Spell Casting: The Prayer Warriors
In a small community nestled along the Ohio River Valley, a high school football team had an incredible year as they went to a state championship game undefeated. The wife of the head coach was openly Christian and in an effort to help her husband win throughout the season, she started a small prayer circle known as the ‘Prayer Warriors’. The group would meet weekly to pray for their team’s victory. This was not only about the kids having a safe trip or about getting through a game without injuries, this was also about winning. In other words, they were consciously attempting to channel their spiritual energy in such away that it would cause their team to win, or for the other team to lose. Could this have been an actual coven of Christian Witches?
I imagine that if any of the women involved were to hear that they were being compared to a Coven of Witches they would be upset and it is not my intent to pass judgment, but they were spell-casting, and not in a good way either. Now, if they were good Witches they would have adhered to the Wicca Rede that states: ‘An it harm none do what ye will’. Praying that the other team loses isn’t exactly a no-harm approach. Then there is another moral guideline that is referred to by Wicca as the Threefold Law that states that what ever you put out there into the world will come back three times. So if you were spell casting or praying for the other team to lose I would imagine that it would come back in the form of three losses for the home team.
So based on some of the rules of witchcraft and spell casting, this ‘coven’ of football supporters was practicing some black magic, but they can’t be blamed because they were Christians and how could they have known about the Wicca Rede? But they did have a Bible, or as they call it The Good Book, which very clearly states “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12) , otherwise known as the Golden Rule. By the way, they lost the championship game to a private catholic high school team. One could only imagine what they must have thought.
I’m not trying to be mean-spirited. I have just never put the two together. Spell casting and prayer have a fundamental relationship that goes beyond just trying to make something happen that you want to happen. The two address a deeper human need for coping with things in the external world that we have no control over and it’s only human to feel anxiety when one perceives a loss of control.
I believe that the only logical approach for coping with the external world and our need for control is to alter our perception and thought processes from within. I also believe that the human race has intuitively developed ways to address this need and I would say that some such strategies have come in the form of spell casting, prayer and meditation.
To put a bit of a scientific spin on my reasoning, one must first understand that a thought is more than an abstract event, but an actual physiological reaction that spreads across the brain by activating an electrochemical impulse. This impulse is spearheaded by the activation of neurotransmitters that leap across synaptic gabs uniting million upon millions of neurons, each impulse within its own unique pattern. Each pattern becomes associated with a thought and like the tracks along a well-worn path these patterns grow stronger and deeper with each passing.
Not only can we change the levels of neuro chemical activity in our brains with the physiological reactions of our thoughts but we can also change the physical connections between neurons creating an unlimited array of patterns; this is a process that neurologists refer to as plasticity. The sheer power of thought can change the very landscape of our brain.
The concept of brain plasticity is a relatively new concept to science. Until just recently, neurologists theorized that our brains were fully developed by the time we reached our mid twenties and from that time forward very little, if any, changes accrued. Resent studies have suggested that this isn’t the case at all. It appears that our brains have the capacity to change throughout our entire lives.
I would go so far as to suggest that the ancients intuitively knew about the plasticity of their own being and that the internal dialogue, that we refer to as our thoughts, was some how a very important part of this plasticity and spiritual well-being. It appears that they some how understood that to remain both spiritually and physically healthy they had to maintain a command or a sense of discipline over their own thoughts. As a result, they developed ways to focus and concentrate on their thinking as a way to create meaningful and fundamental changes in their lives.
Transcendental meditation, which appears in early Buddhist literature, talks about focusing on one’s own thoughts while guiding them from a third party perspective. In spell casting, one learns to focus via careful preparation and concentration, and as recent neurological research suggests the key to plasticity is focus and concentration.
If the Prayer Warriors were to take a closer look at their situation, they would have came to the understanding that it wasn’t the outcome of an external event, such as a football game, that was driving them to engage in prayer for victory, but rather it was an internal neurological event. Their thinking leads them to believe that winning would relieve the anxiety that they were experiencing. This is where they fell short; they were unable to identify what they truly wanted to change. They wanted the anxiety to go away. Herein lies the secret of good spell casting.
One must meditate and focus on the true cause of their emotional responses such as, fears, desires, and anxieties and develop an internal dialogue that reassures and strengthens the neural networks that drive the emotions. Whether it is through transcendental meditation, prayer or spell-casting, one must focus on the internal and develop strategies to realign the thinking. As Wiccans, we establish and focus our mental energies by visualizing deities, writing and reciting poetry, chanting, ritualistic dancing, and so on, all of which is carefully thought out and planned and repeated as often as needed.
If the Prayer Warriors would have used their prayers to establish energy and clarity to better understand the feelings that they were having they may have come to realize that what they were feeling was normal and rather than fearing it, they could have embraced it and thanked their God for the opportunity to be human. They may have understood that once the game was over, and regardless of whether they won or lost, the anxiety would dissipate. The spell that they should have been casting was for clarity and understanding and the wisdom to enjoy the whole experience regardless of the outcome of an external event.
As one develops the correct habits of spell-casting, prayer and meditation, the brain begins to rewire itself in a way that allows one to perceive experiences and emotions through a positive filter. If such habits are developed incorrectly the brain rewires and the filter becomes negative. Either way you look at it, there is powerful magic afoot, or abrain, and it is not to be dealt with lightly.