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Author Topic: First spell I ever made is now complete.  (Read 15022 times)
r2squared
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« Reply #15: June 11, 2011, 10:30:41 pm »

I'd have to join the others who said this seems like you're trying to do too many things at once.  It's your first spell, but it's unlikely to be the only spell you ever do, right?  So you might want to narrow down the goals - break them into managable chunks.  Maybe focus first on success in the current job to get you through, then a second spell to help you find work in a more artistic field.  Possibly a third working to help you deal with the personal growth/confidence issues you mentioned.  Actually, I'd do that one second - you'll need a lot of confidence to find a job in art.

As for the mint - it has money/prosperity connotations for me (along with other things), so I'd personally have no problem using it for the "I wanna be successful/get promoted" aspects of the spell.  But personal UPG about an ingredient is different from "it's what I had on hand."  I've found that in spell work it's important to know the reason for every choice.  (Not saying that "I like how it smells" or something similar can't be a perfectly good reason to include something.  Just that it should be a deliberate decision.)

You do seem to have a flair for poetry/drama that can be very useful in spell work.  I just think you're lacking a little in focus.

This was very helpful, thank you.
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« Reply #16: June 11, 2011, 11:23:14 pm »

This was very helpful, thank you.

Hi r2squared,
I agree with what everyone else has said about narrowing the focus of the spell, making sure lines don't contradict each other and taking one step at a time. The only extra bit that I want to add is about herbs and plants in general. You might have more available to you than you think. Take a look around your neighborhood. You might find things that you can use for this spell or future spells.

For example, There may be oak trees. You could use the leaves or bark for prosperity and longevity. Maybe there's a hawthorn tree, I've found the thorns to be useful in protection spells. Or, lets say you decide to buy yourself a rose, or you're given flowers as a gift. Keep them, hang them upside down to dry, and use them in your spells.

You know, don't go into your neighbor's garden or anything, but you might be able to collect some supplies from public places. Oh also, if you do this, only take small amounts and be discrete. Pulling out a ritual knife and cutting off a tree branch at the local playground might draw more attention than you want at that moment. Wink

Other than that, good luck!
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« Reply #17: June 11, 2011, 11:26:30 pm »

Hi r2squared,
I agree with what everyone else has said about narrowing the focus of the spell, making sure lines don't contradict each other and taking one step at a time. The only extra bit that I want to add is about herbs and plants in general. You might have more available to you than you think. Take a look around your neighborhood. You might find things that you can use for this spell or future spells.

For example, There may be oak trees. You could use the leaves or bark for prosperity and longevity. Maybe there's a hawthorn tree, I've found the thorns to be useful in protection spells. Or, lets say you decide to buy yourself a rose, or you're given flowers as a gift. Keep them, hang them upside down to dry, and use them in your spells.

You know, don't go into your neighbor's garden or anything, but you might be able to collect some supplies from public places. Oh also, if you do this, only take small amounts and be discrete. Pulling out a ritual knife and cutting off a tree branch at the local playground might draw more attention than you want at that moment. Wink

Other than that, good luck!


Hm, I'm not really good with looking at a tree and knowing what kind it is. Any websites or something you could give me so I could use it as a reference?
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« Reply #18: June 11, 2011, 11:46:29 pm »


Hm, I'm not really good with looking at a tree and knowing what kind it is. Any websites or something you could give me so I could use it as a reference?

Not off the top of head, no. But, I'm sure I can find something with good pictures or illustrations. Give me a day or so to poke around and I'll get back to you. Or maybe someone else will come along with the info you need before then.

I used to have a really fantastic illustrated book. Sadly, it was stolen from me a long time ago and I can't even remember the name of it.  Sad
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« Reply #19: June 12, 2011, 12:09:30 am »

Hm, I'm not really good with looking at a tree and knowing what kind it is. Any websites or something you could give me so I could use it as a reference?

Also, if your working from a list of correspondences that didn't come with pictures, you can always do an image search.

The other thing that I've done, is an image search with a description of the plant I was trying to identify. For example, I had a vine growing wild under my window. I entered vine, white flowers, fragrant or something like that, and got pictures of different plants to compare it to. It ended being a type of clematis.
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« Reply #20: June 12, 2011, 12:22:58 am »


Hi there! I have a 'Net connection again that seems stable, so here we go. (And I can too do short posts, I swear! This just won't be one...)

Background
I'll start by saying that it's clear you've been thinking about this a lot, and that's great, and that you've got some useful ideas in here (also great). But that there's a lot that's not as clear as you probably want it (either in focus or in statement), and while there's a lot of interesting bits in your text, it is probably not the most useful thing for your end result. That's okay: you're in a really common space for this kind of learning process, and it's awesome you asked for feedback.

First set of questions: what other things are you going to do around this? (For example, do you plan to cast a circle using a particular method beforehand? Prepare your space energetically in a particular way? Just launch into the spell?

I think with something like this, you're more likely to be successful if you build some transitional time into the working that takes you from the everyday world to your magical work - but that could be specific details in a circle cast, journaling or free-responding to specific questions you set up in advance, doing a divination reading on relevant topics, etc.) But depending on which one of those (or other choices) you pick, I might make some other suggestions for the actual 'insert working here' part.

The other reason to think about this is that a bunch of what is in your current spell text is stuff I'd put in invocations to deities/ancestors/other parts of the pre-working ritual work. I'll talk more about that when we get to that point in your post.

And finally, what is going to give the real 'push' to your working? What you have here is a nice overlay, but there isn't necessarily anything that's going to make things change. Something that helps raise direct energy, focus intention to the point that you almost burst from not acting on it, etc. is probably needed to actually make things change.

(That could be meditation, that could be chanting, that could be breathing, that could be dancing. There could be other options, but those are the reasonably simple ones to get going with without additional practice/experience/training)

Quote
So this is a Business Spell to help out those who have recently gotten a job or just want to make their position more secure. It also allows ways to move up.

As others have said, this seems like a pretty broad focus. The strand of magical theory that I follow suggests this is not the best solution, because our brains don't do very well with it: give us lots of things to focus on, and we focus on none of them.

You can think of this a little bit like the question of scope when writing a history paper: trying to write about all of the causes of World War I takes volumes and volumes of writing to do well. Writing an essay about a particular battle, or specific action, or a particular person in a short span of time can be reasonably done in 5-10 pages.

For magical work, you want the equivalent of the 5-10 page paper: something that has enough clarity to have a starting idea, some development, and a conclusion, but not so much that you lose a clear idea of the topic, goal, or details.

Some possible tighter foci for a spell with these general goals might be (pick one!):
- doing my best work possible
- seeing paths that lead to improving skill and responsibilities (which might mean promotion, or might mean moving to a different job eventually.)
- improving the security of your current job (which might involve improving skills, but might also be about other things - the overall wellbeing of the company, for example.)
- figuring out when looking for a different position is in your best interest.
- self-confidence
- ability to build relationships/find a job in a different field.
- resolving things that have been holding you back (attitude, approach, etc.)

I like Thorn's suggestions about starting with self-confidence (because it's a good base for everything else), or working on the attitude challenges you describe in one of your later responses, and then doing something from there.

As you can see (and others have said), these don't really all fit in the same spell, and in some ways, they're at odds. (Improving the security of your current job assume you're going to want to stay there, while improving skills/duties/deciding to move to a new position assumes you want to leave, most fundamentally.)

The other way in which I think you're trying to do a bit too much is doing a spell that's designed to be a one-time thing (in the way you've set it up), for a situation that's ongoing (because your professional life is going to change and develop and grow).

Instead, I'd think about doing something that's designed to be repeated at intervals - maybe every solstice/equinox, with slight seasonal adjustments or changes as you shift your focus, or something like that. Monthly might be too often, though I could see ways to create a very short and sweet magical working that would be done every work day with your primary goals, slowly changing the focus over time as you resolve one thing, and pick up a new challenge.

Quote
I've chosen mint and lavender to use as my materials, but you may substitute as you see fit.

As others have said, "Because it's handy" is not the best solution. I'd agree that mint might be useful, but I'd probably go for more in the spice realm - cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon. Whole dried bay leaf, which can probably be found in a grocery store can be written on and burned, and they've got a lot of prosperity/stability associations. (I also like dill a lot for attraction/prosperity work, but I admit to something of a dill obsession.)

Quote
First I grind up the mint and light it in my cauldron.

Practical note: you're unlikely to get a lot of burn out of just plain mint. (Especially if it's not already quite dry!). Other solutions would involve using it as incense (on an incense charcoal) or surrounding it with more flammable material (wrapping it in paper, for example.) Or you could take, say, an incense cone (which is made with wood dust and other materials that burn well) and grind it down with the mint to give it some fuel.

I'd also do a test run with a small amount first before you do any magical work: reading this, I had a "Hmm. I don't think I've used mint this way" moment, and I can't remember if we tried it in my incense class and it was just a very very very strong (and not entirely pleasant) smell, or if it had other issues (mint has a lot of essential oil in it, and I'd be cautious about how that reacts with the eyes/mucous membranes.)

Second: magically, what's the purpose of burning the mint at this stage? Are you clearing the ritual space, creating a particular energetic inclination, something else?

Quote
Afterward, I write down everything I want to happen with my job on a separate pieces of paper, burning them one by one.

Practical issue: how are you going to burn them? (Plain paper in a candleflame in a cauldron doesn't always burn as well as you'd think - and often falls to the side unburnt, so you need something to fish it out safely (long manueverable tongs). Chemical fires can work a bit better, but are more complicated to do safely. Flash paper (which is used for stage magic) is awesome in ritual (and is my 'burn this slip of paper' tool of choice, but it's both more expensive and needs some careful storage to be safe. (Because you do not want it spontaneously going up in flames in wherever it's stored.)

If you have long enough tongs, holding whatever you want to burn in the flame works fine, but you need the tongs for that.

More philosophically: what's the goal here?

Burning is ritually usually about one of two things: getting rid of/cleansing old things, or sending wishes and desires out into the world. Some people's practices use one or the other, some people use both but frame the burning very specifically in the ritual before it happens so the intention is crystal clear.

If it were me, for a goal like this (assuming I was going to be repeating it at intervals), I would burn slips of paper with the things I want to remove from my work life, and then write down and *keep* (as part of a daily practice reminder) the things I want to focus on for the next interval.

So, I might burn 5 things, or 7 things or some other meaningful number ("Distraction", "Frustration with [process]", "Blocks in [project]", or whatever) and then list a similar number of things I wanted to bring into my work life. ("Patience when dealing with [person]", "Creative solutions for [need]", "New opportunities to improve my skills in X"). I find getting out of my personal comfort zone by, say, drawing examples of what I want to bring in (symbols, stick figures, whatever) helps a lot, and is also fun.

If you want to keep the burning part, I'd burn the first set with an appropriate cleansing/healing sort of herb, and then choose an incense that encourages growth and learning and pass the slips through the smoke to begin to charge them.

Ok. Onto the actual text. (I agree with a lot of Tana's comments, too, though I'm going to make some different suggestions, so you can see some other ways of going about this...)

My basic take on text in ritual is that flowery stuff is great but that when doing the actual focused magical work, the intent has to be absolutely clear, unambiguous, and that it's better if one avoids conditional words (if, maybe, perhaps), or words that the subconscious might remember as a reversal (not, never, un-, etc.)

I also look at what the goal of a text is: as I mentioned above, I put my "Here's the general framework I want to do this magical work in" into the pre-working ritual bits (I do them as part of my invitations/invocations for the quarters, ancestors, and deity, but there are certainly other options.) and keep the actual text of the working very simple, and easy to repeat multiple times if I want to do that. (Ideally, 6 lines or fewer: any more than that, and it gets harder to use repetition as a tool.)

My tradition generally does considered but improvisatory invocations to ancestors/deities (and uses a general framework with some improv bits for quarters) - in other words, we think about it in advance, but we don't plan out every word we're going to say. This takes practice, but I've often discovered words coming out of my mouth that were not what I had thought I intended, but that really narrowed my magical focus in a very helpful direction. (In other words, they were very useful, but not the thing I'd sort of planned on saying.)

(This obviously works better with some practice, but I wanted to get it out there as something to consider long-term.)

On to the text...

Quote
Light of eye and soft of tough
I will speak little and listen much

This is about you - could it go in an earlier part of the ritual? Or as part of the skills you want to build into your ongoing growth?

Quote
I invoke the ancients, the spirits of motivation
Aid me with your power, and my determination

This is something I'd do separately, as part of my pre-working ritual space creation. (Also, precision is nice: when I invoke the ancestors, I'm speaking to formerly-living beings: what I sometimes refer to as 'ancestor by kith, kin, or kind' (genetic ancestors, ancestors by shared history, or ancestors by shared interest, basically) They're former-people, though, not spirits who've never had bodies, or beings who've never had human bodies: those I'd invite using different language.

So, to me, this sounds like you're inviting people, but then things that have never had human bodies. Those might be conflicting (or just confusing) goals - for example, my Gods don't always get job-related work ("resume? interview? what's that?") but my ancestors definitely do, even if those aren't the terms they'd have used.

If you're inviting more general concepts or entities, how are you identifying them? How will you know if they're present? Why might they be inclined to help you out? These are questions that are a little more complicated in terms of cosmology/theology/etc. than I'm going to get into here, but basically "Why might this thing you're asking for help care about you?" There are lots of possible answers to the question, but some of them take more preparation and development than others.

Quote
Make __ see my potential

This is something I'd find ethically problematic : making other people do things is not how I want to do my magical work. (You get to decide for yourself). So the word 'make' (along with words like force, insist, require, etc.) tends to be absent from my magical work.

The other problem, though, is that you're sort of forcing the issue rather than opening a door: a framing that was something like "Let those I work with see my potential" might create an opportunity through a co-worker or a higher-up person in the company or even a client/customer, not just your immediate boss.

Quote
Deliver me from the cynical
As I try every time to make the sale
Forgiving myself if at times I fail

This is a good example of the 'negative' language I mentioned above: your mind is likely to grab onto the 'cynical' and 'fail', especially because they're in a place of emphasis in the line.

Something like "Patient, friendly, open, kind," might work better. (And then some kind of line framing what you want

Quote
For granting me obedience
I let go of impatience

This is a great example of the way I split out the 'things to get rid of, things to bring in' above.

Quote
To reach a promotion I must cast out
All evil thought, my worry, my doubt
To reach ultimate success
I will always be wary of excess

This is another place where being really specific would be helpful - what's an 'evil thought'? What's worry, what's doubt? (is it the very helpful "How could I do this better?" or is it "I can't do this at all?" You probably know, but it's not as clear in the text.) Same deal with 'excess' - how do you know what's necessary, what's excess. (Excess devotion to a job can be seen in some places as necessary or important for success, but some people quite reasonably think it can be damaging.)

Quote
Make my ultimate goal appear
This I choose for my career
Until one day I may decide
To leave them and this job behind

As already noted, don't undercut your goal by totally changing the framework. Focus on improving your current job situation, or on finding a new one, not both in the same magical work.

Quote
Merry meet, merry part
I'll bright their cheeks and warm their heart.
And carry with me these laws I must
In perfect love and perfect trust

While this is an important bit of text for many people, it's important to remember that the Rede is not, in and of itself, a spell - instead, it's designed to be a memory guide for important principles and aspects of magical and ritual work.

If you'd like to include a line or two from the Rede (or the Charge of the Goddess, or whatever), my usual practice in that case is to narrow it down to one or at most two lines, and then create surrounding material that expands it for my goal. For your kind of goal, I would probably look at the lines around "Fairly take and fairly give" - the idea of a good working relationship being something that takes collaboration from everyone, and seeking situations where that's possible.

Quote
With any other job path I take
Be my guide for fortune's sake.
As I will this, so shall it be.

This is another "Who are you talking to and why do they want to help you" moment.

Ok. What would I do (text wise, since I've covered the other adjustments I'd consider) if I were doing this?

I would probably look at cutting the text way down, to be said while blessing the things I wanted to bring into my work life, and move the 'who I'm addressing it to' to its own space (in other words, do the invitation to whoever you're asking for help, then do the burning of stuff you want to remove, writing of stuff you want to bring in, and then do some other bit of text/chant/whatever to actually raise and focus the energy.

One thing I note is that while a lot of your text is evocative in places, there are places where the meter of the text gets a little bumpy. This is a hard skill for a lot of people, and it's something where designing for a shorter, tighter chant meant to be spoken aloud can help. (Or, for that matter, designing a longer invocation or invitation meant to be spoken aloud, but without necessarily trying to be a metered or rhymed style.)

If I get into comparative poetry writing techniques for magical purposes, I am going to be up even later, and this would be immensely longer, so I'm going to say here that Elizabeth Barrette has written an awesome book (_Composing Magic_ - link takes you to the Google Books preview which has a bunch of the text) about that, and that I'm happy to talk more about what I think works well in chant/short text further, but not this post Smiley

But basically: meter and rhyme help us make sense of what we see, say, and hear. We can use those tools to help something stick in our heads - and when it works really well, we get an earworm: a strand of text or song that keeps coming back. The best spell wordings are like that: the things you can't get out of your head that just keep echoing and taking root in your psyche on their own.

Short, sweet, and pointed is the easiest way to do that, and probably the way to start before branching out into longer forms. (Or, to put it another way: most people have an easier time memorising limericks than they do sonnets. There's a reason for that.)

So, I think you've got some great ideas - but I think it could be much more effective if you got a lot more focused about your immediate goal, and came up with something shorter and punchier and direct about how that might work.
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« Reply #21: June 12, 2011, 01:32:58 am »



Whew! Alright, let's see:

I do have lots of mint stored and dried out. I'm obsessed with mint, I put it in my coffee, my tea, and sometimes my pot pipe O_o that's another discussion altogether.

Again, I'm probably going to take the line about the spirits out. I only put that in there because I was going off of other spells I was using, but saying ancestors instead is probably much more effective. Yes, this spell was intended to be a ritual based spell with a cast circle and everything. I usually always do my magic in a circle, I'm a very new witch so I don't really trust my power quite yet.

I've done spells before that require paper burning, one for the Realization Spell on the Cauldron's Grimoire. For this purpose, it is the wish and desire aspect of it.

Alright with that said, I'm going to hit the drawing board and see what I can come up with this time. I'll be back for further criticism when I'm done Smiley
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« Reply #22: June 12, 2011, 01:33:35 am »



You all have just been wonderful, thanks so much again!
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« Reply #23: June 12, 2011, 03:27:27 am »


Hm, I'm not really good with looking at a tree and knowing what kind it is. Any websites or something you could give me so I could use it as a reference?

oak has very distinctive leaves.



there's an example.
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« Reply #24: June 12, 2011, 03:44:45 am »

oak has very distinctive leaves.

there's an example.

That's just one type of oak leaf though... there's like 600 species of oak or something like that.
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« Reply #25: June 12, 2011, 04:08:29 am »

Hi there! I have a 'Net connection again that seems stable, so here we go.

You are amazing.
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« Reply #26: June 12, 2011, 04:14:52 am »

That's just one type of oak leaf though... there's like 600 species of oak or something like that.

Lol which is probably why it was given as an example Smiley Juuuuuust sayin'
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« Reply #27: June 12, 2011, 04:31:44 am »

Lol which is probably why it was given as an example Smiley Juuuuuust sayin'

I know it was an example, but some oak leaves aren't even remotely similar to that... I was just saying that if you're looking for an oak tree that it might have a leaf that looks so different that if you were operating on the assumption that that they all look similar to that leaf that the tree you found isn't an oak at all.

IE, figure out what oak trees grow in your area and what their leaves look like.

In my area there are no oak trees that naturally grow here, only ones are transplants.
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« Reply #28: June 12, 2011, 10:14:15 am »


Hm, I'm not really good with looking at a tree and knowing what kind it is. Any websites or something you could give me so I could use it as a reference?

Okay, I've got a few websites that should help you get started.

This one has a questionnaire. You go down the list and tick off the characteristics that match the plant you're trying to identify. With this, less is more. The less detailed you try to be, the more pictures you'll get to compare. Then if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there is a link for flowers, and also one for birds, if you're interested in that.

http://www.realtimerendering.com/trees/trees.html

Here's another with an alphabetical list of herbs and flowers

http://www.altnature.com/Herbs2003/herbpicturelist.htm

Also, I have to second Jenett's flash paper recommendation. Great stuff! I love that it burns up completely without any ashes, or very much smoke. However, do use caution and maybe practice outside with it before you use it in a spell so you get a feel for how fast and hot it burns. I was helping out a friend once with a banishing spell and she dropped the burning flash paper onto the altar cloth. Not good.

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« Reply #29: June 12, 2011, 10:16:11 am »

You are amazing.

*grin* Just doing what other people did for me.

This, incidentally, is a pretty good example of "What can you get out of face to face training that's hard to get in other contexts." - writing up a spell working and getting critique was a pretty common type of exercise in my training (along with parallel practice in ritual design, meditation writing, etc...) but going through something piece by piece takes a lot of time. (This took me.. ugh. 90 minutes to write up, and that's with some thinking about it first?)

It's not impossible to do in an online setting, but it takes so much longer that it's a lot less realistic to do often. Doing it in person would have been maybe half that time, quite likely less (and probably been more effective, because face to face, I would have asked a bunch of questions, and refined my commentary based on the answers: here I had to do the "Here's why I'm asking this thing, and there's the different possible paths given the likely answers.")

That said, I adore digging into critique of this kind when I get a chance to do this much detail.
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