Proud to be a
[K. L. Dugery, and
September 14, 2011
None of the
material here may be reproduced in any format without express permission
of K.L. Dugery, the Clan of the Dragon, and EbonDragon Productions.
Prayer vs. Spell Work
by J'Karrah, 2010
You hear a lot about this in Pagan circles, especially when dealing with a
potentially fearful public wondering exactly what it is Pagans, Wiccans, and
Witches are up to. Even as people try to put a skeptical face on the whole
notion of magic, there remains a little nugget of doubt. "What if they are
right? Can they really hurt me or my family?" A couple of the more innocuous
questions. More dangerous ones delve into worries over Hollywood style devil
worship, human sacrifice, etc. So to sooth the trouble brow of the general
public and to convince people that modern Witches are basically harmless there
came the claim that "all spell work and magic is just like a prayer." People
understand prayer. It's familiar. Safe.
Well, guess what? It's also not entirely.... accurate.
Yes, there is a segment of magical practice that is tied to prayer. Religious
magic is universal across all faiths regardless of whether they acknowledge it
as "magic" or not. The Catholic Mass is a classic example of ceremonial high
magic that calls on the divine power of deity to intervene and shape the course
pr perceptions of reality... the classic definition of magic... in order to
transform wafers and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Another example is
a consecration ritual where a Witch calls down the power of the gods to bless
themselves and their tools, transforming a regular goblet into a Chalice, a
fancy stick into a Wand.. What makes these forms of spell work "the same thing
as prayer" is that they call on the direct assistance and/or intervention of
deity, or they involve communing with deity on some level.
But I would venture to guess that the form of prayer most commonly practiced is
non-religious in nature. It does not directly involved the action or
intervention of deity. When you use your own energies to influence and shape
your own reality. THAT is magic. That is power. And that is what
non-practitioners don't understand and hence what they fear.
If deity is involved, and that deity is kind, loving and benevolent, the caring
Father God, the nurturing Mother Goddess, like most modern Pagans claim then
like any other good parent they will give their children what they need if not
necessarily what they want. Plus, judging by popular experience, most people
agree that the majority of prayers asking for changes in the fabric of reality
go unanswered. So if Jesus rarely answers *their* prayers, they can rest
comforted that the Moon Goddess will rarely answer mine, making witchcraft and
magic no more reliable than Sunday morning prayer. It's a natural assurance that
we are all in the same boat when it comes to being powerless to actually direct
the course of our own lives, that all we can do is muddle through with whatever
life throws at us because "God" is actually in charge of our lives, not us.
Prayer, even in the form of religious magic, is asking deity to intervene on our
behalf. It implies that only people who believe in deity can work magic. If
there is no deity to pray to, then prayer and religious magic are nothing more
than mental masturbation.
"Secular" or non-religious spell work does not involve asking for the
intervention of deity on our behalf. Spell work is deliberately and precisely
gathering the ambient energies around us, raising and concentrating our own
personal energies, maybe combining those energies together with the energies of
crystals, herbs, candles and directing it into the universe in order to achieve
a specific change in reality... ours or someone else's. Spell work is taking
charge of our lives directly and personally. It is the ultimate expression of
personal responsibility. It is not necessarily discounting the existence of the
divine. It's saying to the universe that "I am the captain of my own life. My
successes and failures are my own."
The difference between religious magic/prayer and spell work is asking "Lord
help me do well on this interview so I can get this job" versus charging a
quartz crystal for strength, confidence and eloquence and wearing a blue tie
(blue enhances communication skills) or yellow shirt (yellow for stimulating the
intellect, and to draw in success). In this case you are using your own energies
and combined with the energy of the crystal and the vibrational energies of
specific colors to help influence the outcome of the interview without relying
on the external intervention of God/dess.
Now before anyone gets upset that I am somehow implying that one is somehow
superior to the other, I'm not. There is nothing wrong with preferring religious
magic over "secular" spell work. I use both depending on the circumstances. All
I am trying to do is get people to think about the inaccuracy of automatically
telling people that prayer and spell work are exactly the same. They may both
have the potential to change reality, but the methods are actually quite