Spellcraft: Level One

Welcome, Witches!

Spellcraft: Level 1 is the first part in a series on Spellcraft designed to create opportunities for you to explore Spellcraft from a beginner level and beyond. I will continue to add to this series over time, so keep an eye out for future courses in Spellcraft!

Witchcraft is all about Doing the Fucking Work. As such, I place Spellcraft in the advanced magick category. Effective Spellcraft requires you to be well practiced and proficient with certain skills including visualization techniques and basic energy work, such as raising, directing and grounding energy.

An understanding of Magickal Theory & Spellcraft is incredibly useful for the beginner when used in the right way. However, it can also be very distracting. If you find that interacting with the ideas, assignments and practices in this course is causing you significant distress or you start wanting to spend more time in the Spiritual realms than in the Physical one, it might be best for you to wait and return to this course when you have a bit more experience under your belt.

It takes commitment and discipline to become adept. You will get out of your Witchcraft what you put in to it. There are no shortcuts that result in you being a powerful Spellcrafter or magickal practitioner. Take this course at whatever pace you are comfortable with - but out of respect for me, the person taking the time to share what I know with you, and especially out of respect for yourself, don't sabotage your success by half assing it. Always whole ass your shit. I sed what I sed.

Spellcraft is both an art and a science. You'll find it comes easier to you if you approach it with a healthy sense of curiosity, skepticism and wonder.

Are you equal to the task? Shall we find out together?

Then let's begin!

But First…

Spellcraft: Foundations is the first class in the Spellcraft series. It is a pre-requisite for all the classes that follow.

This is a journey, a process.

I know the Spells and fancy techniques are what you really want to jump into, but there are steps you need to learn first, and we're just not gone rush this. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

So strap on your patience and set down your ego. Open yourself up to the wisdom and experience of the journey and the lessons you are about to learn.

I've created this space for you to be guided and supported as you practice, stumble and grow. I believe in you. Now is the time to believe in yourself.

Introduction to Magickal Theory

Magickal Theory is an incredibly complex topic. Before you can walk, you must crawl.

Crawling is the phase when our brains are creating an efficient network of neuron connections which helps us explore our world and gain new opportunities to learn new skills.

Did you know that if an infant doesn't learn to crawl properly it can affect everything from balance, properly formed hip sockets, strength and alignment of their spinal column and neck muscles, vision, hearing, and integration of reflexes, hand-eye coordination and ankle flexion, to cognitive function, problem solving and ease of learning? Even though a baby doesn't know it yet, each time they crawl is a step towards laying the foundation that all future skills will be built upon.

While you are no mere baby in life, you are creating a foundation for core advance skills in your magickal practice, and the stepping stones of understanding needed to facilitate this start with specific areas of awareness, knowledge and comprehension you may not realize are connected to the act of Spellcraft.

Magickal Theory is the necessary phase that comes even before crawling if you want to truly be proficient at Spellcraft. Before we crawl we are building an understanding of our environment and our body in a way that pushes us to explore our limits and challenge what we've learned to this point. A little bit like driving a car for the first time, you need to spend time understanding how each part of the machine works before you can put it all together and be ready to press down on the gas pedal.

If we neglect the meaningful learning that takes place before crawling, we miss key milestones that make us ready for the more complex developments. In this case, Magickal Theory is one of the most vital precursors to Spellcraft and essential to a solid foundation that all future skills are built on.

Now I know you're probably feeling impatient and eager to dive into spells. Hands-On Spellcraft techniques and lessons are a little further down the road of this new journey you're on. Don't fret, we'll get to them in this course in due time.

As we explore Magickal Theory together, I'll only merely be scratching the surface of possibilities we could cover. Since the goal is for you to get an introduction to Magickal Theory rather than a Doctorate, there will be many other magical theories we won't get to or cover in depth. Some Magical Theories are far more complex than what we can cover in a single course.

Magickal Theory is part of a solid Spellcraft foundation, and I am here to make sure you are able to explore enough diversity in these concepts so that you can hit the ground running when you're ready to dive into more personal research or exploration of your own.

Developing an interest in and a curiosity about Magical Theory is probably one of the best things you can do for your magick.

Scientific Principle

Remember back to your school daze when you learned about different science theories? Germ Theory, Theory of Relativity, Plate Tectonics Theory, Theory of Gravity, Theory of Evolution ... these ringing any bells? How about the Pythagorean Theorem from math class? (Be honest, how stressed are you feeling right now?) These theories were a result of scientific inquiry, or the scientific method.

Let's take a brief stroll back through Junior High for just a few minutes as we go through a mini-refresher on some of these concepts.

The scientific method is a process that scientists use to better understand the world around them. It includes a framework for explaining observations. I promise you'll see in just a bit how this is related to Magickal Theory and Spellcraft. Stay with me here.

Scientists use the scientific method to make observations, ask questions, and form a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a possible explanation for an observation. For example, you might observe the water in your pot is boiling and wonder why, what makes that happen? Then you might form ideas to explain why the water is boiling (hypothesis). But these are just ideas without any substance, and so you need to test your ideas to get more information (collect data), analyze it and draw a conclusion.

In order to test your ideas fairly, you would probably use a controlled experiment. A controlled experiment helps keep the conclusions objective rather than based on your feelings or preferences as the observer (subjective). What you want or hope to be true isn't factored in when using a controlled test. You (and others) can more dependably rely on your conclusions and trust them when you use a fair and objective standard of testing. Once something has been tested many different times by many different scientists, it can become a scientific theory. keep in mind that scientific theory is different than a scientific law, which describes what will happen every time under a particular set of conditions.

But let's backtrack just a bit to how you would actually conduct a controlled experiment. In a controlled study or experiment, only one variable is tested at a time. In the previous example, you're testing an idea about why the water is boiling, so you change just one variable. You have some choices here, including possibly changing the pot/vessel, moving the pot to a different location, using a different medium of liquid, changing the temperature of the room, etc. No matter what, though, you only want to change one thing, and leave the rest the same. If you changed everything it would be difficult to narrow down exactly what factor influenced your end result, and your experiment would be worthless. The thing you change is called the manipulated or independent variable.

In this scenario, the experimental group is the pot you are changing something for, let's say you change the stainless pot to an aluminum one. This is called the independent variable.

The control group is the pot that you leave alone and do exactly the same thing for- using the same pot, the same amount of water, the same cook-top, etc. This is the dependent variable. Now you have something to compare your results.

You'll manipulate the variable of the experimental group pot by choosing to change just one thing that makes it different from your control group pot. You'll analyze the data you collect and draw your conclusions. Most of the time the changes we make in these tests yield no measurable differences or new information. If you used twenty different types and sizes or cooking pots but kept all the remaining variables the same, you'd always end up with boiled water and be no closer to reaching a meaningful conclusion for why the water boils. You'd need to change just the right variable or eventually a combination of variables once you'd tested all single variables and eliminated them as factors in your hypothesis.

So what is Magical Theory?

Magical Theory is really not much different from the scientific theories based on the scientific method and processes you learned and used in science class.

The biggest difference is we aren't using contemporary science which focuses almost exclusively on the material aspects of reality to verify our observations and results. We can see a pot of water boiling, but it's much different to try and measure or document observations based on Spirit activity, communication with the Dead, raising energy, or psychic dreams.

We know the part of our work we call 'Magick' is not being done primarily on the material plane, but rather the other planes of existence, such as the Spiritual, Astral or Psychic planes. While we can utilize the Scientific method in our Spellcraft, a truly objective experiment is very difficult to achieve when we can't always duplicate our results, especially in front of others. Often what works well for us magickally or Spiritually ceases to behave or perform the same when outside observation is introduced. Spirits and Elements that we work for may not be especially keen to put on a show for people they don't know or work with. Sometimes our Magick works for us and us alone. It's not performative and it's not subject to peer review in the same way contemporary experiments are.

As Witches and magickal practitioners, Magickal Theory is in the end simply what we personally think about how Magick works. How you believe or think about the mechanisms for what makes your magick work may be very different from mine. There's no one-size-fits-all method. In this course, I'll cover several different theories but I won't shy away from where I've personally settled in my own beliefs about how magick works because it influences everything else that follows. In the end, you must decide for yourself what you believe and tailor your Spellcraft accordingly.

Now, let's acknowledge that just like in scientific disciplines, there is a marked difference between a theory and a fact. The theories we'll discuss in the coming lessons are by their nature unproven, as are all theories. We all know gravity exists, even though technically it can't be proven using the standard scientific methods, so it remains a theory.

These are things that have been observed by practitioners as having a correlated relationship with positive effects in our Magick, however, since we can’t utilize hard data-driven science in the realm of Magick at this time, none of this is proven fact. This means that there is a great amount of debate about magical theory. There’s nothing wrong with this lack of consensus! In fact, participating in discussions and debates about Magickal Theory helps us to progress our understanding of Magickal Theory as a whole.

What this means is that you will need to bring your critical thinking skills to this course. I will be providing my thoughts and opinions about each of the theories that we’re going to be exploring but that doesn’t mean that you have to agree with me!

Almost nothing I will ever say is bible. Think for yourself! This means question everything, including the ways that your own experiences intersect with the theories that we’re going to be exploring. You have the responsibility to develop your own ideas and framework around the theory of magic.

It’s vital that you keep in mind that magickal theory is a way of explaining the mechanisms behind our lived experiences as Witches and magicians. It is not a way for us to limit or invalidate perfectly viable magical practices simply because they don’t correspond to a preferred theory. Science is the observation of reality, it does, not mold reality to fit its conclusions but rather seeks to create conclusions that explain the reality that we experience. Likewise, when we approach magick in a scientific fashion such as this, our theories must seek to explain the magickal reality that we experience rather than becoming a container that we try to fit our magkical practice into.

Finally, as stated earlier, the chapter of Magickal Theory is not a hands-on, practical course in magick (those chapters come later in this course). By necessity, it is an exploration of magick that takes place almost entirely in your head. I will pose many questions to you in this chapter intended to get you to think and challenge yourself. Don't neglect the mental work I'm asking you to do now just because you may not perceive it as sexy and exciting.

I highly recommend working through this class with a journal and a pen on hand so that you can take notes, answer questions, and explore your thought process concerning these theories.

I also highly recommend taking these theories and using them as discussion prompts with other Witches and magicians, both in online space and in real life. One of the best ways that we can expand our knowledge is by sharing our experiences and thoughts with others and listening carefully to the thoughts and experiences that they also have to share. The progression of human knowledge is a collective effort and there is value in sharing, discussing, debating and exploring these ideas in social settings.

Bridging Theory & Practice

With all my explanations about crawling and cognitive development, etc., you will hopefully understand by now that Magickal Theory isn't simply an intellectual, academic exercise for the sake of busy work. You will know by now that it greatly impacts your real-world witchcraft practice.

BUT, just in case you still aren't fully convinced and invested in building yourself a solid foundation starting with Magickal Theory, let's go through it once more from a slightly different angle.

To progress out of the beginner and intermediate stages of learning and into advanced witchcraft, the Witch must have an intimate understanding of Magkical Theory and how it relates to their practice. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that an advanced Witch should be able to troubleshoot and find solutions to magkical problems that they encounter during their Witchcraft practice. To troubleshoot your magkical working, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the underlying mechanisms that cause your magick to produce results. If your money spell doesn’t produce results and you aren’t sure how the spell was intended to produce results in the first place, you cannot effectively dissect and diagnose the source of the failure within that spell.

Second, to be advanced in Witchcraft, the Witch must be able to design their own spells, improvise in a way that is designed to achieve results (as opposed to being more of a ‘throw spaghetti at the wall” attempt at improvisation), and continue growing and evolving their own knowledge.

At the practical level, Magickal Theory offers you insight into the inner workings of your magick. While it may seem unnecessary if your only focus is using spells that others have created to get results in your own life, this understanding is invaluable for really taking your magick and control of your own life into your own hands.

Ask yourself...

What if you could reliably count on your magick to produce results 95% of the time?

What if you could troubleshoot every spell that fell flat or didn't perform to your expectations and fix it to quickly attain the results you desire?

Magickal Theory, while academic in nature, enhances the practical applications of our magick by giving us insight into the complexities of the forces that we are working with. While it’s entirely possible to own and drive a car every day and leave it at that, if you want truly great performance out of a vehicle it takes a serious amount of knowledge to know how to optimize the inner workings of the engine to achieve that.

This is what Magickal Theory does for your Witchcraft practice. It gives you a deep and specialized knowledge of the mechanics that we are all using on a day-to-day basis so that you can enhance the performance, results, and accuracy that you can get out of your magick as well as allowing you to take your magick places that no one has thought to take magick before.

The Magick of Science

Excerpt by Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941), The Golden Bough (1922):

'At the same time, it is to be born in mind that the primitive magician knows magick only on its practical side; he never analyses the mental processes on which his practice is based, never reflects on the abstract principles involved in his actions.

With him, as with the vast majority of men, logic is implicit, not explicit: he reasons just as he digests his food in complete ignorance of the intellectual and physiological processes which are essential to the one operation and to the other.

In short, to him magick is always an art, never a science; the very idea of science is lacking in his undeveloped mind.

It is for the philosophic student to trace the train of thought which underlies the magician’s practice; to draw out the few simple threads of which the tangled skein is composed; to disengage the abstract principles from their concrete applications; in short, to discern the . . . science behind the . . . art.'

Many people do not like bringing the subject of science into the world of Witchcraft and Magick. They say the two are antithetical, but I disagree. The fact that modern science cannot yet measure and mathematically observe the forces that we call magick does not mean that scientific thought has no place in this field. At one point in history, magnets were considered magick. Hell, if you go far enough back in history, science ceases to exist and magick is all that we had.

Magick is the word that we use for forces in our universe that we do not yet have a scientific explanation for. Not having a scientific explanation is the entire reason that science exists! Science exists to help us explain the world around us and while we may not yet have the technology necessary to measure magickal forces in a laboratory, that does not mean that scientific thinking is not a great benefit to those of us who have taken an exploration of magick upon ourselves.

This is why I encourage you to approach your magick in an exploratory fashion. When we treat our magick and our spells as experiments with observable results, we become pioneers in an as yet untamed frontier of human knowledge. That is why these theories are so exciting! They give us a set of unifying ideas through which to test and observe our magick, to tweak our understanding, and to explore the ways that we utilize our craft.

Not everyone will have an interest in treating their Witchcraft as scientific exploration. That’s perfectly fine! Approaching magick as a science does not mean that we have to lose all the joy, the heights of emotion, and the mystery of the craft in the process.

Rather, this is a way for us to intellectually dive deeper into the mysterious nature of Witchcraft and to lose ourselves in the ecstatic strangeness of this practice that we have been learning together. There is beauty and art in the understanding that scientific exploration introduces us to!

What is Magick?

Magickal Theory happens when we try to answer fundamental questions like...

  • Where does magick come from?