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Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of debate surrounding spells. One topic that I’ve seen fairly often is the idea that the bigger a spell is, the more powerful it is. I have my own thoughts on this topic.
Generally speaking, I don’t think that the effectiveness of a spell has much to do with how long or complicated it is. Sitting with a candle chanting “I am healthy” for five minutes can have exactly the same effectiveness as a two-hour-long ritual that used eight herbs, twelve gemstones and involved memorizing an epic verse, recited on a specific day, during a specific moon phase, while wearing $200 ritual robes. Magic is about energy and intention, plain and simple. You can get just as much out of a really basic spell as you can out of an elaborate ritual.
Now, if you’re into it, more ritual can add to the effectiveness of your spell. The catch is that you really have to feel it. Much like a Japanese tea ceremony, the details and deliberate actions can create focus, and focus is really important in magic. If you feel good about all the steps you’re using in a ritual, they can add a lot of energy to your spell and make it that much more powerful.
The flip side is that if you’re doing all the ritual because you think that you’re supposed to, and you’re not really into it, it’s going to leech energy from your spell. It’s going to drain you and take away from your spellwork. When you’re casting a spell or performing a ritual, you need to enjoy it. You need to love it. It needs to feel right. If it doesn’t, it’s not going to work for you.
While it’s true that herbs and stones and certain incense can be great and add a lot to your practice, they can also seem like a burden to get or use. You can also feel really limited if you think you have to have certain things to perform a spell. Oh gods, what if you miss that planetary alignment because you were out of Balm of Gilead and the coven-approved supply shop was closed? It can be quite a problem.
I know that a lot of people hold to specific traditions, and that’s fine for them, but I truly believe that we need to be flexible in our spiritual practices. Maybe that hour long ritual method that you’ve been taught worked last week, but maybe it won’t today. Maybe it’s just too bloody much and you need something different. If you’re getting ready to do spellwork and it doesn’t feel good, you need to stop and think before you actually do anything. If you’re bringing negative energy into a ritual space, it’s not going to turn out well.
Personally, I keep most of my spellwork really simple. That’s what I like and what feels good for me. However, I will pull out some of those long Wiccan rituals I learned in my youth and use them when it feels like the thing to do. I stopped using them regularly because all the fuss was just draining to me. I would lose track of my intention by the time I finished all the “required” steps. I dropped the extraneous bits after a while, and I started to truly love my practices.
Whatever path you follow, I encourage you to really think about it. Do you like the rituals? Do you think they need more, or maybe less? Is extensive ritual really your thing? Is simple really working for you? Once you know what feels best in your heart, brace yourself for the days when you’re going to throw it out. I think to be truly powerful, happy and effective, we need to be willing and able to switch up our ritual practices to suit what we need on any given day.