by Randall S. Frederick
In case anyone failed to notice it, Harry Potter provides some good insight into witchcraft to anyone who is observant even if it plays it safe and leaves a great deal to creative imagination. Magic comes in the form of wandlore, herbology, potions, futurecasting, a healthy understanding of history, culture, and society, and also through enchantments and “magic.”
One of the things I share with my literature classes is that the Salem Witch Trials and the various tales of witchcraft in popular literature were, in part, about women who were critiquing the culture and society around them. These “witches” pointed out hypocrisy and the ills of society, and one cannot shrug that off as women being “uppity.”
One of the areas that author J.K. Rowling shies away from is necromancy, or working with the dead (animate bodies or spiritism) and while ghosts appear in her stories, there is a distinction. The ghosts, as Rowling presents them, are limited or restricted. They offer no knowledge of the afterlife or current events. Rather, they are bound to a place and particular items (ex: Peeves and the Headless Horseman are bound to Hogwarts, just as the former headmasters of Hogwarts are bound to their portraits). One of the things I note to my classes when we discuss contemporary fantasy literature is that Rowling must have had a reason from not going that far – of making sure there was a distinction between ghosts (which, in parallel, Jesus never dismisses – see Matthew 14) and spiritism, or seeking counsel and direction from the dead (see Isaiah 8:19). While this may seem like a difference in semantics, there remains a clear distinction worth considering.
When it comes to magic, broadly, it is simply the use of energy within us and available in nature. Everyone can produce magic. There are different kinds of magic and some people are better at one type then another. Whatever type you practice, the more you are aware of your psychic energy and the use of energy flows and the more you practice, the better you become and the more effective the magic will be.
People can produce magic and never realize it, for example the sayings, “always think positive” or “be careful what you wish for.” What we truly want will always manifest itself into reality. Magic works on the subconscious level and our environment is always changing to match our perceived reality. These changes are subtle, but one who is attuned to their psychic energy will be aware of it and realize why spells they performed worked or did not work or had a completely different reaction. It’s because our true will always be expressed, that is why the saying, “always think positive” is actually helpful and the concept of what you give out comes back to you.
The way to influence the subconscious and create even more powerful magic is through suggestions and visualizations. Visualization is extremely important for effective magic. You have to visualize the reality you want or the desired outcome. This visualization is successful when it is performed at least a week before you perform your magic to get yourself into the proper mode or frame of mind. Our subconscious mind will censor out what it believes should not be in there because it doesn’t conform to our beliefs. For example, this is why when a person is hypnotized with the suggestion to physically hurt someone else, the person still will not harm another because it is not perceived as ‘right’, it does not conform to the persons beliefs. Even under hypnotism, a person cannot do what they do not believe in.
In order to penetrate the subconscious mind, you must use repetitions of suggestions until it becomes a part of who you are and your model or belief system. Simple chants like, “I will stop smoking” or “I will lose weight”, etc. are simple but effective once they penetrate your subconscious. These chants will change your ‘model’ or the way/what you believe about something and bring about positive yet subtle changes.
Sigils work the very same way. When sigils are designed by yourself, you are manifesting your energy into the creative symbol and working the concept over and over in your mind until it works by itself on your subconscious level. Since our subconscious is always at work be mindful of your thoughts because your true will and desire will manifest itself and what goes out will come back because any type of magic has a cause and effect.
Basic Types of Magic
Everyone possesses the psychic ability to perform magic. Usually, we are better at one kind of magic then another, but with guidance from another we can develop the abilities for another type of magic.
- Imitative – Drawings, paintings on paper, earth, sand, mud, walls (prehistoric hunting drawings?) of symbolic images representing your goal or an actual picture or drawing of what you want to happen. The object is that if you can draw it and see it then you can make it happen. It`s like drawing what you visualize in your mind. This type of magic is mainly used to enhance your magic, to bring better luck and/ or power to achieve your intended goal.
- Contagious – The use of a person`s personal belongings, ex. clothing, hair, nails, a shoe, etc.. This type is used mainly for a variety of love spells to darker forms of magic such as the hexes and curses.
- Sympathetic or “Image” – The use of poppets,dolls, sand dolls, earth, mud dolls, corn husk dolls, apple heads, turnip heads, etc.. This type of magic is used mainly for healing believe it or not with the use of herbs stuffed into the doll. Sometimes dolls can be used for love spells where two poppets will be made of the assigned couple. This type of magic is popular among African magic, voodoo and hoodoo, folk magic practitioners. This kind of magic can be used for healing and love, yes, but it is popularly known for the use of a black kind of magic where pins and needles are supposed to be stuck in the doll to bring about pain and/or death on another.
- Personal – This magic is directed for the self, to help the self. Often working on the subconscious mind alone with repetitive chants, self-hypnosis and visualization. Many people perform this kind of magic on themselves are not aware of it, or will deny it as magic. It’s often just a “belief” or “superstition” they hold. In my family, it was “just something funny Grandma did that I liked.”
- Active – Directed outwards, to bring about a desired event or to affect someone else.
- Passive – Events that are caused by a nonphysical cause, such as ESP or interaction of auras, essences, and spirits.
Magical forces are neither good nor bad, but neutral. The different ways, or we might say intentions of magic make them good or bad.
- White Magic (good) – performed for unselfish reasons, such as healing and magic always performed with the others permission.
- Gray Magic (ambiguous and defined by intent) – This is the most common type of magic performed. Usually for self-interest, this kind brings about a desired outcome beneficial for the one performing it. Often, spells can be performed for another without their permission for a desired beneficial outcome. This may fall in the ‘black magic’ area because the one performing magic does not have the others permission, but because the intent is unselfish it is therefore categorized as ‘gray magic.
- Black Magic (bad) – Magic for selfish reasons, to do harm to another, control another`s will, and for some people. Magic performed without another’s permission.
The degrees of magic and definitions of ‘bad’ magic vary with individual beliefs. Just as magic is an ability that exists within all of us, psychic abilities are also an ability we possess. Similarly, while some of us are better at performing one type of magic than another, some of us are better with a certain type of psychic ability. We can all develop and increase our magic and psychic performance.
Magic should not be abused. Magic is not to inflate your ego, for recognition or to gain money. It is performed for change and hopefully for the best. Magic is not supernatural, it is natural. Magic is happening all around us. It is working with the energies in nature and the universe. It is drawing down the spiritual to the physical. It is working with your astral body and subconscious to manifest. It is working with nature which we are all a part of whether you believe this or not. As long as someone tells you to blow out your birthday candles and make a wish, magic will be there. When you wish upon a star, that is magic. When you recite a small suggestion or prayer, that is magic. When someone lights a candle for another, that is magic. When you wish for something so strongly with strong emotion that it comes true, that is magic. In this way, it is easy to see that magic has been performed throughout history and likely always will be.
To make magic successful you must have belief. Second, you must exercise visualization, then intentionality (or “cast the circle” if that is part of your belief) for banishing and protection before the ritual. In the ritual, there is always a demand upon you to act. This may be a dance, cutting, lighting a candle, a spell or sigil – but without a ritual, all you have is a wish. While each of the practical steps are essential, what goes on in your mind or your faith is more important then the ritual itself. You can perform the most complex ritual in every detail, but if you have no deep down desire or belief and have not worked on your creative visualization, or even have doubts and fears you won’t admit to, then one can hardly be surprised when the spell is not successful.
Elementals or Familiars
These are thought forms manifested for your personal use by worked up emotion to enhance the ritual and spell. These thought forms are taken from your subconscious and have aspects of you, but detached from you. It is something you create through visualization and manifest. You can communicate with your elemental or familiar through telepathy or by talking to it. It will do what you want it to do and what you believe it can do. Because you have manifested it, it now exists. Elementals or Familiars are manifested to perform tasks for you such as:
- As a watcher or observer to tell you what it sees
- As a psychic guard
- Used to help in healing.
Elementals or Familiars should only be used for working with good magick. If they are manifested for black magick they must be absorbed back into the body.
Calling up a spiritual entity or god or goddess during a ritual refers to the archetypes from your mind and these gods and goddesses will hold aspects of yourself. You will perceive them the way you perceive them in your mind as they are culturally portrayed or from a deep desire or belief to see them a certain way.
For example, if you want to invoke the Green Man you will perceive an entity with a green aura and with leaves and plants all around it because this is the way the Green Man is portrayed but also by giving it other aspects we hold in our mind. Everyone will collectively see the Green Man as green, but the subtle differences as to appearance and character will differ from individual to individual. This technique involves drawing from your subconscious just as it does with manifesting familiars and elementals – the power comes in a form you can recognize. It is the drawing energy and creative visualization from your subconscious that is attuned to the astral world. Energy flows from the astral world to the physical world. The mind is a powerful thing and you can manifest anything into a reality. There have all been times when we think we saw something. This may all sound like illusions, but our physical world interacts with the other worlds as well and we are all connected.
When channeling these powers, keep in mind that there must be a balance with all things magic. The energies you send out will eventually balance themselves out somehow and someway. For example, if you want a lover so badly you call for one and then the next month you meet someone and find out later this person is unhealthy for you, you cannot get rid of this person. This is because during the spell and visualization, what was sought and desired was emphasized more than anything else.
To counter this, be as detailed and specific in your goals, intentions and desires as possible. Above all, be realistic. That may sound counter-intuitive when we are discussing magic, but if you want to bring love into your life (or anything else!), you need to be realistic. Magic is still governed by laws, such as
- Magic does not work instantly as portrayed in movies. There is a waiting period for the energies to work, for cause and effect.
- Expect side-effects from your spells. Something always happens. Because there is a cause and effect, the effect may produce something a little different from what you expected. This can occur because you have not thought out the desired goal properly and in detail or your true will was other than what you were trying to achieve.
- If time for a spell takes too long to work, perhaps it was because you had weak beliefs. In this case, you can perform the ritual everyday to strengthen the outcome, such as a witches ladder or more creative visualization.
- If a spell did not work it is probably because of preconceived belief systems, contradictions, or self doubts that interfered.
- Magic is not evil, strange or supernatural. It occurs all the time around us in nature and during our everyday lives. Some of us are more attuned to it then others and some of us make full use of magic through spells and rituals. Magic is natural and helpful for healing and all sorts of good spells, but it should be performed by those that are healthy in body and mind.
Types of Witches
- Atheist/Laveyan Satanic – Witchcraft worked with the idea that satan is a concept, rather than a real person or entity (loosely put; it’s a very detailed concept). Also known as Satanic witches who fit the secular description.
- Celtic – Magical practice that is based from the Celtic culture, including its’ mythology, deities, old ways, and (occasionally) language / symbols. May also describe those who only worship Celtic gods.
- Christian – Witchcraft that is performed to honor / or is performed in conjunction with the Christian God as the primary and only deity.
- Eclectic – An individual’s practice that has bits and pieces pulled from different magical and/or spiritual practices, respectfully.
- Hellenic – A form of non-witchcraft practice in which the practitioner follows Greek ideals/culture and honors the Greek pantheon.
- Hereditary/Blood – Including oneself in the practice of witchcraft on the grounds of having been born into a family who also practices. Knowledge and practice may also be passed down through generations, and honor old ways of magic.
- Science – A form of magic in which both metaphysical ideas and scientific facts/theories are mixed in together by the individual practitioner.
- Secular – Non-religious and not connected with deity/ies.
- Solitary – Practicing by ones’ self; not included in a group.
- Theistic or Satanic – Witchcraft that is often centered around honoring and/or working with satan in spellwork and prayer.
- Traditional – One who practices witchcraft by honoring and using old and ‘traditional’ ways of magic; this type of witch might be one to practice modern methods of magic, but they might also stick to traditional concepts or techniques.
Types of Witchcraft
Keep in mind that each term’s explanation is the basic description of that type of witchcraft/magic; each individual witch might be a certain type but define it differently, as their practice may be different from the next witch
- Animal – (A variant of Green) Magic that is strongly tied to the animal kingdom, which includes a deep appreciation for all animals, and most often: usage of animal materials in spellwork. An animal witch will most likely be one who loves animals, a person who animals are immediately “drawn” to, and those who appreciate the natural world. Some animal witches might also use bones, wings, feathers, fur, skin, scales, (etc). from deceased animals in their magic, if they choose to do so.
- Art/Craft – Witchcraft that can be worked through arts and crafts, simply put! One may imbue magic in creative activities such as painting, drawing, building, cutting, creating, etc.
- Asatru – Literally “Faith in the [Old] Gods” it is a more specific branch of Heathenry that worships the major Nordic pantheon, minus Loki, Fenrir, or other “adversary” gods.
- Astronomy/Space – (A wider variant of lunar) Those who practice magic and correlate their beliefs in conjunction with the planets and stars! These witches may focus their magic with the properties of each planet, regularly read a horoscope or study astrology, and have a love of the stars and the night.
- Bone – Witches who commonly collect, clean, and use animal bones in their magical practice, and for things like altar decoration or magic-infused charms/jewelry. Materials used by those who identify as bone witches are usually collected peacefully or after the being has passed on naturally.
- Chaos/Chaotic – A type of magic utilizing new, non-traditional, and unorthodox methods. It is a new and highly individualistic practice, while still drawing from other common forms of magic.
- Cottage / Hearth – (A slight variation from kitchen) Magic that is weaved, worked, or imbued into mundane tasks around the house or for loved ones. Cottage/Hearth magic may be worked into daily tasks such as cleaning, cooking, or any hobbies that are traditionally considered domestic.
- Crystal – Magic that is worked commonly with stones and crystals, such as during spellwork or for crystal healing techniques. This may also include chakra balance, crystal meditation – anything that uses crystals. A crystal witch may also have an extensive knowledge of stones, including how to identify them and using their properties.
- Death/Necromancy – A practice that may combine Bone, Animal, Spirit work, and occasionally Blood. Using spirits to empower one self, hoarding bones, using graveyards, graves, the spirits of them, as well as the dirt (or even plants) that are found in them. May also honor the dead and/or gods who work with the dead.
- Desert – Using and utilizing the desert environment. Lots of work with hardier plants such as Cacti or Tumbleweeds. Use of the moon, desert earth, fire, rare water (especially rainwater), wind, local plants and herbs, as well as animals/creatures of the desert such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, and so on.
- Draconian – Refers to type of magic for those who call upon or work with dragons and dragon imagery in their practice; whether it be through astral matters or in spells and rituals.
- Dream – Mindful and internal magical practice mainly based from interpreting dreams and/or engaging in lucid dreaming. Those who intensify as this may decode symbols and messages in the dream world similar to how one would use a divination technique.
- Elemental – Magic that is worked by honoring/acknowledging the 4 or all 5 elements: Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Spirit. Commonly an Elementalist will dedicate different areas of their altars to each element, call upon them during spells and rituals, and use symbols to represent each.
- Earth – Specifically centered on the element of Earth; grounding exercises, rock/soil collecting, strong appreciation of the natural world, creating and using symbols associated with the earth.
- Air – Specifically centered on the element of Air; working with wind, using air-related tools (such as the wand), creating and using symbols associated with air.
- Fire – Specifically centered on the element of Fire; using anything fire-related (bonfires, candles, burning objects) in most spellwork, creating and using symbols associated with fire.
- Water – Specifically centered on the element of Water; water scrying, collecting sea/storm/snow/river/spring water, swimming/bath spells and other water-related actives, creating and using symbols associated with water.
- Embroidery / Sewing / Knitting – One who imbues magic into household “stitching” or “string” hobbies such as embroidery, sewing, knitting, stringing, and knotting ~ Basically, one who identifies with using knot or chord magic in many different skills.
- Energy – Those who prefer to do magic through energy exercises and manipulation rather than with many physical tools or materials; using the enhanced power of the mind and the body’s natural energies to bring about a magical result or feeling. Also includes aura work.
- Fairy/Faery and Fae/Fey – Magic for those who communicate and work with the fey and fairies during spells and rituals. Usually, those who work with the fey may also leave offerings regularly as thanks for the assistance of a fairy in their spellwork.
- Flora – Much like a Green or Garden witch, those who work with floral materials and flowers in their practice and in their spellwork. Their grimoire may be heavily associated with flowers rather than herbs, and likewise, one might use flower properties in spell or craft work.
- Garden – While having a garden and/or working in any type of garden; magic that is mostly (if not all) herbal and botanical-related! Garden witches take pride and find it calming or invigorating to work the earth, harvest that which they have planted, and are closely related to Green type.
- Gaulish – A practice that involves worshiping Gaulish gods.
- Green – Utilizing greenery/plants/herbs/flowers in herbal and natural magic, such as creating blends of different plants or using primarily herbs in spells.
- Grey – A neutral witch, who practices magic that neither benefits or harms others. Grey magic may also both harm and benefit at the same time, balancing and neutralizing.
- Heathenry – a practice in which the individual follows, works with, and/or worships the Norse deities.
- Hedge – Also known as an astral title, a type of magic that is oriented around more spiritual work; astral travel/projection, lucid dreaming, spirit-work, healing, and out-of-body experiences are all practices included in this magic.
- Kemetic – Worshiping and working with Egyptian deities
- Kitchen – Magic that is specifically worked through kitchen craft such as herbal mixtures, brewing, baking, and cooking, and honors many aspects of the natural world: including herbs, crystals, fey, and the elements.
- Literary – Those who practice magic through books and literature; a literary witch may do thing such as using book divination, often study witchcraft/magic even after the “beginner” phase of learning, etc. Also a term used to describe witches in stories, books, or movies.
- Lunar – One who works magic with / honors the moon and it’s energy and phases. This type of witch is also one to favor casting magic during the night hours rather than during the day.
- Music – Magic that is worked with music, musical chimes, or rhythm, such as humming, singing, clapping, singing chants during spells, playing instruments (even simple ones, like the triangle or bells), or even just simply playing music during spellwork, magic, or during energy exercises are a few common things a music witch might fancy.
- Paper – Magic that is performed with paper. Burning paper written with sigils, chants, symbols or spells, creating magical offerings, items, etc. from paper.
- “Poison Path” – Working with plants, herbs, other items that may be poisonous, deadly, cause hallucinogenic effects, or affect the mind or body in some way – aphrodisiacs included.
- Pop Culture – Uses pop culture as a main focus or inspiration for the craft. Using lyrics or movie lines in spells, worshiping and honoring pop culture icons or idols, use of fandom, and more. It is a very wide practice. Examples may include drawing from Harry Potter spells or using invented sigils from shows like Supernatural.
- Sanguine – Meaning “blood” or “blood red color” in Latin, a type of magic that deals with blood or other life giving fluid; life blood can also be represented through things such as water, or nutrients. A term for those who work with blood and life-oriented magic.
- Sea – A type of magic derived from materials and abstract ideas involving the ocean and oceanic world. Sea/Ocean magic can be worked using seashells and bones, sea weed, beach sand, driftwood, ocean water, etc. and a sea witch might draw their energy from that of the sea.
- Seasonal – Witches who utilize and draw energy from the specific times of year for their magic, sort of how a person might have a strong love or connection to a certain time of year. This can also be spread out into Winter, Autumn, Spring and Summer witches.
- Sigil – A witchcraft working majorly with sigils, and the intent that can be put into them to active their power.
- Spirit Working – A practice in which the person will perform spellwork in conjunction with or with the help of any manner of spirit. This includes Ouija, (sometimes) demon spirits, spiritual contact, etc.
- Storm/Weather – Magic that is worked by combining one’s energy with the energy of the weather, and most commonly rain. Weather witches will do things like collect rain/snow water, absorb the energy of a lightning storm, “whistle up” or manipulate wind, predict the weather, etc.
- Swamp/Bog – Heavy use of water and moisture, rich we soil/mud, sometimes incorporates the use of bones, animals, and insects, especially the local plants of the swamp
- Tea – Those who drink tea, make tea, use tea-leaf divination, or enjoy blending herbal remedies, the tea witch is a variant of the kitchen/cottage witch.
- Tech – Magic that is skillfully worked through technology. A tech witch will most likely have at least a few magical apps on their phone, digital sigils, or an online/digital grimoire.
- Urban – For those who live or prefer the urban/city lifestyle, magic that can be worked without the seemingly “traditional” ways of witchcraft.
- The Hoodwitch is Changing the Face of Modern Witchcraft, by Linda Yang
- The Strange, Freakish Story of Britain’s Last Convicted Witch, by Katie McCabe
- The Victorian Occultist Accused of... by Dee Cunning
- Casting Curses and Love Spells with Romania’s Most powerful Witches, by Vice and Broadly
- Sex with Demons Was Totally Chill, by Diana Tourjee