How To Customize Spells To Fit Your Magical Practice
True or false: you need to follow a spell exactly to achieve results?
When you’re first starting out, confidence in your abilities can be shaky. There are a lot of different sources saying different things, and even the more reliable sources seem to vary in their convictions at times. Some things come up again and again, and you can start to build a foundation for yourself.
With spells, things become even murkier. There are ingredients listed that you have either never heard of or can’t find easily. In the beginning, when more spells fail than work, you become obsessed with getting gear to try and help your spells along. This can really boost confidence — look at all these bottles and oils! Real witch stuff! — and eventually, your success rate with spells improves. But was it the new herbs and candles and crystals that made the difference? Or just your confidence that they would?
When I write a spell, I write it in my style. I like structure, so my spells have a beginning, middle, and end. I like correspondences and research, so every part of the spell is overly symbolic. And I like making a big effort, so there are hard to find ingredients and small details that sometimes happen over the course of several days. All these things come together to help me feel focused and confident. But guess what? You may not work like that!
Some witches are water or earth witches and feel strongest when they incorporate these elements — or better yet, perform spells near these elements outside. Other witches are much more freeform and need only their intention and movement or quiet reflection. So does that mean they have to search high and low for spells that cater to their exact needs?
A simpler solution is to customize spells so they cater to your needs. Spells are blueprints, and you are the architect of your own magic.
Editing Your Spells
Did you know that when you create a sigil you are connected to it subconsciously and that makes it more powerful? Many witches online create sigils, then send them off into the world for others to use. But how effective are they for you, since most of the magic is focused on the creation process? Not very. The same can be true for spells. So, how do you take another’s work and make it work for you? How do you customize spells?
Figure out how you are most successful. Witches are curious and experimental by nature and new witches especially tend to try a lot of different forms of magic as they delve deeper into this fascinating world. As you learn more, specific branches of magic start resonating with you, your magic becomes more successful, and you begin to specialize. Trust your intuition. If you feel drawn to divination more than spellwork, explore that. If you’ve always loved crystals, follow that path first and see where it leads.
Journal your results. Keep track of whatever you did, and keep your eye out for any manifestations of this magic — most importantly, write it down! Become your own reliable source. This is how you learn who you are as a witch. Experiment. If you only follow another witch’s ethos, you could be missing out on all the wonderful things you as an individual witch have to offer.
Learn to customize. Look, not everyone likes writing spells but thankfully, witches don’t mind sharing (bless them). There are countless spells out there available for you, but most are written by a witch with their own style of magic in mind. If you take another’s magic and make it your own, personalize it, you connect to the spell on a deeper level. It’s no longer someone else’s spell — you can own it! Once you have a better understanding of your witchy self and what you need to succeed, you can begin to streamline others’ spells so they work for you.
Say you’re a kitchen witch and you need a spell for money. A quick search pulls up hundreds of spells, and you find one you like — a jar spell. It requires all the usual suspects: Green candles, pyrite, money powder, honey. So how do you customize this spell? Play to your strengths. Light the green candles and set the pyrite around, then bake the rest of the ingredients in a small loaf of bread. Let the bread dry out, then make crumbs and add them to a jar with the pyrite, or save for use in another spell. Before you eat anything, do your research and make sure it’s safe, but that’s an option, too. Do you have a lucky herb or a secret ingredient? Add it!
I know a witch who works exclusively with water so whenever I write spells for her, she just adds it to a bath. Another witch uses just visualization by lighting some incense, putting on some music, then walking through the whole spell in her head — detail by detail, over and over — until she feels it click. There is no right or wrong way, the important thing is getting the result you want and finding the best way to do that.
Another way to customize a spell is to just make it easier to use. While I always stress going the extra mile and making a big effort to get big results, I am also a childless adult with a knack for luck and money spells, who has no issue impulsively blowing paychecks on herbs, oils, and stones. However, I realize not everyone is as carelessly excessive as I, so I want to offer you a list of easy alternatives you can use in any spell as a substitute for more exotic ingredients, as well as offer some tips on correspondences.
If you’ve done your research, you’ll have noticed that herbs, stones, colors, Tarot cards, etc. will have multiple correspondences. Not only do they serve many purposes, but they are usually associated with an element, planet, and have a lot of symbolic attachments. Salt, for example. Salt comes from the sea, and it is therefore connected to water. However, salt is also associated with the earth, purification, and protection. Today you can find it anywhere, but salt was once a commodity so valuable that even spilling a little was bad luck and to ward against this, you had to throw some over your shoulder. So, because of all its symbolic connections, salt can be a substitute for ingredients you don’t have in protection, purification, blessing, grounding, and spells involving water or earth elements.
Find this information and commit it to memory. That way, when you want to perform magic that, say, requires a candle but you either don’t have one or can’t use it, you’ll know that amber, citrine, and topaz (which represent fire) can be used instead and easily worn on a piece of jewelry for convenience. Simply using a certain color can replace a hard-to-find ingredient. Lavender is used for harmony but can be pretty expensive. If you don’t want to make an herb run or wait for it to ship, just use something blue instead, which also represents harmony and peace. Below I’ve listed common household herbs that can be used replace others in a pinch!
Cinnamon and nutmeg: Success, luck, money. Cheap and easy to find. If you come across an abundance spell that requires something out of reach, go for these herbs instead. Works like a charm.
Basil: Associated with love. Basil’s power is legendary, and can be used as a substitute for ingredients in love spells, or just added to them for extra luck.
Thyme, mustard seeds, and oregano: These herbs are harmless when eaten, and by doing so you take on their powers! Great replacements in strength and courage spells.
Peppermint and parsley: Substitute ingredients in peace and calm spells. Protip: Add some peppermint to your pillowcase for a good night’s rest.
Rosemary: Health! It even smells medicinal. Rosemary can be burned as a replacement for sage, added to altars and poppets, and is a great all-purpose herb for healing spells.
Pepper and onion: Banishing and warding. Pepper is a repellent and can be used in any spell as a substitute when you’re trying to get rid of something nasty. Onion has an added protective component.
Paprika or cayenne: Adds power to spells. If you lack something on the ingredient list, just add cayenne or paprika instead to let the magic know you mean business. That’s what counts.
Bay leaves: A fantastic all-around herb. Bay leaves are great for health, good luck, psychic powers, wish manifestation, protection, purification, and dream magic. They make great additions to any altar, can be used on their own, or added to spells focused on any of the above. Best of all, you can buy them at almost any grocery store. They smell great and are completely non-toxic!
Non-herb bonus alternative: Clear quartz. I’ve written about clear quartz before and for spells requiring more expensive stones, clear quartz can be “programmed” and used instead. This stone is a blank slate for your intention and if you’re ever without a certain element, put this pretty little stone to work instead.
I hope this helped and you start experimenting with others’ magic to find your own. The thing to remember is that the magic is already in you, and all you have to do is figure out the best conduit for it. The more you research, journal, and make spells your own, the quicker you access your true power.
Do you know how to enhance your magic, improve your intent, and get kick ass results from your spells all at once?
If you don’t, then you need to be utilizing the amazing energy structure inherent to the human magical system. Tapping into this energy system allows you to understand the magic you’re using on a far deeper level and achieve results that will blow your mind.
In The Witch’s Energy System, I’ll break down the entire system into easy to use pieces so that you can learn to see, feel, and make use of this energy in a way that will completely change how you view your own magic.
by SL Bear
I grew up in the Sonoran desert, then moved to Colorado where I spent my 20s and early 30s morphing into an adult in the shadow of the Rockies. My life has been a quilt of extraordinary landscapes and wild terrain, and I have seen some beautiful, impossible things. I credit this upbringing for my ability to see beyond the regular day-to-day, and find the hidden magic that is ignored by so many. I work mainly with art, sigils, candles, stones, weather, and moods. With my articles, I will always try to be positive and find ways to bring new experiences and new ways to practice a craft we all love so dearly. I hope you enjoy.