At its most fundamental level, the universe and all things in it are a unified field of pure possibility. Another word to describe this endless night of potentiality is, simply, information.
Information, much like love, is an abstract concept made of nothing, with no visible existence or relevancy to anything without a conscious observer to make sense and use of it. This formless information at the source of our creation – at the very core of the universe – is a nebulous ocean with all potential results of any and every outcome that could ever manifest cascading as waves over its surface. Indeed, love itself could be considered a wave in this sea of information: a neutral rippling of potential, reliant on the observer to provide its meaning and depth. When a concept like love is recognized and directed with a passionate verve, it has the power to create – or destroy – a great many things.
And so it is with our spells. What we as witches do is called a “craft” because that’s what it is. A craft skill can be defined as a discipline which makes use of a material by altering it and/or combining it with other complimentary materials in order to create something new and beneficial. This is often accomplished with the use of specialized tools. An art like painting, sculpting, cooking, needlecraft, weaving, medicine-making, or carpentry takes a degree of training and a mind for dedication and patience in order to produce something useful and aesthetically pleasing, and spellwork is no exception. Though while cooking makes use of the chemistry of all the various, abundant living ingredients of the Earth to weave together an alluring and nourishing dish, a competent spell in the hands of a skillful magician transforms information into a desired experience of visible substance. Focused intent, adequately fueled by the energy injected into it, distills an infinite array of possibilities down to its most narrow manifestation. It is this process, along with its resulting outcome, that we call “magick”.
I think it must be understood that no part of this act is in any way special or unique to a magician specifically. Everyone completes this process in some form or another many times over throughout the course of his or her day.
The universe is magic, and all acts are magical acts. Just by existing are we all openly demonstrating the wonders of creation, as well as the infinite potential a creative brain is capable of, and every day, we fulfill our intentions alongside some form of energy in order to create the reality we most desire for ourselves: from an act as seemingly innocuous as driving to Starbucks for coffee to the lifelong process of building and successfully maintaining a career, home, and family.
Where the true skill of our craft comes into play is in the ability of a magician to affect these desired changes without need to directly influence a situation, and at a distance.
This almost always requires a specifically oriented concentration of consciously focused energy, in much higher quantities than is normally put into performing an every day action. The sheer amount of traditions and techniques available to study in order to accomplish this is a head-spinning testament to this.
Information follows the path of least resistance, and this is where practice plays such a vital role when first learning to design and cast a spell. If a particularly lovely woman expresses an interest in me, what good would a spell be to increase my chances of success in making a date happen if I already felt assured enough in my confidence to simply approach her and strike up a conversation? What would be the point of constructing a charm to give off an alluring vibration when I had even a remotely positive view of my own attractiveness and natural charm, and could make what I had to work with work for me in a reasonable capacity if i had to? Why wrap up the synchronicities and free will of a person I’m having a disagreement with in a binding when, more often than not, the issue could be resolved if we just acted like adults and talked it out? If I need money, I fill out a job application, or take advantage of various business opportunities and network connections to sell my products more voraciously.
Or more straightforwardly, if I were attempting to clairvoyantly guess the face of a card being mentally transmitted to me, it would be much easier to simply ask the other participant what the card is than to strain myself to do so psychically. This is essentially the magick of the “mundane” world, and we are all always in the flow of it.
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors can easily make game-winning shots from well beyond half-court without much conscious thought being put into any part of that action. I would be hard-pressed to accomplish that same feat without an incredible amount of luck. This is because he is a master of his particular craft, and his entire life has been poured into making shots like these. Unless I were to dedicate as much of my time and energy to training myself as much as he has, and also under as similar a set of conditions as I could manage, the path of least resistance to manifesting the same outcome in this case would be either for me to just hand him the ball and allow him to make the shot for me, or to rethink the nature of my desired outcome and humbly settle within myself that I would most likely have to move closer to the basket in order to make the shot at all. Though the result of my action would end up either slightly different or less than I initially intended for it, the overall result would be the same.
That is, unless I really did choose to dedicate enough of my time and energy into that type of training in order to make the shot easier for me. In this way, the channel of that path would be shifted slightly toward a wider set of options which would ultimately benefit me by fulfilling my own personal success in that undertaking; and, in essence, this is my point.
A challenge like this, when it comes to manifesting a spell, can be very daunting, especially for new magicians: “why did my spell not work?” and “what am I doing wrong?” are two of the most common questions I’ve heard so far. And they’re often asked with a deflated emotion made of equal parts disappointment and discouragement.
Doubt is certainly a wonderful mentor, and should never be totally disregarded. It allows us to briefly glimpse the forest for the trees so that we can carefully evaluate and improve our approach as it applies to our own motives and methodology; but when it’s taken beyond its practical threshold, it can begin a slippery slope down a road that leads to firmly establishing negative habits into our paradigms, eventually tilling a well-fertilized soil where frustration, mistrust, apathy, and – unfortunately – charlatanism can begin to sprout and eventually overtake our enthusiasm and better judgment.
Tending a field like this for too long will eventually require a wall of rigid dogma and close-mindedness to be erected in order to keep it contained, and as time passes, and the disruptive flora grow taller and wind themselves into our perception like crawling vines, and their roots establish themselves more deeply in our rituals, it will eventually require an even taller and much sturdier wall to contain every explosion and sparking misfire that occurs due to handling the unstable and volatile chemicals extracted from these plants. It is best to nip these feelings in the bud when the first hints of them begin to bubble up, and learn to calm down, start over, and turn again to the silence inside ourselves for the real truths which are always waiting with a reassuring smile like concerned and reliable friends.
Take a moment to remind yourself that you are currently living on a spinning blue sphere hurling itself at an unfathomable speed around a giant ball of fire which is itself hurling equally fast through a space made of nothing, whilst everything else is doing the same thing for some eternally incomprehensible reason. Wrap your mind around just how strange everything that we do really is. What’s a little more strangeness in your life? Why shouldn’t your spell work? There are so many things which exist right before your eyes that are weirder than a prayer over a candle. You yourself are a part of all of this cosmic insanity, and it is absolutely glorious. You live within the very definition of amazing, and so that definition of amazing is also everything you are.
Don’t ever be discouraged by what appears to be a failure or setback. Thomas Edison once commented on his scientific process, stating that he has never failed; he simply found “ten thousand ways that did not work”, and the subsequent training and lessons assimilated throughout the course of his experiments, and all the thousands of hours of beating on his craft, lead to the manifestation of a dream that now fills the world with light.
The ability to manipulate a set of circumstances in a series of events in order to guide them where we’d like them to end up without the need for direct intervention is a magnificently large undertaking, but it is by no means impossible. The requirements may be great, but only the greatest achievements are worthy enough to require such an unreasonable mindset. This is the mindset that all the greats have, and they are all constantly altering the face of the world with their thoughts and intentions.
And this is where the real fun is had, when a practitioner reaches a certain level of competency: it’s suddenly realized that we’ve all essentially become the masters of the paradox, and the maverick sojourners of the loophole. We’re called “cunningfolk” for a reason. Creating clever black holes within ourselves to higher consciousness in order to reach through and receive all the grander insights we need is what we do. We pick and pull apart the very source of the universe like taffy and stretch it back through ourselves and into our reality so that it might work for us and others in the most magnificent and beautiful way possible.
With enough time and patience, the work of our higher minds becomes an effortless expression of our souls. A simple enough expression that it outright usurps the position of the path of least resistance and lays it placidly at our feet to be utilized as we see fit.
All it truly takes for this idea to gain momentum is the desire to reconnect with the enlivened spirit of pure excitement and wonder for all the workings of the world that we as practitioners already hold as cherished artifacts in our hearts. We’re all strong enough – without a doubt – to keep the thrill of perpetually learning, and the patience of a tempering work ethic, alive and glowing as a shining spotlight on those artifacts. Most important of all, I think, is that we are also humble enough to view the lessons of a supposed failure as simply a guiding light with the power to lead us toward a more luminescent future than we could ever possibly fathom.
This is who we are. This is our life, and this is our craft.
We all are painters who live inside our paintings. The incredible force of our work, in every story we weave with our spells and various manipulations, are each a brush stroke supremely executed with wands and daggers and waving fingers and herbs and bells and the song and dance of fiery minds awash in a blur of chaotic exuberance and passionate grace. The art of our souls invites all around us who are so inclined to be a part of that shining brilliance to not only sit back and observe it, but to truly dive into and experience it for themselves. Never forget that our craft is a force of divine magnitude which pushes this spinning sphere and its spinning galaxy further out into the abyss and the unknown, where all the real excitement is. And in the heart of that abyss is where all the true learning can begin.