How to Devolop Your Own Magical Style

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply /

Let's get one thing clear--style is important.  There is nothing that will decide your success or failure so expertly as the legnths to which you go to reveal, understand, and utilize your own style.

It will be based on what you feel is most powerful so there's no way to nab it from others or to go by textbook specifications.  Of course, that doesn't mean you should just throw out all the pre-fab information and run on instinct.  Far from it--simply learn to be choosy in the right ways and you will cultivate a personal world that contains the greatest power possible and creates the greatest effects.

Your style is like a seal which  you stamp down upon everything you touch.  Your spells will
contain that bit of you, the look and feel of your work that no one else can give.  What is more, this kind of mark can even be put upon pre-written spells (recently become the bane of many free-wheeling witches).  You can make magic like your grandmother's cookie recipe: a wonder in the right hands but drained of all flavor in any other.  It doesn't matter if you created that recipe yourself, had it handed down through generations, or found it on a website this morning; it can be yours in a particular and powerful way.  Let's dig in to find out how.

1.  Know Your Strengths

Learn everything you can.  Don't let the details slow you down from grasping at knowledge. This is the first essential step.  You can't actually discover your talents until you dabble in a bit of everything.  So dabble away!  Cast every kind of spell you encounter (note that I don't intend you to cast every spell, simply taste the variety of spell components and styles available to the modern practitioner).  Once you have a real body of information built up and start to work with it, you will see what you're good at.  This is incredibly important information.  Keep track of this.

In my own practice, I have seen that some of the simplest items work better for me than the expected ones.  I chant and recite charms, work various knots, and create sigils or draw old ones to use again.  I don't care for the standard candle spells and rarely use stones.  My preferences have become the main source of my interest, and therefore, my power.

2.  Know Your Weaknesses

Just as worthy is the understanding of those spells which always seem to fall short.  There's no shame in this.  I've never met a caster that didn't have a trouble spot.

But that doesn't mean you can run from them forever.  Know now that you won't always be able to outsource your spellwork just because it's tricky.  Instead, learn ways to work around the limitations it puts on you. If you do poorly with money spells, try works that are focused on revealing opportunities of all kinds or unblocking situations.  These little cheats can be a time saver when you're out of your usual zone.

If you're able, also delve into just why you have these problems.  It is helpful for any person to explore the blockages in their life, but essential for the spellcaster to do it.  You may discover prejudices and ghosts of the past that are interfering with how you handle similar situations today.  Simple reasons such as these can keep you locked out of true success in magic.  Once you're able to identify the source of the issue, you can start to eradicate it for your emotional good and the good of your magical practice.

My stumbling block is one that I've only really found difficult within the past few years--love spells.  I rarely take on love spells for clients any more because of this, even though it is one of the most common requests.  I think my main problem with them is how often the asker's desperation gets in the way.  Wanting so badly to control the emotions of others will often come to a unfulfilling end.  If you wish to control others, you must do so from a place of control yourself, and this is rare in cases where a lover runs away or won't give the asker the attention they seek.  Happily, I have no need for love spells in my own life and can easily turn down requests from individuals whom I feel have that unfortunate desperation that will spoil my work.  If I find a request that I feel is worthwhile, perhaps I will take it up.  If I do, though, I think I will have to approach it as a compelling or drawing spell only.

3.  Boost Your Spells

Here's a place where, sadly, many good casters go wrong.  You don't need to rewrite the whole piece nor replace all the herbs with ones you like better.  We're not reinventing the wheel; we're linking it up to an already functioning chariot.

If you don't know what you can use to give our spells some added oomph, start simply by asking yourself, "What sets the mood for me?"  Draw from every source possible: past experiences, stories of others, movies, books, dreams.  Make a list of the kinds of things you feel are deeply magical acts, objects, colors, images, and words.  Work these up into methods you can use to enhance the setting of any spell.

Maybe your thing is incense and lighting it always sets the perfect tone.  If that's the case, have plenty of incense on hand, of your favorite blend or brand.  Or perhaps you like drumming or chanting to sink into the deep state of mind wherein magic takes place.  Work those into your preparations. These are things you can do to augment--but not alter--the spell you're about to cast.  Your own style should express your influences, preferences, and talents.  It adds, never subtracts.

For example, at 16 I first watched one of my favorite movies, Bell, Book, and Candle and absolutely fell in love with the way Gillian hummed a simple but intriguing little tune to enchant her target.   When I was writing my first manuscript, a spellbook, I decided to include a tune that could be used in a similar way.  Now it is the main tool I use when I give someone a "push," and it works wonders.   Because I've used it many times, because it was inspired by a favorite example of directed will, and because its sound and words are enticing, it feels powerful to me.  That is one piece of magic that I wish to keep close at hand and use to enhance other works if they need a little something extra.

4.  Use the Right Words for You

We all know the standard phrase "So mote it be."  This is the "Amen" to our work, the cherry on top that locks in our notion of the job being complete.  For many, these are sacred, potent words whose utterance is like breathing their wishes into existence.

And then there's those of us who don't feel that way.  Personally, I've said "so mote it be" so dang many times that it doesn't always pack a punch.  Lots of spellbooks throw it around so liberally that it starts sounding weak.  Many of the newer charms I've read on online spell resources end with it.  It's so prevalent that you can nearly guarantee that any 4 line couplet superimposed over a photo of a witchy-looking beauty in the woods will have a rhyme scheme that ends with the "ee" sound just so that they can write the final line as "so mote it be."

Find your magic words.  History is full of magical phrases that have real import to modern practitioners.  The charms provided to Inquisitors by Isobel Gowdie, the peotically expressed goals of alchemists, descriptions of the hidden worlds by such authors as Agrippa; here you can find many inspiring passages from which you can borrow for your own seals and affirmations.

Remember, too, your favorite literature and other entertainment.  These words and phrases are for your benefit and your ears only.  It's not important that they sound meaningful to anyone else.

When I need a phrase that really means something to me, that gives me the sure knowledge that I am on the right track, I repeat the phrase said years ago when, as I've mentioned here before, I was focusing on a candle flame when a fly that had been annoying me flew straight into it and died.  That was such an affecting moment for me that I will never forget it, and I will never stop feeling that those words have power.

5.  Cultivate Scheduled Magic

By now you know your life.  You're aware of your cycles and your recurring troubles.  Then it should be no problem to stay ahead of them, plan for them, and deal with the issues they cause before they even have the chance to cause them.  This means having regularly scheduled spellwork.

Whether it be by the day, week, or month, these rites are just as important as the seasonal ones many of us observe.  Decide what you need and how often you need it.  What kinds of spells and ritual actions can give you the proper dose of magic at the proper time to keep your life in balance?

The attitude that spells should only be cast in the most dire of emergencies has led many practitioners to swing wildly between elation and depression.  Planning out your moon cycles (or, as noted, calander cycles) easily combats this issue.  How you do this and with what methods is a stylistic choice that can define the look and feel of your recurring practice.

During the toughest point in my married life--when we faced many challenges, hard work, no money, little help, and all the while raising our two small children--I set a schedule of regular house cleansings and protection on all of us. Once a month I would scrub the front doorstep with salted water to which I'd added the two simplest protection fluids, urine and blood.  I drew sigils and warding phrases in other languages in chalk on the back porch.  I made talismans for our children to wear constantly any time they were away from home.  I fumed the house, chanted, and made offerings.  And we made it through.

I no longer keep these things as regular magic (partly because they've been changed or replaced by other methods but mainly because life is much more consistent and prosperous now) but they were perfect for dealing with the situation we were in at the time.  They gave me an anchor amidst the chaos as well as being a constant working to combat our problems and prevent more from coming.

6.  Reliable Assistance

The longer I practice witchcraft, the more I realize that it is silly to go it alone.  Classical witches are seen as having spirits and demons in their attendance, as well as mortal students or apprentices.  This is a brilliant idea that can make a witch's life so much easier.  It really is a wonder that more practitioners don't embrace it.

To have assistance that is timely and functional, you need only look at when and where you do most of your work.  What kind of help would be most effective for you?  Do you want a relationship that you can enter into and form close bonds?  Try connecting with deities, ancestors, or incorporeal spirits, or creating a familiar or a fetch.  This can also be a good time to work with physical animals.  There is a difference between a spirit familiar and that of a mortal animal, and both have their own benefits.

If you're not looking for a relationship, try working with the help of talismanic objects, jewelry, or robes.  Putting on an amulet or magical seal before you begin is a simple form of  gaining assistance and also creating the atmosphere needed for magic to happen.  If robes or other clothing are your helpers, really throw all your talents into making them special and sacred.  Colors, fabrics, sewn-on talismans, or sigils and other magical symbols painted or embroidered can raise your spellcasting gear to a new level.

As you know, I have a Fetch who has become a constant help to me.  It's like having a secretary to run errands, dig up information, keep tabs on the progress of spells, and perform tasks I havn't got time to do myself.  What a fantastic help he has been!

I also enjoy a regular use of sigils, often carrying them for long periods of time or tucking them into related objects only to find them weeks or months later with surprise.  Their work makes my work so much easier.

As you can see, developing your style is mostly about introspection and working within the systems you naturally have in place.  Knowing yourself and the kinds of magic with which you're most comfortable and confident is invaluable as you seek your own distinct approach to your practice.  I suggest that if you have a hard time with any of these topics that you take a few weeks to a month to journal and contemplate your thoughts on them before you begin making any changes.  Write down all the questions I have posed here and don't go any further until you can answer them with in depth.

Remember while you're making these adjustments that you're not the first magic user on earth; you can--nay, should--work with the research and time-tested spells of those who have gone before you.  Starting from scratch should only be something you need to do if there is no reliable information available to cover your situation.  Otherwise, you're simply finding ways to perform existing spells with added bumpers of your own inspiration.  Look for the empty spaces in a spell and fill them with more associations such as color, music, words, symbols, formulas, incense, and additional components.

Think about how others would describe you as a practitioner.  What would they notice about your magic?  What about you stands out as individual?  What do you do that is your own, that is apart from your influences and your peers?  Build up the aspects of your practice by which you wish to be known.  Your style is how you will be remembered by coven mates, students, and your children.  Be sure that you are cut a indelible figure from which they can find inspiration long after you are gone.

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The Serious Business of Choosing a Magical Name

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

Sure, magical names are fun.  They reflect what we find powerful and exciting, giving like-minded folks a taste of our personality and what drew us to magic in the first place.  They're a good way to overwrite our given names which can feel dull or too common for ritual use.

When they're chosen by a teacher, they're even more thrilling.  Names bequeathed on you hold a sort of street cred with other practitiners.  You've been through proper training and received initiation through means that most of us have not.  Don't be shy about flaunting it!  The use of such a name can reflect a special sort of faith in yourself by dint of the faith your teacher had in you, as well as the respect you hold for that teacher.

In a pragmatic way, names can be useful.  Their original purpose, it is said, was to hide one's true identity so that one could never be handed over to authorities.  That can still work for us today.   Though we are far beyond the grasp of witch hunters, some practitioners do still face the threat of bosses, ex-spouses, and influencial relatives discovering their "secret" and using it against them.  Please note that all of these things are illegal and it is my firm belief that we stand up against such devious tactics by boldly displaying our beliefs and practices without shame.  However, if your situation seems to prevent this, having a name that you use only amongst practitioners can be a great ally.

As a code, a connection, a secret door that opens in your to let the magic out, your name can iuld a stronger bond between yourself and your Gods or guiding spirits.  It is part of what attaches you to the hidden world.  Keep it safe and use it only in those instances that bring the most benefit to you and your work.

Now you can see what I mean by the serious business of names.  There are many ings to consider before you take a new name, and many more when assessing a name you have hand for years.  Let's take a look at the most important aspects.

It is Your Definition

Most folks choose their name based on what most interests them about witchcraft.  It is a sign of the kind of power they wish to embody, the things they want to learn, where they want magic to take them.

Before taking a name, ask yourself if you can be summed up.  What words are your inspiration?  What is your drive?  What do you choose to be the totality of the magical side of yourself?  Yes, these things can be expressed in just a word or two.  Keep trying until you find them.

I've never had a hard time figuring out who I was or what I wanted.  It was easy, therefore, to choose a theme for my magical name at my official initiation in 2001.  I went through the motions of making my committment to magic and the Gods I worshipped because I'd been doing it for many years already, but taking a name was something I did with the greatest of care.  Even though I knew what I wanted my name to say about me, I still gave it long and thougtful consideration before making my decision.  The name I took expressed the parts of my personailty that I wanted to come to the forefornt.  Always a cage rattler, I never shied from a battle and was often found debating issues about which I had little interest, simply for the fun of the kill.  By this point, however, I was a wife and new mother and ready to let a still strong but calm side of me show.  So I named myself for the power of flexibility, compromise, and secret storms.  It was just what I needed at the time.

It Can Shape Your Future

Magical names are rarely thought of as limiting but it is quite true.  Because they are your aspirations, there may come a time when the goal they posit has been achived.  What then?  Well, now you have your limit.  You have grown into your name, expanding to its greatest dimensions, but further.

This may sound like a bad thing, but it really isn't.  First, there are a shockingly low number
of magical people who work long and hard enough to reach their ultimate goals.  Consider yourself quite lucky to be one.  Second, realize that many things go into building our experiences and not all of them are what we expected to find when we set out.  Perhaps you set your sights too low and your name's aspirations were easy to achieve.  Reach high next time.  Strive for something truly great.  Or maybe your name was sufficiently ambitious but you just got a wonderful set of opportunities that brought you to the finish line early.  Don't complain about that!  Start again with a new plan and hope that fortune willl favor you a second time.

I learned firsthand how much a name can shape you.  My flexible, yielding name overstayed its welcome and this tigress became toothless.  I stopped sticking up for myself at all.  I became too easy to get along with and my kindness was abused by employers, relatives, and friends.  Even after all these years, I'm still working myself away from the patterns this set for my reactions.

My best advice is to never keep a name so long that it begins to do you harm.  Go into that name knowing what potentials lie within for negative expressions and step away as soon as they begin to manifest.  I waited; you shouldn't.

It Must Change as You Change

So it's clear that you've got to take a new name now and again.  That's something I've not heard many practitioners discuss.  Maybe it's simply because our names become a convienece.  They're the way we are known in the community and we keep them for ease of use with others.  I totally understand.  This is why having both a public and a private name is helpful.  If your old name is what you're called by your coven, what gets shouted out across the festival grounds, or what you use in business, teaching, or online interactions, by all means hold onto it.  If you have seriously outgrown it, though, create a new one that better expresses your position and use it in more intimate settings.

You may require a new name only a few years after choosing one initially, or you may never see the end of the original.  It's only important if there's signs that it's not enough.  If you have reached sufficiently high and made connections sufficiently deep, you may be called by one name your whole life.

As for me, I didn't use my old name much so I didn't often consider it as being so out-of-touch with my current self.  Your own amount of usage will vary, of course, but for me it simply didn't come up as something I was ofen called.  I spent many of my early years (even once I was technically in the magical community and public about my practice outside it as well) without many physical interactions with other practitioners.  Online I was called by my sign-ons, not my magical name.  Offline, my only real use for it was for listing the source when writing and sharing spells with others.

It was only once it was obvious that my old name no longer fit that I took the leap to change  it.  I knew it was time because the old one seemed almost silly to me, a shade of my former self and the things she wanted to be.  So I finally took a new name that easily reflected the way I wanted to be now. I had feared the switch at first, but I quickly saw that the new name gave me more freedom, more expression, and a more useful position in my life.

Now that I am immersed in the community, I use my name a great deal more.  It's how I'm known to students, customers, and readers here and elsewhere.  It has become the new space for me to inhabit, with distant limits I may only see many, many years from now.

As you can see, careful choice is essential.  Use your well-crafted name often and use it well.  It's part of the will you work in the world and it can lead you to great places.  Open yourself to its influence and you can craft a version of yourself that is nowhere else so easily achieved.

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Quick Link: The Magical Benefits of Superstition

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

How Superstitions, Placebos, and Rituals Help You Achieve Your Goals

It's odd to me how many magic users are anti-superstition.  I happen to be a very superstitious witch and it has done me nothing but good.  How can I possibly believe in the unseen connections between spells and goals, between a person's signature and their self, between colors, herbs, and symbols and abstract ideas like love and prosperity, and not see the connection in superstition and reality?

Later, I will be writing on this topic further (and, indeed, I have an entire manuscript planned for investigating it) but for now, please enjoy this article which outlines just how superstition--and other seemingly "silly" behaviors and beliefs--can work in our favor.

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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