Magic and the Solitary Wiccan - Practice

Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner - Scott Cunningham 1993

Magic and the Solitary Wiccan

MAGIC IS A tremendously powerful tool. With it, we can facilitate changes in both our spirituality and our physical lives. This natural (though little-understood) process of moving energy with purpose is certainly an important part of Wicca, for we (of course) create the circle in which we work our rites with magic. We may also use magic to purify and to consecrate ritual tools and jewelry. This chapter is limited to discussions of Wiccan magic as opposed to folk magic (the nonreligious use of tools such as candles, herbs, oils, and colors, combined with personal power, to effect changes.)

The Circle

You should already know how to create a magic circle (or “sacred space”). You raise energy, give it purpose and, using your mind and perhaps a tool, direct this energy outward from your body in the shape of a large sphere, in which you perform your rituals.

That much should be clear from your readings. Now, how well do you know this process? Do you take it for granted? Do you really know what’s going on? Do you ever test the circle’s strength? Have you ever felt the boundaries of the circle with an outstretched, sensitized hand? Is your circle (actually, a half-sphere) perfect? Lopsided? Sunken? Oval shaped? Too big?

Such questions can be answered by careful study of the next circle that you create. Using all your senses (especially your psychic abilities), examine your circle after finishing it. Give it a white-glove test. Answer the questions mentioned above, then determine whether you feel different within the circle’s boundaries. That’s one of the clues. If you do find problems, close the circle and begin again with more attention to what you’re doing.

We must never become sloppy in our circle constructions. Creating the circle is similar to building a cathedral or raising the megaliths of Stonehenge: we’re building a temple, our temple, in which we’ll worship our deities. It deserves every bit of our time, energy, and attention.

Raising Energy in the Circle

This form of magic should also be familiar. A need is visualized. While visualizing, the Wiccan raises energy from within her or his body and, through the visualization, imprints this need onto the energy. The power is then released.

Unfortunately, solitary Wiccans have few energy-raising methods available to them. The first: you’re sitting before the altar. You begin to slowly chant a statement of purpose, such as “heal her” or “protect me.” You slowly increase the speed of the chant, never wavering in your visualization. You begin tightening the muscles all over your body (this raises physical energy, even when you’re still). The power builds within you and threatens to spill over. You release it.

Another method is far more physical. You begin a slow, clockwise dance (or walk) around the altar while visualizing and/or chanting the need. The dance increases in speed. When you release the power, you may fall dramatically to the floor.

Yet a third method utilizes breathing techniques which tighten the muscles and raise energy.

And that, fellow solitaries, is just about it. There are a few other methods, but they require the presence of several other persons and are, thus, limited to covens.

Sending the Energy

In coven magical workings, power is raised by any one of a number of methods. This continues for some time until the power that’s been raised reaches its peak. At this point, the participants let go of the power; they may drop to the floor, completely relaxing their muscles, while pushing out the power. Those present and participating in this process can, for our purposes, be termed “energy raisers.”

Usually, but not always, this power is then directed and released through the circle by a single person—often the High Priestess. (Sometimes the energy is sent into a physical object within the circle itself.) This person, whom I’ll here call the “energy sender,” has the ability to take all this energy within herself and direct it outward toward its goal. (Some covens work differently. Each member may send out her or his energy. Still, the sender is there to direct any stray energies and to control the energy-raising process that precedes this release.) As solitary Wiccans, we must always be both the energy raiser and the energy sender. This demands practice and control.

The method used by coven members to release energy mentioned above is the one that we use. When it’s time, simply push it out. Relax your muscles—all at once. With visualization, direct the energy outward from your hand or athame.

Some find this difficult at first. The Wiccan may feel the energy, and attempt to send it out, but may question whether it reaches its goal. Many new solitary Wiccans also wonder how the energy penetrates the circle and actually exits, when one of the circle’s functions is to contain precisely this energy.

The perfect ability to raise and send energy is one of the challenges of solitary Wicca, and will come with time. When you’ve properly cast a circle, you’ve sent energy from your body for a specific purpose, and that purpose has been achieved. Thus, you’ve performed a magical working.

Once you’ve achieved this, the next step is to raise more energy (through one of the techniques mentioned above) and then to send it a bit farther, through the circle and out toward its goal. Don’t worry about the circle somehow blocking the exit of the energy. It’s somewhat akin to a door. You’re inside the structure, and sending energy through it opens the door. Like doors, circles don’t need their functions explained to them during magic. The circle “knows” that one of its functions is to release energy. (The door automatically shuts once the energy has left.)

Okay, you might be saying, so the circle is like a room in which we stand, and we can send energy out from it. Fine. But why doesn’t the energy leak out before we’re ready to send it? Because we haven’t sent enough energy to open the door. Simply grasping a doorknob won’t cause it to open. We must exert force and pressure in the correct combination to remove the obstacle. This is true of magic as well: only a concentrated, directed stream of energy is strong enough to punch a temporary hole in the circle and travel outside its boundaries.

A coven can raise energy over an extended period of time, certainly up to half an hour or longer, through ring dances, chanting, and other techniques. During this time, the coveners will of necessity release some of their energy prior to the let-it-all-out moment which is determined by the High Priestess. The circle retains this energy until such time as the combined force of all the coveners, directed by the High Priestess, opens the door.

Solitary Wiccans also raise power within the circle. And yes, we may release a bit of energy too early. Still, it’s important that we hold in the energy until the last possible moment. A single energy release is most effective.

Push the energy out of you. Feel it exploding away in a focused beam of energy, shooting from you, through the circle, and out to its goal. Visualize and feel any excess energy lying around the circle as joining the main stream of energy. Since you don’t have a second person directing the energy, you must do this yourself. Fortunately, with practice, it’s really quite simple. Visualize!

After every Wiccan rite, especially those that have involved magic, some energy will naturally be retained within the circle. This energy can be subtly distracting, so it’s usual to earth it by consuming food after each ritual. Protein foods (such as beans and corn, dairy products, and so on) are ideal. Eating shifts the consciousness back to this reality, and also replenishes some of the energy lost during magic.

These, then, have been some specifics of solitary Wiccan magical workings. At one time they were closely held secrets. Today, all can share in this knowledge and utilize it to improve the quality of their lives.

A few further words are perhaps appropriate. Wiccan magic must, by its performance within a circle, be for positive change. Negative magic has no place in Wicca, and doing such a working within a magic circle may immediately backfire upon the perpetrator. Energy raised within sacred space (the circle) is directly attuned to the Goddess and God. Send them negative energy and you’re likely to instantaneously receive it back—threefold.

Over the years, many well-meaning Wiccans have warned of the “danger” of solitary Wicca. They’ve argued that a coven can act as a safety valve, defusing a covener in a volatile state of mind who wants the coven to perform a negative magical working. No covens would perform truly negative magic. This argument, which on the surface seems quite satisfactory, doesn’t hold water. A moral person is a moral person. Anyone who accepts the primary tenet of Wicca (harm none) won’t be tempted to perform a negative magical working, whether they’re a coven member or a solitary.

It can’t be stated too often—harming none means harming none, in any way, including yourself. (“Harming” should be thought of as interference with, or the manipulation of, the lives of others, and includes hexing, cursing and person-specific love spells.) Once this tenet has been accepted, and it should be by all who profess to be Wiccans, the imaginary dangers of solitary Wiccan magic vanish.