Lunarshadows Network

a guide to the paranormal

What is magick? -- how to and tips

what is magick?
Magick is the act of change as a result of Will (aka focused intent). It is not what some term 'supernatural' because anyone with sufficient Will (i.e. most people) can do magick. If you want it badly enough, you can make it happen. There are many types of magick such as prayer and chanting that people do every day, and they do work. It is simply a matter of intent and focus. Magick can be performed by anyone who can focus sufficiently.

Despite centuries of hype about 'black magick' and 'white magick,' there really are no such things. Magick itself is a tool, and it is neutral. Like a fire or knife, it can be used for many things by many people. That same fire that can cook supper could easily burn down the house if one does not pay attention or uses it incorrectly.

Laws of magick

Folk magick vs rituals

What is folk magick?

Folk magick is an act of magick with minimal words, tools, and actions. It is about taking a couple of pins and a bit of fabric, or a simple candle, or just the proper herbs to perform magick. Folk magick loosely comes in three types: spells, charms, and potions.

What is a ritual?

A ritual is an act of magick with formalized words, tools, and actions, usually written out beforehand.

One type of ritual is used as an act of worship or necessity (such as a handfasting, burial, or seasonal rite). It is a set piece. Once written, the latter can be performed as needed.

The other type of ritual is similar in nature to a spell, but more formalized, and can be designed under those guidelines.

Methods of raising magickal energy


A chant is a rhythmic verse intoned repeatedly to raise power and alter states of consciousness. It can consist of nonsense syllables, a simple rhyme, or God/dess names. It is usually accompanied by drumming, clapping, rattling, etc. As the chant builds up, it tends to go faster and faster until all the energy is released into the target.


A prayer is a request to a God to assist in effecting a particular change (i.e. 'Please let there be a parking space in front'). Prayer (usually in the form of an offering) can be included in any magickal working. It is considered to be one of the most ethical forms of magick because the God being petitioned will grant the request in terms of what is needed, not necessarily what is desired.

Both blessings (positive energies directed toward others) and curses (negative energies directed toward others) are considered forms of prayer. It is important to know how to do both. In the event that someone should curse you, you will need to undo it with a blessing. One cannot know one without its opposite counterpart.


Meditation is a simple technique in which one can study an archetype, learn about a totem spirit, search for a life lesson, concentrate on collecting spiritual energy -- whatever is needed. If working in a group, sometimes it is desirable to either play a recording of a guided a meditation or to have one person sit out and guide the meditation verbally. Most often, however, one can simply meditate alone.

To meditate, begin by relaxing. Close your eyes and focus on letting stresses and constraints seep from your body. Calm down completely and breathe deeply (do not go to sleep, however). When you are relaxed, visualize yourself surrounded by a hazy light of safety, protection, and peace. Imagine a doorway in the haze opening into another realm (be as detailed as you like). When you are ready, imagine yourself stepping through the doorway to find what you seek. Try to remember everything you see once you are through the doorway. When you are finished, return to the doorway and step through, back into this world. Let the hazy light fade and open your eyes. Take a few moments to center and drain excess energies, then spend some time thinking about what you learned.

Tip: After raising magickal energies, it is important to ground and center oneself.

Centering is simple magickal technique for focusing the energy of an individual. To center, briefly concentrate on each of your chakras to be certain that they are in working order. If all is functioning properly, your health and well-being will be better.

If too much energy is present, one must drain off the excess energies (something that should always be done at the end of any magickal working). Though this technique is traditionally called 'grounding', it can be done with the use of any of the four elements. For the Earth-based person, the traditional grounding technique of sending excess energies from the base chakra to the ground will work. Those of a Watery disposition will preferring the 'soaking' technique of immersing oneself in water and letting energies drain off. Similarly, those associated with the Air element can drain energies into passing breezes, and Fiery individuals can sit before a candle or fireplace to drain energies.

Writing spells and rituals

It is generally best to write one's own spells and rituals instead of just copying them from books. Done this way, they will be exactly as you want it, with your own intents. This will give it a little extra potency. Also, remember that very few spells fail completely. There is an old saying to 'be careful what you wish for -- you may just get it.' Often, things do not quite have the results planned, so think carefully before doing anything.

Once you have decided on a course of action, keep careful records of your magickal workings: both a 'to-do' list and a record of the actual spell or ritual.

Sample magickal outline worksheet

Subject matter:
Moon Phase:
Tools needed (candle colour, incense, herbs, stones):

Sample magickal record-keeping log

Type of Working:
Outline of Situation:
Moon Phase:
Tools Needed:
Desired Outcome:
Magickal Solution:
Actual Results:

Finding a magickal specialty

Not everyone is good at (or even interested in) every type of magick. After a few years of study and practice, it may be advantageous to choose a specialty to focus on. Some may be interested in candle magick, while others prefer healing, herbalism, or weather working.

How to choose a magickal specialty

To decide what to specialty might be appropriate for you, look within yourself to determine if you have any inborn talents. Perhaps you can whistle up the winds, or perhaps you have clairvoyant visions. Maybe herblore and gardening has always been a particular hobby, or you enjoy reading cards for others.

Once you have your interests in mind, do some research to decide if any of these talents might be a type of magick in which you might like to specialize.

On the misuse of magick: when something goes amiss

Further reading

You might also enjoy these books:

Wheel of the Year Wheel of the Year by Dan and Pauline Campanelli (Llewellyn Publications, 1989): This is overall an excellent month by month reference for celebrating the seasons. I like that each month includes suggestions for food, charms, and activities.

One thing I don't like though is that the author presumes readers live in the same climate. "Cold" and "snow" are completely foreign concepts in this area. Our seasons here have much less to differentiate them.

  Rites of Passage Rites of Passage by Dan and Pauline Campanelli (Llewellyn Publications, 1991): An overall excellent reference for family milestones such as births, birthdays, and weddings. A bit Wicca-centric, but then, that was what the authors practiced.

There is a bit too much in the way of speculative "maybe" and "probably" replacing what should be actual research into traditions, but the book has a lot of inspirational ideas to work with.

Ancient Ways Ancient Ways by Dan and Pauline Campanelli (Llewellyn Publications, 1991): This book is a bit of a rehash of the authors' book Wheel of the Year, but more Celtic Wicca-centric rather than the "generic Pagan" claim on the subtitle. Probably quite useful for someone who is Wiccan to have the book divided by Sabbats this way.   Real Magic Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits (Weiser Books, 1989): An examination of the basics of how magick works in relation to the universe as a whole. Includes a brief history of magickal techniques. An excellent resource.
an introduction to ritual magic An Introduction to Ritual Magic by Dion Fortune (1997): A guide to magic as a practical spiritual practice.   the goddess in the office The Goddess in the Office by Z Budapest (HarperOne, 1993): Cute little spellbook for getting through the workweek. I love the sketches in the margins.
grandmother moon Grandmother Moon: Lunar Magic in Our Lives -- Spells, Rituals, Goddesses, Legends, and Emotions Under the Moon by Z Budapest (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991): Perhaps better used as a monthly reference guide than a book to read straight through, but thoroughly enjoyable to read.   the grandmother of time The Grandmother of Time: A Woman's Book of Celebrations, Spells, and Sacred Objects for Every Month of the Year by Z Budapest (HarperOne, 1989): An excellent reference to daily celebrations throughout the year.
magic charms Magic Charms From A To Z by Elizabeth Pepper (The Witches' Almanac, 1999): This is a small chapbook which serves as a pocket guide to mystical symbols. Includes ancient and modern charms, correspondence charts, and quick chants for easy spells. While not all-inclusive, it does cover quite a bit for such a small book   magic spells Magic Spells and Incantations by Elizabeth Pepper (The Witches' Almanac, 2001): This is a small chapbook which contains a pocket-size collection of spells for love, healing, divination, protection, and hexing from antiquity to the modern era. Very interesting read.

These books can be difficult to find since many are out of print. Some great places to buy used books online include:

Tealmermaid's Treasure Grotto