Many people ask me, ‘How long does it take for a spell to work?’ This is a tricky question but it’s also a very valid one. The length of time is going to vary from person to person and will depend on how you cast the spell, the clarity of your energy, your intent, and the amount of follow-through work you do. The more patient you are, the more trust you pour into your energy around the spell, the more magickal your spell will be. Even though timing varies from spell to spell, for many spellcasters the impact is immediate and begins the moment the decision to cast, and to cast well, is made. With every action, from gathering water to lighting a candle, the magickal energy of your spell grows and gathers, ready to be directed towards your purpose. All this energy is generated before you have even cast your magickal circle. And when you go on to cast, then back up your spell with the energy of trust and patience, powerful results soon manifest.
It’s easy enough to know whether a spell has worked. You may feel different immediately after casting your spell. That’s because you have changed your energy. The results continue to build when you consistently align yourself to that changed energy. So, in a spellcasting like that, where the results are felt and your world changes, you could say that the spell worked right away. Now, the impact of other spells may begin to manifest very slowly, very subtly. If a spell’s results are consistent over time or over several moon cycles and real clear change has been created, it can definitely be said to have worked. But most spells with an ‘outcome’ kind of purpose – for example, a spell to create a new job, a spell to become more abundant, a spell to attract new friendships – these kinds of spells can take up to three moon cycles to work and their effectiveness will require persistent energy.
The working of magick, and the casting of spells requires patience and trust. And the amount of time it may take for you to see results is also directly tied in to how you deal with this question of ‘how long’. Some people cast beautifully and magick flows, but their doubts harm the spell. When they doubt, they start to pick at the spell, worry at the magick. I feel it is best not to ‘poke’ at the spell while it is tender and vulnerable. Imagine you’ve planted a seed. You’ve done all the work you need to – you’ve made the ground clear and rich and free of rocks and weeds. You’ve chosen our seed wisely, knowing why we want an apple tree or basil or to grow a tomato! You have chosen the right time to plant it. And so you did with lots of love and energy and good thoughts. But if you return to the tenderly planted seed and dig it up every few hours to see if it is sprouting, you will kill its growth with the glare of the light. So too is our doubt death to our magick.
Belief is an Energy
What every spell requires for clear, strong results is the quiet, strong, firm, even unshakeable belief that it is working. Tell yourself your spell is working. Do not allow doubt to enter your mind. That weed, known as doubt, can take root in the most unlikely places, so when it comes in, clear it out right away.
It’s held true in my life, and in the lives of many other people, that it takes one lunar cycle for anything to really change, to give change time to take root and to send its shoots up. Changing habits, changing lives takes time and persistence, retraining of your mind and consistent vigilance over your energy. Spells require the same kind of patience and dedication.
My rule of thumb with spells is when you are casting for big changes such as new jobs, homes and loves, give the spell time to work. Be really truthful about what you want and when you want it by because the Universe responds very well to being given clear energy and direction. Be very focused on what it is that you want. And then leave it be, but feed the spell with your belief and with your follow-through actions. If you are looking for an after-school job then polish up a resume full of quiet confidence and really know what you have to offer. Walk in to any interview with strength and power, but with respect too. Your energy will attract what you have aligned yourself with. See yourself working in a job that pays you fairly and gives you the independence you’re seeking.
When you affirm your spell is working, always do so in a positive way. For example, don’t ever say, ‘I do not want a boss like that’ or ‘I hope I never have to go without again.’ Because your subconscious is really straightforward and it tends to hear everything as a yes statement. If you are asking to not get something, it won’t really hear that. It’s a bit like telling your dog you’re not taking it for a walk. Your dog is only going to hear the crucial word ‘walk’ and respond to that! So you reframe those statements as ‘I want a job with a boss who is flexible, understanding and who I can respect’. This will create better results than ‘I do not want a horrible boss’. Frame it positively and strongly so your subconscious and the Universe are clear on what you want.
If you have patience, trust and if you frame your own thoughts so that they support your spell, you will create magick that manifests at just the right time. Include the timing within the spell and be really determined to be on your own side and on the side of your spell. If you really feel something is off, or that you’ve made a ‘mistake’ you can go back to the beginning with your spellcasting easily enough. However, I would recommend that you think carefully before discounting any spell you have cast.I have found that the more I work on clearing my own energy, through forgiveness work such as clearing any resentment, grief or hatred I have held towards myself, or others, the faster and more successfully all my spells manifest.
This article is an excerpt from Spellbound: The Secret Grimoire of Lucy Cavendish by Lucy Cavendish from Rockpool Publishing, 2015.
Grimoire Exercise: Working on Forgiveness
Take a time when the moon is waning as this will help with the energy of ‘drawing out’ of the poisons from the build-up of anger and betrayal that can be held in your body. I am not saying that anger is a bad energy. It is not, as it can be clean and clear, very powerful and useful. It is the force that when wedded with passion and a love of justice brings about great changes. It’s what drives people to achieve the best in themselves. Anger at something that feels wrong or out of balance, combined with the love of something worthwhile, will bring about wonderful change. But combining anger with hatred and hurt can often lead to bitterness. And bitterness is like pouring poisoned water onto a plant or reading a book with the words all twisted up and tangled or acid rain pouring on the earth. It’s not healthy. And we want healthy, powerful spellcasters. We want a clean, powerful magickal you!
Let’s do this work, knowing that we can stay active, and fired up about justice, but no longer holding on to festering anger that builds up resentment and hurt. This kind of anger does nothing to bring about a better life or, on a grander scale, a better planet.
Grimoire Exercise: Clearing the Energy of Past Unkindnesses in This Life or Others
All of us have thought, or said, or felt things we know we would rather not have at some time. And many of us have acted in ways that have been hurtful, foolish, selfish and unkind from time to time. We are human and we will do better from now on. However, sometimes there is a leftover energy from some of these acts. And it is worthwhile clearing the energy from these acts and finishing them for good. We can use this practice to forgive ourselves and to forgive others.
Your imagination, so you can visualise the person and the situation.
You may wish to have some paper and a pen with you to take notes.
What to do:
Cast your circle.
Call in the person you have hurt. Do not literally do this but do this in your mind’s eye, using your amazing power of visualisation. This is very helpful if this is a person who you may never see again or if the person lives far away. Sit and speak with them. Do not justify your actions, but say whatever you need to say to them to let them know what led you to take the action you did.Then ask for that person’s forgiveness. It does not matter if it is unlikely that they would forgive you in ‘real life’ as we are working on an energetic level at the moment and working with that person’s higher self. Really feel that forgiveness flow through you, freeing you.
You must do this work for people who have hurt you. It can take time to forgive. It is also a very misunderstood process. Forgiveness is not about saying, ‘Yes what you did was okay.’ It may not have been okay – far from okay. But it is about forgiving that person so you can be free from the energy of the burning anger or hurt within you that weakens you and draws more of the same situation to yourself time and again. You won’t forget. But now you must forgive too. You will be free.
About the Author
Lucy Cavendish is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and intuition expert. She exhibited strong extra-sensory abilities as a child, and with no answers from school or mainstream religion, Lucy set out on a personal quest to understand and develop her magickal gifts. Lucy grew up in Sydney, Australia, and she has lived in Paris, London and the United States.When she’s not writing or speaking, you’ll find Lucy surfing in the ocean, wandering deep within a faery forest, or dancing with the spirits in an ancient stone circle.
Lucy lectures and teaches around the world – her books and oracle card decks are available in many languages, and she’s a popular guest on television programs such as Studio Ten, The Project and The Morning Show. Her work has struck a cord with contemporary seekers ready to create lives of courage, spiritual adventure and enriching magick.