The Magic of Thoughtforms

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

This is a topic so dear to my heart not only because of the number of times I've used thoughtforms, but also because of the emotional ties that are created with each.  You may find your thoughtforms becoming beloved friends with their own personalities, voices, and quirks.  And that is as it should be; to properly work this type of magic is to create a nearly-independent life form.  

Your vision of a thoughtform may vary, but don't be afraid to
let it be fanciful.  The more it inspires, the better the charge
you will be able to give it.

If you've never heard of thoughtforms before, I'll briefly explain.  But chances are that you have heard of them, and possibly even used them, because of the number of other ways they can be defined. Golems, fetches, artificial elementals, familiar spirits, servitors, egregores...they have slightly different jobs but are generally made the same.  All of these terms describe non-corporeal beings that are created by the caster from a fabric of energy to perform a specific physical function.  If that sounds difficult, prepare to be surprised.

There are a variety of methods that practitioners use to achieve this same goal, but to make things simple I'll just say what works best--anything you do to raise energy can make a thoughform.  And that's it.  Some folks like dancing, some chant, some like sex magic or drumming or just silent, steady focus.  Whichever of these (or none of the above) that gets you charged will work perfectly.  So now you know the fire, all you need is the hearth in which to tend it: the ceremony.

This is the method I use, and though not everyone will do it this way, it's simple and serviceable.

How to Create a Thoughtform

1.  Planning
Get into a comfortable position to begin.  Decide how you will raise the energy needed to fuel your thoughtform.  Choose a single purpose for your thoughtform's existence. You can arrange in front of you items, photos, and written phrases which will encourage your focus.

2.  Raising Energy
Start your energy-raising technique, be it active or passive.  As you do this, repeat statements of intent, words or phrases, or songs which represent your desire.  If you have arranged items for this purpose, repeatedly look at these things and speak aloud the words written.  You will begin to feel a charge of energy building up in your body.  Become aware of it and do whatever causes it to grow.

3.  Shaping Energy
Hold your hands out in front of you, palms facing inward.  Push all the energy you have built into the space between your hands.  You will notice it forcing your hands apart slightly.  Take a deep breath, pull your hands closer together again, and compress the energy.  Repeat the process again and again: build energy in your body, extract it to the space between your hands, and compress it into a solid sphere.

I guess it's not that crazy of an idea...
4.  Molding Thoughtform
When you have done this to a satisfactory point (a stiff ball that resists further compression), you can stop raising new energy and work this ball into a finished thoughtform.  Sit comfortably and refocus on your goal. Choose a final shape for your thoughtform's body.  You don't need to be restricted to humanoid or logical shapes.  For example, a very effective cursing thoughtform I made a few years ago looked like a Super Mario chain chomp.  Don't ask me why I chose it; it just made sense at the time.  

5.  Communicating with Thoughtform
See your thoughtform's image clearly.  Give it a name and speak it aloud.  Talk to your thoughtform while you're still holding it, giving it instructions and establishing a dialogue. It is essential that you can sense your thoughtform's responses or, if very strong, hear them.  This will allow you to learn information they gather as well as keep the respect of your creation.

6.  Instituting Respect with Rules
Give your thoughtform the name or title by which you are to be addressed.  This should remain constant in all communication.  They should answer questions with it, greet you with it, and leave with it.  "Sir" or "Madam" work fine, but so will any name you see as respectful and by which you are comfortable being known.

Tell your thoughtform the rules right away--how often you'll check on them (once to twice a day at first is good, after things start shaping up you can switch to once a week), how they are to arrive when you call (quickly and with a polite greeting), where they are to be when they're not with you, what they are to be doing, when their task will be complete (a sort of expiration date), and how they will be charged up when they run low on energy.

It's also important that you tell them what will happen if they disobey.  You must have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to a rebellious spirit.  All manner of unpleasant things can come of letting your creation run wild, so set clear limits on bad behavior.  If they do not come when called, for instance, warn them once aloud that if they do not appear when summoned you will do suchandsuch.  It's a generally effective threat to say that it will be banished instead of returned to its elemental source.  Remember to make good on this threat if they keep it up.

Ensure they understand all of this before moving on.

7.  Setting Thoughtform to Task
Now it's time to send your creation out into the world to do your work.  This could mean any number of things depending upon your goal and what kind of thoughtform you've made.  Reiterate their job, make sure they understand, note how they will be called for next time, and then send them off.  I like to ask if they're ready and then give one sharp clap with the word "Go!" and envision the thoughtform zipping off to work my will.

It's very important that you keep up a solid schedule of checking on your thoughtform.  At first it's easy to call on them a few times a day but as things in the situation get easier, you may end up thinking less and less about it.  Unfortunately, time spent away from you means time spent wasting away.  Your thoughtform needs energy to survive so you will need to fuel them up regularly or end up watching them becoming weak, sluggish, and ineffective within a few days to a few weeks.  The amount of energy they use will depend upon the difficulty of the tasks requested.

If you are using a thoughtform for cursing, you've got a great opportunity for keeping it permanently charged: instruct it to take energy from your target and not you.  Since it will be with your target all the time--and you're actively trying to drain the individual--it can easily remain fueled up on their energy.  If you're using the thoughtform for benevolent purposes or simply to gather information for you, just use your own energy to keep it working at its best.

Now that you know how to bring a thoughtform to life, let's talk some specifics of choosing the right one for you. (Note: I know this seems backwards, but we all know that the above information is what you came here for, not discussions on slight variance and nomenclature.  It's okay; I'd be the same way.)
The traditional reason Familiars are bright beyond
their species is the spirit which
inhabits their body. 

As I said in the outset, there are lots of names for these beings and they each have their own style. So here's a quick run-down of a few of the different kinds of beings that can be created and their function:

Golem--from Jewish folklore.  Golems are generally bound into an image of clay or stone.  The stories say that they come to life to walk and move like other living beings, but we're not interested in going to that extent.  Creating Golems is good if you would like an image to represent your thoughtform, you want an object to carry to keep it close, or you want to be able to call the spirit out and then send it "home" to the image when you're done.

Fetch--Irish origins.  Fetches are used to find and return with people or things.  It's handy to keep a fetch if you're working on large projects that require assembling items. Think of remodeling your house and hunting for the perfect kitchen table, bedroom drapes, and bathroom sink.  Tell your Fetch what you're after and have it go get them!  This form is also good for finding long-lost friends/family members, hunting rare plants, finding a teacher or coven, and looking for out-of-print books.

Artificial Elemental--This was the way I first heard about thoughtforms.  Unfortunately, it was so damn long ago that I can't quite be sure where I came across this term.  But no matter its origins, an Artificial Elemental has become much more than just a synonym.  These are beings created out of an element and, as such, can be used for multiple purposes pertaining to their element.  You can make one of each, if you like, but to save confusion I suggest you create one based on the element with which you're having the most difficulty in your life right now.  Need money, a stable home life, and a better job?  Work up an Earth A.E. and go through your problems one by one with its assistance.

Familiar Spirit--We normally think of Familiars as being animals, first and foremost, but in earlier times it was considered a powerful spirit who only happens to be bound in a living body.  While you can call existing spirits into a creature's physical form, it's much more specific to create your own being for this purpose. Traditionally, this is how to make any animal into a magical creature who will understand and follow your instructions.  Familiar spirits are general servants and companion spirits.  They are similar to non-corporeal beings but with a physical body, they can do a lot more.  Have your Familiar keep watch at your front door, be present at your spells to add power, and go out by night to keep an eye on friends and enemies.  For those of us who practice alone, having a Familiar Spirit can be a great comfort.  They might be the only one in your life who really understands.

Servitor--This term comes from trade (as a glassblower's assistant who does the preliminary work) and education (as a undergraduate at Oxford who serves a higher member for college funding).  In magic, we're talking about a general servant.  This is the kind of being who will be at your side, keeping evil at bay and strengthening your protections.  In most ways, this is like a Familiar Spirit without the body.

Egregore--from the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian traditions.  Here we have a sort of spirit that is created from the "group mind" of a coven working in harmony.  When a group is focused together with one thought in mind, something greater is created than any of them could have made alone.  This is the Egregore, and its influence can be quite long-lived when done well.  The ability to conjure these beings is one of the main incentives for joining a coven.

Here are a few quick links to get you started:

Artificial Elemental Ritual  
Artificial Elemental Techniques 
Notes on Egregores 
Creating Artificial Elementals

As you see, there is very little required for creating thoughtforms and yet they can produce results as impressive than the most arcane spells.  I hope this has been enlightening to the point that each of you will be outside tonight or in a quiet room, calling up Fetches and Servitors and Golems.  Together you will cultivate a deeper knowledge of magic, plastic reality, and the workings of that magical marvel, the human mind.

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About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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