As we wrap up four months of the Grimoire Challenge, take a look back at your goals list. Have any of your goals changed? What have you accomplished? If you haven’t met a goal, what steps are to taking toward it? Has your idea of your practice changed at all? In what ways? Why do you think it’s changing? What are your thoughts and feelings on how far you’ve come?
Filling out my correspondence lists is definitely well on its way to completion. Or at least, being more thorough then it was previously. I’m sure it will always be a work in progress; it grows as my Craft grows. We’ve gone through many divination techniques so far, and I’m sure there are more to come. I might want to amend my goal. The idea of mastering one technique seems narrow minded to me now. “A jack of all trades, master of none. But better than a master of one.”
What are the differences between a ritual and a spell? Use at least three sources.
noun: spell; plural noun: spells
- a form of words used as a magical charm or incantation.
- a state of enchantment.
- an ability to control or influence people as though one had magical power over them.
noun: ritual; plural noun: rituals
- a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.
- the prescribed order of performing a ceremony, especially one characteristic of a particular religion or church.
- a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.
Those definitions (found with Google) basically sum of the difference between the two, so I’m not sure why I would need three sources. I guess they want a bit more detail about what they are and how they work, so here goes.
First and foremost, the Wikipedia article about rituals is absolutely amazing. So much information I was super stunned. And the bibliography and further reading are very well stocked. I’m going to paraphrase a bit of what I found most useful, but if you would like more info, definitely check out the page.
So a bit of etymology: “ritual” comes from ritualis which means “that which pertains to rite (ritus)”. Ritus was the proven way of doing things i.e. the “correct” way. In English in the 1600s it came to mean “the prescribed order of performing religious services”.
There are various characteristics of rituals. According to the wiki article, author of Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions (1997) Catherine Bell states the six characteristics as formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacred symbolism, and performance. Not every characteristic will be found in every ritual. But every ritual will have at least one of the characteristics mentioned.
There are also multiple genres of rituals. Those consist of rites of passage, calendrical rites, rites of communion, rites of affliction, rites of feasting, and political rites. Rituals can fall into more than one genre.
A break down of these characteristics and genres can be found at the Wiki page linked above.
So rituals in and of themselves don’t involve any kind of magic. You can, however, make rituals magical by doing spells.
Technically, the word “spell” has Germanic origins. But this particular definition comes from Old English spel, which means “narration”. As defined above, a spell is the ability to control or influence. So you are narrating – describing – what you wish to come about. This is done through energy manipulation. Energy is a force in the universe that can be directed, created, and controlled. We do this with a specific intent in mind to bring about a desired event.
Spells are controlled by certain “laws”. Not everyone agrees these laws exist, but they make a bit of sense. They are the law of attraction, hermetic law, law of reversal, the sympathetic laws of magic (which includes the law of contagion or contact and the law of similarity) and the law of repeatable achievements. This information I found at robjo dot wordpress dot com. The exact article- The Basic Laws, Rules, and Rights of Magic – is a great read. Long, and slightly elitist, but good none the less.
So in summary, a ritual is a ceremony generally used to honor something. A series of actions are done is a set order to raise power, create sacred space, change status, commemorate events, share values, and/or honor entities. A spell is the gathering of energies put toward a specific desire or intent.
Spell work can be done in the midst of a ritual. You can make a ritual out of your spell work. While many find them similar, they are not the same.
Write a cleansing spell. Document your process and results.
(To rid a space of negative energy)
Spearmint and/ or Pine cleaner
- Open windows and doors
- Start by physically cleaning the space
- Start away from door and work your way out
- Light sage bundle
- Sit in center of room and focus on desire
- Finger spell
- Visualize the space being cleared of all negativity
- Lay sea salt at window sills and door sills to keep the negative energy at bay
Write a cleansing ritual. Document your process and results.
- Salt water
- Sage* bundle
- Altar incense
- Altar candles
- Quarter candles
- Athame /Wand
- Anointing oil
- Candle snuffer
- Element symbols (fire salt, water, feather, crystal)
Add more incense.
This night is a night of cleansing. I ask of the moon it’s help in clearing away all negative energy.
Have moonlight enter room as best it can.
This night is a night of cleansing. I ask of the elements their help in clearing away all negative energy.
Face North and salute holding crystal.
Element Earth of the Northern Watchtower, give strength to this space, that it may be resilient against negative energy.
Place crystal between two candles.
Face East and salute holding feather.
Element Air of the Eastern Watchtower, give balance to this space, that it may be stable against negative energy.
Place feather between candles.
Face South and salute holding fire salts.
Element Fire of the Southern Watchtower, give power to this space, that it may be protected against negative energy.
Sprinkle salts in a circle around both candles.
Face West and salute holding water.
Element Water of the Western Watchtower, give purity to this space, that it may be cleansed against negative energy.
Meditate on cleansing auras until the space feels free of negative energy.
This space is clear. So it shall be.
How did your ritual vary from your spell.
So the most notable difference: the ritual is much longer than the spell. The ritual is more complicated and takes more time to set up. There is also space within the ritual to do more spell work, geared toward further cleansing of the space or person or whatever is desired.
The spell focuses on ones own energies for cleansing the space. The ritual, on the other hand, calls on various spirits or entities to help cleanse. I appease the entities, give them thanks or sacrifice, before asking for their help (see rites of affliction and rites of communion).
There is also a sense of symbolism within the ritual that I don’t find within the spell. The calling on the Watchtowers and use of certain candles specific to the task. There is a prescribed order. I wrote it this way and I find that it works. Now I will continue to use this ritual, as I have “proven” it to work.
The spell might have worked, but I won’t necessarily use that exact spell next time. Maybe another will work better for me the next time around. It all depends on my needs at the given moment.
Choose an herb to study. It may be an herb that you already have a list of correspondences for or it may be a brand new herb. Get to know the herb; research it. What are the positive aspects of this herb? What are the negative aspects of this herb? What can you do with this herb? What can you make with this herb? Learn everything you can about this herb. If you like, you may research more than one herb.
Black pepper – Piper nigrum // Family:: Piperaceae
- Respiratory decongestant
- Large amounts taken orally can end up in the lungs and cause death
- Redness and burning if placed in the eyes
Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus obliqua // Family:: Myrtaceae
- Bronchitis treatment
- Arthritis treatment
- Asthma treatment
- Undiluted oil unsafe for topical application and oral consumption
Lemongrass – Cymbopogon schoenanthus // Family:: Poaceae
- Citrus flavor
- Anxiety reducer
- Nasal congestion
- Headache relief
- Lung problems after inhalation
- Poisoning upon ingestion