How To Use Spell Triggers For Delayed Action Magic
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I don’t know about you but between going to classes, blogging, writing books, and keeping up with my social circle my life is BUSY. While I’m absolutely in love with the direction my life is heading right now, it does pose a bit of a problem on occasion: I don’t have a lot of time for actually doing magic! This can cause some problems when I run up against a situation where I really need a spell or ritual so I’ve started using a method of delaying my spells. This spell delay lets me stockpile inactive spells so that I can call on the magic at a moment's notice.
Now there are several ways to do this, spell powders and enchanted objects can both be used this way. I won’t be touching on either of those methods today (although if you’re interested in spell powders, Bree NicGarran’s new book Pestlework is the place to go!). No, today I want to talk about the use of delay triggers in your spellwork.
What is a spell trigger?
A spell trigger is a placeholder created within your spell that, instead of activating the spell immediately, holds all of the components and energy of your work in place until the final piece of the spell is initiated. This trigger can be anything you like, it can be a word, a hand gesture, any quick and easily performed action can be used as a trigger in a delayed action spell.
This trigger system allows you to have complex spellwork at hand and ready to use at a moment's notice. You can throw up wards, perform a curse breaking, use healing spells or call on an anti anxiety spell with nothing more than a word. This form of spell casting can also be useful for spells that are intended to be activated at a particular time or place. Have a spell that needs to be performed while you have eyes on the target? Cast the spell in private, insert your trigger and activate the trigger when the opportunity arrises. The uses for this technique are endless!
How to Create a Spell Trigger
1.) Decide on your trigger
The first step in creating a spell trigger is going to be choosing the trigger itself. You should pick something fairly quick and easy to initiate such as a word, a phrase, a hand gesture, a series of notes hummed or whistled. This trigger action that you choose should also probably be subtle, having to stomp your feet and roar at the heavens might seem like a cool way to activate a spell but it’s probably going to attract quite a bit of attention and cause questions to be raised. Keep things simple, discrete and easy for you to remember (you can’t activate the spell if you forget the trigger!).
2.) Perform your spell
Next you’ll simply perform your spell as usual, follow all of the steps outlined in your spell right up to the release or activation point in the spell. This is key, you’ll be replacing the release of the spell in order to delay it so be sure to mark where in your spell this release or activation occurs.
3.) Insert your spell trigger
Inserting a spell trigger can be done in a number of ways. You can verbally set the intention of the trigger (i.e. “I bind this spell, may all its power and purpose be held until such a time as it is released by my signal”) after which you perform the trigger action (saying the word, performing the gesture, etc) in order to connect the now bound spell and the trigger. You could simply perform the gesture or speak the phrase while holding the intention that the spell will be bound for later release. You could speak the intention while holding the trigger word or gesture in your mind without performing it. Any of these methods work, the important consideration is that you choose the method that feels most natural to you. Most of us are not used to stopping the flow of energy short, wrapping it up and saving it for later. Typically the idea is to release or activate the magic at the time of its casting so this process can feel stilted or uncomfortable the first few times. Experiment with which method you prefer to help mitigate any discomfort you might have with such a stark change in method.
4.) Activate the spell trigger and release the bound magic
At the appropriate time, either when needed spontaneously or at the predetermined moment, activate the spell by performing the trigger action with intention. The intention is important. Accidentally stating your trigger word or phrase in conversation won’t release the spell and likewise, you likely won’t release the spell if you offhandedly perform the trigger without reaching for the magic connected to it.
Now, this method can require a lot of personal tweaking, both to become comfortable with the process and find a way to make it work for you, and to possibly adjust spells to have a clear activation or release point where you can insert the trigger. Many spells are designed in such a way that the energy and intent of the spell is continuously released throughout the casting, and those spells can be particularly tricky to insert a trigger into. You may also find that casting circles is helpful in this kind of spell crafting. A circle can serve to contain the energy and intention you’re building so that it can be bound instead of allowing it out into the world during the casting.
Don’t be too concerned if the first few times you try this it falls flat, with the exception of very new witches this can be a serious detour from your usual spell crafting methods and require a bit of retraining to perfect.
As I mentioned before, there are also simpler ways of achieving this delay. If you’re finding this method particularly challenging or daunting it might be helpful to start with a slightly less complex method. Spell powders are a fantastic way to get your feet wet in the world of delayed activation spell work.
Pestlework: A Book of Magical Powders & Oils by Bree NicGarran is an excellent introduction to the world of spell powders and their many uses. With Over 200 original recipes, tons of helpful tips, safety information and an easy to understand format this book is the best place to start if you’re looking to get your feet wet with this kind of magic.
Can you think of any ways that spell delays could be useful in your craft? Tell me about it in the comments!