When Spells Fail: A Magickal Slap in the Face
Article ID: 13435
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: September 6th. 2009
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This article requires a somewhat lengthy disclaimer. I will begin by saying that it is a chronicle of personal experience. Personal experiences care nothing for morals or ethics and they often reveal how very naturally unethical the human person is. That said, I do not think I acted unethically in the incident recorded here. I believe that in certain situations one is entitled to test the boundaries of Pagan morality and reflect someone’s ill intent back in her face. Still I do not advise that anyone act maliciously or offensively against any other being in existence. Defensive magick is all I presume to use here.
My grandmother and I do not get along. That is to say, we get along until the subject of conversation becomes my religion or lack thereof. It is her conviction that I am a godless hell raiser and that I waste my nights away in a smoky temple consorting with the devil. There is a seed of truth to her misconception. I do not subscribe to her brand of godliness and I do indeed spend my nights in the incense-laden air of my basement temple evoking spirits and plunging into trance.
I nevertheless fail to defend myself adequately enough in these arguments to dodge her insistence that she pray for me. I am, after all, a Witch. No matter how hard I try to explain all the linguistic and contextual problems of Biblical law regarding non-Biblical religions, still she prays.
Now after the few years of magickal training I have under my belt, I possess a rather keen sense of when my energy is being tampered with. In fact, I experience an invasion of my spiritual self quite tangibly. In one incident, a dream showed me that someone had tampered with a spell and that it was going to backfire - which it did.
In the past I have dealt with these intrusions with simple protection rituals, shielding, warding, and the like. Lately, however, my grandmother’s prayers have turned from pleas for guidance to attacks on my magick. She is praying that I abandon my path and follow hers.
As a person who does not believe that I am invincible in the arms of the Old Gods, I feel her pleading with the angry storm god and his son like a knife in my young Anahata Chakra. It is no longer an issue for simple circles, there has to be some end to the madness.
I determined to send her prayers back to her a long time ago but I never felt bombarded enough to do anything dramatic. Tonight I actually attempted a spell. My grandmother, a more experienced sorceress than I, won this battle. And this is how I know this to be true:
When I was collecting rainwater in today’s thunderstorm, all was well. I planned to use the water as a base for my “Prayer Deflection Spell.” When I collected it into two milk bottles, one bottle was filled with suds. It had not been properly rinsed after being washed. This frustrated me but did not strike me as a bad omen just yet - not even as I watched it disappear down the drain. As I began my spell, everything seemed to be going OK.
Nothing in my temple threw itself off a shelf or exploded. The charcoal, however, would not light. This happens sometimes but after several attempts, it fell apart all over the floor. That usually does not happen. I cleaned up the mess.
The second piece lit after much agitation and blackened fingers. The incense, a mixture of herbs with qualities properly researched ahead of time and measurements counted carefully for numerical significance, smelled awful. I might as well have burned spinach leaves. Stomaching the odor, I got on with my spell.
Finally, when I raised all the power I could handle and released it into my potion, I thought I had got myself by all the obstacles. But as I went to pour my mixture into its bottle, most of it preferred the floor.
In cleaning up, I realized what happened and thought that maybe my spell failed because of its moral nature. As every well read Witch knows, this cannot be the case because even intentionally harmful spells such as curses work! I concluded that my workings that night were vexed, not wrong, and that the power I tried to contend with beat me. (Let me remind you here that this is not a Witch War and I have no intention of starting such a conflict with my Christian grandmother.)
Now this is the first time I have ever come up against an offensive force and lost. Usually my feeling of defensive righteousness is enough to get me through. But I think I know the true source of my failure. My spell involved too many ingredients, too many steps, and too many incantations. I still need to stop this magickal attack from my fundamentalist foe in the apartment above my garage, but this is not the right way to go about it. While I do not find it necessary to change my approach to be less aggressive, I think simpler will work better. I want her to know, without me telling her, that there is something happening to her prayers for me. Maybe then I will not have to fight them off again.
That said I still have a half good bottle of Prayer Deflection Water sitting among my oils and salves. I plan to do with it as I think any experienced practitioner would and ground all my frustration while pouring it out on the Earth tomorrow.
I will not ask for forgiveness or excuse myself for failing but I have learned a valuable lesson about planning and conducting spells. I am also humbled, as I hope you will be, to know that I am not invincible and that there are powers in the world that are out to get us.
I am quite convinced that we have every right to send them back to their masters in rites of defense that, hopefully, manifest learning experiences for the attackers.
Copyright: Copyright 2009 Josh Berkowitz
Location: Easton, Massachusetts
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