Written by Avery Woodbury
Ritual Magick refers broadly to different procedures used to channel spiritual force with an expected outcome. The need to be aware and conscious of how these systems work is essential because religious groups, marketing firms, educational institutions, entertainers, politicians, and law enforcement practice rituals and spell casting to channel energy and use it against others.
The common misconception that ritual magick is performed always in some form of circle with candles, ceremony items, and robes is false. Energy is always being transferred between people, animals, things, and other energetic forces. Actions and words have a heavy imprint on the energy around us that affect anything that passes through it. Ritual Magick can be split into two separate categories. The first will be called “Passive Ritual Magick” and the second will be called “Active Ritual Magick.”
Passive Ritual Magick
Passive ritual magick refers to daily routines that share and exchange energy such as watering the flowers. When a person tends to or cares for life there is not just energy given but also energy exchanged. For being watered, the flowers send an energetic exchange, or “thank you” for tending them. This example of ritual magic provides a blessing to the caretaker. People who are consciously practicing passive ritual magic are trying to increase their frequency by gesturing to the universe and smaller gods competence for a task and should therefore receive blessings to assist the journey. Religious practices such as Catholicism are great examples for passive ritual magick.
When performing passive ritual magick, the intention isn’t a specific request or demand but a reflection of adhering to code. The universe will treat people depending on how well they handle the elements around them in life. Making this mutual investment with the universe will help manifest the destiny for both eternity and the practitioner. Many students of The Craft call this practice “white magick.” This field of magick is fitting for most practitioners because it constantly supplements and replenishes life’s experience by meditating on fundamental principles and intention. The next form of ritual magick on the other hand, is not for everyone.
Active Ritual Magick
This is an important disclaimer all should heed carefully before reading further. Active ritual magick, referred to as “black magick” by some students, is dangerous. In practice your soul steps “out of place” while performing rituals and your soul may wander and never get home. It may become consumed by a demon. You open yourself up to potential possession and having your soul stolen. For most people, the potential risks outweigh the potential positives. This practice is for people who know themselves and commit themselves towards a great work.
The goal of ritual magick is to make alliances and networks within the spirit realm. Active ritual magick uses arrangements, tools, speech and symbols to exalt the spell caster to a realm or set a beacon for a consciousness to come to theirs. Practitioners typically seek five types of outcomes: knowledge, enchantments, evocations, invocations, or servitude.
Categories of Active Ritual Magick
Certain deities are keepers of knowledge. Whether they be sacred words, spells, technique, or guidance, beings that far outlive humans have the opportunity to pursue more talents and are therefore more knowledgeable.
The Purpose of an enchantment is to imbue powers or receive a blessing from a deity into an item. These have a variety of uses and not all blessings come “clean”.
Evocations are cast to change the outer world, or to invite deities to be with us, but not within us.
Invocations are cast to call deities within the spell caster. This allows for shared consciousness.
Seeking servitude from a deity means conforming the being to your will. This is the most dangerous practice because like people, other worldly beings don’t want to be forced into servitude. Evaluate your reasons and the risk of this practice before seeking what may be the end of your soul.
An example of an active ritual is a farmer who is looking for guidance from a deity/spirit to improve their crops and knowledge of earth science. They will provide an offering of themselves, their own spirit, and some form of sacrifice with symbols and gifts appealing to the deity looking to be contacted. The Deity, if they choose to appear, will accept or reject the request based off of many stipulations. They will evaluate the soul, the imbued energy of the tools, symbols, and sacrifices around the ritual, and the intent of the caster. If all goes well, the farmer will get the rewards they seek from the Earth spirit/deity. If not, reactions can vary greatly.
If one is lucky in rejection, the force contacted will say “sorry, not today” and leave the practitioner alone. It’s important to remember a spirit or a deity might be busy. Knock on someone’s door, one can’t know what the inhabitant has to transition from to answer the door. Catching the wrong being on the wrong day and in the wrong mood with a botched offering and little knowledge of the spirit/deity's realm and no self defense prepared is a one way ticket for the ritual caster to lose their soul. Traveling and interacting in the spirit realm is no joke and should not be taken lightly. If the farmer in the above example held a high vibration and exemplifies the ideals of the force they were contacting, they should expect good results.
Tools and Ceremony Items
Many tools are used when performing active ritual magick. The four traditional ceremony items in western hermetic philosophy are wands, cups, swords, and coins. In divination items such as tarot, runes, dice, and tea leaves are used to receive information or make contact. Singing bowls and bells are great for clearing and cleaning energy before starting rituals. For defense from faulty rituals or aggressive beings, active ritual magick practitioners will cast or draw circles for protection. Gemstones, blessed items and charms are also used to protect the soul.
The Ceremony Items
While divination magick channels messages and energies into this realm, the ceremony items are essential for exploring the outer realms.
In the same way a copper rod is conductive to electricity the wand should use wood to channel spiritual force. There is no restrictions to the size, style or type of wands someone use It is recommended that a relationship with the wand be strong so that the wand may become an extension of the body. This way energy can travel towards the caster or away from the caster and interact with the spirit realm. The spell casting is done with the wand because it concentrates the caster’s energy into a type of beam or activates a transmission.
Don’t overthink how to handle a wand. Bring it to yourself to bring attention to your soul, point up for the above, down for the below, and point towards contexts (Items, people, or locations). Wands are useless in the hands of people who don’t understand their own spiritual power. A worthy practitioner doesn’t need a wand to cast, but wands enable stronger accuracy and concentration. The wand is the most important tool to a mage. It provides defense, activation, guidance, and energy reserves; all very helpful in the spirit world.
Real life and the spirit world, swords are used to cut down enemies. Walking into a demon’s den unarmed is foolish. Swords, like wands, should resonate with the practitioner like an extension of the body to be most effective. The blade of the sword is not important, but the strength embedded within. Swords are used primarily for banishing spells and psychic defense. They can be used both outside of or within a drawn circle to cast away spirits. Confront the enemy spirit with a squared confident stance. First address the undesired force commanding from the power invested in thyself to banish them, then swipe in the air three times, the number of the trinity. If the caster is strong within the banishing process will be effective. Other than for banishing spells, swords hold minimal purpose in rituals.
Joys, pleasures, comforts, and satisfaction. In rituals, cups are used to share life force. Offerings may be taken or received through cups. They stand as a kind gesture, and are interchangeable with a peace pipe (certain spirits or deities might prefer one or the other).Cups go well with offerings and is something a deity or spirit notice; “is this someone I can vibe with?”
Cups are often essential for closing the deal in the spirit world. Something to celebrate with after helps boost relations.
Consider the ritual coin to be the spiritual credit card. After an agreement is made the ‘debt’ part of the agreement is embedded in the coin. Someone who pays their debts has strong credit, or reputation in the spirit world. Traditionally this object is a coin but it doesn’t have to be, it may be a key, memento, jewelry, or whatever has transnational value to the practitioner.
Do you Need tools to practice Magick? Of course not. Just like how you don’t need shoes to walk or an ax to cut down a tree. There are very talented mages who can perform incredible feats spontaneously with resources. A premeditated ritual however should take every precaution to put the odds in the practitioner’s favor.
What about what books to read? What about what forces to start working with? The magick techniques developed by others work for them and their system of magick. The best lessons in magick come from novels, fantasy, and science fiction and not guide books. The Craft must be developed by being one’s own prophet, or the individual’s relationship with nature and the self.
The mage who seeks out their own resources, makes their own tools, and navigates the universe on their own notes is the most efficient. One who begins seeking spirits will realize spirits have already found them, and have been with them for quite some time. Once you receptive to the connections of a being, the ritual proceedings will be clear.