Casting Spells That Work: Awaken Your Senses
Sometimes it's hard to get "in the mood" when spell casting—it feels like the magic isn't there and you're just going through the motions. This is especially true if you're trying to cast a spell you found in a book or on the internet. You get so caught up in trying to gather all the ingredients and follow the directions, that it takes the fun out of it. You also have less emotional connection to the spell, so you're already working at a disadvantage.
This is where your five senses come into play. By catering to your own senses, you can really amp up the power in a spell.
Don't get me wrong, some spells should not be changed. For beginner spells, or when you're learning to write your own, it can be beneficial to pay attention to how they stimulate your senses.
1. The Sense of Sight
The sense of sight is probably the easiest sense to incorporate because it's all about color. Many spells have color built into them through a candle, ribbon, or crystal. It's important to remember that color associations are grounded in culture and do not have universal meanings. So, while a spell may call for a specific color, there may be a better color for you to use based on your personal associations. You should keep a list of your personal color associations in a journal or book of shadows.
American money spells are a great example of how color correspondences works. During the American Civil War, the United States government started printing green money because it was difficult to counterfeit (cameras could only take pictures in black and white). Green was chosen because it is associated with stability. Today, money, wealth, and prosperity are associated with the color green. Unsurprisingly, now when you find money spells that have originated in the United States, nearly every correspondence will be something green.
2. The Sense of Smell
The sense of smell is often heavily incorporated into spell work though incense, essential oils, and scented candles. These scented items are usually chosen because of their associations, not because of how they actually smell.
Studies show that the sense of smell is better at triggering emotions and memories than any of the other senses. So while a spell may call for a specific incense or essential oil, you may have better luck with something else. If you don't like the smell of the suggested incense or essential oil, don't use it. Your spell will be less effective if all you can think about is how much you hate the smell.
You can think outside the box when it comes to smell too. For example, perfume or cologne, fresh washed towels, fresh baked bread or cookies, wood smoke, coffee, bubblegum, the lake or ocean, chocolate, and tons of other scents can all be excellent to use in your spell work!
If you plan to cast a curse, it may benefit your spell to use something that smells bad. While you shouldn't smell anything toxic or anything that could make you sick (such as rotten vegetables or meat), there are plenty of other things that you may hate the smell of. I personally dislike the smell of warm salsa, licorice, and sauerkraut.
3. The Sense of Taste
The sense of taste also brings up a lot of emotions and memories, probably because most of what we think of as taste is actually smell. Most spells don't have a taste component to them, unless it's a holiday and eating is part of the celebration or ritual. Sugar, honey, salt, lemon juice, and herbs are common ingredients in most spells, but you shouldn't eat the mixture you come up with.
Think about including foods that have the same associations as your spell ingredients. You could eat a sugary dessert for spells that require sugar to sweeten up a situation. Salt is often used for protection, so you could eat some salty potato chips.
You can think outside the box for the sense of taste too. If eating pizza makes you feel comfortable and safe, then by all means include a slice in your protection spell. If a specific dessert makes you feel close to your family, then use that.
Most people also have foods they just despise, and you can use this energy for the spells that need it.
4. The Sense of Hearing
The auditory component of spell work is something that each witch has to find for themselves. Each spell is different, so the sounds that work for one may not work for another. These auditory elements can also be useful in meditation.
I personally try to turn off anything that makes noise in my house when I'm working a spell. I feel really grounded listening to the noises my house makes naturally, such as creaking, settling, and when the refrigerator kicks on. I especially love casting spells when it's raining or thundering—I can open a window (even a little) and hear what's going on outside.
Sometimes you just need some white noise to help your mind focus. That's okay too. You can find white noise machines everywhere, and some alarm clocks even have white noise settings such as rain or waves.
There are a ton of websites and apps that will play you all sorts of white noise as well. I liked rainymood.com in college, but it doesn't appear to be working right now. So if you have a favorite, let me know in the comments.
Don't forget that there is also Youtube and other music streaming services. It takes a little trial and error to find something that really suits you, but instrumental music, drumming, and binaural beats are usually all good choices. Video game soundtrack music can also be good because it is designed to help you focus and stay on track when it comes to problem solving.
The tempo (or beats per minute) of your music can also aid your intent. Fast-paced music can help you raise energy quickly for a more aggressive spell, or when you need results quickly. Alternatively, slow-paced music is good for when you need to calm a situation or slow down an action coming your way.
5. The Sense of Touch
Your skin is one of the most important organs in your body. It's busy doing all of your touching for you, determining if things are warm or cold, rough or soft, light or heavy. Each of these binaries can be used in spell casting. In many books, you'll read about magic being performed in the nude. This is not necessary. I do recommend practicing barefoot and bare handed whenever possible. This helps you remain grounded so you can experience the tactile sensation of energy and your tools.
When trying to figure out if you should use heat or cold for your spell, you have to think back to science class. When you heat something, it makes the molecules move faster and expand. Heat can be used to make things go your way, bring energy to a situation, make someone like you, make you like someone, or make a situation more comfortable. When you cool something those molecules slow down and contract. Using something cool or cold can slow down a situation, make someone want to leave you alone, or make someone uncomfortable. Please work with safe temperatures. You want to feel the heat or cold without damaging your skin. No burns or frostbite.
Similar to hot and cold, soft and rough are often associated with comfort and discomfort. You can use fabrics, sandpaper, wood, metal, or rock/crystal to achieve the feeling of rough or soft.
Light and heavy tools can be used for both positive and negative emotions. For example, a balloon could be used to lighten your load or help you feel free, but it could also be used to uproot someone from where they live, or make them an "airhead" and cause forgetfulness. A heavy piece of wood or metal can be used to make you feel down to earth, protected, or secure in your situation or finances. This same piece of wood or metal could be used to make someone feel trapped or pressured.
Magic is all about intent, and the use of tools and ingredients helps you focus that intent. The more focused your intent, the easier it is for your spells to work in the way you want them too. I hope this article has helped you understand how all of your senses affect your spell work.