Supplies - Magic 101

The Big Book of Practical Spells: Everyday Magic That Works - Judika Illes 2016

Magic 101

What are you likely to find in a well-stocked magical pantry? What's really on a witch's grocery list? Now that you know you can do magic, do you need to buy anything? Probably not! Odds are, almost everything that you need is already on your shelves.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't travel to all ends of Earth, searching out rare and precious treasures. If you have the means and the time and desire for some adventures, pack up the caravan and hit the road! However, don't ever feel that your inability to do this presents roadblocks to your magical career.

Magic is intended to improve your finances, relieve your stress and make you happier with yourself and your life, not create any of the opposite reactions. If you can spend a lot of money on your magic, feel free. There's a lot of fun, powerful stuff you can buy. It's very tempting to spend a fortune on flowers and oils. There are precious gems whose price is well beyond the range of most, but potent magic can still be made from what are to us the most mundane of materials. Don't ever let the assumption that you need rare and expensive ingredients and accoutrements prevent you from accessing your magic power.

There are sources that will advise you that in order to truly perform magic, you will need special equipment. You may need a special cape, a special knife, a cauldron or a special type of broomstick. If this suits you, fine. If this information resonates for you, collect whatever supplies you need but be aware that this represents only one of Earth's many magical traditions. There is no one right way to practice magic. Every culture on Earth has developed valid and powerful magical techniques. What these techniques have in common are a way of seeing, a way of perceiving and benefiting from Earth's energies. What things they use, what ingredients they possess, depend upon a lot of circumstances.

There are sources that will tell you that it is imperative that you have specially consecrated tools only to be used for magical purposes. There are sources that will tell you that it's vital that you have specially consecrated space only to be accessed for magical work. These sources may be in possession of some very powerful magic but I'm not sure which planet it's from. It's certainly not from Earth where an urban witch may share a small apartment with her family, where economics may necessitate that one tool serve many purposes. That sort of magic also encourages the false view that magic is somehow not part of real life, but separate, apart and distinct.

The reality is that there is no traditional culture on Earth, the cultures that have preserved so much Earth Magic, that bestows as much private space as we in the industrialized West already possess. So don't worry: whatever privacy and space you already possess will be sufficient for your magic.

As for special magical tools, well, there may be times when you need them, but in general, consider that any magical work that you do imbues your daily tools with a sanctity that will spread into any other area where you use them. The magical knowledge of the nomadic Wodaabe people is renowned throughout Western Africa. There are no U-Hauls for the Wodaabe. All the possessions of even the wealthiest Wodaabe tribesman must fit on the back of a couple of camels or donkeys with room left for the kids to ride.

Don't worry too much about finding space for your work. I have seen beautiful altars squeezed onto bathroom counters and onto car dashboards, too. The majority of your work will likely be accomplished in either the kitchen or the bathroom. A corner of any other room can work, too.

Not only do we have more space and privacy than ever before, we also have greater access to a wider variety of rare and magical ingredients than ever before. We have powerfully charged items right under our noses. The trick is in recognizing them. Part of the problem is that our concept of the exotic has become distorted. Many of the magical items that once were found only at the ends of Earth are now so readily available that they seem downright ordinary. Shopping for magical ingredients has become easy. Once upon a time, salt was an exotic item. True honey was obtained only at great physical risk. Columbus sailed the ocean blue looking for a better way to obtain spices. Today, even frankincense and myrrh, once the world's most precious substances, can be purchased in most good health food stores.


Magic is not compatible with multitasking. If you perform your spells while simultaneously walking on the treadmill, talking on the cell phone and keeping an ear cocked for the fax machine, it may not be the quality of the materials that prevents your spell from succeeding. This is the reason emergency spells work so well: your intense desire, focus and fear turn the key to success. Ideally, you can train yourself to harness that intensity of focus without requiring an emergency to spark your fire.


Most of the power objects that you need are already in front of you. You may handle them daily without recognizing them for what they are. There are very few magical necessities that cannot be purchased from a reasonably well-stocked supermarket or toy store. What can't be bought often can be grown. Seed catalogs offer us a variety of plants previously available only to royalty.