A Facebook post by a friend got me to thinking …
She was asking if we (her friends) think magic should continue to be kept secret or if all the sharing of spells, rituals, etc., on the Internet and in books is a good thing. To my way of thinking, it both is and isn’t. It is because those who don’t have access to a teacher can learn on their own. It isn’t because this path isn’t for everyone; and performing a spell that almost but doesn’t quite fit your need; or when you’re not really sure of what you’re doing can have disastrous results.
I replied that I never share specifics. Not that I think magic is or should be “secret” but that part of the mystery is finding one’s own path. I don’t mind making suggestions and often do, but my way of working may not work for anyone else. Let me elaborate in more than 140 or 500 characters:
If you belong to a tradition, certain methods have been handed down, shared and work for those within that tradition and generally when working as a group. I know a couple of hereditary witches who were taught the basics by their elders and then left to figure out on their own what works best for them. They only used prescribed methods when working as a group. (I doubt those that pray to a deity use the exact same prayer as everyone else when they’re alone. When in a group, yes, to keep everyone focused on the same outcome. Do you see a difference? I don’t.)
I’m solitary so I don’t have to worry about focusing a group but if I were to work with others, a set ritual would be preferable to ensure we’re all on the same page. That said, the ritual would have to be very eclectic since I don’t subscribe to any particular tradition.
What herbs go into a particular spell? So-and-so says to use X, Y, and perhaps Z or G. Now, if one of those herbs happened to be Patchouli, you can bet your bippy I’m not going to use it. I really dislike the smell of Patchouli (weird, I know). If something causes you to frown, wrinkle your nose and nearly vomit, you’re not going to have a lot of focus – the main requirement of any spell. (Unless, of course, that sort of physical reaction is necessary to the work. Wouldn’t ever be for me.) Or what if you don’t have Y on hand and can’t wait for UPS to arrive? Thankfully, there are a bunch of herbal substitutes, depending on the need, so I don’t have to use the exact things so-and-so says I need to.
Verbiage? I prefer to write my own. I personalize every spell to the need at hand, so something written by someone else for a not-quite-exactly-the-same situation ain’t gonna work. Because they’re all so specific, I don’t bother writing anything down for posterity so I wouldn’t be able to share, anyway.
I’ll admit that when I was younger, having an experienced teacher (if not in person then in a book) to guide me would have been a good thing. However, experimentation taught me what worked and what didn’t … and how to clean up and/or avoid both physical and metaphysical messes. Walking a path smoothly-paved by others would have led to stagnation, not growth on my part. And personal growth is a part of the magic.
So what do you think? Should magic come even further out of the broom closet or should some things still stay hidden?