Most of us know that words hold power. A single word in a conversation with someone can change everything about how we feel about that person, how we perceive ourselves or how we handle a situation. Most of us would agree that picking and choosing words carefully, especially in emotional situations with another person, is a key component to how we manage our relationships. But one surprising place that many people aren’t always as careful is in sacred space using words in magick, spells and ritual. This, above all other times, should be a place where picking our words and the kinds of words we wish to use should be of extreme importance.
The use of words in ritual and the power they hold are reflected in the Hermetic Principle of Vibration which tells us that nothing rests, everything moves and everything vibrates. Our words and the energy we place within them vibrates on this plane and in the astral plane and helps to create the change we seek through working with magick. However when we use words who’s vibrations might not truly be ones that we wish to put out into the Universe, we are only detracting from our work. Sometimes the words, and the combination of words, may look good on paper and sound good when spoken, but does their true essence, their vibration, honestly reflect what we desire?
Many people when they first come to the Craft want to jump into spells and ritual right away. It’s the “fun part” of being a Witch and it’s the thing that often draws people to this path in the first place. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, the problem often comes from the approach that some which is held in the idea that these words written by someone else are the key, not fully understanding that it’s the intention and the vibration behind the words that are the real key.
I often find that in talking to people new to magick they are intent on gathering as many spell books, online spell collections and ritual collections as possible and then they just start working with spells as they are written by other people without really thinking of this power of words. This is one of the reasons that, personally, I advise against starting right off with spells, especially ones taken straight from the mouths of other Witches and magickal practitioners. Do you truly know the intent behind the words that someone else has written? Do you understand the meanings of all the words used? Do you know how to correctly say the words used? And what about the Gods or Goddesses mentioned? Do you even know who they are nevermind being able to say their names? Because the answer is often “no” to many of these questions people find little to now success in their magickal work and then become discouraged. Many then decide that Witchcraft isn’t real or doesn’t work while a small few decide that they might need to do more work, more study, and then return to magick. These end up being the “cream of the crop”, so to speak, and often become life long magickal practitioners who take up a serious study of magick and the occult.
Some might say that this shouldn’t matter; it shouldn’t matter where the words come from and that it’s the intention behind the words as they are spoken that matter. And to a point, that’s very true. But if you don’t stop to think about what’s being said, if you’re just saying it without taking the time to consider what you’re really saying and really putting your own intention behind it, then you run the risk of putting something out there you didn’t intend and instead taking on the intentions of the original author. And honestly, when it comes to working with the Gods, if you are calling on a God or Goddess that you haven’t taken the time to develop a proper relationship with before asking for their help, if you can’t take the time to learn how their name is properly pronounced, who they are and what they like for offerings (and then bringing that into your work), then you shouldn’t be surprised when you don’t feel they have answered your call for help.
While it is always best to write your own spells, this obviously isn’t something that every practitioner is able to do, depending on their experience with spellwork. If that’s the case then you might want to consider either holding off on spellwork until you have more experience through study and understanding of things like the Magickal Laws and Hermetic Principles, or at the very least take care to truly study and understand the spell you pulled from a book or website before casting it. Be sure you’re intention is always behind the words that you use. And never, ever feel as though you can’t modify a spell you find a book or on a website. None of these things are holy writ. If something doesn’t make sense to you take the time to find ways to rework it. This is how most people start out with learning how to write and construct their own spells, just by the simple act of learning how to modify the spells they find by other people.
Taking the time to choose your own words, taking the time to study the Gods and Goddesses found in the rituals who you don’t have existing relationships with, and having true intent behind your words used in sacred space for the purpose of creating change will help you to send vibrations out into the Universe and the astral plane that will bring you what you truly desire.