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For every symbolic meaning that an item could have, and every spell ever written, someone had to invent them. One day, someone found a piece of pretty gem and decided that it represented love. One lovely morning (or moonlight night) someone had a need and wrote a spell to deal with it. These things did not just drop from the sky written in stone, people came up with them. People now lean on those interpretations and writings for their own practice. Oddly, modern spiritual practitioners seem to have stopped inventing.
What got me thinking about all this? I was trying to look up the known symbolism for an item recently, and unfortunately the internet provided me with no answers. In a moment of inspiration, I thought of what the item represents in my own mind. I decided in that moment that I was going to make some magical pieces using that item, with my meaning included. I think it’s a fine idea, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t share what I believe with others and allow them to benefit from my spiritual energy regarding the matter. Other people however, would be rather upset at this.
Long ago I found that creative thinking wasn’t really considered a great thing in some magical traditions. They believe that what’s known is known, you do things as they’ve always been done, and that’s all there is to it. If it’s been said that rocks represent earth, then that’s what they mean and you’d better be happy with it. If you get the crazy idea that rocks represent stability, you’re in for a good ass chewing. If a love spell has always used red candles, you’d better not even consider using blue ones. I have always disliked that mentality. Just because someone ages ago decided on what they believed about a thing and called it fact, doesn’t mean that it is or ever was. We all see things differently, and in most things, truth is subjective.
What makes the issue even more complicated is that every faith system has its own truths. For one tradition a key might symbolize unlocking or awakening, for another it might represent hearth and home, for another it might mean something completely different. Each tradition will believe that its interpretation is the correct one. Obviously though, a thing can have different meanings to different people.
I firmly believe that while it can be good to know and even use traditional interpretations and writings, we should also listen to our hearts whenever we’re engaging in spiritual practice. It may be traditional to use apples in health spells, but if you hate apples, then they have a negative energy for you. If you feel that orange is just the perfect color for a prosperity spell even though everyone says to use green or gold, you’ll get better results going with your heart. Magic is all about connecting with universal energy, your deep soul, and making something special happen. If you’re not comfortable with the wording of a spell, or the tools or elements used in it, it’s not going to bring the desired results.
I’ve also known people to consider new interpretations to be “spreading misinformation.” To me, misinformation is a very different thing. If I told people that poppets are only used for evil voodoo and black magic and have no other purpose, that would be an outright lie, and total misinformation. If I tell people that they can use turquoise stones to represent masculinity in a ritual, that’s not a lie, only my feeling, and therefore not misinformation. As long as we’re not discounting what others believe, there’s nothing wrong with having our own feelings or opinions about something. Energy works in interesting ways, and as individual beings, we’re going to have different feelings about things, no matter how many people tell us that a certain thing is true.
Extremely traditional people will rail against this kind of thinking, but I believe it’s true. I think it’s just fine to give new meaning to things, to write our own unique spells, and to go with what feels best to us when it comes to magic and spiritual practice. If what you’re doing doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. It’s also worth noting that your interpretations and words, no matter how different they may be, could be the universe (god) sending a message through you, and that should never be ignored.