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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Quit Writing Your Own Spells!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , , ,

What I'm about to say is probably the most inflammatory statement this blog has yet seen, but it is all completely true.  I have experienced it over the course of my 17 years as a witch and am prepared to back it up with historical information.

There is a theory rather new to the magical community which states that only newly-minted spells should ever be cast.  Proponents of this idea write fresh material for every situation, and suggest that all others do the same.  What follows is an argument on why this is nonsense.  As a theory it has no grounding and in practice it makes magic worse.

The Theory

1.  No historical basis
To begin, this is a modern theory.  You will not find Agrippa discussing it.  In fact, you will see just the opposite--traditional works are great champions of the magic worker being a hard worker.  Reading, researching, calculating, divining, channeling...all in the name of a better cast spell.  Nowhere do they mention basing magic on one's intuition or a list of correspondences.  This was time-tested information and created to be used time and time again with reliable results.

2. Makes no logical sense with other standard magical practices
Which makes one ask, "Just why would generations of magic workers bother with carefully writing books, creating charts, and calculating formulas for precise spellwork if any old spell you can write in 5 minutes would do the trick?"  That is the question.

Alongside this is the normal expectation of keeping a Book of Shadows or Grimoire.  These books are a sort of magical diary for many, but their primary function is as a register of all the spells a witch has cast and their outcomes.  Why would anyone today even keep a book like this if it were meaningless to reuse a spell?  And who would ever pass on a book to another witch when such works would be worth even less to another?

3.  It sounds like a ploy 
Whether or not those working under this assumption are actually trying to deceive others (and I can easily believe that they are not.  Many of those I've heard it from are innocently passing along what they have heard, but about which they have no direct knowledge), a statement like this smacks of a desire to make oneself distinct from the crowd.  It happens a lot in conjunction with phrases like, "Real witches know the truth..." and "You don't really have to do suchandsuch; that's for newbies."  These are easy to pass around, sound smart when saying, and gain some easy street-cred by bestowing on others.  Knowledge and the illusion of knowledge are not, for casual purposes, so different.

The magical community is run on knowledge--gaining it, hoarding it, sharing it, selling it, even stealing it.  Whatever it takes, we love being "in the know."  There are quite a few concepts floating around us that make us sound like we have access to some secret information that not everyone is privy to, and their infectious nature is so thrilling that they are rarely questioned.  This is one of them.

Never have I heard a proponent of the "new spell theory" share just where they learned it, or--more meaningful to a practitioner--personal stories where it proved true.  I would be willing to accept the concept's validity if I was told something like, "I spent two weeks casting pre-written spells and nothing happened.  Then I wrote my own and in 30 minutes---presto!"  You would think this kind of statement would happen a lot, but it doesn't.  And that's a shame because from that alone I could understand why one would choose to believe and share this "rule."  With neither personal gnosis nor tradition to back them up, I just can't find any reasons to accept it.

4.  Its reasoning seems to come and go
So are we all to write brand new spells because 1) they're stronger, 2) they work better, or 3) using pre-written spells is just taking the easy way out?  I've heard all these answers and a few more.  Which is it?  Can they all exist at the same time or is one the truth?  In light of the fact that none of the folks I have personally heard this from have any experiences from which to draw to support the claim itself, I can't imagine that these statements are any more compelling.

Besides, what is "stronger" when it comes to magic?  What is "better"?  I've cast some spells that didn't astound the world but I can't say it was because I used a spell with an expiration date.  Sometimes the timing is off, you're tired or distracted.  Maybe you're so deep in the desperation of your problems that you can't focus on eradicating them.  Or maybe you're having a bad day, you're experiencing a slump, or otherwise off you're game.  These things happen and they can crop up for a variety of reasons or no reason at all.  There just isn't one easy way to make sure every spell goes perfectly every time.

The other reasoning I've heard is even more confusing to me: Every spell we cast must have our personal stamp so if you must cast a pre-written spell, change something--anything--to make it your own.  Why?  First, what reason is there to need every spell to be made your own?  Do you alter every recipe in a cookbook or switch around the seams and darts in a dress pattern?  Any time you cast a spell, bake a cake, or sew a shirt, you have made it yourself and you have put your own energy into it regardless of whether you followed the instructions to the smallest detail or not.  There is no further tweeking necessary to identify it as your work.  And second, if the goal is not to change for the better but simply change something, you will nearly guarantee a poor outcome.  It's impossible to receive reliable results from arbitrary changes, magical or no.

The Practice

1.  Writing is time consuming 
In practice I find this idea cumbersome.  I cast quite a few spells, big and small, on a regular basis.  Most often I work the little stuff several times a day: speaking charms and using formulas to stay safe, get my way, and smooth the rough edge of an average day.  I can't imagine using a different charm on Tuesday from the one on Monday.  And the spells I cast that are more substantial--require tools or a list of components--are often put together with very little warning.  I need something, go to my workroom, scan the bookshelves for the spellbook I need, and flip to the right page so I can begin working.  If I had to sit down and write a new spell I doubt I could manage it that fast.  And if I did, of what quality would it be?  Which leads me to my next point...

2.  New spells are often poorly written
Now this isn't a judgement on your writing skills or my own, but it is often seen that a writer who is crunched for time can't put out their best work.  This is especially true when the piece has as many specifics as a spell carries--a solid rhyme scheme, meaningful words without ambiguity, positive phrasing, and a memorable rhythm.  I might be able to come up with parts of a spell rather quickly, the components that would work for my cause and how I can use them, but any spoken/written parts take a considerable amount of time to form. And so they should.  Why is a quickly jotted spell better than one which took shape over the course of days or weeks?  Why would a poet's delicate phrasing be dumped in favor of whatever 4-line ditty I thought up on the spot?

When I see the quality of the free spells available online I'm reminded of this fact.  With little to no research, herbs, stones, colors, and even deities are plucked nearly at random and briskly stirred together with a glitter covered wand.  That doesn't represent what I think of as magic.  It almost makes the rampant plagiarism found online preferable (almost).  You can usually recognize them by how carefully they are constructed.

3.  It works in favor of those who spurn any kind of investment
The magical community is known for its difficult attitudes towards money.  Some shun the very thought of connecting any payment with magical work, others are open to reimbursement only for the cost of materials. We love books but the online community is rife with stolen material because we don't want to pay for them. We want more classes, more teachers, more workshops, more public events, but we don't much care for compensation.  Professional spellcasters and tarot readers are regularly called shysters by our own kind purely on the basis of their fees. Providing value is a hard road to walk when you're constantly told never to expect any in return.

Because of all this, it's easy to see concepts creep into conversations which support getting something for nothing.  "Free magic spells" are some of the most searched keywords for witchcraft.  To think that this, shall we say thriftiness, could be a virtue would put a lot of minds at ease.  And what could be more thrifty than writing your own spells and having them only call for items you already own?  I totally get that.  But I don't at all condone it as some sort of rule or witches' "secret."

Magic is meant to be an investment.  You put your focus and your energy into this time, this object, these words, this movement.  And what you get out of it is the return on your investment--an amplification of the energy you put in.  Magic doesn't have to cost a lot of money but a little outlay does quite a bit to enhance its effects.  Get the real silk ribbon, the beeswax candles, the good ink on parchment, and your spell will reflect that effort.  Leave the dime store stuff behind; use a bit of finery instead of a truckload of garbage.  And the same goes for written spells--find an author whose words work for you and cast away.  Check out the old grimoires (most of which are in the public domain and are truly free online) and see how the greats did it.  If you wish to write your own work, have at it.  But please don't feel like there is no other way.  To do so is to be willingly blind to treasure.  

4.  This idea can easily inspire less casting
I honestly don't know how a witch who follows this idea can get anything done.  The research alone would cost me more time than the actual casting of a spell.  And couple that with the fact that one can never revisit old works, no matter how effectual they were, and you'll never save time again.

You know, that may be my biggest issue with the whole thing.  I like to re-cast spells.  I like going through my old BoS and seeing something I did 10 years ago and casting it again for a new situation.  I like knowing that the spells I'm working today have been worked by countless other practitioners in other times, in other countries, for other problems I couldn't possibly imagine. But always there is a link between us, a thread that holds us together even though we've never met.  It's human desire, love, dreams, hope for better things, and a trust that life itself is not cruel but can be reasoned with.  I like being part of that chain and knowing that the work I do today will continue on with my children and students, moving onward into an unseen future.  I want to remain a part of that chain, so I will continue to use the old spells and any new spells I create will be carefully crafted to last for another lifetime.

Whether you decide to write your own spells or use the tested materials of others, I hope only that you do so with awareness.  If you follow the "new spell theory," take some time to test it.  Take notes, record your work with both types of spells (or have yourself and a friend cast different spells for the same purpose in your respective lives, and share the outcomes), and see how their fare.  Share spells with coven mates and friends, compare ideas, and work to improve your success rate in whatever way works for you.  But please don't turn away from generations of written spells.  Don't toss your BoS and believe that no one will ever want or need to read it.  You are a part of that living chain, the same as I am, and what moves with it can only build in power.  

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About Me

My photo

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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