Generally, spells are given a bad reputation by those not practicing witchcraft, following a neo-pagan path, or who have bothered to ask a practitioner what they are all about. Ignorance only breeds more ignorance and out of this comes fear and then people and beliefs are completely misunderstood and then I become very upset. The worst thing is to judge someone based upon something they believe when you haven’t even done your homework. So, in the spirit of spreading accurate information, I wanted to write a post about the similarities and differences (if any) between performing a spell and praying. I also figured that with the coming of Mabon, some of you may have to explain your beliefs to people, particularly those close to you that are not familiar with Wiccan or neo-pagan practices. Finding some common ground is always a good place to start.
In general, prayer is a part of nearly every major or minor world religion. The act of connecting to a higher power through words as an individual or group is very common. Even people who don’t consider themselves to be very religious or even spiritually inclined may find themselves praying at different times in their lives for help with a difficult decision or a particularly undesirable situation. What does differ is who they believe is hearing their prayers, though even this can be debated as there are many who believe the many higher powers of the different world religions are actually the same Spirit. What is important for this discussion is what traditionally goes into prayer; how one might define the act of praying.
Here is my attempt at coming up with such a definition: Prayer is the act of saying (either out loud or silently to one’s self) a set of words that can be written by the religious practitioner and improvisational or written by a recognized figure of higher authority within that religion in the hopes of forming a connection with a higher power ,giving praise to that higher power, making an impact on a current earthly situation, or a combination of the three previous reasons. For example, one might pray to ask for help in times of need or to thank the higher power for help given or simply to demonstrate worship of the higher power. This act may or may not be accompanied by physical movements (sitting, standing, bowing, making the sign of the cross, etc) and objects (incense, bells, music, etc). In some cases, time is also an important factor in prayer (time of day or specific occasions, for example).
Now, I would like for you to read the above definition, except replace the word “prayer” with the word “spell.” This is what a spell is. True, the two acts may differ in some respects, but at their core, they are very similar ways to interact with a higher power, usually in the hopes of changing something in the material world. There is nothing wrong with the similarity and I apologize if I offend practitioners of any religion. This is simply my personal observation and belief.
Now, as you go about your day, think of the many other things you see in people that you find to be odd or even offensive. Try to find their counterpart in your own life. As I said ignorance breeds ignorance, so the more people pushing intelligent acceptance of all, the better.
Blessed Mabon everyone, and Blessed Acceptance!
Have you ever had an encounter where you were forced to explain yourself to someone who misunderstood you? What are your personal beliefs on prayer and spellwork?