The Four Stages Of Magick
Although there are many different kinds of magick, in practice all spells and more formal magical
rituals tend to follow four stages, though informal spells may combine one or more steps.
This defines the purpose of the ritual or spell and is generally represented either by a symbol or a
declaration of intent. These could take the form of a candle etched with the name or zodiacal glyph of
a desired lover, a little silver key charm or an actual key in a spell to find a new home, a picture of an
ideal holiday location, and so on.
In a sense, this part of the spell begins before the actual rite and involves verbalising the purpose. As
you define it in a few words or a symbol, you may realise that what you are really seeking lies beyond
the immediate external purpose. Spending time at this stage is quite vital as it is said we tend to get
what we ask for, so we should take care to ask for what would truly fulfil our potential, rather than
what we think we need immediately.
If you are working alone, hold the symbol while speaking words that summarise the purpose of the
magick. You may be surprised to discover that it is your wise psyche speaking, guiding the intention
towards what you truly need or desire – and afterwards you realise it could have been no other way.
If you are working in a group, a declaration of intent, created by the group collectively before the
ritual, is a good way of focusing the energies. After the initial circle is cast, the symbol can be handed
round while the person leading the ritual speaks the intention. Alternatively, each person can add his
or her special interpretation while holding the symbol and so the declaration is worked as part of the
ritual. As others are holding the symbol, visualise it within your own hands; this provides the
transition to the next stage of the ritual.
Concentration is the key to this first stage.
This is the stage where you use actions to endow the symbol with magical energies. This is part of the
continuous process of translating your magical thoughts and words from the first stage, the inner plan,
to manifestation as the impetus for success or fulfilment in the everyday world. These energies
amplify your own. For example, passing incense, representing the Air element, over the symbol
activates the innate power of rushing winds that cut through inertia and bring welcome change,
harnessing the energies of wide skies in which there are no limits, soaring like eagles, carrying your
wishes to the Sun. You can unite other elemental forces by using the appropriate tools and substances.
Similarly, you might begin a chant, a medley of goddess names or a mantra of power linked with the
theme, or a slow spiral dance around the circle. You could try drumming or tying knots either on
individual cords or in a group, creating a pattern with the longer cords of fellow witches, perhaps
looped around a tree.
The action of the magick is limited only by the environment and your imagination. You may find that
improvisation enters quite spontaneously as the energies unfold and spiral.
Movement is the key to this stage.
Raising The Power
This is the most powerful part of the magick, as the magical energies are amplified and the power of
the ritual carries you along joyously. Ecstasy forms a major part of shamanic ceremony and the old
mystery religions; it is akin to the exhilaration you experience riding on a carousel or running barefoot
along a sandy shore with the wind lifting your hair.
You might repeat a chant of power, dance faster, drum with greater intensity, bind your cords in ever
more intricate patterns or add more knots if working alone, visualising a cone of spiralling, coloured
light, rising and increasing in size and intensity as this stage progresses.
Stretch your arms and hands vertically as high as possible to absorb power from the cosmos. If you
are in a group and have been linking hands, as the power increases to a great intensity, this is the time
to loose them.
As the power builds, you will create what is known as a cone of power. The cone-shaped hats
traditionally associated with witches and bishops’ mitres reflect the concentration of spiritual potency.
The purpose of the cone, like the sacred pyramid, is to concentrate energy in a narrowing shape so that
it reaches a pinnacle of power, which can then be released at the end of the ritual to carry your wishes
or desires into the cosmos. In order to create a cone of power in magick, you can visualise these
energies as coloured light or as gold.
Alternatively, you can visualise different rainbow colours to create a cone of every colour that merges
to brilliant white at the apex. In healing work, some people see this as silver blue light that becomes
Whether working alone or in a group, as you build up the power, breathe in pure white light and
exhale and project your chosen colour, seeing it become ever more vibrant and faster-moving as the
intensity increases. After you have been practising magick for a while, you will notice that the cone of
colour builds up quite spontaneously, with no apparent effort. It has also been described as a cloud of
energy. At the point when the climax is reached, comes the release of power.
Note that for some people the cone concept interferes with their own natural magical abilities – some
of the most skilled witches and healers see circles of light, shimmering golden beams or rainbows
with their psychic eye. Some see nothing at all, but instead feel power pushing their feet almost off the
Growth is the key to this stage.
Release Of Power
When you release the power in the final stage, you may see the cone exploding and cascading as
coloured stars or light beams, which surge away into the cosmos and break into brilliant rainbow
If you wish, you can direct the energy after the final release of power by pointing with your hands, or
a wand or knife, so that the energies cascade horizontally and downwards, for example into herbs on
the altar that you are empowering to make into herb sachets. Or you can direct the cascading energies
in a specific direction, perhaps towards a person who is ill or in need of magical strength.
Release is the key at this stage.
This release may take the form of a final shout, a leap, or words. As you extinguish your candle of
need, you may shout:
It is free, the power is mine!
Or, at the point of release, you may throw your extended hands wide in an arc above your head. If the
ceremony is formal and you are using an athame, you can at this moment bring it in front of you to
mark the invisible cutting of the knot holding the power. Pull your visualised or actual knots tight, cut
them, leap into the air, shouting:
The Power is free! or It is done! Sometimes there is just a sudden stillness, as the power leaves.
Afterwards, you need to ground the energies by sitting or lying on the ground and letting excess
energies fade away into the Earth as you press down with your hands and feet
A Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magic Spells
By Cassandra Eason