The following is an adaptation of the “Basic Principles of Creativity” as written by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice. I highly recommend checking out this book if you’re a creative person of any kind (writer, visual, musician, actor, scrapbooker, etc). She gives excellent advice throughout the book, and as an artist myself I’ve always felt that the lines between creativity and magic are very blurry (if they even exist at all).
I grew up hearing the phrase “you never stick with anything, what’s the point” a lot. I’ve always been attracted towards seemingly disconnected interests, and gone through phases of being really into something. But eventually my interest would fade and I would move onto something else.
Or at least that’s always how it’s been phrased for me, by others. Now I realize that my interest for the old thing didn’t fade so much as my interest for something new outshined it, and that’s vastly different.
I was always made to feel bad about it, with every abandoned endeavour I was told I needed to stop starting things if I wasn’t going to stick with them. I was told I was wasting time and money picking up these random interests and abandoning them after a year.
So eventually, I stopped picking things up. I told myself “what’s the point, I’m going to give up in a year anyway”. Even worse, I started dismissing every new interest, because I had no way of knowing if my interest was “real” enough or just another passing phase. I stopped trying new things, I stopped looking up stuff that piqued my curiosity, and having chronic depression made it really easy to leave everything on the dirty floor of neglected ideas. The more they piled up, the more depressing it was. All these things that could be nice, but I just can’t take care of them.
I realize now how bullshit that kind of thinking is. So what if I stopped doing karate after a year? That’s one more year of karate than most people I know. And in that year I learned discipline, I learned to listen to a teacher, something I had never done before in all my years of private education. I learned the true meaning of respect, that it’s something you do out of faith at first and maintain as it’s reciprocated, not something you to blindly and regardless of how you’re treated.
It gave me the foundation for the determination and grounding I needed to practice yoga. Another year. Not enough to be good at it maybe, but again a year more than most people I know and a year that is not lost, but gained. I learned balance, I learned to listen to my body, I learned how to let go of emotional tightness through physical stretching.
And then iaido, only a few weeks because I couldn’t afford to keep going. The year of yoga I had done a couple years previous had given me a better starting point than the other newcomers to the class. I already had balance, I had strength in my legs and I had better posture. In those months I learned the importance of precision, the true definition of efficacy, the zen state that is incessant repetition.
Did I practice long enough to get good at iaido, and yoga, and karate? No. Of course not. It takes years to become proficient and decades to master any of those things, but I learned other skills and those skills were an invaluable part of my growth both spiritually and emotionally. Likewise for my forays into painting, sewing, graphic design, film. I’m a photography student now heading into my second year of school, and every single second of practice I have in those other disciplines has given me more experience in those areas and made learning easier.
Skills carry over. They intersect and connect in ways that are sometimes unexpected. Nothing is ever lost, experience is never a waste of time or worthless or stupid. Allow your focus to wander, reflect on what you learn, and consider how you can keep using it in other aspects of your life. Stop telling people their interests aren’t worth their time.
This post comes in response to a question I got on Tumblr:
“hi so i have a question !! do you know of any spells on protecting a relationship from external forces and negative energies ? if not fo you have any suggestions on what to use or do to create one ? thank u sm !!”
I don’t normally answer spell requests, but I figured this might be a good opportunity to show how you can use a pre-made spell and deconstruct it if you need to adapt anything or make substitutions. Heads up, this is SUPER long, but should be helpful to adapting just about any spell you come across so it fits in with your personal practice.
You should always have a counter-spell or failsafe of some kind when you’re performing this type of spell, so I have provided one at the very bottom for you.
If you appreciate this post and would like to gain early access to this type of content, I’ve just launched my Patreon. Anyone who signs up between now and August 12th will be put into a Patreon-exclusive draw for a free past life reading, or craft consultation. There are some awesome benefits available for as low as $1 per month, please check it out!
I was reading some notes on a sorcerer (Jason Miller) and one of the concepts he talked about really resonated with me. It’s something I’ve kind of done, but not deliberately, and I think doing it deliberately is always more effective. I haven’t read his books yet (they’re on my infinitely long reading list, but I’m going to be bumping them up now), so this is going to be an incomplete introduction just based on what I’ve read from him so far. I’m sure he goes way more into depth in his book, and I’ll update on this once I’ve read it.
The basic idea is pretty straightforward. We’ve all heard about different concepts of magic and how it applies, and one of my favourite ways to phrase it is “using magic is stacking the deck in your favour”, but you still need to play and you still need to have the cards (i.e. if something is outside of the realm of physics and possibility, you’re gonna have a bad time).
Miller describes it using a boulder metaphor: the task you want to accomplish is this boulder, varying in size and weight depending on the difficulty of the task. Getting the boulder to move is accomplishing your goal, and sometimes doing just one thing like pushing isn’t enough. So you can add a lever, dig a pit, etc to try and make it lighter and easier to push. Some boulders might be small enough that you don’t need any extra help, but others might need some help and one of the key things here is approaching the issue from different angles and using various tactics.
Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash
Instead of just posting the usual pros and cons of cursing, I figured something more in-depth and fact-based might be helpful. From a historical standpoint, cursing hasn’t always been viewed poorly even by ordinary people who were practicing the religions of the time. The image we have of a curse being an old evil witch cackling over a sacrifice at the behest of another person, usually a woman, for the sake of revenge is (as most negative portrayals of witchcraft) patriarchal propaganda meant to discourage women from seeking out one of the few resources they had access to in times of scarcity. Magic and religion were largely one and the same for many centuries, and cursing was considered a neutral tool which could be used to obtain a wide range of results.
It should be no surprise to you by this point that society has a history of separating women from sources of power, whether they be financial, educational, or physical. This idea can be stretched to anyone exhibiting what was perceived as feminine traits, or even wider to anything non-masculine. This is a topic that’s been written about extensively and well, so I’m not going to rehash all that here (although I definitely recommend reading up on it if you haven’t already).
The modern crusade against cursing (or curse-shaming, as it’s often called now) is often performed under the guise of morality, but as with most crusades of this type it’s based entirely on misrepresentations of what cursing is and what is is for. The less savoury types of curses are brought constantly to the forefront and shown as examples of why all cursing is “bad”, despite the fact that they constitute only one small portion of what cursing can be and has been.
Even Christianity uses cursing. If you’ve ever read Deuteronomy, this might sound familiar:
“However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.” (Deuteronomy 28:15-19)
Anyway, I think you get the idea. It goes on like this for quite a while (for another 49 lines actually, and further proves my point that the Abrahamic god is extra af… but I digress). In the 19th century, Adam and Eve’s fate was referred to as “the Curse” given down by the Abrahamic god themself, so the idea that cursing is the invocation of demons for the sake of inflicting harm is incorrect. In this context, the god did not want to harm Adam and Eve. The goal was to give a harsh lesson and for their actions to have consequences.
If we take a look at the history of the word “curse”, the most common meaning that has more or less remained relevant to this day is as follows: “to wish evil, to excommunicate”. The word “evil” is where most of the bad rep comes from, because evil is now understood as “extreme moral wickedness” and so for something evil to befall someone would be really horrible.
Once again, let’s look back at the meaning of evil as it was used in old times. In Old English, it was used to indicate disapproval or dislike. In Middle English, it was used similarly to how we would use “bad” or “harm” today, without the heavy connotation that it has now which came around sometime in the 18th century.
To curse someone and wish evil upon them sounds terrible now, but back in the day it was a means of punishing someone via causing an injury of either physical or psychological origin. The degree or level of that infliction could range immensely (think from papercut to severing a limb) and wasn’t always emotionally charged.
In Ancient Greece, Athenian meetings were often started with writing a curse. Curses were largely found to regard legal matters, rather than relationships or vengeful ones. Preventing someone from speaking out in court (or the opposite) were some of the most common. Cities would also use curses to protect citizens from crime and misfortune. It was also used to protect victims and prevent their attackers from causing further harm.
With the advent of science, witchcraft became increasingly construed as an irrational thing and more and more associated with women (or, I believe more accurately, anyone perceived as non-masculine). The witch trials largely targeted women, more often women of colour, and to a lesser but not insignificant extent gay men. Nowadays, the word “witch” is often associated with a woman despite being a gender neutral term, likewise the practice of cursing has shifted into something shameful and morally reprehensible. This is seen over and over again with anything that empowers women, gives them control over their lives and assets, or gives them any type of power over men. It has become “evil” in the modern sense, and once again power is taken away from women under the guise of it being necessary to be a good person.
I’m bored of women being mollified for the sake of a successful patriarchal system. I’m not going to say that cursing is a feminist imperative (although it is tempting…), but I will say that its misrepresentation in the media and even in pagan and occult circles is an attempt at creating this idea of what a woman “should” be, what she is permitted and not permitted to do to be deemed acceptable by society and even by other women.
If the occult community is going to encourage women to practice witchcraft as a way of empowering themselves, but then shame the use of curses in the same breath, it’s removing one of the most powerful tools in a witch’s handbook and saying “you can’t be trusted to use this wisely”. There is no such thing as a tool that can’t be used for bad things, so instead of shaming the use of the tool itself let’s start having open discussions on what the tool is being used for.
Photo by Jimi Filipovski on Unsplash
If you’ve read How to Start Practicing Witchcraft, you should have a better idea now of how to approach your first spell and develop your craft from there. One question I got from a reader was: What constitutes a measurable result, and what kind of spell is most suitable for that?
Having worked a lot in both academic and corporate environments I’ve adopted the so-called “SMART” goals system and that’s the framework I used when I first started doing magic. S = specific, M = measurable, A = attainable, R = relevant, T = timely. These should be your general guidelines for a spell.
There are a few ways you could go with this, but my go-to when I’m trying a new method of casting is a money spell. It’s specific, measurable, attainable (as long as you’re not asking for a million dollars or something… I usually avoid a specific amount), relevant (as in, the spell is meant to bring you money).
Timely is where most people get stuck. What is an appropriate amount of time to wait for results? Should you wait a day, a month, a year? If the spell allows for it, I include a set time frame of one or two weeks. I don’t recommend going longer than that. You don’t want to be waiting around for one month every time you do a spell hoping it works. One week is usually ample time for things to manifest, and it allows you to try something new the following week if it doesn’t work.
This should probably go without saying, but money spells are for bringing in unplanned income. Before you do the spell, write down any upcoming money you have that is expected to arrive during the timeframe you’ve set. For example, if you have a paycheque coming in that Thursday write it under “expected income”. You want to also have notes on possible known pathways that are uncertain, such as someone who owes you money but hasn’t said they’re paying you back within that week, customers for your business, etc. The third section will be to note down anything that comes in that wasn’t in either of those categories.
Your sheet should ultimately look like this at the beginning of the week:
At the end of the week, you’ll have another category:
You can gauge the effectiveness of the spell by the amount of unexpected income you’ve received. Keep in mind that possible income is a lot easier than completely unexpected income, and the more pathways you have available the more successes you will have. If you don’t get any unexpected income from a spell but you achieve one or two possible income results, the spell may have been partially successful but needs some tweaking. If you don’t get any results at all, ditch the spell entirely and find something else.
As you would with a scientific experiment, do only one test at a time. If you do a ritual spell, then a spell jar, then hearth magic, you won’t have any way of knowing which one worked if something does manifest. Also keep in mind that one success can be a fluke or coincidence, so it’s important to test a spell more than once and take notes on the results each time.
The great thing about money spells is they’re not subjective. It’s really hard to remain objective sometimes, especially when you’re a new witch. We want things to work so bad that we just kind of… tell ourselves they did, even though that’s not necessarily the case. With a money spell there’s no question as to whether or not it worked, you either have money you didn’t have before or you don’t. End of.
As always you can comment here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help. Have an awesome week!