How to Cast a Spell
1. Purification of self
It’s important for the practitioner to be in the right state of body and mind before performing a spell. Bathe, dress appropriately, and take some time to meditate or breathe deeply. You may also wish to anoint yourself with an appropriate oil.
2. Purification of space
Outdoor ritual spaces rarely have to be purified, but when working indoors, this is an important step. First, you should make sure you won’t be distracted. Close the curtains, lock the door, take the phone off the hook, tell others in the house that you do not want to be disturbed, and anything else to ensure that you will not be interrupted. Then, clean your space physically. Tidy up and vacuum or sweep the floor (with a regular broom) if needed. Next, purify the space spiritually. You can use a besom (ritual broom), incense, salt water, or even a musical instrument. While you purify your space, it’s very important to visualize the negative or distracting energies being dispersed, swept away, or otherwise banished.
3. Creating sacred space
This consists of arranging an altar or ritual setup and casting a circle. Go here for more information on casting a circle.
If you wish, you may call on the divine or or certain energies to watch over and bless your rite. Invocations usually consist of a spoken prayer or verse, but it may also include music, dance, gestures, and song. Remember to speak sincerely and to be willing to open yourself to the divine.
5. Energy raising or magical work
This is the process of casting the spell, the actions that you perform to effect change. Generally, this is the part of spell casting that is described in this blog. Often, magical work involves reciting an incantation or prayer. Often these incantations rhyme, because it aids memorization and separates incantation from normal speaking, but rhyming is not required. In fact, impromptu words from the heart can work just as well. It is extremely important to visualize clearly and effectively. Simply going through the motions will not allow you to cast a powerful spell. You must push your intentions into your actions and visualize the energies or power at work. Clearly see in your mind’s eye the energies that you are working with, and imagine as clearly as you can the effects of your spell. The more you can see and feel it, the more real it will be. The circle will contain the energy of your spell until you are ready to release it. Energy can be released through several ritual forms, such as burning papers or herbs, visualization, or gestures. With intention and power, send the energy toward its goal.
6. Grounding the power
Often there will be residual energies after casting a spell. You can return to a normal level of energy by visualizing a connection between you and the Earth, and allowing the excess energy to flow down into the ground. A common way to visualize this is to imagine yourself as a tree, with roots sinking deep into the ground. You can also hold up a ritual tool, such as an athame (ritual knife), and imagine any excess energy flowing into it. Another very common way to ground yourself is to have a small bit of food and drink. Eating is a very physical, grounding process that allows you to gently ease yourself from your ritual state. Before eating, make a small offering to the divine by scattering some crumbs and pouring some drink onto the ground. If you are inside, put your offering in a special offering bowl. Go outside and bury its contents in the ground after concluding your ritual.
7. Giving thanks
If you chose to invite a deity into your circle, now is the time to give thanks and say farewell. This can be done with chants, gestures, offerings, and music, but all that is necessary is a sincere expression of gratitude. Thank them for their attention and ask that they come again. If you did not invoke the divine, then it’s still a good idea to express some general gratitude.
8. Closing the circle
Do this by visualizing the energy of the circle returning from where it came, usually yourself. If you called the quarters, thank them and say farewell. Walk around your circle again, perhaps in the opposite direction from how you cast it, and imagine the energy returning through your hand, wand, or athame and going back into you. If you used an athame or handled wand, you can store some of the energy in the handle for later use. If you used anything to mark the circle, gather it up. Gather up your ritual tools and put them away. If you used a special altar setup, you can dismantle it if you like. Or, you can leave it up for awhile. When you do take it down, put out the candles last. Usually it’s considered better form to snuff or pinch out a candle rather than blowing it out. Once your circle is closed and your ritual space returned to its normal state, your rite has ended.
Important things to consider when casting a spell:
Timing. The moon phase, time of day, day of the week, season, astrological position, weather, etc., can all be symbolic and significant in spellcasting. For example, if you were to do a spell to help you succeed in a new endeavor, you might like to cast it on the day of the new moon, as this moon phase represents new beginnings. Then, as the moon grows full, your success will also increase. Do some research to see what different times and occurances mean, if you like.
Symbolism. Magic relies heavily on symbolism. Everything used in spellcraft — herbs, tools, colors, actions, etc. — all symbolize something. By being aware of what certain things mean and using them in accordance with your intentions, you can add meaning and significance to everything you do, which can aid your mentality and make your spells more effective. Be sure to use symbols that are personally meaningful and make sense to you.
Effort and intention. You could perform a spell exactly as it’s written, with no mistakes or fumbles, but it still won’t be effective if you don’t push your energy and intention into your work. It’s not the tools you use, the words you say, or the actions you perform that make magic work — it’s what you put into the spell that’s important. You can use visualization, energy raising, and other techniques to put energy into your spells. Do everything you do in your spells purposefully and with intention. It’s my opinion that, when using magic to make an effect happen, the most important thing is to want it intensely and to will it to happen.
Your experience and level of knowledge. It’s easy to understand that a beginner will be less adept at magic than an experienced practitioner. As you learn and practice, you’ll grow to be better at the skills used in magic, such as meditation or visualization. And, of course, the more you practice and learn, the more understanding and knowledge you will gain.
Your state of being. If you are mentally, physically, or emotionally tired, distracted, distressed, or otherwise not in an optimal state for spellwork, your spells will be less effective and precise. Many people like to do some sort of pre-ritual to get themselves in the right state of mind. In general, to make sure that you are fit to practice magic, be sure that you get enough sleep, eat well, manage stress effectively, and generally have a healthy lifestyle.