythm with meaning. Spells are properly
Cast by causing the heart and mind to abandon itself in gnosis. Poetry
Can help to stimulate that ecstatic experience.
HOW TO USE SPELLS FROM PUBLISHED WORKS
As has been mentioned, casting a spell cannot be accomplished merely by
Reciting a set of magic words or by performing certain prescribed
Actions with other components, without the involvement of the mind or
If that is the case, one may wonder, then, of what earthly use a book of
Spells could be.
The answer, whether you're a beginner or whether you're an
Advanced practitioner, is those spells books can inspire the state of
Min d you need to achieve for successful casting. As a beginner, you may
Find it easier to use the spells in published books just as they are. As
You gain in experience, you may choose to view such spells as models for
Spells of your own. It is no crime to modify them for your personal
Practice so that they fit your own needs, and so that the symbolism
Better harmonizes with the system you use. Casting a modified spell that
Is consistent with your own techniques and needs will make them that
Much more effective for you.
Spells that you compose yourself, however, will often be the most
Personally useful to you because you will have drawn from the symbols
And correspondences that you know best: you may have called on the
Deities with whom you have a personal relationship. Even at an advanced
Stage, however, it can be invaluable to utilize spells composed by
Others because ideas and symbolism you're not as familiar with can
Expand your capabilities and move you to new pinnacles of inspiration