Why Magic Works: The Key Component
Author: Scott A. Johnson
So here we are, Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, and the like, with one tie that binds us: Magick. Whether you perform rituals aimed at a particular set of Gods or practice as a “Kitchen Witch, ” Magick is one of those parts of the Craft that seems at once to be the most wonderful, and most maligned, aspect of our lifestyle. The most often-asked question, in many forms, is simply “does it work?”
Don’t believe me? Join one of the thousands of online communities and lurk for a while. You’ll find post after post from fluff-bunnies and new practitioners alike that ask for “spells that really work” and whether or not we really believe all this hooey is real. While some generously send along simple recipes for successful spells along and others scoff at the doubters, there are two things that must, in all cases, be addressed.
First, Magick does work. Second, the primary ingredient for it to work is pretty universal.
No, I’m not going to tell you the one Magickal herb that makes everything suddenly have amazing powers. It doesn’t exist.
I’m talking about a single ingredient that can exist in every person, no matter his or her religion, creed, race, sexual preference, or hairstyle: Belief, or faith, if you will.
Let’s look at the person who asks spells that really work. Typically, these people are asking for something that can prove to them that Magick is real. Give this person any spell, and charm, or any ancient wisdom, and chances are it won’t work. Why? Because they initially do not believe it will work. More to the point, they believe it won’t, therefore it doesn’t.
My personal best spells are useless in the hands of a person who doesn’t believe in them, or Magick, because it is my belief in them, my faith if you will, that makes them work. When I speak the words “My will be done, so mote it be, ” I truly believe that what I will shall come to past because it must be so.
There are no hard and fast rules that state that any single word is the only way to get any given desired result. If there were, we wouldn’t have so many solitaries and covens that create their own rituals. Their rituals work for them because they believe in them. They have faith in them.
But why does that make such a difference?
To answer that, we have to take a look at what’s going on in the process of spell casting. At its most base level, almost all spells deal with the manipulation of energy. Whether it’s shielding, influencing, or empowering, we as Witches are dealing with energy. Every Pagan will tell you that we draw energy, release energy, ground energy, etcetera, etcetera. We pull it from the four elements, from the deities, from ourselves. We put ourselves into altered trance states to raise more energy. Many times, people don’t consider that energy other than from where it comes or for where it’s headed. But consider that energy for a moment.
The human body, as well as all living things, gives off an energy field. Scientists have proven that this field expands and contracts, intensifies and wanes, in accordance to several factors, the largest one being emotion. There is a marked, measurable difference in the energy sphere that a person emits when he or she is happy as opposed to when he or she is sad.
One of the most powerful influences on that energy field is simply defined as faith or belief. The stronger the faith, the more powerful the energy that comes out of a person’s body. It stands to reason, then, that if a person truly believes in something, their energy in working with it will be high. For example, in medicine, there is the “placebo” test, in which half the test subjects are given a sugar pill in place of some new experimental wonder drug without knowing. In every case of placebo, there are at least a few subjects that have the desired effects of the drug, simply because they believed they were taking the real thing.
Take also into account the “faith healing” phenomenon. Thermal cameras and electro-meters have recorded marked rises in the energy pouring out of the healers (and I’m talking the real faith healers, here…Not the charlatans) when they use their faith.
It isn’t coincidence, nor is it superstitious mumbo-jumbo; it’s science.
Now, take this into your own rituals and spell-casting. When you cast, are you constantly muttering, “I hope this works?” In the back of your mind, does a nagging voice tell you that you’re being stupid and living in a fantasy world? If so, you’re not going to get results. If you find a spell online and begin to enact it, all the while doubting it and saying “I hope this works, ” though somewhere inside you know it won’t, then guess what. It won’t.
You may have raised power, you may have all the crystals, candles, and bells in the world, but if you doubt your abilities, if you doubt your own intent, and if you do not have faith in your Craft, you will not have the desired effects. Just as faith projects powerful energy, doubt creates a block inside that won’t let that energy come out. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You do not believe it will work, so it doesn’t, that sort of thing.
When you perform a ritual or cast a spell, you have to commit yourself to it, mind, body and spirit. You have to believe to your core that it will work and that your will alone can influence the world around you. You cannot go into a ritual with half a faith. If half is all you have to offer, maybe you should practice more before deciding if the Craft is really what you believe.
If it is to be your faith, embrace it, follow it, and live it in your everyday life, but most importantly, believe in yourself and what you are doing. It doesn’t matter whether you practice in a coven or by yourself, skyclad or clothed, or even the trappings of the ritual. Without your own belief and faith, none of the above matters.
Believe in the words “so mote it be.” Because you will it, so must it be, and that is true Magick.