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The methods described in pages are a theoretical discussion ONLY. Methods are discussed in only the broadest terms and I hold no qualifications in the fields discussed.
Because a method is listed here does not indicate that I approve or recommend it. In some cases, I definitely don't!

A spell is, very simply, a consciously wrought act of magic. There is some ambiguity of language, as some would say that the spell is the result whilst the actual act is casting the spell. As long as you are consistent within your own mind, it's the same thing.

There is no unique way of spell-casting. Magic can be worked in very many different ways. Because it focuses the mind well, many works of magic are wrought through ceremony, with fixed elements that are common to all spells. Symbolic tools may be used, again as an aid to visualisation and concentration. A specific site or workroom may be indicated. The timing may be critical. If the spell is spoken, it might be in plain English, or Latin, or Hebrew, or a language entirely of its own. The words might have been formalised eons ago, or written recently for a precise, one-off, purpose. There is sex magic, which channels the energy of sexual union to achieve the desired result. Many magical philosophies, if not all, call on a deity or deities to embody or channel power. This may be simply a way of visualisation: Wiccans believe that everything is part of the One, the Universe, and personify this as having male and female God and Goddess aspects. Other religions may be more literal.

As magic is essentially a way to assert the conscious mind over the superficial realities of the world, the important thing is to bolster the mind in any way possible, so ultimately, the beliefs of any system really have to feel inherently right for you. In the end, it doesn't matter which method you use. The most important thing is that the principles of the system you use align closely with your own principles and life-view. Go with what feels natural and right to you. If any of it feels "wrong", then at best it isn't going to work for you. Magic, ultimately, comes from within: you should be in control.

If the world of magic (and we're not talking about popular fantasy here) is unfamiliar to you and you want to know more about it -even if you don't believe a word of it- go into your research with an open mind. Much of modern society's perceptions of magic are the lasting results of a multi-century campaign by the Christian Church to convert or destroy the older nature religions. It's amazing how many beliefs and superstitions date from the dark days of the Inquisition. Today, main-stream Christianity is something of a reformed character, and it is possible to be both a faithful Wiccan and a good Christian, but that's an enlightened modern development.

Oh, and a word of caution: don't ever buy spells. That's a sure sign that you're being taken for a ride by someone out to fleece the gullible. The Internet is full of sites offering such things. If what you find pleases you, by all means make a donation to the source, and yes, books and tools must be paid for, but never, ever try to buy spells.

Below are some links to some of the widely accepted magical systems.

The Celtic Connection A good broad knowledge base concentrating on Wicca.
What is Wicca A sub-page from the same website. Well worth reading.
Viking Answer Lady An introduction to old Norse magic.
The Golden Dawn An introduction to modern Ceremonial Magic.
Hartford World History Archives Links to sites about Vodun, or Voodoo. It is hard to find sites about genuine Vodun from sympathetic writers: the subject is almost swamped by the fictionalised version (voodoo dolls and zombies), but real Vodun has little to do with that. Incidentally, within that religion, anyone possessed by a loa is referred to as a cheval, or horse.

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