The past 2 months I've been reading various books, some for personal study, some for reviews, some for research, and the thing that has been surfacing a lot in these readings is about spell work. More than the spell work itself is something that has been not only perplexing me, but annoying me.
There has been a great lack of explanation relative to spells. Like any sincere practicing Witch, you grow tired seeing spell book after spell book being published that has no substance, that lacks a common explanation about not only why certain ingredients are being used and their ultimate purpose, but when and how to do a spell. More importantly, why certain spells should not be done.
The area this is most noticeable is in love spells. Book after book (crap after crap) is out there for the naive and the sincere simply looking for love. Companionship and, oftentimes, loneliness is an easy target for these publishers and authors looking to make a quick buck. It's appalling, and it doesn't give me much hope for what else is to be released.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with spells, or even love spells for that matter, but why have we lost focused, never mind as a society, but as spiritual beings on what true aspect of love we must manifest? Let's not forget one of the most poignant lines in "The Charge of the Goddess":
"...for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without."
The true Mystery of all of this, be it love, prosperity, protection, is Self. WE are the Mystery, WE are the One, no distortion between Self and Divine, and yet we look outside of ourselves for something we feel is not within. It's sad.
It's an issue of dysfunctional programming. To decipher where that programming stems from, the journey into the Self must begin, peeling away those layers bit by bit, without buying into the notion that if something comes up that we don't like or no longer "need" that we just "get rid of it". "Getting rid" of aspects we manifested for ourselves is in essence getting rid of ourselves. The hollow takes over, and the dysfunction in the shadows reigns, and we are left with an emptiness that isn't equivalent to what Buddhists seek, it's an emptiness that feeds us a belief that we are lacking, and we turn without, believing that we don't possess the Mysteries within.
The most recent books that I have been reading have particularly delved into the love area of spells, telling you to write the names of the one you desire, casting a spell, and then awaiting your lover to come. In general I am quite disinterested in any books relative to spells as a whole, though I do appreciate the kind of spells that I vibrate with: empowering the Self, building stronger connection to the Divine, etc. Those kinds of spells relate more to my practice of devotion, though these are few and far between, they don't seem to make for good sellers in the publisher's eyes.
I had a conversation recently with another Pagan friend about spell work and in particular these love spells I have been reading about and my thoughts of how unethical it is to promote such spell work, with complete disregard for karmic law, or worse, thinking that sharing the one line in the Wiccan Rede "an it harm none, do as ye will" is somehow enough of a disclaimer for the sometimes uninformed reader. It's not! It's not nearly enough.
I looked at it from my personal point of view, of someone possibly reading this book, attempting to cast a love spell on me. There were other irresponsible spells that went as far as to "secretly" feed things to the one you desire. Anyone else thinking of the chocolates Harry Potter received, or Mad Eye Moody and his flask? Fiction, yes? But one never knows the desperate attempts of someone following what they believe is good advice.
Her response to this, my annoyance and disgust? She claimed that if the person the spell is intended for has strong will, has their shields up, is in tune with the Universe that they won't be affected by the spell at all, so the point is completely moot. So that's it? The end? You cast a spell and it's heads or tails on the outcome, if another person is the target it's a game of who has the stronger will? What becomes of, then, for those who perform hexes? If one hexes a rapist to stop their horrific actions, could this be equated to the same will and supposed "strength" of who will be affected and not?
It's often a blurry line of ethics in spell work, and the Wiccan Rede will only guide you so far. After all, if you want to get philosophical about it, can one really "harm none"?
As these studies and reviews plug along, it's been a good exercise in personal desire, stemming back to the Charge and empowering the Mystery within, in hopes that the next generation cultivate their own sense of awareness and strengths from within and utilize what some of these amazing (and even crap) books have to offer: a guideline, a suggestion, not a rule book of how to be or how to practice.