Letter 11 - Part One

Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft - Rae Beth 2014

Letter 11
Part One

New Green


3rd July 1987

Dear Tessa and Glyn,

I want to answer Glyn’s question, ’Why does witchcraft always have to take place formally, within a circle? Surely, we could worship and work magic anywhere, wherever we are?’

The short answer is, We generally work inside a clearly defined, protected, sacred space because it’s easier that way. The heightened consciousness necessary for communion and spell-casting is more easily attained ’between the worlds’. The Goddess and the God are all around us to be communed with, it is true. Most especially in nature, in a wood or garden, in a field or hedgerow, they are everywhere to be seen. But the magical awareness that we reach within the circle can’t be lived through every mundane moment. Just as it would be hard to compose music beside a pneumatic drill, it can be very difficult to attain the clarity and inner focus needed for an invocation in the psychic atmosphere of today’s everyday world. The magic circle allows the existence of a different, more sacred atmosphere, and the build-up of magical power.

Having told you that witchcraft can’t easily be practised anywhere and everywhere, and having told you why, I am now going to tell you that people do do it, nevertheless, and that you can too. If a friend has just been admitted to hospital and you have been phoned and informed that there is to be an emergency operation, you aren’t going to wait for the next suitable phase of the Moon, or even to cast a full circle. You are just going to cast your spell for healing, right then and there. And this is how you do it.

Sit in the most peaceful and comfortable place that you can find, and close your eyes. Now visualize yourself surrounded by a blue sphere of light. Remember that whatever you can imagine has an actual existence, astrally: it is, on the inner planes, really there. Call upon the Guardian Spirits of the four directions to aid and protect you. Picture the appropriate offering, as you invoke the protection of each one, so that you are surrounded not only by blue light, but also by incense at the east, a candle at the south, a bowl of water at the west and a pentacle or dish of earth at the north. There is no need to worry that these things will disappear; they will remain as long as you desire them, as will the Guardian Spirits; just as the parts of a room that are behind you go on being there, even when you aren’t looking.

Now you are ’between the worlds’, in a light trance. Take time over this: it can’t be hurried. You have turned inwards, into the astral world; down, in, through. Here, there is infinite possibility, unending distance, just as there is in outer space, in the universe. Within this realm, you have defined an area. Invoke the presence of the Goddess and the God, just as though you were in a formally cast circle. Ask for their assistance. Talk to them about your magical intention. Deep within yourself, utter the words that you want to say. There is no need for special language. Just offer to them your thoughts and your feelings. Place the outcome of your magic in their hands.

Now open your eyes and cast your spell. It may be, perhaps, that you wish to light a candle to the healing of your friend. First, consecrate the candle. As you light it, say, As this flame burns may the flame of life burn bright in—[the friend’s name] carrying her through the time of danger. As the candle lowers, so may her vitality arise. The longer that it burns, the more healed may she be, by the power of the Guardian Spirits and in the names of the Triple Goddess and her consort, Lord of Day and Night. The above is just an example of words to accompany a candle spell for healing. In practice, you will find that you know what to say at the time, and that you rarely use the same formula more than once.

You might follow this by consecrating a small bottle of essential oil of lavender or sandalwood, both healing oils, to be given as a magical gift for your friend’s complete recovery.

Spells can be impromptu, and may not always be about healing. And you may have to use whatever materials are to hand. Once, when I was in a city, I bought a greetings card and consecrated it in a café to magic. It was the whole physical means and medium of my spell. On the front, it bore a picture of a house. The spell was to obtain a new home. I posted it to myself and Cole. It was soon successful.

Before returning to the world, the outer world, you should again close your eyes. Thank the Goddess and the God and the Guardian Spirits, as though ending a formal rite within a circle. Leave the blue sphere of light around yourself and visualize a protective pentacle, just above your head, to remain there as long as you may need it. Now open your eyes and go about your other activities.

I once saw a successful spell cast for the healing of a friend’s disease, in a crowded pub. It was done using paper from an ordinary notebook, a red Biro, matches and a pub ashtray. The friend’s name and the name of the illness were written in red and the paper then burnt in the ashtray, with the statement that, as it burnt, so should the illness be burned out of her and die. The friend did recover, although it had not been expected that she would. She is still fit and well, eight years later.

Witchcraft can be practised anywhere, though the witch who cast this spell was experienced. His abilities to concentrate, visualize, invoke and focus an intent were well honed and well developed — and had doubtless become so through many years of practice inside the circle, and in deep trancework in more peaceful environments.

I do not advise either of you to do spells in crowded places, not just at first. Such magic can go wrong because, if you work spontaneously within a jarring atmosphere, you may lack adequate perception about how, or indeed whether, a spell should be cast. And your own psychic balance may be disturbed. Use discretion and humility. Paradoxically, ’pub spells’ done in the most uncomplicated manner, are for the most experienced. You could get your fingers burned in more ways than one!

It is a strange fact of life that the more unskilled we are, magically, the more magical paraphernalia we need to be effective. Even the very skilled are more effective with all their specialized magical tools and equipment — athame, robe, wand, cauldron, and so on. These things have a beauty and an ancient symbolic meaning. They also become highly charged with power and meaning from long use, so that just to touch them is already to be halfway ’between the worlds’.

Sometimes, it takes all our humility to admit how much we need these tools, a formal ritual and a formally marked-out space: somewhere sacred, set apart. But that is how it is, in the world of today.

Bright and blessed be,