Spoken spells have a transitory force, affecting only the action to which they are directed. Written spells, on the other hand, are thought to last as long as the written spell is in existence. To maintain the long-term effect of the written spell, many of the prayers of the Egyptians were written on coffins and placed in the Book of the Dead with the mummy. As written spells combine the effect of symbols, these spells are thought to be far more potent than any other kind. The Islamic Koran is, as the revealed word of God, a sort of written spell in itself. Anyone who has heard it read aloud in Arabic knows that it sounds extremely beautiful, even to those who cannot understand the language. The Latin psalms have the same quality, but without the tonal beauty which is found in the Arabic language.
Older spells written on parchment, some of which have been in existence for hundreds of years, are particularly revered. In many cases their real effect lies in the fact that so many people believe in them. Some older writings have taken on a “magical aura” solely due to their age.
Because of their strangeness and the mystical power associated with strangeness, spells written in a foreign language or in a mystical or “magical” alphabet are also thought to have great power. This is one reason why spells written in Hebrew characters are supposed to be superior in quality. In the Middle Ages, a talisman was a man who wore a tallis, the shirt or undershirt worn by Orthodox Jews. As this was felt to be a source of power to them, the idea of “talisman” quickly transferred to a spell written to give power or protection. In the first thousand years of Christianity, Hebrew was the pre-eminent language for the writing of spells, and Jews, who were the most literate members of any European community, were the pre-eminent “magicians of choice.”
This obviously led to some silly situations. One old “authentic spell” in a European museum was removed from display when it was pointed out that the words of the spell said, “What is the meaning of this?” in Hebrew characters transliterating medieval French! It had been supposed to be a spell to call upon a demon to cure sick children.
Written spells form another branch of the spell-caster's art. In the Hex practice of the Pennsylvania Dutch country, himmelbriefs, or “heavenly letters,” are designed to protect the one who carries them against ills and evils of all kinds. The older versions were written with painstaking care by the Hexenmeister who copied them one letter at a time. The newer versions are usually copies sold for a dollar or two as curios.
Just as a spoken spell requires a certain ability to use one's voice, a written spell requires a certain ability to concentrate upon what one is writing and hold the image of the desired work for the spell throughout the entire operation. The spell should be written with a new pen, or at least a pen which is used only for writing spells. It must be written with absolute concentration on every letter of the spell. It should then be read aloud in the same manner when it is finished. If the spell is to be given to someone, it should be enclosed in an envelope, but not sealed. Most of these spells are to be carried on the person when they are in use.
The first spell in this section is an example of a symbol and a spoken spell or prayer. The other written spells are well-known gnostic spells or modern hex spells.
STAR OF DAVID SPELL
The Star of David, two interlaced equilateral triangles, has a great history as a magical amulet. Not only is it the symbol of the Jewish religion and the Hebrew people, it is also an occult symbol of continuing repute. It is not a symbol in the sense of the Ve-Ves of the Vodun magico-religious practice. It is a particular occult statement of fact which must be experienced to be understood. It is still used as a symbol of power by those who believe in it.
The Star of David is used to grant wishes by inscribing it on a piece of paper. The symbol is held at arm's length and the individual's wish is spoken aloud three times. It is then felt that the wish will come true. See figure 2.
Figure 2. The Star of David.
The Sator Spell is one of the oldest written spells known to humans. It has been found wherever the Roman legions marched—from England to Egypt. At one time, in parts of medieval Germany it was required that every house have a plaque which had the Sator Spell written on it. The plaque was to be thrown into any house that was on fire to aid in putting out the fire! I guess you could call it an occult fire extinguisher.
Figure 3. The Sator Spell.
The spell has also been used as a love spell, and for any number of other purposes. Its origin is in doubt, and learned scholars debate its meaning. The only thing that we know for certain about it is that it is both old and well known.
For use as a protection against fire in a house the spell is written on a piece of paper or parchment and placed at the highest point of the house, inside the house. See figure 3.
This is one of the most widespread spells of all time. Supposedly taking its origins from the gnostic Christians of about 300 AD, it is now thought to date from a much earlier time. It is written as a spell against fever, which is supposed to disappear just as the name Abracadabra disappears from the spell.
Figure 4. The Abracadabra Spell
The charm is to be written out and hung around the neck of the person to be healed. Its longevity seems to testify to its ability to heal. See figure 4.
The spell shown in figure 5 was written on parchment or paper to cause negative forces to leave the place where it was displayed. It was said to be so powerful that it would drive away the devil himself. It uses the name of a gnostic deity form, but like most spells of this type it is probably not the same as the original gnostic use of the charm.
Figure 5. The Abraxas Spell.
This is a more advanced kind of written spell. A spell used for protection or healing is written on parchment paper with a water-soluble ink. The spell is then prayed over in the usual way and the ink is washed off the paper into water. The water is then used as the medium for the spell. The person for whom the spell is made can wash in the water, or the water may be used for washing floors, etc. In some cases, the water is sprinkled over an area where the person is to walk.
Rice paper, which dissolves in water, may also be used to write the spell on. The written spell, as it dissolves into the water, can make quite an impression on the mind of the person who has never seen this happen before! This is particularly true if spirit seals are also part of the spell.