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© Storm Genevieve Black 2015. All Rights Reserved

“Root of hemlock dug at dark,

wing of bat and tooth of shark

Eye of newt and lizards tongue,

dragons scale, this spell be done!”

While reading those four lines you have instantly conjured up an image of a Witch stirring her cauldron while throwing all manor of body parts in to it. Witches have been portrayed in the media as everything from the insightful crones of Shakespeare's Macbeth, to the evil mother in laws of many fairy-tales, to the lonely sisters looking for love while trying to come to terms with their gifts, to the teenagers who have as much control over their powers, as they do over their emotions. Magic itself is a very mysterious and misunderstood tool.

“I bind you from doing harm Nancy, harm against other people and harm against yourself.”

Yes it really is part of a binding spell (although trying to invoke a made up God named after a film company is not going to work so well), but there is more to casting this spell than just repeating those lines.

So what is magic anyway? How can we explain it so that people don't continue to misunderstand it, and even fear it? There are several theories on this. The occultist S.L. Mathers defined magic as “the science of the control of the secret forces of nature”. Magic could also be defined as the power which causes an event to change or happen on demand. Many things have been labelled as magic in the past because the natural laws which allowed them to happen had not yet been discovered, in the case of hypnosis and telepathy for example. One of the most recent theories suggests that the act of magic consists of focusing and transmitting electromagnetic energy. This use of energy, which has been called “the Odic force” does not appear to be dependant on any particular religion. Indeed there are traces of magic to be found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and all other major religions. Witchcraft however differs from other religions by believing that everyone has the ability to use their own visceral energy. That illogical, nonrational energy is inherent in all of us rather than some gift which is handed to only a few in some divine act of generosity. This is not to say that everyone can be a witch, any more than everyone with fingers can play the piano. Neither is it to suggest that all witches choose to develop their energy field to a conscious level. To be able to see, hear, feel and/or communicate with those in another realm. Some witches are happy to use this ability unconsciously or intuitively. They focus more on other aspects of their craft. Put simply magic is the ability to harness the energies of the universe and use them to alter the web of life to achieve a desired outcome. In Traditional Witchcraft we draw on the the elemental forces of nature to assist in this. Traditional Witches have always understood the environment around them. The stability of the Earth, the life's breath that is Air, the passions of the Fire and the nourishment of Water, all of which sustain us and allow all of us to exist. Witches use these Elements in their magic. This is where witches differ from other people, they simply study and use the elements of nature and energies of the universe in a systematic fashion. Trying to explain how or why a spell works however, is like asking a philosopher to explain the operation of what is called “thinking” It simply can not be done. Magic is like electricity and the Witch is simply pressing the on switch. It will on the instigators behalf, do the deed requested, but there will remain a little bit of you in every spell you cast. A witches craft is not supernatural. It does not break the laws of nature. If anything it is hyper-natural, it is so firmly rooted in nature we simply can not uncover it, and as such it remains a mystery. We can no more explain it than we can explain why one person may be a gifted artist, while another will be a gifted mathematician. One thing is for certain though, there is very little Eye of Newt used in spells these days.

Written by Storm Black 2015.