One thing I get asked a lot is about magical correspondents and how they relate to coming up with a spell or some variation on that theme. Mostly in the form of “Oh my God, I need hair of a lizard and deer’s tongue for this spell I found on line.” Which then mostly devolves into me explaining I have no idea what the author of that spell’s intent was, nor do I know every spell ever written and why it was written that way. I do my best to explain things in a quick elevator pitch overview.
Yes, ingredients for spells matter.
Yes, timing matters.
Yes, colors matters.
Yes, it is might be best to follow the spell exactly as it is written.
Yes, I know that website.
Yes, they are expensive.
Yes, they probably do know what they are talking about; they probably have spent years learning their craft.
NONE OF THAT MATTERS!
OK, so maybe all of that matters but here is the secret. NEED trumps everything else. Say it with me class, NEED trumps everything else.
OK, let’s start at the top. Most 101 books will tell you all about correspondents. I remember reading Cunningham’s book (and others) and obsessing over how to set up the Altar and where to stand and getting really worked up that I had to do it right. Not just right, but righter, or rightest! I’m not sure what I thought would happen? The floor would open up and swallow me whole? Or probably that it just wouldn’t work. So rule one: No matter what you do or don’t do magic doesn’t always work, or work the way you think it will. So relax.
OK now about those correspondents. Whenever possible you should try to follow them. Think of it as recipes. Others tried them and they worked, so if you can follow them it might increase your chances of it working. Follow the recipe and yum. Go off on your own and maybe good, maybe not.
“But I need a red candle and all I have is white and yellow.” Rule two: white and black can be substituted in almost every case. In almost every other case you can find a way to craft your spell to include what colors you have. It is about being creative.
“I need to do a spell but it is supposed to be on a waxing moon but that is in 8 days.” Again be creative. Let’s say you are doing a spell for increasing love, but it is the waning moon, how about removing obstacles that are in the way? Or as the moon fades so does self fear and doubt that may be self sabotaging you from seeing the love around you?
I can review Isaac’s laws of magic, you can read hundreds of books and visit thousands of websites but until you see NEED trumps everything then you will look for reasons not to do your spell-work instead of celebrating the work you have done. As the Goddess Nike said “JUST DO IT.”
Of course we sell ritual and spell supplies, and of course you should use them, but you need to invest in your craft. You need to learn how to write spells that mean something to you and as you go along you will begin to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. You will find out what resonates and what doesn’t. Spell work (much like piety) is an actionable thing. You just have to do it. Keep records and vet your successes and failures and over time you will find your magical voice. So yeah if you find some spell on line and you want to try it, do it but if you NEVER invest in really learning the art of spell crafting, then you will never be as successful and you can be.
Magic is like music. When you are learning music you are learning those boring scales and it is repetitive and doesn’t always sound good but you are building a musical vocabulary and training yourself to know instinctively which notes sound good together and what works and what doesn’t. Then after months of practicing one day you are able to begin to play things that are not just scales and practice items but music. Your hands just seem to know where to go and there is a flow to what you are doing. There are no short cuts. It takes practice.
Guess what? Magic is the same way. You study and read. You follow those recipes and practice. Sometimes it makes no sense but you just keep plugging along and then one day you realize you have this understanding of herbs and what several of them do and why you use them in certain spells, and the same with colors and you just kind of know what phase the moon is in and how to craft a spell to fit that phase and there is a flow to what you are doing.
Until then remember that if you have a NEED and you are creative in how you craft your spell then you can always find a way to do it even when you can’t find lizard hair or chicken whiskers.