Day 264: Directing Power

Once you’ve raised up a glut of power, you do need to recognize it’s not going to automatically go where you want it to go.  It might fly to some other purpose or just linger about and dissipate.  If you’re doing a magical working, you definitely need to be able to direct any raised energy to your desired end.  A lot of this direction is accomplished through honed visualization skills.

One of the most classic visualizations is known as the “cone of power.”  This technique involves visualizing the energy while you are in the process of raising it.  As you dance, chant, or breathe, you visualize energy gathering and swirling deosil around the circle, eventually swirling over top itself in a vortex rather like an inverted tornado.  You continue to collect power until you can visualize a strong, sturdy cone, then you release your hold on the energy and visualize it leaving the circle to manifest your outcome, or you visualize it entering the materials used to create your spell.

There’s no real guideline for ‘calling the drop’, or taking that cone of power and directing it to where you want it to go.  That depends on your psychic sensing.  Optimally, you would call the drop at the climax of your energy buildup.  In other words, you need to not when you feel the energy reaching its highest point of tension.

Practice:  Cone of Power

Collect together your usual circle casting tools and cast a circle.  Select one of the power-raising methods you have learned over the past several days (dancing, breath control, or chanting) and use it to generate magical energy.  As you build this energy, visualize a cone of power forming within your circle.  Hold your athame in your stronger hand while you build energy.  In the moment you sense the highest point of magical tension, physically drop to the floor and point your athame toward the sky.  Visualize the cone of power leaving the circle and dissipating in space.

Often when I’ve raised a cone of power either myself or in group, I basically just cease whatever physical motions I’m doing, stand straight, and throw my arms up into the air and feel a great release out from my chest and up into the sky.  Physically dropping to the ground and raising my athame was an interesting change.  In some respects it felt less potent.  Less of me seemed to be projecting up and out.  In other respects, it might have been more potent.  That sudden drop helped me make myself a conduit between the ground below me and the sky above, and I felt like I was drawing up not only the energy I had raised, but energy from the earth as well.  The athame also seemed to help me focus the energy a bit better, too.  Instead of shining a spotlight onto my focus, I felt like I was shooting a laser.

Day 260: Hours of the Day and Magic

As we learned back on Day 256, each day of the week is ruled by a particular planetary influence.  It’s easy to guess the correspondence of some days–for example, Sunday and Monday are ruled by the sun and moon respectively.  However, the English names for the days of the week derive mostly from the names of Norse gods, but we’ve named the planets after Roman gods, so it does take some thought.  Tuesday, for example, is named after the Norse god Tyr who was the god of victory, heroic glory, and single combat.  This is most like the Roman god of war, Mars, so Mars is Tuesday’s planet.  Mercury rules Wednesday–and it’s a lot easier to see why given that most other European languages use his name as the root of that day (mercredi (French), mercoledì (Italian), miércoles (Spanish), miercuri (Romanian)).  Wednesday derives more from “Odin’s Day”.  While Odin is a complex god, he is also associated with widsom, poetry, and magic–all Mercurial traits.  Thursday, or Thor’s day, corresponds with Jupiter–which is fitting as both were “thunder gods”.  Friday–or Frigga’s day–is associated with Venus, which works out nicely as both are love goddesses.  Saturday is the only English day where the name derives from a Roman god–Saturn–so that day is easy enough to see the correspondence.  (In Old English, the original name for this day was sunnanæfen, or “sun” + “eve”.)

Planetary Correspondences

Planetary Correspondences

Every hour in each day, though, also has a planetary correspondence.  My thought on the matter is that the hour’s planetary energies wouldn’t necessarily supercede the day’s planetary energies, but it would augment them.  For example, a Martian hour during Friday might be great for particularly passionate, animalistic lovemaking, while a Mercurial hour on Friday would be good for having meaningful conversations with your loved ones.

The day’s hours begin with the time of sunrise on that particular day.  Therefore, if the sun rises at 6:42 am, the first hour runs from 6:42 to 7:42.  The last hour of the day would then run from 5:42 on the subsequent day to the minute of the following day’s sunrise.  Therefore, the last hour of the day will frequently not be a solid 60 minutes.  The first hour of each day is given the planetary correspondence of that day; for example, hour 1 on Monday will also be ruled by the moon.  The hours then run in order from the above chart, and repeat at the eighth hour.  The cycle repeats until the end of the day.  A complete chart is available below:

The log of Magical Hours within each day

The log of Magical Hours within each day

To complete the day’s information, Roderick asks us to answer the following questions:

Find out the time of sunrise from your newspaper (or  Consider the day of the week and calculate the magical hour you are in right now.

I’m working this exercise on Wednesday, April 17th and the sun rose at exactly 6:19 AM today in Olympia, Washington.  It is currently 1:53 pm.  That means that I’m in the middle of the 8th hour, which is ruled by Mercury today.

What types of magic are best suited for this planetary hour?

Well, Mercurial magic is best suited for all manner of communication work–magic, knowledge acquisition, writing, talking, etc.

Check the newspaper for tomorrow’s sunrise time.  What is the planetary influence at this same time tomorrow?

Sunrise is at 6:18 AM tomorrow, which means I’ll still be in the 8th hour at 1:53 tomorrow.  The planetary influence at that time, however, will be Jupiter.

Day 259: Magical Essential Oils

Below is Roderick’s listing of essential oils and his magical correspondences for them.  We use essential oils quite a bit in magic, but there’s no reason to spend several hundred dollars acquiring them.  I would highly suggest going to a reputable oil dealer online and comparing the prices for many different oils.  Take note of the cheapest, then look up their magical correspondences.  Chances are you’ll end up with a very comprehensive kit of at least 10-20 oils for under $100.

Some ideas for using these oils are choosing one that represents your goal and anointing yourself with it daily until the goal is obtained.  They can also be put in bathwater.  We can also put a few drops of the oil in water and sprinkle it about our homes (or put more drops with water it into a mister and use it as a room spray).  A very popular use is to mix some essential oils with a neutral carrier oil and use it to anoint candles for ritual or candle magic.  We can also mix oils into an herbal mixture, or use them to anoint a stone or talisman.  Many people use different oils to help open or clear their various chakra points.

Roderick's correspondences for essential oils

Roderick’s correspondences for essential oils

I did delete ‘apple’ from this list as there is truly no such thing as an apple essential oil.  There were a few others on this list that I thought I would also have to delete, but I did come across the oil dealer Victorie, Inc. They have a tremendous amount of oils you just cannot find anywhere else.  They’ve been able to find dealers, for example, that have extracted oils from honey and pomegranate, olive leaf and saffron.  They even have a rare oils section with things I thought I’d never see–clover, gardenia, honeysuckle, lilac, lily of the valley…it’s really very remarkable.  If these rare ones are too expensive (and boy, are they ever!), they also offer enflurage pomades and macerations.  If you want something to smell like the blooming flower, these pomades are really the better thing to purchase.

Day 258: Magical Herbs

I’m sure that popular European culture has aligned Witches with possessing a prodigious herb collection since the first person was accused of witchcraft.  We use them to heal, to hex, and to effect magical change.  As Roderick notes in today’s description, many “Witches believe that herbs are living vibrational representations of specific magical influences.  Because they are living, they carry great strength and hold their own spiritual power.”  Consequently, some Witches view the use of herbs as a sacrifice to the Gods, since the plants do cease to actually live once we’ve cut and dried them.  The ways we use the herbs are varied.  We might just put them in a sachet we carry around with us, or steep them into a magical bath, or–if they can be ingested–make them into a tea.  We can make them into various salves, or we can burn them on hot coals as an incense.  Below is a list of some of the herbs Roderick outlines in today’s exercise.  To begin with, he asks us to contemplate the following:

  • Select an herb from the chart for its magical influence.  Hold it in your hands during meditation, or place it somewhere near you during the day.  What effects do you note?
  • What herbs do you eat in your food?  Do they have a magical effect that you can note?
  • Start a magical garden and plant herbs that will aid you in your magical work.
Roderick's Magical Correspondences of Herbs

Roderick’s Magical Correspondences of Herbs.  I shouldn’t type these late at night: I’ve already noticed two formatting errors.

To begin with, I will not be planting an herb garden since I do not own the home I’m currently living in–and V. definitely has her own plans in mind for her property.  The herbs I tend to use most in cooking include:  bay, basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, sage, ginger, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, mild chili powder, chipotle peppers, and peppercorns.  I also tend to use a curry powder blend and fresh cilantro, parsley, mint, basil, and scallions.  I honestly haven’t put much thought into how they magically affect me.  Now that I think about it, though, I notice I’m a lot ‘peppier’ if I’ve eaten cilantro or mint, and cumin makes me feel warm and cozy.  Cardamom makes me feel exotic and sexy.  I’ll have to note my responses to the others.  It should be an interesting exercise.

Unfortunately, the only herbs from this list that I had on hand were basil, bay laurel, cinnamon, rosemary, and sage.  I’m low on the basil and need it for a recipe this week, so that was out.  My cinnamon is actually cassia, and I didn’t want to cross wires.  My rosemary is in a really sad state and needs replaced, and my sage is powdered…so bay it was!   I started my meditation by cupping several leaves in my hands and deeply inhaling their scent.  The breathwork helped my mind go to a meditative state, and the scent really got me focusing on the plant.  The scent, I thought, was rather like a combination of eucalyptus, bergamot, and lavender.  It made me calm, yet a little cheery, and ultimately made me feel quite safe and grounded.  As I held the leaves, I also realized that I was feeling a very distinctive solar energy–something akin to what my HP, Y., brings when he calls down the God.  I also realized I was feeling more invigorated–maybe this plant has fire energy?  Ultimately, I think this herb has a good bit of positive, protective energy.  I think the “honor, visions, prophecy” that Roderick pulls is because the plant does have mild psychotropic effects when chewed and the saliva ingested.

Day 257: Magical Stones

In spell work, Witches make use of all things animal, vegetable, and mineral.  In fact, we really love the mineral end, and it is not uncommon for Pagans of all sorts to curate their own little rock collection.  We do believe that the different stones are conduits of different energies, and we take lots of pleasure in using them as charged jewelry or in other spells and amulets.

It is important to note that not all Pagans are proponents of using stones, especially those that are mined and shipped around the globe.  There’s a school of thought that purchasing these rocks might support unsafe and unsustainable mining practices.  Others choose not to use stones on the grounds (hah!) that it took the Earth millions of years to develop the different mineral deposits, and we have no right raping her just to get our grubby paws on them.  Some Pagans who do enjoy using stones might also have special rules for them, such as only using stones that remain in their natural state–that is, not cut or polished in any way.  They believe that cutting and polishing stones damages their inherent powers.  Others might believe that their stones absorb psychic influences and must be cleared in some way, often by burying them in the ground for a period of time or covering them in salt.

Whatever you believe about working with stones, it is important to know what some of their energies are.  And so, Roderick asks us to commit the following list to memory:

Roderick's Magical Stones

Roderick’s Magical Stones.  Also, I clearly no longer see Microsoft Word’s green grammar squiggle.


Consider a magical working you would like to do.  Name the following symbols you might use for this working:

  • Moon phase
  • Day of the week
  • Color
  • Planetary glyph
  • Magical stone
  • What keyword would you write in Theban on a candle or other magical object?

Exploring Magical Stones:

  • Have you ever experienced the magical influences of a stone?  Discuss it in writing or with a friend.
  • How might you use one of the stones listed here today?

In a small pouch, place one or two stones that hold a magical influence that you desire.  Place the pouch on a string and wear it around your neck, or place the pouch somewhere that allows it to have close bodily contact.  Monitor the effects of the stone and journal about your experiences.

Roderick certainly put a lot of activities into today, didn’t he?  Well, to begin, if I was to do a working right now, it would be to help me figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I’m feeling a bit directionless at the moment and need a jump start.  I’d probably choose a waxing moon for this working, and I think I’d probably choose Thursday for this working, since Jupiter’s influence on growth, expansion, fulfillment, and influence seem conducive to this goal.  I’m also prone to working the color orange into the magic for it’s connections to happiness, adaptability, and resilience.  I’d probably also rely on the planetary glyphs for Jupiter and the Sun to reinforce the Thursday and Orange energies.  If I was using stones, I think I’d use both carnelian (since it helps stimulate movement, blocks negative energy, and works on the conscious mind) and a lodestone (since it helps to draw desires to me).  I think I would use the keyword “PURPOSE” in the working.

I have experienced the magical influences of stones before.  In high school and college, I almost constantly wore a piece of jewelry with a carnelian in it, and I think it helped stave off a lot of the negative emotions of that dynamic time.  With my tendencies towards depression, those years could have been much, much worse.  It also helped me deal with my changing home life a lot more productively, and–academically–I think it really helped me to develop my talents with a lot more purpose and ease.  When I lost that piece, I think I did lose a good bit of that focus, and my heart got hardened towards a lot of the daily sorrows I saw and experienced.  I also wore a fluorite pendant, and I think it helped my mental concentration and gave me a lot more stability than I would have otherwise had.

I chose to don my pearl necklace today and see if it had much of an effect upon me.  Honestly?  I think it might have.  I’ve been dealing with a lawsuit (fall out from something my father had done years ago, but which now falls on me to clean up), and I’ve been on edge quite a bit.  Today, however, I enjoyed far more peace and tranquility than I’ve had for weeks.  It was a subtle change, and I’m not sure I would have attributed it to my choice in jewelry if I had not specifically chosen those gems today.

Day 256: Days of the Week and Magic

One of the first things new Pagans learn about magical work is that one of the easiest and most effective bolstering symbols to any work is timing.  We time things to occur in the right part of the year, in the right moon phase, on the right day, and even the right hour.  Heck, we often even bring astrology into the mix and time workings for appropriate planets are in appropriate zodiac signs.  It can get a little confusing.

Below is a chart outlining the seven days of our week, the planets (and planetary signs) for each, as well as a list of magical workings appropriate to those energies.  Sometimes it is impossible, for example, to do fertility work on a Friday.  If that is the case, then we try to do the best we can to tap into the appropriate hours on other days, or do our best to make sure the working occurs during a waxing or full moon.

Magical Correspondences to Days of the Week

Magical Correspondences to Days of the Week

What day of the week is it today?  Considering only the day of the week, determine what kinds of magical workings would be successful if employed today.

Today happens to be a Wednesday, so workings affecting mercurial qualities of communication, wit, knowledge, the arts, confidence, adaptability, etc. would be appropriate.  Now might be a good day to craft a charm onto a resumé, for example.

Think of a magical effect you would like to have.  Now consider: 1) Which day of the week would best suit the magic?  2)  Which phase of the moon would best suit the magic?  Research when the moon phase coincides with a day of the week that can aid your magic.

Well, I’m starting to think I should hit the dating circuit.  I’m twenty-nine now, and all my friends are paired up.  Worse, yesterday my mother had me talk to my brother’s de-facto step-child for the first time.  The first thing the little girl asked was “whose mommy are you?”  After I confessed I was nobody’s mom, she asked “who’s your husband?”  When I confessed I wasn’t married, she got really silent and then said in a tiny little voice, “Are you all alone?”  God.  Talk about twisting a knife in my heart.  So let’s say I want to have a magical effect where I become more open to relationships and increase my options.  Friday seems a good time for that, what with all the healing, hope, appeal, and growth energies.  Maybe Tuesday for its Martian sexuality, passion, and men’s emphasis.  I guess it depends on what I want to accomplish.  I want to ‘grow’ a part of myself, so timing this during a waxing moon wouldn’t hurt.  We’re waning until April 11th, which is the last day of the new moon days.  The 12th through the 23rd and this month’s waxing days.  If I wanted to do a Friday working, the 12th and the 19th are my two options.  If I wanted to do a Tuesday working, I’m looking at the 15th and 22nd.

Create flash cards to help you commit the weekdays and planetary glyphs to memory.

I’m actually good with the astrological and astronomical symbols, but this is a remarkably good idea for all the correspondences.  I can’t believe I’ve never done it before!  I was the flashcard queen of my high school!  I’ve been working long enough with the correspondences that I do have a lot of my favorites committed to memory, but it wouldn’t be too difficult to make up a slew of flashcards and quiz myself for greater comprehension.  I might even make up a .pdf file of printable 3x5s to share…

Day 255: The Ingredients of Magic

We Craft on the basis of “like attracts like,” which–as Roderick points out–means that if we symbolize our desires, we actualize its essence.  Therefore, if we want to actualize an outcome of drawing the best love we can to ourselves, we gather together a bunch of symbols that resonate with love and symbolically enact that actualization with them.  The symbols now and the future actualization are then drawn to each other, which helps the desired actualization actually come to manifest.

There’s a fine line to walk here.  Roderick says that “the key to success in magical operations is in gathering together the symbols that subtly, vibrationally attract your desire,” but that’s not entirely true.  I think most magical practitioners today would hold that the symbols are important, but you shouldn’t get bogged down in them.  Why, for example, might you need 24 pink candles for a love working?  Wouldn’t one do?  Do you need to pack enough items in a magical sachet that the sachet resembles a beach bag?  The gathering of symbols is important, but not completely crucial to the magical act.  The crucial part is energy.

However, symbols help a tremendous deal, and it is important to commit many correspondences to memory so that you do not have to dig through stacks of notes each time you want to do a working.

Today, Roderick focuses his correspondence on a list of magical colors.  Choosing colors to set the stage of our magical working can be incredibly evocative, and can be used in many ways.  For example, we can choose a candle of the color that represent our working’s goal, we can write our goal in an appropriate color of ink or we can write it on an appropriate color of paper, we can wear robes and clothing or jewelry of the appropriate color to the working, we can visualize ourselves surrounded by an energy field of the color appropriate to the working, we can drape our altar(s) in cloths of the appropriate color, and we can decorate our ritual space with the color, too.

The main task Roderick sets for us is to commit the list to memory.

The Colors of Magic

The Colors of Magic

Roderick also asks us to think of a magical working we would like to do and the colors that would be most appropriate for the working and the plantary association that goes with that color.  He also asks us to wear a specific color today for its magical effect, and asks us if the color changed anything.

If I were to do a magical working today, it would probably be to help my job prospects.  I’d probably use a combination of green for it’s growth and wealth properties, grey for counterbalancing any negative aspects of my application (so that the positive shines through more), and maybe pink or orange.  After all, I want to foster good relationships with my next working gig, and I want to be happy, too.  The planetary correspondences are, in order, Earth/Venus, all in retrograde, Venus, and Jupiter.

I actually already do practice a form of color-dressing.  For example, when I want to force a little happiness on myself, I reach for my “prison orange” tops.  Sadly, it is a fact that I look absolutely smashing in bright orange–I get a ton of compliments when I wear it, and I feel great in the color (especially when I pair it with sky blue accessories, or wear sky blue and pair it with orange accessories).  It never fails to make me cheerier.

Today, though, I’m sore and achy, and I have a low-grade headache.  Today I pull out a light blue t-shirt and jeans.  The blues are soothing, peaceful, and they help balance out my grumpy moods and promote healing.  By the end of the day, I did feel better.  Much less sore and *much* less grumpy!

Day 254: The Moon and Magic

This seems a little too basic to spend much time on, but Roderick devotes today to  explaining how the moon affects magical workings.  As we know, there are four main lunar phases: dark/new, waxing, full, and waning.  The dark/new moon occurs when you can see no Moon in the sky because the Sun and the Moon are on the same side of Earth.  A waxing moon describes the time when the illuminated surface of the Moon as seen from the Earth increases.  Conversely, a waning moon describes the time with the visible illuminated surface decreases.  A full moon, obviously, is when nearly the full surface of the moon is illuminated and visible.  If you would like to be a little more specific, you could say there are roughly 9 lunar phases:  the new moon (not visible to the first visible crescent), waxing crescent (first 1-49% visible), first quarter (first 50% visible), waxing gibbous (first 51-99% visible), full (100% visible), waning gibbous (last 99-51% visible), third quarter (last 50% visible), waning crescent (last 49-1% visible), and dark (last visible crescent to not visible).

Interestingly, the northern and the southern hemisphere see the moon differently at any one time.  If the moon is waxing, the northern hemisphere sees the illuminated portion on the right side.  In the southern hemisphere, the waxing illuminated portion is on the left.  Another way to think about it is that if you are in the northern hemisphere and the moon looks like a D, it is waxing, and if it looks like a C it is waning.  If you’re in the southern hemisphere, the C moon will be waxing and the D moon will be waning.

Magically, the waxing moon states are best for spells concerning increase, gain, growth, construction, creation, accomplishment, progress, development, improvement, expansion, flourishing, etc.  Full moons–which are considered to be the day of the full moon and the day before and after–are suited best for spells concerning achievement, triumph, victory, success, conquest, realization, command, control, influence, authority, attainment, fulfillment, power, strength, psychic ability, and magical prowess.  Waning moons are best for work concerning inhibiting, transformation, holding, returning, stopping, internalizing, loss, defeat, failure, blocking, interrupting, diminishing, collecting, altering, and replenishing.  Early in the dark/new moon phase (the day before the new moon up to the new moon) is good for work pertaining to endings, death, demolition, and replenishings, while the later phase (after the new moon up to the day after) is good for beginnings, births, and foundations.

In case it isn’t obvious yet, the phases form a cycle and you time your work to best fit that cycle.  Final events and brand new things occur in the dark/new phase.  Growing things occur in the waxing, fulfillment and psychic stuff occur at the full, and losing things occur in the waning.


  • This evening, go outside to observe the moon.  Lie on your back and gaze into the sky.  Allow the lunar light and energy to pour down upon you.  What effect does it seem to have on you?
  • What is the moon’s current phase?
  • What kinds of magic could you do on a night like tonight?

I did this exercise on March 9th.  On this day, the moon was waning and barely illuminated–maybe 5%.  The new moon actually occurs on the 11th at about 12:54 pm, so it would be hard to see.  Unfortunately, it was not in the sky for me at all at 11 pm tonight because it set at 4:13 this afternoon and won’t rise until 6:39 am on the 10th.  I was a little sad when I realized this, for tonight happened to be an atypically clear night for Western Washington in the early spring.  I did take a moment to identify constellations, though, so the night wasn’t a complete bust.

Though I wasn’t able to feel the light of the moon pour down on me, if you’d have asked me to guess the moon’s phase by the energy I felt, I would have said waning.  Though I’ve been starting new projects as have the others around me, the greater feelings I’ve been having lately have been nudging me toward wrapping things up.  I’ve also been more motivated to lose weight, and I’ve been more profligate in my spending as of late–both of which are personal quirks I’ve noticed happening in waning moons.

Tonight would be a good night for ‘banishing’ magic.  If I had a trait about myself that I wanted to minimize, now would be the time to do so.  Weight loss spells are popular new moon magics here in America, as are spells to help you sell items or to keep negative influences and people at bay.

Day 252: Magic

When someone asks me what magic is, I’m always tempted to adapt Severus Snape’s famous introduction to Potions Class speech from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone into something like:  “There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in Wiccan magic. As such, I don’t expect you to appreciate its subtle science and exact art.”

The stereotype of new magicians is that they expect magic to resemble what they’ve encountered in fiction where it’s often depicted as wielding some magical talisman and saying a few arcane words and then–poof!–someone’s been turned into a toad.  However, it’s been my experience that few newbies really have such expectations.  Yet, many do struggle with the idea of what magic actually is.

The early twentieth century gave us two basic definitions of magic that have both had major impacts on how Wiccans have come to view this ‘power.’  Aleister Crowley wrote that “Magic is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.”  For all of Crowley’s notoriety, I do think this succinct definition is very apt and enduring.  At it’s heart, magic is just change and transformation–and that is a universal power.  Everything in our lives changes from one moment to the next.  Magic is just our ability to direct that trend to a desired outcome.  Under this definition, even mundane actions can be considered to be magical works.  For example, if you desire more money, you can take up a second job.  Poof!  You now have more income than you previously had, and you got it by changing your life to conform to your desire.  While I think only the most callous people would argue that there’s no magic in such mundane workings, I think that most of us also consider ‘magic’ to involve more than purely mundane actions.  This is where Dion Fortune enters with her definition, which Starhawk later popularized:  “Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will.

We can definitely take Fortune’s definition at face value, for there is certainly strong magic even in simple meditation.  But when we combine that consciousness shift with specifically-crafted visualizations of what we want the outcome of a specific change to be, we can work powerful magic.  I rather like to think of it as a cosmic highlighter.  Once you’ve done such a working in a shifted state of consciousness, your ‘every day’ consciousness tends to retain that working, and it will notice things in support of that working.  Again, say that your net desire was to earn more income.  If you did a magical working to that end, you might turn to the job notices and pay more attention to a listing you might otherwise have passed by–one far better suited to you than the pizza delivery job you’d had in mind.  It might also make you more confident and give you the gumption to apply for a position you didn’t think you’d get, or ask for a raise you thought was a longshot.  It might well also be that working in a shifted consciousness might influence those around you, especially if you believe that there is a universal consciousness connecting all beings.  A working then might make a human resources manager look more favorably upon your application than he or she otherwise would.

For me, this last idea of a universal consciousness gets much closer to what I think magic is about.  In my beliefs, I say that magic is tapping into the divine.  I believe that the divine energy connects all beings and objects together in that wonderful, beautiful universal energy, and catching glimpses of this energy is a deeply magical act in itself.  But working with this energy in the pursuit of a specific change is also a very specific type of magic.  Phyllis Curott in her book Witch Crafting wrote that “Making magic is a dynamic process by which you co-create reality with deity.  And ultimately, all real magic is a manifestaion of the divine.”  In other words, magic is an action by which we shift our consciousnesses to acknowledge the divine immanence within us–which is also the divine transcendence around us–and join in a creation (that is, a change) with it.

This creative action, as Timothy Roderick notes, is certainly not “grandiose, sparkling, and flamboyant”, and it certainly doesn’t secure quick fixes to life problems.  Wiccan magic is subtle, and much bigger and more complex than anything we can really fathom.  What it often looks like in practice is symbolically bringing energy like what we want to manifest into the equation.  Therefore, in that working for increased income, we might choose to use a lot of green (a color conducive to prosperity) in different aspects of the ritual, as well as using certain herbs and stones that are conducive to fertility or prosperity.  We might even do it at a time of day ruled by Jupiter, who looks fondly on workings related to luck, prosperity, and growth.  We bring like to like and try to focus it to a specifically visualized outcome, while giving the whole system a sort of “jump start” with our own channeled energy.  And then, after all that, we try to act “in accordance”.  We fill out those job applications and work our networks.  We need to put ourselves out there so that the change we’ve sought can find us.

It is common for first-year Witches to experience dramatic change, and to experience something else altogether.  When your magic appears not to have taken effect, keep reminding yourself that magic is equivalent to the changing of season; it is slow and organic.  First comes the planting of seeds, then tiny roots form, tender shoots appear, and gradually blossoms appear.  For today’s practice, contemplate the following questions:

  • Is magic what you thought it would be?
  • What were you hoping you would be able to do with magic?
  • What influences do you think might have shaped your ideas about magic?

It has been a very, very long time since I first stepped on the pagan path, and I honestly don’t know what I initially expected out of magic.  My initial attraction to Wicca was its visualization of deity and as a religious practice.  The idea of working spells was attractive, but not terribly important. I’ve always been very practical, and I create a lot of change for myself mundanely, so I’ve never really felt much of a need to run a million spells and delve very deeply into the “woo-woo” part of the Craft.  These days, I would like to work magic more effectively so that I can draw closer to deity and manifest a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Since I have been on the pagan path for awhile, I have definitely been influenced by a lot of magical practioners.  I obviously find Phyllis Curott’s work influential, as well as Deborah Lipp’s focus on ritual.  T. Thorn Coyle’s emphasis on living one’s craft is printed on my soul.  I aspire to live up to the ideals these women have set forth, and I think that when I get closer to those ideals, I will be living a wonderful, magical life.