Spells are the same thing as prayers, but not necessarily directed towards a deity (although they can be). The reason why a magician’s spells are usually more efficacious than most people’s prayers is not because magicians have any special innate powers. Rather, it’s because their intent is more realistic. Most people pray for their desires to come true; whereas magicians pray to be shown how to make their desires come true. Another reason why most people’s spells don’t work is because they are too insensitive (i.e., have too much self-hatred) to understand that the little coincidence; or offhand remark someone made; or person they happened to bump into in their hurry; or other little “cubic centimeter” of chance which popped up in the hours or days after casting their spell, was in fact their spell coming true. Very rarely does the Spirit announce its gifts with trumpets blaring. What usually happens is that people cast their spells or make their prayers and the Spirit brings them an opportunity; but the people are too blinded by their preconceived images or are in too much of a hurry to see that their spell did in fact come true. Most people believe that things just happen; or else that an omnipotent God could make things happen if you could somehow fake God out. Magicians believe that they must take full responsibility for making their desires come true. That’s what intent is – taking full responsibility, leaving nothing whatsoever to chance. That’s why magicians are never disappointed when their desires don’t come true, because they did their best, and that’s all they can do. It’s like the Native Americans who fought against the encroaching whites, or the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto who fought the Germans, knowing all along they had no chance to win. It wasn’t the winning that ultimately mattered – and it’s not the winning that ultimately matters to a magician. Most people are addicted to some fantasy like winning the lottery, or marrying Mr. or Ms. Right, or meeting a true guru, and then all their problems will be over forevermore. These kinds of fantasies are useful in that they can provide a feeling of hope, false though it may be, to help get through the really hard times. However, addiction to such fantasies tends towards irresponsibility. It dissipates the very intent needed to find true happiness in life. Permanent change requires hard work and infinite patience. The final stroke of success may occur suddenly and even unexpectedly, but the preparation and toil take years and years. That’s the difference between the magicians’ way and average people’s way. Average people are looking for a quick fix and a free ride, whereas magicians know there ain’t no such thing. In the popular American television program Charmed, the witches have a book of shadows which conveniently contains specific spells for every single situation, no matter how outlandish, that they encounter. However, while spells do exist and do work, it’s not quite as simple as it appears in Charmed. To make spells work it is necessary to understand what expectation is, and its relation to intent. That is to say, how we make things happen or not happen, the mechanism by which we create our own reality. People trying to understand the spiritual path sometimes wonder that, if you lose your desires as many spiritual paths seem to advocate, what spice or zest does life have left? In fact, it’s not desire per se that spiritual seekers try to eradicate, but rather expectation. Expectation means taking things personally, caring about what happens. It isn’t so much spice and zest that are lost as urgency and grasping. The things that average people care about do indeed lose their zest and spice; but in return things like the sound of the wind whispering in the trees and the feel of its caress on your skin become exquisitely piquant, sensual, and exciting. When most people lose their expectations, which usually occurs because something they had a lot of stake in crashes, they experience this as depression. To depressed people life is indeed an empty, meaningless wasteland with no purpose or reward. Having lost the expectations which underpin their sense of self-worth and self-esteem, they feel they have also lost all sense of purpose, or intent. Actually, depressed people are very, very close to enlightenment, if they only knew it. Their problem is that usually they are demon-possessed, and their demons are blocking their vision with self-pity. Magicians, on the other hand, deliberately seek to crash their expectations, since they know that this is the path to freedom. Losing your expectations is the only way to center yourself in the now moment instead of being trapped by the yearning for a future which never comes. True self-esteem is a matter of permitting yourself to be happy now, of saying to yourself: “What’s happening right this moment is okay by me. I don’t have to have this, that, or the other in order to be happy; and I don’t need to prove this, that, or the other in order to be a worthwhile person.” It’s a matter of getting off your own case and other people’s cases; and off God’s case. The way expectations are normally lost is by having them crash, and crash, and crash. If you bang your head futilely against the same wall over and over again, you finally arrive at a point of exhaustion, and you collapse on the ground in despair. At that point, the moment of finally giving up your own will, you look around and usually you can see a clear path in another direction that is open and free of obstructions. The point is that the feeling of being blocked, or trapped on the same treadmill of frustration, is a message that – for whatever reasons – you are going about things incorrectly. When you give up your self-will you usually are able to understand what that message is, to see quite clearly why you had been blocked previously. It is necessary to lose all expectation before you can find true happiness. For example, most single people think that what they want is a relationship, but this is baloney. “A relationship” – in the abstract – is an expectation. It’s not a relationship with a real, live person. Is a relationship with the wrong person what you want? Where you have to try to force them to fit an image you have which is not who they really are? Wouldn’t you rather be alone than in a relationship where there’s bickering and lying and betrayal going on? So, it must be better to wait until the right person comes along than to grab candidates off the street and try to bribe or coerce them into a relationship. And if the right person never comes along, so be it. Since you create your own reality, there must be some lesson or reason for your solitude. The point is to just be happy now, alone, instead of expecting some stranger to come along and make you happy. Unless you’re happy now, who would want to hook up with such a sourpuss? This doesn’t mean you have to stop wanting a relationship in order to make one happen – just stop obsessing over it. Do you remember things that you desperately wanted when you were a child that you don’t give a hoot about anymore? It’s like that. By not caring so much whether you’re in a relationship or not, by not making your happiness depend on it, is how to make a relationship happen. Releasing the pressure of expectation by lightening up is how to achieve your desires. This is why dilettante magicians can’t get their spells to work properly, and also why most people’s prayers don’t work. They can’t just send a powerful intent out there and then drop it. They worry and fret and examine whether this is happening or that is happening. They don’t hold it all inside. What they’re doing instead is frittering their intent away in self-pity. It’s when we stop caring so much one way or the other, start letting things unfold naturally and start letting other people make the moves rather than acting on our own accord, that things start coming through for us. It’s difficult to describe the difference between eager expectation, which is phony, and eager anticipation, which leads to our desires being realized, since they both feel rather alike. With eager anticipation every little thing that happens – except, of course, out-and-out bad stuff – every gust of wind, the sound of leaves rustling, the sight of a pretty color, makes us happy and gives us a little rush of joy. Conversely, with eager expectation, only the things which seem to advance the fulfillment of our specific expectations bring us joy. Happiness can not, should not, does not depend on the fulfillment of an expectation. Expectation pushes happiness away indefinitely. Happiness is something you feel, or don’t feel, as the case may be, right now. This means finding something that’s going on this very minute which is joyous and fulfilling. Stop reading a minute and take a deep breath. Go look out the window. If all you see is bricks, look up at the clouds. The only way you are ever going to be happy is to find something that is going on right this minute which gives you a little lift. Even a teensy lift in the midst of horrendous suffering is a good beginning. Then you have to work at expanding that feeling. There’s no other way, no shortcut to happiness. This is what magicians mean by taking responsibility for making your own happiness. Rolling up your sleeves and getting down to work is what entices the Spirit to reach out to you and give you a hand. This is how to make your spells work: by controlling your attitude. There’s no way to fake this. It’s accomplished by painstaking inner work and daily visits to nature spirits over many years of time.
The difference between rituals and spells is that rituals are to invoke spirits, whereas spells are to accomplish something specific. Spells are for us, to accomplish our own ends. Rituals are for the spirits, to provide an opening or channel into this world through which spirits can realize their own intent. When you perform a ritual to invoke spirits in good faith, rest assured that they come. They may not come with bells and whistles, but they come, whether you are consciously aware of their presence or not. Therefore rituals and invocations shouldn’t be done frivolously. Once I was leading a Jewish passover seder. Like most traditional church rituals, such as the Roman Catholic mass, the seder is an invocation of spirits. I had neglected to leave the customary place at the table for Elijah. When we arrived at that part of the seder service where the door is opened for Elijah to come in, I felt a definite presence enter the room, and that presence was quite ticked off at having been called without having been served at the table. The moral is, if you’re going to invoke spirits, be respectful and aware of what you’re about. Some kids under the influence of satanic rock music who invoke demons just for fun are in for a big surprise later in life, when the demon exacts payment. These people may never be consciously aware of the fact that their fooling around with demons as kids is what brought them the ill-health and ill-luck they face as adults. In other words, there’s no such thing as fooling around with the invocation of spirits, whether beneficent or maleficent. Beneficent spirits don’t like being treated disrespectfully, and invoking them frivolously tends to make them angry. Any invocation of a spirit is the real thing and has consequences. Sometimes people who have old books on spirit invocation ask me to invoke the spirits for them. My reply is that people should invoke spirits themselves. There’s nothing I can do that people can’t do for themselves. Usually these sorts of books give complete instructions on how the spirits should be invoked: propitious days, times, what seal should be drawn in the magic circle and in what colors, what words should be spoken, and so forth. This is all the information anyone needs to invoke particular spirits for particular purposes. However I am reluctant to invoke unknown spirits, unless directed to by my own spirit guides. While there are indeed spirits who can bring us financial help, romance, take vengeance on our enemies, and so forth, these sorts of spirits – albeit not demons per se – often exact considerable payment in return for their favors. There aren’t any freebies out there in the universe. So be careful what you get involved with. Definitely consult your own spirit guides before invoking outside spirits. The story on spells and charms is this: store-bought amulets and books of spells are pretty much worthless. It isn’t the trinkets or the words that matter, but rather the intent behind them. It’s better that you write your own Creative Visualizations rather than borrow someone else’s. Similarly robes, magical tools, incense, and similar trappings don’t matter in the least. If you like such things, however, feel free to use them. These objects can be useful in imbuing the moment you cast a spell or ritually invoke a spirit with a sense of importance, and help to put you in the right mood. Just remember that the magical clothes, tools, and chants are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is intent. I purchase my charms in a local Indian market. They’re nothing special by themselves – sort of like what you would find for sale in an occult shop. What makes them special is that I place them on the altar when I do rituals to invoke my patron spirits, and then these spirits bless the charms. You can also take your charms to any local nature spirit or power place to be blessed. I regard blessing a charm as similar to formatting a diskette. The charm is now ready for use, but still has to be written to, or charged with the particular intent or use to which it will be put. A charm or amulet is a physical representation of a spell. Charms can be worn around the neck or on a bracelet, or carried in a pocket or purse. They act as a reminder or protection, depending upon the purpose with which they were charged. Charging charms and amulets is best done during a relevant planetary hour. Curses are the same thing as prayers, but with a negative intent. Because curses are the product of our fellow humans, they are much more difficult to cast off than are demons. Our fellow humans are far more ornery and vexing than are demons, who are relatively straightforward and aboveboard by comparison. My benefactress, who is a priestess of the nine Mayan gods, has told me that curses should be removed by a professional, not attempted alone if you don’t know what you’re doing. She removes curses as follows: You can’t do it without prayer. Say whatever prayer is appropriate to your faith – e.g. you could use the Our Father – into each radial pulse three times while burning copal (or any acrid incense, such as patchouli) around the person. Then say it three times over the forehead. You may have to repeat these nine prayers a few times until you feel the pulse calm down. You also need a spiritual bath with various herbs. We use nine for this: pipers, marigold, rue, life everlasting, all collected with prayers of thanksgiving and faith. Mash all the leaves in a bucket of water and set it in sun for a few hours. When the person comes, say the prayers, burn the copal and bathe their aura and physical body with the bath water. I’ve had curses put on me, more than once in fact, in the course of some unfortunate run-ins with a black witch. After smoking cigarettes for many years I eventually developed a constant emphysematous cough which no doctor I went to could help me with. Finally I went to a Huichol shaman in Mexico who asked me to give him a candle to burn at night, to see if he could find the answer to my problem in a dream. The next morning he told me that he had seen that someone – he didn’t know who, but I did – had put a curse on me. The curse had resided in my weakest place, my lungs. The shaman had me return to him several times, each time making passes over my body with feathers. He prayed and sucked something out of the top of my head and spit it into his fireplace. He gave me a decoction of herbs and peyote to drink, and prescribed a special cleansing diet for a week. On my last visit he had me open my right palm and placed a cross in it, and then had me clasp my left hand over it. At that instant a glass with a candle burning in it on the altar behind us shattered with a loud “CRACK!” and I knew at that moment that the curse had left me. It is often said that Creative Visualization and prayer should be done with the certain conviction that your desire is already realized: that what you’re visualizing or praying for is already true. The question arises, how can you fervently believe that your desire is true when the overwhelming physical evidence is to the contrary? For example, how can you convince yourself that you are in radiant good health when all the logical signs point to your dying of cancer? In casting spells, or making prayers or doing Creative Visualizations, which are all basically the same thing, what we are trying to do is to coax a sense of abundance from within ourselves. We look out at the exact same landscape that we are seeing now – of being impoverished, or lonely, or sick – and yet we try to find meaning, worth, and purpose in it. Trying to conjure up a sense of fulfillment and self-worth in the midst of misery is a trick of magic. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. Is this lying to oneself? No more so than believing that God is going to wave His magic wand and take away all our troubles. The way that you build faith that your desire will indeed come true is by seeing it unfold in omens and portents. These are dress rehearsals of your desire being realized; or at least signs that the impersonal forces of the universe are listening. This is the difference between knowing with certainty that your desire will come true, as opposed to vaguely hoping that someday it will drop down from heaven by magic. When you have true faith you can see it all coming together in omens and portents, and can guide it along. You can see what you have to do now to get from here to there, instead of running around half-cocked frantically trying this and that to make your desires come true. With true faith it’s a matter of increasing joy and confidence as you go along, instead of riding a constant roller coaster of inflated hopes and crushing disappointments, and repeating the same stupid errors over and over. True faith is never blind. It’s based on having seen positive results in the past. It is best to cast a spell or perform a ritual during a planetary hour propitious for the purpose of that spell or ritual. You can download a free planetary hour calculator which contains complete instructions from http://www.dearbrutus.com/body_planetaryhours.html. However planetary hours are merely a help, not a necessity. Once you have found a propitious time to cast your spell, you must consider the form that it will take. Write down ahead of time exactly what you want, so that you don’t forget anything when the time comes. However, it’s best not to be too specific in what you’re asking for, such as to win the lottery, or to have such-and-such a person fall in love with you. It’s best just to ask for wealth, or love from some unnamed person. Let the Spirit handle the details – it knows what it’s doing. I usually cast spells at power places or power trees, but you can make an altar in a corner of a room. Prepare your altar with something that symbolizes the Spirit above it. This can be a picture of Jesus if you’re a Christian, or just a cut-out picture of an eye, or whatever symbolizes the Spirit for you. Put a stick of sweet-smelling incense on the altar, and a candle whose color symbolizes what you’re asking for: green for money, pink for love, white for health or spiritual illumination, and so forth. Also put on the altar objects which symbolize what you want: money if you want money; cut-out pictures of lovers if you want love; pictures of healthy, active people if you want health, and so forth. Just prior to the chosen time light the incense. Then, at the precise moment chosen for the spell, light the candle. Then call upon the Spirit to grant your wish. It’s okay to read it, but you should do this with feeling – true longing for whatever it is that you want. Picture in your mind’s eye your desire coming true as you call for it, and let yourself feel all the joy you would feel if your desire came true. Don’t worry about whether you are doing it right. If you’re doing it in good faith with true longing, then you’re doing it right. Watch the candle closely for an omen of how your wish will go. If it is difficult to light the candle, then it will be difficult to make your wish come true. If the flame wavers or dies, then the wish probably won’t materialize. If the flame burns tall and brightly, then the wish will come true. However if the candle should fall over, forget it. Also watch for unusual occurrences while you are casting your spell: for example, the sudden appearance of singing birds (if you are outside) or shafts of sunlight suddenly appearing through the clouds. These sorts of things are good omens for your wish coming true. If you don’t feel comfortable with all the ritual, you can dispense with it. The ritual is just for your own sake, to lend a sense of importance and ceremony to the occasion – not to impress the Spirit. The only things of importance are to cast your spell with true longing, at a propitious time. When you finish casting the spell, leave the area and let the incense and candle burn down. Then dismantle the altar and dispose of what’s left of the candle and incense by burying them. Once a spell has been cast there’s no need to repeat it unless you feel your own resolve weakening and want to strengthen it. Be assured that spells carried out in good faith always work, so don’t waste them on anything frivolous, since then you’re committed to it. Be sure you really want what you’re asking for.