When we perform magic, we’re ultimately trying to accomplish something. Doesn’t matter what that something is, we’re looking to achieve a result. Sometimes the result is something that could be normally achieved without magical intervention through some physical action we cannot or will not perform. Sometimes it’s something we absolutely cannot achieve through conventional means, and we’re resorting to magic because otherwise it is beyond us. The result, the goal of the spell, is important mainly in that it should be attainable commensurate to our ability to create causes and conditions.
Nothing arises spontaneously, and everything requires a cause to begin, and conditions to sustain. The goal of magic is not to bring about results without any causes – the magic is the cause. It’s impossible that something should just happen without any cause at all. This is the difference between spellcasting and imagination, between formulating a magical intent versus having a hope. We need to put aside the idea that magic brings things about without causes, and embrace that magic is the cause.
When we cast a spell, whether it’s drawing a sigil or performing an elaborate ritual or doing some kind of energetic manipulation, we are attempting to create causes for the result we have in mind. The cause need not be much – lighting a candle on an altar may be sufficient. More sophisticated results may require more elaborate causes, but fundamentally the cause need not be huge. It also does not need to be associated directly with the outcome, but rather should be sympathetic and associative, a symbolic link. We also need some kind of vector to affect reality – if we’re trying to cast a spell on a person, it’s ideal to have access to the person. That failing, a part of the person (bodily fluids, hair, nail clippings). If we cannot even do that, some piece of the person’s property, and if even that is impossible a photo can be a (very) weak sympathetic link. This becomes the spell’s focus, it aims and directs the energies we put into motion. Having a good focus is a condition that sustains the causes in bringing about the result.
Conditions are the other thing we need to keep in mind. If we’re casting spells to make ourselves rich, it doesn’t matter how many lambs we slaughter in supplication or how many spells we cast, if we don’t create conditions to allow that magic to work, there’s no hope for us. We cannot expect our magic to make us rich without getting a job or creating some way for that money to work. A rich uncle can only die and leave us the heir to his fortune if we have a rich uncle – your magic cannot get you a rich uncle.
This is not just about financial magic, however. Any spell we might cast can be set in motion with a simple cause, but it fights an uphill battle against adverse conditions. If we want to change the world, we are more likely to be successful tipping it in a way it already is inclined to change, rather than trying things with no possibility of happening. We can try to work magic to influence the world, but if we cannot think of any possible way something might happen, it’s going to be difficult (though not impossible) for he spirits we ask for help to do the same.
Essentially, all magic is the creation of causes and conditions to bring about a result. When we design spells, we need to consider: what creates the cause here? What action is the action that sets things in motion? Clapping? Throwing the sigil into a fire? Throwing rice into the air? Whatever the cause, there should be some moment in the spell that says this is where the work happens, by this action.
We need to consider how we are fostering conditions that will help the spell work, and how the spell is fostering conditions that brings about the result we want. Are we working to heal someone? Are they seeing a physician and adhering to treatment? Are they at least resting and trying to get better themselves? We’re fighting an uphill battle in magically helping someone to quit smoking if they don’t want to quit themselves and work at a tobacconist! That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but if we have adverse conditions like that, we should craft the spell with a mind to counter them.
And what of the result? We should craft our results to be attainable, clear, and direct. Don’t overcomplicate our workings, and remember that taller orders may require stronger causes and better conditions. We can move mountains with a shovel, but it may take longer than with an excavator, or dynamite. If all you’ve got is a shovel, though, you need to get to work.