What to Do When Your Magic Doesn’t Work

So you need to cast a spell. You gather your items, check your planetary chart for the right planetary hours, you prepare your space, light the candles, call in your spirits and cast the spell. Now you are pretty pleased with your rite, you leave offerings, and clean up. Then you wait…

Sometimes you see success right away, the spell starts to manifest and you know it worked. Or perhaps you see a strange sign or omen which gives you the key to knowing that you are on the right track and your spell is cooking in the magical world.

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Sea Spell Supplies- Image by Annwyn

But what happens those other times? You know the times when you cast the spell and then you wait and there is nothing… nothing at all. Weeks go by and you are not seeing any change in fact things might have even gotten worse or events go on like you didn’t even cast the spell in the first place! This is the worst isn’t it? So what the heck happened? Well there are several things that might be causing you trouble in your spell casting. Let’s talk about troubleshooting a dud spell.

The first thing you can do is visit the Powers of the Sphynx and how they might relate to spell casting. To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent.

To Know– Do you know all the contributing factors when you were preparing the spell? Are there hidden things you don’t know about that might be taking your spell off track? Do you know all the small details of what you need to accomplish? Have you looked for potential road blocks? And what about conflict with in the self?

Is the spell you are casting truly what you desire? If you are doing a spell and being timid it might not work how you want or at all. If you are having hang-ups or are dragging your feet chances are the spell will fizzle out before you even get started. If you are casting the spell because it is something you think you should do, then you are missing out on the desire portion. It’s like lighting a firecracker only to have it fizzle out and die before it launches.

Have you asked your deity and spirits if you perform this spell if it will have a favorable outcome? Did you do divination to find out if this is a good spell? After it failed, did you follow up with divination to find out why? Knowledge is power and sometimes you need a bit more knowledge before the spell will work. Sometimes you don’t know all the factors and things will backfire because your intent is not in alignment with the outcome of the spell.

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Herbal Spell – Image by Annwyn

To Will – Do you have the will to make yourself balanced, and to cast your spell from a place of harmony and balance? So often what we want to have happen is in conflict with our higher self or our will. For example, perhaps I cast a spell to help me find harmony at work, but secretly I really don’t want to work there anymore. You are out of alignment! You have to truly desire what you seek.

To Dare– Do you have the guts to do the dirty work or to put yourself first? Do you dare to seek the power to bring yourself to mastery or are you still suffering from low self-esteem? Also sometimes we are in a place of self-doubt or even doubt in our deities. We have all experienced that wavering, “Are you even real” or “If I cast this spell will it even work?”.  Witches have a reputation for walking on the wild side, for seeking the dark and performing magic that others may deem selfish or harmful. Do you have the guts to walk this path? Your spells might not work if you are being too timid.

To Keep Silent – Sometimes we talk about out spells too much and we leak the energy. There are of course times that posting or talking about the energy releases it and pushes it out into the universe. It all depends on the spell of course. But sometimes to keep silent can mean that you aren’t being still. You aren’t doing your meditation practice, or you can’t meditate at all! Meditation is KEY to keeping yourself balanced, the cup full and able to pour forth the magic. If you can’t, won’t or haven’t been meditating, you need to take a step back and have several silent moments.

Are you listening to yourself and your body? Are you too depleted to perform the spell? If you aren’t quieting your mind and listening then you aren’t hearing what it is you need to do. The other thing that silence can teach us is to just be still and let the spell work. There have been several spells that I went into a tizzy about because they didn’t work only to see them strongly manifest nine months later. You can pull some tarot cards on this as well or throw some dice to see when the spell will manifest or how long it will take.

Still having trouble? Try these things

Be sure you are actually raising energy for the spell. There are so many ways to raise energy, and each witch has their own way. You MUST find the way that works for you. Some people can manifest an entire house with a few candles and an orgasm others may need to beat a drum and scream for 30 min before they are even ready to send their energy out into the universe. Others may need to bottle it up and in a single moment fling it out into the universe. Go back into your journal, back to the beginning when you first started casting spells. What spells worked for you? What ones didn’t? The spells that worked, go back to those and pull out the common elements. You may still have to make tweaks here and there but you will be able to start in a place of power and pull from your own experiences. On the other hand sometimes you need something different, so be creative and be sure you are being mindful about your spell casting.

Tea Spell- Image by Annwyn
Tea Spell- Image by Annwyn

Be sure your wording is correct and in alignment with your deep desires. Sometimes our wording can be too complicated. For example a love spell to find a tall muscular blonde hunk of a man as your lover may not work nearly as well as a spell worded to “find the right lover for me” Because the right lover for you may be a short slender dark hair woman! You are cutting yourself off from possibilities here!

Sometimes we make too many demands. Sometimes we demand too much of a spell or of ourselves. Our expectations are rooted in fantasy and not reality. This is one way to muck a spell up for sure! You need to be sure you are asking for realistic outcomes. Sometimes we ask too much and the spirits like to teach us a lesson by saying “Nope! Not for you today come back when you are less greedy”. If you have been doing a lot of asking it might be time to do some giving and see if that doesn’t help balance things out. You wouldn’t demand your best friend do something outrageous for you, so don’t ask the spirits! They usually get more irritated than your bestie will!

Lack of confidence and questioning yourself can also be problematic, this is a tough one to overcome! Thinking your spell is going to fail before you even begin is like taking the battery out of your car and screaming when it won’t turn on. You have to have confidence! Confidence is key here; a low self esteem will not empower a spell.

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Spell Supplies- Image by Annwyn

Anxiety, Frustration and ungrounded energy.

Anxiety is the spell killer, it is such a frustrating thing to deal with too. If you are struggling with anxiety or are really frustrated and ungrounded, it is time to take a step back. Anxiety can wash over you like a tidal wave and it can cripple you on the spot. It is so difficult to perform magic from this place. Personally I have only been successful in self-healing spells and rites during these difficult times.

If you are suffering from anxiety go back to the basics. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! In fact, you can tell how advanced a practitioner is on their willingness to go back to the basics. After I injured myself (2 times, not related to dance) I had to go back to the beginner dance classes. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to do advanced moves, I did. It wasn’t that my technique wasn’t impeccable, because it is! It was the fact that because my body was out of alignment I had to go back and retrain it to flow through the basics with ease and confidence once again. I had to heal tight muscles, and get things flowing again so I could dance from a place of strength and not weakness.

If you are here in this place, first know that you are not alone.  We have all been there and some of us are still there. It is ok, but now you need to do something about it, and that something is simple. Get back to your regular grounding and meditating practice. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Sit in your car at lunch for 10 min a day and just listen to the silence. Right before bed do a grounding exercise and do it again in the morning. There! A 20 min solution split up over 3 different time periods. I know you can do that! I want to take a moment here and also say that anxiety can be a sign of a larger problem, and if this is a chronic issue or has developed into something more go and see your doctor. If you don’t have a good one, you can find one! There is a spell for that 😉 I personally have had great success with healing magic by working spells to find a doctor that will help heal me. I work the magic while she works the medical and progress is made.

How is your ritual space? Sometimes our spells and rituals go funky because we have funky energy up in the temple. If you haven’t ritually cleansed your spell casting or ritual space, now would be a great time to do so! If you don’t have time today schedule it for the next waning moon and banish that funk right out!

Finally check your ingredients, be sure that you have the right stuff! There is nothing worse than putting mugwort on your altar and calling on the spirit of motherwort to aid you. Again conflicting energy! Also sometimes mixing cultural practices will also hinder your success. It is not always the case but it can be if you are struggling with spell work.

Image by Annwyn
Image by Annwyn

Rinse and Repeat

Sometimes the spell doesn’t work because it is not getting enough energy. You may need to perform your spell for 9 consecutive days, burn nine different candles, or a single one every Friday in a month. Large and more complicated spells, sometimes involving complete transformation and annihilation of the former self may require weekly or monthly moon rites for an entire year. Sometimes spells take time. Sometimes spells take repetition and sometimes they take both!

When your spell doesn’t work or it just goes bad, don’t worry. This is a learning experience and you can gain much from this experience. The first lessons is “this spell doesn’t work” so you try it again a different way and from a different place. Be sure to go back over the basics; ground, shield, create a ritual space, and ask your spirits for help. Keeping a journal helps so you know what did and didn’t work. A successful spell might mean changing the time of day you preformed it, or changing out the ingredients. It can be any number of things, so be sure you meditate and look deep within the self to find the answer.

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