Image: Luis Cardenas
“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.”
I have been receiving messages asking me about how formal Magick should be, and what my opinion is on formalities when dealing with my personal craft. I think the question is an interesting one, but I also think the question is a personal one. For me, I have learned the most about my own Philosophy and practice/craft from others. I like to tweak things a bit and make them my own, but I think we can learn a ton from each other. The greatest gift that we can give each other besides respect, is knowledge. We don’t have to agree, but planting the seed of thought alone can blossom into another branch of thought.
I want you to know that Magick is supposed to be personal, and yes formal Magick with rituals, drum circles, and fires are a beautiful sight but not all of us have ways to practice like this. I have seen other Witches feel down on themselves because they can’t practice with elaborate formalities.
I think it’s wrong, and I think the issue needs to be addressed.
First of all, we cannot compare ourselves to anyone, especially other Witches. Some of us were blessed to live in the woods, and have the gifts of nature and the freedom to dance under the moon light sky clad. While others were blessed to live in an urban jungle where we are forced to practice in cramped apartments, using our ingenuity. Some of us were blessed with having a deep rooted Pagan/Witch family, and are brought up in the craft. Some of us were blessed with having deep connections to Brothers and Sisters of Magick, and have found comfort, unity, and stability with a Coven.
None of these options are better, or worse than the other, we are all blessed, and we are all Witches. There should be no competition, no jealousy, and no betrayal within our community, the outside world has let us down enough.
So, with that said, my Magick is extremely informal, and it is 50% intuition, and 50% skill I have learned in my years of practice. I think sometimes my ancestors are rolling their eyes on the other side at just how informal my Magick is, I am sure I get a few eye rolls from the deities I work with, too.
My Magick has never been about ritual, just like my Philosophy has never been about worship. I do not necessarily wait for a Moon Phase if I need to cast, if the spell can wait until a particular phase that would be suited for my needs, I will wait, but if it is something that needs to be handled: a person, situation, binding, manifesting, whatever it may be, I will go by my own will, my own heart and my own senses.
I do not cast a traditional circle, and I do use Spirits in almost all of my workings. But, I do not need protection from deities to practice, I use them because it makes me feel better at times when they are there. It is my opinion that if you can only cast under the protection of guardians, or guides then you shouldn’t be practicing Magick at all.
I do not have a bunch of fancy tools, I have what I am drawn to. So, let me give you some examples of the items I personally always have on hand.
I like to represent life, and death. I have plants in my room to represent life, and I have dried flowers, feathers from birds (living and dead), nails from a coffin (circa the 1800’s) both rusty and in good condition (rusty nails are a prime ingredient for War Water)–rusty nails from a coffin are an even better option for this water.
So, for that simple fact alone, I keep them handy. All of these items represent an aspect of death. I also have bones, and a pair of antlers on the way.
Moon water is also always on hand, this is water that has been charged by moonlight. You add coarse sea salt to it, I like pink Himalayan salt better, personally. I also have a few vials that have rose petals inside, and others with specific herbs for specific purposes. I think Moon water aka Witches Holy Water is a great tool, and you can even put it inside of a spray bottle, and use it as a way to cleanse a space. Works great for kids, or a modern Witch who doesn’t like fuss.
Herbs are a another simple, and easy tool to have. When I started working with herbs, it was a slow process; I now grow my own, and even forage at times, or I will buy locally.
At first though, to get the herbs I needed for my Magickal stock I went to the grocery store, and a farmer’s market. Most grocery stores sell rosemary, thyme, basil, sage, lavender and many others right in the produce section, just make sure it is labeled ‘certified organic’.
When you bring it home, tie a piece of thread or yarn at the base of the stems, and hang them upside down for a few days so that they can dry out. I store my dried herbs in mason jars; some are antique mason jars, but some are from Target, they are 2 for $1 there. Can’t beat a bargain.
Another thing I always have on hand is resin, and incense. I am new to burning resin, but nothing has cleared my home better. I like frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, damaru pattu, and benzoin. With these particular resin’s it is easy to create my own, too.
As for incense sticks, Nag Champa is a necessity, but it must be the blue box, anything else is overwhelming, and like a strong, obnoxious perfume.
Some other random tools I like to always have on hand are dragon’s blood ink, essential oils, a mirror for scrying, along with multiple pendulum’s, multiple tarot decks, mortar and pestle, sage: both loose, and in stick form, sea shells, candles: white and black, and a few colors: red, pink, yellow, green, and orange, flying ointments, banishing salt, a broom (mine is a small besom) Witches Ball, Witch bells and of course crystals.
I think crystals are my favorite part of my Magick. I enchant each of the pieces I wear, so along with the metaphysical properties of the crystal, I have my own Power amplifying the energy. I have crystals throughout my home, and bedroom, too. Some even have sigils draw on them, simple yet effective.
Some of my personal favorites are Jet, Labradorite, Yellow Jasper, Black Tourmaline, Selenite, Moonstone, Citrine, Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Amethyst, Apache Tear, Obsidian (all kinds, really), Celestite, Emerald, Garnet, Kyanite, Nuummite, Smoky and Tourmilinated Quartz.
Crystals are a great tool, and can be worn on the body, put in your purse/man bag, put in your car, under your pet’s bed (as long as you know they will not eat it). I mean, the possibilities are endless with crystals and for me, nothing makes me feel safer than an enchanted piece of jewelry.
I do suggest starting with some easier to handle stones than the ones I mentioned, and I also would suggest The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. I personally have both of her bibles, but you really only need the first. It will tell you what crystals do what, and how to cleanse and care for them. It also goes over geodes, tumbled, and raw, and what the differences are. I highly recommend this book for any, and all crystal lovers, newbie or advanced.
I do not have formal rituals robes, a huge ornate altar, or a place I can go be one with nature; I live in an urban jungle, I must adapt to my surroundings, bring the Magick to me, and look for the little gifts from nature like sticks, flowers, and rocks that present themselves to me.
Magick is its most potent, most powerful when it is personal, true, and real to YOU.
Don’t compare, and don’t conform.
Blessed are the Witches.