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Red Deer




A Stag’s Vantage:  Sharing Spells
by Red Deer

“Why don’t you share you spells?” 

I’m asked this question constantly – largely due to the very prominent message on the front of my public BoS that says “What I'm placing on-line is not a Grimoire - if you're looking for spells, I'll save you the trouble {g}... there are none here.” 

So what is my refusal all about?  Actually, there is not a single, simple answer.  That I do not freely pass out spells is a reflection of and a derivation from many aspects of my Craft.  I’ll attempt to delineate them here, within three categories:  the learning curve, personal responsibility and power. 

Most of the time when I’m asked to share my spell work, I find that the person making the request in new to their path.  While I’ve no qualms whatever about sharing information with a seeker, I believe that there are steps to learning one’s Craft.  The early steps of this (in my opinion at least) include developing:

  • one’s ability to attain a state of deep meditation,
  • at least one familiar,
  • a personal concept of Universal Animism,
  • a broad understanding of the Law of Returns,
  • a personal cosmology,
  • a sense of the interrelatedness of directions, elements, personal attributes, and spirits and
  • a method of delineating ritual space along with a rationale for when it is / is not needed.

Working through the seven areas above is not enough to make one a Witch.  Such development represents what I consider the basis of being ready to attempt beginning spell work.  Emphasis on the words attempt and beginning.  And, as these topics minimally represent months of dedicated study, one can easily ascertain that I do NOT consider spell casting to be within the purview of the novice.  I tend to believe that any one brand new to a path who is more focused on obtaining spells that upon learning their Craft may well be undertaking their journey for all the wrong reasons.   

Next, assuming that a request for spells comes from someone who has demonstrated accomplishment in the areas I’ve outlined, comes the question of personal responsibility.  Being responsible for my own actions – both beforehand and after the fact – is a central aspect of my Craft.  To me, this means that before I take an action (whether magical or mundane) I plan.  Planning includes:

  • considering the antecedents of my action,
  • contemplating the motives which drive my action,
  • planning all of the components of my action,
  • anticipating the possible (intended and unexpected) outcomes of my action, and
  • intending to accept responsibility for any and all of these outcomes.

So, what does all this have to do with declining to share my spells with others?  Spell work is what makes my Craft Craft, rather than a philosophy, a religion or simply a path.  I believe that one who asks for spells rather than developing their own is short-circuiting any commitment to being responsible for the outcomes obtained.  Even if one engages all five aspects of planning before working a spell obtained in toto from another, the level of investment is likely to be far less than that involved when working up a spell of one’s own crafting.  Also, I am not one who holds with the idea that responsibility only need be extended to outcomes of intent.  One is responsible for all aspects of one’s actions – both intended an unexpected.  I seriously doubt that most drunks intend to kill people when they drive drunk.  I’d still never release them from responsibility for their actions, however.  I consider there to be no difference at this level between actions magical and mundane. 

Finally, what if a seasoned Witch were asking me for a spell?  While I’m dubious of the likelihood, the question does allow me to clearly illustrate my final point.  The power of a spell resides not with it’s static form and the accouterments required, but within the energy infused into it during both the planning and execution of the one casting it.  My spells are not obtained from others.  They are developed from my own personal understanding of:

  • seasonal cosmology,
  • solar and lunar cycles,
  • the resident energies of various mineral, plant and animal derivatives,
  • the power of thoughts, words, and ritual forms, and
  • the intricacies of reweaving the fabric of any given reality.

Since every aspect of my spells is derived from my own personal belief system – which may or may not overlap to varying degrees with the beliefs of another – they can not be predictably expected to produce the same (or in some cases even a similar) outcome if used by another.  I recognize that this is a point which Trad Witches will have serious disagreement with, because it is common practice to share spells derived from the Trad with new members as they become ready for such information.  There are huge differences in the sharing of Traditional spells among members of a coven and the giving of spells by one non-aligned Witch to another.  Coveners share the five elements of developing power which I’ve described – plus much more.  They work within a common system – in which myths, cycles, energies, words and forms carry the same meaning for each Witch.  Solitaires and even members of different Trads do not share the commonalities.  

The real story here – for me, at least – is not simply that I don’t share spells.  I believe that one truly needing to develop their Craft seeks knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  Casting spells is done from this basis.  The need to cast spells before attaining this reflects our culture’s instilled need for a quick fix, and represents dangerous ground to tread.  If you really want to be a Witch, find the freedom to set aside your desire to cast spells – to alter reality by will – until you’ve learned enough to understand that which you’d Craft…  to understand its relationship with the divine…  its potential effects upon both your inner and outer worlds…  its life above and beyond all that you naively consider spell casting to be.