Let’s Talk Witch – Gestures In Magick


Gestures In Magick


Gestures are silent counterparts to words. Gestures can enhance Wiccan rituals when performed in conjunction with invocations or dance, or can be used alone for their real power. Pointing (as mentioned tioned above), the use of the first and middle fingers splayed to create a “v,” and the vulgar presentation of an upraised middle finger demonstrate the variety of messages that can be conveyed through gesture, as well as the range of our emotional responses to them.

My introduction to Wicca happened to include some of these old gestures. In 1971, I saw some photographs of magical protective gestures tures such as the mano figa (a hand clenched into a fist, the thumb jutting ting out between the first and middle fingers) and the mano cornuta, a “v” formed by the first and little fingers and held upside down. Both have long been used to avert the evil eye and negativity, and the latter is used in Wicca, with points up, to represent the God in his Homed aspect.

The magical significance of gestures is complex, and stems from the powers of the hand. The hand can heal or kill, caress or stab. It is a channel through which energies are sent from the body or received from others. Our hands set up our magical altars, grasp wands and athames, and pinch out candle flames at the conclusion of magical rites.

Hands, as the means by which most of us earn our livings, are symbolic of the physical world. But in their five digits lie the pentagram, tagram, the supreme protective magical symbol; the sum of the four elements coupled with akasha, the spiritual power of the universe.

The lines on our hands can, to the trained, be used to link into the deep consciousnesses and reveal things to the conscious minds that we would otherwise have difficulty knowing. The palmist doesn’t read these lines as streets on a roadmap; they are a key to our souls, a fleshly mandala revealing our innermost depths.

Hands were used as the first counting devices. They were seen to have both male and female qualities and symbolism, and images of hands were used around the world as amulets.

Gestures in Wiccan ritual can easily become second nature. When invoking the Goddess and God, the hands can be held uplifted with the fingers spread to receive their power. The Goddess can be individually invoked with the left hand, the thumb and first finger held up and curled into a half-circle, while the rest of the fingers are tucked against the palm. This represents the crescent Moon. The God is invoked with the first and middle fingers of the right hand raised, or with the first and fourth fingers up, the thumb holding down the others against the palm, to represents horns.

The elements can be invoked with individual gestures when approaching the four directions: a flat hand held parallel with the ground to invoke Earth at the North; an upraised hand, fingers spread wide apart, to invoke Air at the East; an upraised fist for the South to invite Fire, and a cupped hand to the West to invoke Water.

Two gestures, together with postures, have long been used to invoke the Goddess and God, and are named after them. The Goddess dess position is assumed by placing the feet about two feet apart on the ground, holding the hands out palms away from you, elbows bent slightly. This position can be used to call the Goddess or to attune with her energies.

The God position consists of the feet together on the floor, body held rigidly upright, arms crossed on the chest (right over left, usually), hands held in fists. Tools such as the wand and magic knife (athame) are sometimes held in the fists, echoing the practice of pharaohs of ancient Egypt who held a crook and flail in a similar position while trying ing disputes.

In coven work, the High Priestess and High Priest often assume these positions when invoking the Goddess and God. In solo workings they can be used to identify with the aspects of the Goddess and God within us, and also during separate invocatory rites.

Gestures are also used in magic. Each of the fingers relates to a specific planet as well as an ancient deity. Since pointing is a magical act and is a part of many spells, the finger can be chosen by its symbolism.

The thumb relates to Venus and to the planet Earth. Jupiter (both the planet and the god) rules the forefinger. The middle finger is ruled by the god and planet Saturn, the fourth finger the Sun and Apollo, and the little finger by the planet Mercury as well as the god after which it is named.

Many spells involve pointing with the Jupiter and Saturn fingers, usually at an object to be charged or imbued with magical energy. The power is visualized as traveling straight out through the fingers and into the object.

Other ritual gestures used in Wiccan rites include the “cutting” of pentagrams at the four quarters by drawing them in the air with the magic knife, wand or index finger. This is done to alternately banish or invoke elemental powers. It is, of course, performed with visualization.

The hand can be seen as a cauldron, since it can cup and contain water; an athame, since it is used to direct magical energy, and a wand since it can also invoke.

Gestures are magical tools as potent as any other, ones we can always take with us, to be used when needed.


–Scott Cunningham, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner


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Spells and Formulas Record Sheet

Spells and Formulas Record Sheet


TYPE OF SPELL OR FORMULA: This should state very clearly what the type of spell is e.g. blessing, binding etc. When developing formulas for lotions and potions, for instance, you need to be clear as to the exact purpose.


DATE AND TIME MADE: This gives a cross-reference should you wish to use the correct planetary hours or magical days.


REFERENCE: you should develop your own system of reference; this might be, for instance, according to the time of year or alphabetically. Do also remember to keep safely somewhere a record of how you have developed your reference system so that others may benefit from your experience.


ASTROLOGICAL PHASE: if you have an interest in astrology you will probably want to record where the planets are when you prepare the spell or formula. A decent ephemeris (list of planetary positions) can be of great help here though there are also many sources of information on the internet.


SPECIFIC PURPOSE: you should always state the specific purpose of the spell or formula very clearly. This is partly because it helps to focus your own mind, but also because it leaves no one in any doubt as to your intentions. Should you have more than one main purpose, you should also record these.


LIST OF INGREDIENTS AND/OR SUPPLIES NEEDED: Having all your ingredients to hand ensures that you are working with maximum efficiency and not misusing or needing to adjust the energy by leaving the sacred space. Also, when you repeat a working you will need to replicate what you did the first time; even one small change in ingredients can make a tremendous difference to the outcome.


SPECIFIC LOCATION REQUIRED: You may well need to perform some spells within a certain area or setting. Also you may discover that your own energy responds to some locations better than others.


DATE, TIME AND ASTROLOGICAL PHASE WHEN USED: In all probability you will not want all your spells to take effect at the time you cast them. suppose you have applied for a job and wish your spell to work at the time of interview. You would need to carefully calculate the date, time and astrological phase of the interview as well as the time you are actually casting your spell and incorporate both sets of information into your working.


RESULTS: Record carefully all aspects of results you feel are associated with your working. This record should include how successful you consider the spell to be and how it might be improved. There will be some unexpected results, some which appear not to give a tangible result and others which come into play some time after they were expected.


DEITIES INVOKED DURING PREPARATION AND/OR USE: Often a particular god can be helpful in bringing about a needed result for a spell. You will chose the most appropriate for your purpose and can always petition a different one at another time.


STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARATIONS AND/OR USE: Often when spell-working, movements and words are intuitive and instinctive; the more you are able to remember what you did the more likely you are to achieve similar results. Also, should you require them for someone to work on your behalf or to undertake someone else’s magical training, you will have an exact record.


ADDITIONAL NOTES: Here you should record for each occasion anything that seems strange, bizarre or noteworthy so that you know what to expect next time.


In each of the spells we give a list of ingredients and special articles which may be required to achieve a result for that particular spell. Because each individual brings their own energy into the process, you may find that you intuitively want to change something, whether that is an ingredient, a container or the words used. This is absolutely fine, and means that your spell has a very personal ‘feel’ to it.

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Using Planetary Hours in Your Spellcrafting

Using Planetary Hours in Your Spellcrafting


Each hour of the day and night is also matched to a planetary influence. Planetary hours can be very useful, especially if you can’t wait until the right Moon phase or even the right day to perform your magical working. You can, of course, wait for both the appropriate day and planetary hour, if you wish. Planetary hours are divided into two parts: sunrise to sunset and sunset to sunrise.


Calculating the planetary ‘hours’ once the principle is understood is relatively easy. The calculation goes back to when there were no clocks to measure time. The periods of light and dark were each divided into 12 equal portions which were called ‘hours’.


Therefore if we divide the number of minutes of daylight by 12, we discover exactly how long a planetary hour is. For example, if the sun rises at 7am and sets at 4pm you would have 9 normal hours of daylight. This would then have to be divided by 12 to calculate when each new planetary hour begins. Thus:


9 hours multiplied by 60 minutes gives 540 minutes 540 minutes divided by 12 gives 45 minutes.


Therefore each daytime magical hour would be equivalent to 45 minutes normal time and you would measure accordingly.


From sunset, things would be slightly different – a little thought will show why so many magical practitioners work at night!


Using the example above, we have 15 hours out of 24 left. Thus:


15 hours multiplied by 60 minutes gives 900 minutes 900 minutes divided by 12 gives 75 minutes Each night-time hour would be therefore be equivalent to 75 normal minutes.


Because only the Sun and six planets – not all ten planets – are used as correspondences, you have a chance to use those influences either during the day or during the hours of darkness. Planetary hours are always calculated with reference to the rising sun, so each time you wish to use a planetary hour, you must first know precisely when the sun rises where you are living. The influence can either help or hinder our magical efforts.

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Week Day Correspondences for Doing Spellcrafting

Week Day Correspondences for Doing Spellcrafting


The days of the week, because they are ruled by the various gods, create an energy which is best for certain types of magical working. Following is a list which, while not completely comprehensive, will give you some idea of when to perform your spells. Each day’s planetary ruler and optimum colours are also given.

SUNDAY (Sun – yellow, gold, orange): ambition, authority figures, career, children, crops, drama, fun, goals, health, law, personal finances, promotion, selling, speculating, success, volunteers and civic services.

MONDAY (Moon – white, silver, grey, pearl): antiques, astrology, children, dreams/astral travel, emotions, fluids, household activities, imagination, initiation, magic, new-age pursuits, psychology, reincarnation, religion, short trips, spirituality, the public, totem animals, trip planning,

TUESDAY (Mars – red, pink, orange): aggression, business, beginnings, combat, confrontation, courage, dynamism, gardening, guns, hunting, movement, muscular activity, passion, partnerships, physical energy, police, repair, sex, soldiers, surgery, tools, woodworking.

WEDNESDAY (Mercury – purple, magenta, silver): accounting, astrology, communication, computers, correspondence, editing, editors, education, healing, hiring, journalists, learning, languages, legal appointments, messages, music, phone calls, siblings, signing contracts, students, visiting friends, visual arts, wisdom, writing.

THURSDAY (Jupiter – blue, metallic colours): business, charity, college, doctors, education, expansion, forecasting, foreign interests, gambling, growth, horses, long-distance travel, luck, material wealth, merchants, philosophy, psychologists, publishing, reading, religion, researching, self-improvement, sports, studying the law.

FRIDAY (Venus – green, pink, white): affection, alliances, architects, artists, beauty, chiropractors, courtship, dancers, dating, designers, engineers, entertainers, friendships, gardening, gifts, harmony, luxury, marriage, music, painting, partners, poetry, relationships, romantic love, shopping, social activity.

SATURDAY (Saturn – black, grey, red, white): binding, bones, criminals, death, debts, dentists, discovery, endurance, farm workers, financing, hard work, housing, justice, karma, limits, manifestation, maths, murderers, neutralization, obstacles, plumbing, protection, reality, sacrifice, separation, structure, teeth, tests, transformation, wills.

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Let’s Talk Witch – Feeling the Power

Mysterious witch in orange

Feeling the Power


What power? Not the energy piped through your home, but the powers of magic— the forces of the elements and winds, the energy that keeps our planet spinning within our spinning galaxy within a spinning universe. This is the real energy of magic.

One of the best ways to gain a familiarity with this power is through memory. We have the power at all times; it is what keeps our body running and working properly. We take it in through the food we eat and release it in physical exertion, mental workings, and simple bodily functions like breathing and blinking our eyes.

Since this power is with us at all times, it sometimes makes its presence known.

Most people have experienced a thunderstorm. Jagged lightning glances across the sky, rain and wind slam down, and the sky shakes with tremendous thunder. Such a storm will often cause unexpected reactions.

A chill might shake you, both in anxiety and also in exhilaration of such a spectacular example of nature’s unlimited power.

If you can recall an especially powerful storm that sent a chill down your spine, attempt to recapture that feeling. Recall the time; remember your reactions to the storm.

You may begin to feel charged with energy. Your pulse and breathing may increase in rate, the muscles of your body may tense, and you may begin to perspire.

These physical changes are manifestations of the increased amount of energy surging through your body.

This is the same energy used in magic. As mentioned previously, much of the energy is generated by the emotion. Emotional reactions to situations can have amazing results (the weak woman who pushed a car off her child’s leg, for example) that seem to defy normal laws.

This isn’t the case. These power surges are manifestations of other laws of nature not yet discovered by science.

Since emotion is an excellent way in which to feel the power, a strong emotional reaction— such as that to a storm— is often beneficial to help the power begin flowing.

Obviously it would be ridiculous to stand and reexperience a thunderstorm before every spell. Simply use the thunderstorm exercise in order to feel the energy— the energy that manifests itself in tense muscles, increased respiration and heart rates, and perhaps perspiration.

Once you have felt it and can do so at will, you can generate power and send it off during your spells to work your need.

Any spell performed in such a state will be much more effective than one that was walked through.

Again, use the emotion of the need of the particular spell to attain this state. If you desperately need five hundred dollars for an unexpected, neglected, or forgotten bill, pour all of your concern into the spell. But back it up with your unshakeable knowledge that you can and will draw it to you.

All right, so it isn’t easy at first. As my piano teacher used to tell me, “Practice!”



-Scott Cunningham, Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic




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Casting A Circle

Casting A Circle


Purify yourself first. You can do this by meditating, or taking a ritual bath. One way is to, try to keep the water flowing, possibly by leaving the bath plug half in, or by having a shower. This reinforces the idea of washing away any impurities so you are not sitting in your own psychic rubbish. (Scent your bath water with your selection of a sacred or special herb or oil.) Ideally, your towel – if you choose to use one – should be clean and used only for the purpose of your ritual bath.


• • Wear something special if you can, something that you only wear during a ritual or working. You can always add a pretty scarf or a throw in the correct color for your working. This sets apart spell working from everyday confusion.


• • Decide on the extent of your circle, which should be formed in front of your altar. Purify this space by sprinkling the area with water followed by salt – both of these should have been blessed.


• • Sit quietly for as long as you can inside the area that will become your circle.


• • Imagine a circle of light surrounding you. This light could be white, blue or purple. If you are in a hurry and cannot purify and cleanse fully, reinforce the circle of light by visualizing it suffused with the appropriate color for your working.


• • Circle the light around, above and below you in a clockwise direction, like the representation of an atom. Feel it as a sphere or as a cone of power. Sense the power Remember to leave a ‘doorway’ through which your magic energy may exit. You should always feel warm and peaceful within your circle.


• • Use your own personal chant or form of words according to your own belief system to consecrate your circle and banish all evil and negative energy, forbidding anything harmful to enter your space. Remember, you are always safe within your circle if you command it to be so.


• • If appropriate, invite the Gods and Goddesses to attend your circle and magical working.


• • Relax and be happy.


If you wish, you can use objects on the ground to show the boundaries of the circle, such as candles, crystals, cord, stones, flowers or incense. The circle is formed from personal power. This may be felt and visualized as streaming from the body to form a bubble made of mist, or a circle of light. You can use the athame (ritual dagger) or your hands to direct this power.


The cardinal points of the compass may be denoted with lit candles, often white or purple. Alternatively, place a green candle at the North point of the circle, yellow candle at the East, red candle at the South and blue candle at the West. The altar stands in the centre of the circle, facing North in the direction of power.

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Consecrating Altar Objects

Consecrating Altar Objects

If you are not using completely new objects on your altar – here we are referring to the basic ‘furnishings’ of candle holders etc – you should cleanse them before you dedicate them to your purpose. Treat them in the same way as you would any crystals you use, by soaking them overnight in salt water to remove anyone else’s vibrations and then standing them in sunshine (or moonshine) for at least 12 hours to charge them with the appropriate energy.


When you are ready, hold each object and allow your own energy to flow into it, followed by the energy of your idea of Ultimate Power. (That way you make a very powerful link between yourself, the object and the Ultimate.) Ask this Power to bless the object and any working you may do with it and perceive yourself as truly a medium or channel for the energy.


Hopefully, each time you use any of the objects, you will immediately be able to reinforce that link rather than having to re-establish it. It is like a refrain continually running in the background. Now place the objects on your altar however it feels right for you.


Finally, if appropriate, create and caste your circle so that it includes yourself and your altar. The magic circle defines the ritual area, holds in personal power and shuts out all distractions and negative energies. You now have a sacred space set up which is your link to the powers that be. Again it is a matter of personal choice as to whether you choose to re-dedicate your altar and what it contains on a regular basis

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Dedicating Your Altar

Dedicating Your Altar


Now you have turned your space into an altar, dedicate it in such a way that it will support any workings you may choose to do. One good way is to dedicate it to the principle of the Greater Good – that none may be harmed by anything that you may do. (Remember that traditionally any harm you instigate deliberately will return to you threefold, particularly when it comes from such a sacred space.) It will depend on your basic belief just how you choose to dedicate the altar further, perhaps to the Moon deity and all her manifestations, perhaps to the Gods of power.


Try to put as much passion and energy into the dedication as you can and remember to include a prayer for protection of your sacred space. Some people will need to cast a circle each time they do a working, while others will feel that just by setting the altar up in the way suggested that that space is consecrated henceforth. If you wish to follow the principles of feng shui rather than Wicca within your work, your placings will be slightly different, as they will also be if you choose to follow the tenets of other religions.


However, whatever you do, you should take care to dedicate all of your tools and altar furnishings to the purpose in hand. You are empowering them and making them usable only in ritual and magical work. If you try to use them for any other purpose, you will negate that magical power.

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