Spellcraft and Rituals - (Articles)

Setting up an Altar
Altars have many uses within witchcraft, they can be used in spells, as a way to display the turning of the Wheel of the Year, or just as a place for contemplation and meditation.
Altars can vary in size and form as much as magic practitioners themselves do. They can be a small wooden box containing a few items, right up to a 6 by 4 foot carved oak slab.
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What is Magic?
If you are reading this expecting long mysterious explanations of cryptic ceremonies used to conjure magic, I am afraid I am about to disappoint you.
What is magic? Everything.
Where is magic? Everywhere.
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Herbs, Plants & Resins
Plants form a integral part of magic. They can be used to decorate places and alters, they can be turned into incense or burnt as smudge sticks.
In an ideal world we would all grow and harvest our own herbs, or forage for wild ones our self. If you do decide to go down the route of growing your own I would recommend using a book such as 'Gardening and Planting by The Moon…' in order to gain maximum magical energy in them. If you decide to collect plants and herbs from the wild please be respectful of where you collect them from and give something back, collect seed pods from that area and scatter them to help the area grow.
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Crystals
Crystals are a valuable and very versatile tool. You can wear them as a talisman, place them on alters and incorporate them in to spells. Below is a list of my favorites and how I use them. As with all magical correspondences the below list is by no means set in stone, there is every possibility that a particular crystal will present you with an entirely different set of energies to the associated ones I've described. Work with what feels right for you, our connection with magical energies is as unique as we are as people so there will always be exceptions to every rule.
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Candle Magic
Candles are a staple tool of any magical practitioner and candle magic is a wonderfully simple way to cast spells. When I first started practicing witchcraft it was the first type of spell I learnt. It is also very easy to personalise, and after all if we can't personally connect with the spell we are casting then it is unlikely to be successful. The use of candles can also be incorporated into larger rituals, in fact I can't remember being at any ritual that didn't include candles in some way shape or form.
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Wheel of the Year
The Wheel of the Year is often used to describe the constantly revolving cycle of the seasons, upon which the Pagan festivals are based on. Dependent on your chosen path within witchcraft or paganism the way you celebrate these events will vary. There are 8 festivals that form the pagan year. Four of them falling on solar solstices and equinoxes, (these are known as the 'lesser sabbats'). The other four falling between these and often used as a way to look forward to the coming season (these are known as the 'greater sabbats').
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Circle Casting
Casting circles for spells and rituals is something practiced by many branches of witchcraft and Paganism. The purpose and necessity of casting a circle is something that will vary between practitioners and covens.
Some believe that circles are cast to create a protected area in which to practice magic. Others see them as a way of building magical power and focusing it into the ritual that is being carried out. There are others that believe they are a way of acknowledging, paying respect to, and thanking the deities and magical energies that are present during rituals and spells.
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