In the novel, Lifting the Shadows, the main character, Brenda, turns to Wicca/witchcraft to cope with the pain of her divorce. Things do not go as hoped all the time, and Brenda finds a very unexpected solution in the end. This is probably the detail that garners the most criticism of the novel, as people insist that witchcraft does indeed work.
On the surface, they are correct. It does appear to work, but there are perfectly reasonable explanations for every supposed sign. And should anyone argue that answered prayers can also be interpreted the same way, they’re right. God…the one real God…is in control of everything, including the mundane things that happen to solve problems. But human beings can never truly gain such power, no matter how hard we try.
As Halloween draws near, it may be tempting to dabble in or explore Wicca and witchcraft, or to delve deeper into it if you already practice. But it does not work, and it does not lead anywhere you truly want to go.
Spells first appear to work because they give you something to do besides ruminate and work yourself into a panic over your problem.
“I can feel the energy of the universe shift as soon as I start shopping for supplies for the spell,” is a common claim. But the entire universe did not realign when you drove to the grocery store and bought a container of parsley because you think it wards off job loss or draws fairies. The reason you felt “the energy shift” is because you gave yourself a momentary distraction from turning the issue over and over in your mind.
Shopping for or gathering spell supplies is no more mystical and magical than cleaning out a drawer to give yourself something to do when you’re nervous, or taking a walk to the store and treating yourself to a candy bar when you’re bored. You didn’t feel the energy shift because the world jumped up to do your bidding. You felt the energy shift because you spent an hour thinking about which container of ginger was the better deal, or whether or not this shade of orange candle was dark enough for your purpose instead of allowing upsetting thoughts to run through your mind.
Spells seem to get more powerful during the casting because they’re forcing you to relax and think calmly, or become energized to solve the issue.
If you need to calm down in order to reflect and plan to deal with something, literally anything calming that encourages focus will help you. This is why everyone from pastors to therapists to teachers may suggest journaling, outlining, or writing out goals. Wiccan guides urge practitioners to visualize what will happen as the result of their spell. This works because visualizing what you want to happen is a common method of helping yourself set a goal, not because your thought patterns are rippling out to take control of the universe.
Dancing, singing, chanting, reciting spells, and other activity from witchcraft books works in the same way that yelling “I’m a star!” or “I can do it!” works to help you sell household goods or cars or win a race. You screaming has nothing to do with your talents and skills in sales or running. It just provides a burst of energy to get out there and do your best.
Once the spell is over, it works partly because you do things to make it work. You would be able to do these same things without a spell.
Take the example of a musician who wants money to purchase a new guitar. The musician decides to cast a money spell to help her conjure up the money for the instrument. It costs $600.00. Three months later, the musician looks in the envelope she dedicated during the ritual. The money to purchase the guitar is there. The spell worked!
Or did it? If you trace that musician’s behavior back over the past three months, you will probably notice she did perfectly reasonable things to save up that $600.00. The musician’s spell convinced her that she would have that guitar, so she began to do things, both consciously and subconsciously, to save up the money for it. Maybe she put $20 from each paycheck into the envelope. Maybe she decided to skip a few movies or games and tucked the money away. While it does seem like the spell compelled her to do all of this, she would have been able to do the exact same things if she had simply decided it was important to have the guitar and set a goal of saving up for it in three months.
Spells further work because you convince yourself so strongly that you changed the course of the universe, you see your spell “working” everywhere.
Think of someone you know who holds an extremely skewed view of their own physical attractiveness. In reality, beauty is subjective. There is no one person who is good-looking to absolutely everyone. But the person who believes himself to be universally appealing in that way probably behaves as though “everybody” is flirting with him. Someone asks if they can have an empty chair from his table in a restaurant, and he thinks they asked him for the chair instead of someone at the next table because he’s so handsome. The girl behind the counter smiles and says “Have a nice day,” and she’s smiling because she thinks he’s hot, not because she smiles at most people.
Spells work the same way. Once you cast a spell, you convince yourself that you did something mystical and magical so strongly, you see it working even when nothing is truly going on. If you cast a spell for travel, and you see a lot of buses, you convince yourself that it’s your spell working, because one of those buses is your future ride out of town. Never mind that your hangout is across the street from the bus station. You cast a spell for money, and every business logo with a dollar sign on it is a message that your spell is unfolding.
All spells work because all spell work contains an easy out for when it fails.
Failed plans may be attributed to any number of things. It may not be God’s will that whatever you were going for occurred in your life at this time, but that could mean many things. Maybe you didn’t get the job because you didn’t prepare adequately for the interview, and you are being led to improve your approach. Perhaps you didn’t get the job because you are truly unsuited for the work, and something better is out there for you. Or maybe you were meant to have that job, but someone else lied and cheated, but God is going to use that misfortune to do His work in another way.
In spells, failure means something you need to vanquish is working against you, or that you did not harness energy correctly, and more spell work is needed to achieve your goal. Anything you approach with that attitude is going to “work” at some point.
I cast a spell for wealth. I go broke. This means I need to cast a spell to battle the person who cast against me to make me broke. I cast a spell that blocks them. I cast another spell for wealth. I stay broke. This means I need to re-cast, harnessing my wealth conjuring energy better. Still no money. Must be somebody else out there cursing me again…or I need to re-focus that energy…or both. If I continue with this pattern, I’m eventually either going to die of old age, interpret some small money related occurrence as the fulfillment of my spell, or make some money for perfectly mundane reasons and declare my spell a success.
There’s no way for something to fail when you interpret everything that happens as a step on the path to it succeeding.
Spell casting is inherently narcissistic, regardless of the intent of the spell. This does not invite anything you want in your life.
When you pray to God, you talk to the one who created you out of pure love, a love so complete He would take the form of man and die for you. You may ask Him for things, but you understand that you get things you need to do His will, not yours…unless your will lines up with the will of God.
Spell casting is an announcement that the entire universe and beyond, all the energy out there, should alter itself, realign, change a bit, to fit your will. You are seeking the power of God. Trying to be God draws things to you that you do not want in your life, namely dark energies or entities, also known as demons, or the devil. And you do not want this type of energy around you or in your life, even if it does seem to do your bidding initially. Drawing this to you is the spiritual equivalent of surrounding yourself with people who are nice to you on the surface, but are secretly planning to kidnap, torture, and brutally murder you.
Lifting the Shadows is available on Amazon through the link under “Novels.” While the characters and the plot are fiction, the background research is drawn from more than twenty years of real experience with Wicca/witchcraft, and the results are very much real. From now until November 2, a free ebook copy is available to anyone planning to explore Wicca or witchcraft this Halloween. Emails or DMs are also welcome.