Spellwork: Timing and Other Influences

Can one do a spell a day late?

The short answer is: yes. Because, as long as one is proficient enough in spellwork and writing/creating their own, they can typically modify almost anything to suit. However, having said that, it really depends on what the spell is, what the day was – were there specific energies that were being harnessed that are really only present at that specific time/date, etc…

For example, a friend recently lamented that they’d missed the Equinox and another had said it was no big deal they could still celebrate. Which is true, for the most part, except if one is looking specifically to do balancing work or some other spell that requires the equality of day/night that is typically only found on the Equinox. So could you still do it the next day… sure, but it’s not going have the same ummph as doing it on the day.

Similarly, the Blood Moon/Eclipse that occurred last night – having spellwork that was centered around using the energy created by the eclipse itself will not be as effective if it’s done tonight. Sure there will still be the full moon, but it’s missing that something extra. In this case, if one were going to change the date, it would be better to modify the spell so that the eclipse energy was no longer a key component.

Of course for some people, things like correspondences, moon phases, planetary alignment, days of the week or other considerations aren’t a huge part of their magical practices – and that’s perfectly fine. So in those cases, doing something one day versus another may not make that much of a difference. However, if one does feel that those things (or the lack thereof) do have an impact, changing days can affect the energy of the spell and/or cause it not to work the way it was intended.

In the end, it’s going to come down to one’s own personal practices – whether they are solitary/eclectic or part of an established tradition that may or may not have specific guidelines for spellwork. If one typically places a strong emphasis on timing, then changing something even slightly can throw things off. If one is more flexible and able to work with whatever is available, then changes are more easily compensated for. The key in both is to make sure that the spell being used is customized for the person using it – don’t take something from a book and use it “as-is” if the conditions don’t fit. The more energy we put into making it fit our needs (including timing, if that is important) the better it will be in the long run, in terms of working the spell successfully.

Wedding Location: Does It Matter?

I live in a rural town and was married at my property. Would it be advised to get remarried (to a different woman) at the same location? My first marriage was tumultuous and failed. I have met my soulmate and am divided between starting fresh with my soulmate at the place we will call home and the fact that I was already married at the same location. Please advise.

Honestly, this could really go either way…

On the one hand, you are looking at having to compete with memories of your previous marriage. Which, to be sure, you’ll have to deal with anyways – but when you literally start off in exactly the same place, there are bound to be those who automatically assume it will end up going the same route the first one did. Additionally, if there are any residual hard feelings related to your previous marriage, going through the ceremony in the same place can cause those feelings to bubble to the surface during the wedding and could cause your day to be less than perfect.

Conversely, making awesome new memories literally right on top of the old ones, can help to fully chase out any lingering “ghosts of the past” that might be hanging around. Having your and your new wife, stake your claim – this is ours now – can really help to set the tone for your new life together.  So, especially if you are going to be living in the same house that you previously lived in during your first marriage, this might not be a totally bad idea.

Personally though, I wouldn’t do it, as it seems like there would be too much “baggage” associated with it. From a more objective perspective however, it could potentially work out. A lot too depends on what sort of other options you have available. If it’s a budget issue, then just doing your best to make this wedding as different as possible from the other one, even if it’s being held in the same place, may be enough. Suggest as well (if you are into that sort of thing), that doing some heavy-duty cleansing rituals beforehand might also be a good idea. Just to banish any lingering negative energies that might hanging around, that way you can start fresh.

I think the really big question to ask however, would be to your wife-to-be… how does she feel about it? This is her day too, and if she doesn’t feel comfortable having the wedding in the same place, then that needs to be a serious consideration when making your choice.

Mentoring and Circle Casting for a New Witch

Hi! so recently I’ve gotten into witchcraft and was interested in starting as an eclectic witch, the problem is, I need a teacher (I’m scared I wont cast a circle right and I would like a teacher to teach me correctly so I don’t screw up). help?

You can always ask questions when you have them, here or via our tumblr page, but unfortunately, we don’t do direct mentoring/teaching. You can also check WitchVox or Pagan Meetup, for groups or individuals in your area who are open to teaching others. In both cases, make sure you ask prospective teachers about their expertise and background to verify that that they are in-fact knowledgeable (as much as you can anyways). It may also be difficult to find anyone, depending on how old you are, as many people will not work directly with those who are under 18, for legal reasons.

In general terms of the “how to” of doing rituals, I would highly recommend The Elements of Ritual by Deborah Lipp. It’s probably going to cover everything you could ever want to know, including “why” some things are done the way they are, which will be helpful in understanding that (among other things), short of not fully closing/opening a circle, there’s not a whole lot you can screw up with casting a circle. Additionally, there are innumerable ways to cast one, so generally, however works best for you is fine. But I can understand too that it’s nice to have someone to talk it all over with as well, which is hard to do when one is solitary.

It’s probably important to note too, that not everyone even uses circles, so it also depends on your own style of witchcraft. I do think, that regardless of circle use, it’s always good to learn proper grounding and shielding techniques, depending on what sort of workings one will be doing. But a full-on circle may not be necessary for many things, again, unless it’s something that works for your practice.

Also worth mentioning, is in being solitary and eclectic, the benefit to that is you can do, more or less, whatever you want to (within reason). The caveat of course, is if you are taking practices or beliefs from other cultures, make sure it is done so with respect and a deep understanding of the religion/culture that one is pulling from. So if you are doing your own thing, you may not have as much to worry about, in terms of screwing things up.

The other part, is that we all make mistakes, it’s an inevitable part of life. The good thing is that we can learn from those mistakes. So when they happen, don’t get too upset over them, simply take them for the learning opportunity they are, and resolve to do better next time. It may also help to keep a notebook when you are just starting (separate from any BOS or grimoire that you might be keeping), with detailed notes on – hey… this went well, or ewww, no… not doing that again. That way you can refer back and know what parts does and doesn’t work for you, hopefully, making the learning process a bit easier.

For additional resources to check out on your new journey, I would suggest reading the following – Solitary Witch – Where Do I Start? And again, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask. 🙂


On the Nature of Magic & Change: Fixing a Broken Spell

I’m trying to figure out how to fix a broken pendant spell. But so far I haven’t found much luck on finding anything that could help me. I desperately want it fixed because it means a lot to someone I care about dearly,but don’t know how to fix it. PLEASE HELP!!!

How is it broken exactly, or what exactly needs fixing?

Magic isn’t like Harry Potter… we don’t wave a wand while saying “reparo” and suddenly make it all better. So if it’s a chain, or other physical part of the pendant that is broken, the only way to fix it would be to take it to a reputable jeweler and see if they have someone on staff that does metal working and/or jewelry repair. Other options would be if you know anyone who does jewelry making that is proficient in wire wrapping or, at the very least, has the tools/supplies to fix the chain (if that is indeed what it is).

Outside of physical aspects, without knowing how it’s broken (in a magical sense), it’s nearly impossible to direct you to the right spell (assuming that such exists). Of course in most cases it’s better to write your own anyways, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to see what others have written to use a guideline if it’s something that is unfamiliar to you.

Some sort of general things that you can try are cleansing and recharging if it’s a matter of the pendant not seeming to hold the same properties that it once had, but again without knowing specifics it’s really hard to give any sort of really concrete, advice.

The charm’s spell was based off of the first time my significant other and I gave ourselves to each other physically. But once we briefly broke up,the spell was broken when I gave myself to another. I’m sorry if this is tmi but I desperately want to fix it now that I’m back with my ex. Nobody else has been willing to help or I couldn’t find anything to help. Please keep in mind that I only would like to use white magic for this.

Unfortunately, there’s really not any way to fix it. The energy the original magic was fueled by has changed, as the nature of your relationship has changed. Typically the way to fix something like that is to recharge it, but there’s not a way to get a “first time” back. So there is not a way to recharge that specific energy.

Having said that though – if you broke up, but are now back together, you can still recharge it in a similar ritual. The key being, to base it on the renewed relationship and the stronger bonds that you have formed by going through some rough waters, and overcoming those challenges to renew your love, despite it all. There is powerful magic in that as well, and it signifies the changes you both have been through (apart and then together again).

It won’t be the same as it was (as with life, there are just some things that we simply can’t get back once they are gone), but it doesn’t mean that what we are left with can’t be as sacred or as meaningful. Life is a fluid thing, it moves and changes, twists and turns, even when we may not want it to (and in ways we may not want it to). When it does, sometimes we just have to make the best of what we are given.

Your relationship is not the same as it was, and never will be – nor will the magic of the pendant, but that doesn’t make what you have now any less than it was, only different. It’s time to make some new magic. 😉

Rituals: Thank-you Gifts for Hosts

what does one give to the host of the mabon celebration as a thank you? is there a proper way to say thank you for when one comes to another’s home for rituals?

A lot will depend on how well you know your host/hostess, and of course how much of a budget you have to work with. Additionally, it is important to consider how much effort was involved in hosting the gathering – just a simple hour or two get-together with a plate of cookies, or a full-blown day (or longer) celebration which required extensive planning and/or other costs (monetary or otherwise) provided by those hosting. Though both types of gatherings can be just as meaningful, you don’t want to over or under do it when deciding on an appropriate gift.

With a host that you do not know very well, or if it was an open gathering (more informal) sort of a situation, usually a small gift basket, with some baked goodies or a variety of teas would be appreciated. Even if it ends up being something that they personally can’t use, if they host such things on a regular basis, they will have it for others when necessary. If you know whether or not the person drinks alcohol, maybe even a nice bottle of wine might be appropriate. Decorative items can often be a good choice as well, especially something that symbolizes the theme of the gathering. Another choice would be a potted plant, maybe an herb or other flowering variety that can be used for culinary or witchcrafting purposes.

If you are well acquainted with the host, or know someone who is (and you can ask them for ideas), then you can look for more personalized items. Maybe you know they’ve been looking at a certain statue or ritual tool, or maybe they’ve been in need of extra crafting supplies for spells or other rituals. Particularly if the ritual was fairly involved and required a lot of resources (and you’ve the budget for it), it might be nice to get a gift card to a place that offers a bit of pampering, or just a night out without having to cook, so that the hosts can relax after expending so much time and energy.

In the end, really almost anything will do, if you put thought and careful consideration into it. You don’t want to be too extravagant, but at the same time a gift from the heart will show that you care and that you appreciate the effort they put into giving you a magical night to celebrate the turning of the Wheel.


Wiccan Exorcism

I am pretty new to Wicca, and I believe there is a negative entity or demon in my house. I’ve looked up exorcisms and found one I’d like to use but I have a few questions I’m hoping you can answer for me. Here is a link to website I got it from.

I have used rituals on this website before and found they worked well, but I’d like to get someone more experienced opinion before I do anything.

  1. Is it safe? And if not exactly how dangerous could it be?
  2. My mother, whom I live with is not Wiccan and does not believe in the craft, or in ghosts or demons. Although she has heard and seen many of the things I have she always comes with something else it could be. Could her disbelief be a problem?
  3. The incantation is in Latin and although I do speak Latin I am not fluent, if I mispronounced something would it mess up the whole exorcism?

If you are an initiated Wiccan, I would suggest speaking to you HP/HPS about potential ways to deal with a malevolent entity. They would be best equipped to instruct someone who is new, and will also know what sort of things to suggest based on their assessment of your current skill level. Outside of Traditional Wicca however, for those that are on a Wicca inspired NeoPagan path, or solitary Witch – I’d be kind of wary of anything that calls itself a Wiccan “exorcism”.

Most Witchcraft traditions work with banishing rituals when they need to rid themselves (or others) of unwanted energies/entities. The term “exorcism” has heavily Christian overtones, and not that it can’t necessarily work – even for a non-Christian, odds are that the wording of the actual “spell”  is going to be geared more towards a Christian mindset than a Pagan one.

So using Google Translate (which obviously isn’t perfect, but will give us a general idea of the text in English)…

Kingdoms of the Earth, Sing unto God, sing ye praises with Cernunnos,
Kingdoms of the Earth, Goddess, sing praises sung of Arad.
God of heaven, earth,
I humbly beg your Majesty
In order that the power from all of the infernal spirits,
The trap, and deception, malice;
Of all deceit, deliver us, O Ruler.
Exorcise you, every unclean spirit
Let every satanic power, every incursion,
That infernal adversary, every legion,
And the gathering together of all sects.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O sovereign Lord,
As Lisle serve your safe to do
We beseech thee to hear us!
Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy of the circle,
We beseech thee to hear us!
The God in his sanctuary,
Cernunnos Himself will have thrust the power of His Own people,
Arad his strength to his people.
Blessed be God, the Father,
Blessed Goddess Mother of the glory!

In this case, the wording is not even remotely appropriate, and it’s pretty clear that someone simply took the original Latin wording of a Christian ritual and added in a few references to a Pagan God, and Goddess. Which if they’d left both of them completely generic, it might not have been so bad, but to name Cernunnos specifically, particularly with the attributes of YHWH still in place, is somewhat laughable at best, and utterly cringe-worthy and insulting (to both YHWH and Cernnunos) at worst. In terms of the Goddess, I’m guessing that Arad is supposed to be an abbreviation of Aradia, but still, unless you are on really good terms with that particular Goddess, I’d want to make sure to use her full name, otherwise it could be seen as a sign of disrespect. Worse, you could end up invoking a completely different Goddess.  I’d advise anyone that was even considering to use it, to leave out any specific God/Goddess names unless you were absolutely sure that the attributes/praises listed were actually apt descriptions of said God/Goddess.

Other issues…

  • With the wording itself – the Devil is a Christian concept. Not that others can’t/don’t necessarily acknowledge his existence, but it’s usually not quite the same as how a Christian would view it. Particularly within a NeoPagan framework, there is the acknowledgement that not everything is love and light or healing and growing, and that in order to maintain that elusive “balance” everyone is so keen on, there is a certain amount of dark and chaos, and destruction that is necessary as well.
  • This whole paragraph here: This method is a good one for two reasons. First, it uses a force so pure that when the demon leaves the body of the victim, it will already be so immersed in this energy that it will be annihilated. Secondly, you do not need to adapt the incantation according to the identity or strength of the evil spirit, since the power of the gods still exceed the power of the demon.”  What force is it using? In a Christian context this would make more sense, given how YHWH is generally described, but in terms of other Pagan Gods not so much. There is an assumption there as well, that all Gods are more powerful than all “demons” (and that word in particular is problematic at best, since things that we often might call “demons” really aren’t, nor are they all inherently evil), which may or may not be true (it’s said to be true in the case of YHWH though, which is what the words are in reference to).
  • Speaking in Latin (or any foreign language one is not fluent in) – first and foremost, if you are going to do any sort of spellwork in another language, it is ALWAYS (can’t stress it enough) advisable to get the text translated first by someone that is reputable/knowledgeable in both languages (not only the text language, but one’s native language as well) so that there is absolutely no chance of any miscommunication, or mis-speaking. Having to go back later and be all… “but that’s not what I meant!!” doesn’t generally go over very well. It’s definitely not a good idea to just take text from a book, or the internet and assume that it means what the author/site publisher says it does.
  • Even once you are sure that the text says exactly what you want it to say, the other issue is actually speaking the words. Again, if you are not fluent, it’s better to just say no, rather than risk mispronouncing something, which could change the meaning of your ritual exponentially, and screw the whole thing up (or make it a lot worse). I generally do not suggest using foreign phrasing unless you are absolutely 100% sure that you are saying it correctly. It’s just too risky.

In terms of “safety”, it’s really hard to say. Really will depend on if it’s an actual entity, or just some lingering icky energy? If it’s just energy, then a decent cleansing ritual should suffice (or several of them if it’s really stubborn) and shouldn’t be any more dangerous than any other normal activity that you might do.

If it’s an actual entity of some kind – is it actually malevolent, or just there and you don’t want it to be? Often entities will work more on a you don’t bother us, we won’t bother you kind of a scale, so if you find yourself poking at it, or engaging it in any way, it may just be a matter of ignoring it and it will go on it’s way once you stop. A lot of times as well, there is a tendency for people to assume that all entities are evil or malicious, when in fact, most are apathetic at best towards humans, and even if they are hanging around a house, they aren’t really any sort of threat. In those cases, sometimes simply asking (firmly, but politely) “please leave” can do wonders. For those that are truly malicious, any sort of banishing spell/ritual could be pretty intense, but not like actual “The Exorcist” (the movie) intense. If you are not comfortable with such things though, then you might want to contact someone who is, just to have the extra support.

As to your mother’s belief/disbelief… as the ritual/spell isn’t directed at her, it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if she is going around actively countering your work, either by shooting it down verbally (saying things like… that will never work), or in some other way making you doubt yourself, or your ability to banish the entity – that could affect the outcome. It would be more beneficial to have her working with you, or at the very least not working against you. Other issues that come into play here as well, are if she doesn’t want you doing witchcraft in the house. If that is the case, you should look to other methods of banishing that aren’t overtly witchcraft, as one should always try to respect the rules their parents have set while still living at home.

So… other options. I’m a big fan of actual “cleansing” when doing banishing/cleansing type rituals. If there is a particular place in the house where this entity or energy seems to be concentrated, start there, giving the area a deep cleaning. Open windows, and doors, sweep, dust, vacuum, etc…Make it all sparkle, and sweep the negative energy right out the door/window.

Once you’ve done the manual labor, then you can look to the more spiritual side of it. Burning a protective/purifying/cleansing flavor of incense is a good way to encourage an unwanted entity to leave, or to help whisk away negative energy. Bells and chimes have been used for such as well.

Outside of that, if you want to do a full-on ritual, now would be the time, though I would really suggest writing one yourself, rather than using the Latin one above (there are just way too many things wrong with it). Personally, I would suggest visualizing the cleansing via the Elements (air to push out the entity/energy, fire to burn away any residual negativity, water to purify, and earth to build strong, protected foundation).

You can open by calling on whichever God(s) you personally work with, but I would avoid calling on random deities that you don’t have any particular association with. Working with unfamiliar deities is sometimes a bit hit or miss – they might help, but they might not, so it’s usually better to just raise your own energy, unless you have something really good to offer in return for their assistance. Then simply state your intention to banish the entity/energy, and do the visualizations (mentioned above) to emphasize that intention. When you’re done you can close out your ritual, be sure to give your offerings and/or show your appreciation for any deities that you called on (if you choose to do so).

As mentioned earlier, sometimes it may take more than one cleansing. So if you do it once, and there is still a bit of lingering ick, give it a bit of time and do it again.

New Pagan Mentors and Ritual Advice

I’ve been interested in Paganism for a few years, but I’ve gotten more serious about delving into it in the past month. I’ve been doing a ton of research and trying to read as much as I can about different viewpoints and paths within the umbrella term of Paganism. But I’m still so overwhelmed with all that is out there. I have so many questions I’m not finding answers to on the internet. So first of all I’m really wondering where I can find a teacher or mentor. I live in Madison, WI, which is a fairly open minded, liberal city, but I haven’t been able to find any groups that meet. Are there sites online where you can be paired with someone older and wiser, or do you suggest trying to forge a relationship in person.

Working with someone in-person will almost always be the best choice (and in some cases a requirement), when it comes to learning Pagan related material. Particularly if you are interested in any witchcraft or energy-based paths, attempting to learn via books or online can make it a daunting task. In general though, it will probably be somewhat difficult to find a mentor, until you are able to narrow down a particular path that you are interested in. In the meantime you can check places like Witchvox, where you can filter groups by state to see if there is anything near you. Occasionally you can find groups via Pagan Meetup as well.

As far as online resources, forums can be kind of hit or miss, with a lot of them being angsty drama filled areas, rife with misappropriation and misconceptions. So for a beginner it can be hard to navigate especially when you aren’t at a point where you are better able to distinguish good information from the bad. Having said that, I would suggest checking out the eCauldron Paganism for Beginners forum. They’ve been around for years, and seem to have done better than most at keeping it from getting too crazy around there (unlike some other more well known forums). Of course too you can always continue to ask questions here on the blog, or even via our FB page, or Tumblr page.

I tried my first ritual (a very simple one) for Beltane yesterday night, and I don’t feel like I did it “right”. I didn’t really get anything from it, or something?

First time rituals, especially for those who are practicing solitary are often less than spectacular. Part of it, is just because we are nervous and not entirely sure of what we are doing, and constantly wondering if we did it right, or if we have forgotten anything. As well, we have all these huge expectations, from what others have said, or what we’ve seen in movies, etc… and it’s usually not ever the same. Then sometimes, it’s just that “stuff” happens – even if we’ve done everything perfectly, the energy is off and it just wasn’t meant to be. All of which is perfectly normal, and the more often you practice and do ritual work, the easier it will get.

On that note though, if you are unsure of which path/religion you are interested in – what sort of Beltane ritual were you attempting? Not all Pagan paths celebrate Beltane – generally it’s only the Wiccan or NeoPagan related ones that do (though various others may have similar celebrations around that same time), so it could be too that it didn’t feel “right”, because it really wasn’t something that you are ultimately called to celebrate. The same holds if you called on a particular God or Goddess, it could also be that they choose not to respond, or that they are Gods of a path that you aren’t really being called to.

It’s also worth mentioning as well, that ritual workings are not typically an “instant” sort of thing. Especially if you follow a “Wheel of the Year” type model – what we plant in the Spring, we harvest in the Fall, and even outside of that framework, it can still (and often does) take time for energy/magic to manifest. So it may not be that it didn’t work, it’s just taking the appropriate time it needs to come to fruition.  

Also, I’d done it outside, so I’d gathered all the materials together in a bag. I left it carelessly in my room when I got back in, and my mom noticed it in the morning (stuff was sort of falling out) and started looking through it, asking why I had candles and some clay bowls (which I’d borrowed without asking from her). I don’t want to tell her about my interest in Paganism quite yet, as I’m not even sure where I’m going myself. My family isn’t religious, and I know they’d be supportive, but my mom has a tendency to act like she understands when she doesn’t (she has good intentions). But she got really mad that I’d taken her stuff and kept asking why, and I couldn’t really think of an excuse. Should I tell her? I don’t really want to, but now she also thinks I was stealing or planning on selling her bowls. So overall, I’m sort of lost at the moment, but I also feel so happy about the idea of becoming further involved with this spirituality.

If you feel that she would be supportive (or at the very least not react negatively), then you should be honest with her, and explain that you are interested in Paganism, and that you were trying a basic holiday ritual. It’s definitely much better than being thought of as a liar or a thief.

While you are talking to her about it though, just let her know that you are still in the very beginning stages, and that you are still learning the basics. I would also apologize for taking her stuff, and let her know that you won’t do so again without permission (that could be why your ritual didn’t feel right either – if you were using items that didn’t belong to you, and you didn’t have the owner’s permission, it could definitely have affected the energy).

Overall, as mentioned previously – continue to study, and work on figuring out what particular path you are interested in. While there are a myriad of paths out there, as well as the potential to choose an Eclectic path (which requires quite a bit more work than one would think), it can also be fun to learn about the different cultures and practices associated with each one. So don’t stress too much if you start feeling overwhelmed, just take your time and eventually it will work itself out.