When I met my Year and a Day teacher, Greyhart, last year at the Paths and Traditions fair that Living Earth was hosting, he was sitting behind a table that held an assortment of altar objects. I had just gotten done speaking with Chris and Kelly, the representatives of a local Celtic Reconstructionist group and Greyhart's table was right next to theirs. I was feeling terribly awkward and shy as well as stressed out from worrying (too much) about my kids' behavior. Greyhart had put me at ease pretty quickly and when we started talking, he asked me a simple question: of all the altar objects on the table, which one was the most powerful?
I quietly looked at the objects for a moment -- I remember the athame, but I honestly can't remember what else was there. Doesn't matter. After a moment's hesitation, I looked up and said "It's not the objects that are powerful. They're only as powerful as the person holding them."
Altar tools are nice to have. Hell, I love having altar tools. Most of the pieces on my altar are treasured knick-knacks -- a Faerie Glen faerie and a Native American faerie that one of my dearest friends gifted to me, a horse figurine that was a Christmas gift from my brother when I was still a kid, and a horse tealight candle lamp that I received as a high school graduation gift from the woman who taught me how to ride.
The more definitively Pagan items I have on my altar is my Goddess statue, my Moon Phases goddess tealight holder, and my athame, which I don't even keep on my altar full-time because, obviously, I have kids and I'm not comfortable leaving it out where they can get to it.
|The Goddess statue I have on my altar|
Pentacle Goddess by Abby Willowroot
as shown on SacredSource.com
Anywho, getting back on track toward the point: I love my altar tools, but while they're nice to have, they are not NECESSARY for doing magick. They basically provide a focus for the magick we wield.
The most important tool we have to make our magick work for whatever purpose we have is our faith and belief. Our certainty that our spell will work gives it the energetic punch to get more than a figurative few feet from our workspace, get out there into the Cosmos, and get it done.
It's nice to have the additional energies of things like herbs and candles and incense and whatever else, but if we don't have any of those magickal helpers at our disposal for getting a spell done, we are not left helpless and bereft of accomplishing our magickal goal(s). If we have no tools or other supplies to work with, we can still have a full-on spell/ritual without them, even if all that's done is simply meditating on our goal and sending out energy to have it done. But all the acts of going through ritual motions and what-not in the world doesn't mean a whole lot if you don't have the belief/faith/conviction that your spell will be successful.
Bringing your emotions into your spell can help fuel your belief. As previously mentioned in an earlier PBP post, anger can be a very powerful fuel for a justice spell or a protection spell or even an appropriately-spun curse or hex or whatever.
Strong desire for a particular result, for example you're wanting a particular job, -- wanting it SO BADLY that you can practically taste it -- can put the punch into a job spell. But the desire should be a productive desire, not a whiny, petulant desire. Does that make sense?
Your desire for said job has to be the desire of determination, not the type of desire you see from a tantrum-throwing child who wants a toy. That shit never accomplishes anything good. But to envision yourself with that job, seeing all the hard work you are going to do when you get that job, seeing the things you'll do to better your life and the lives of your children (if you have children), etc can put a hefty dose of oomph into your job spell.
Simply going through the motions of a pre-written spell isn't enough. I'm not saying pre-written spells shouldn't be used. Not at all. But I know from prior experience that even if you've got the spell and all the items you need/want for it, if you don't have the desire and the belief for the spell to come to fruition, all you're doing is putting on a play.
This past week I've done a job spell. I have a job interview coming up for a job that I DESPERATELY want, and I do mean DESPERATELY. If I get this job, not only could I build a viable career off of it instead of only being stuck in penny-anny jobs that go nowhere, but it would also pay well enough to adequately support my children! I would finally be able to build a GOOD life for us, start chipping away at my debts, build up my savings, and accomplish the financial goals I have set for myself. This job would have the potential to get me to where the kids and I want to be and actually be successful and independent, no longer having to rely on the help of government assistance! :-D That would mean no more Foodstamps, no more TANF!
I could go on and on and on about this job. But I won't. LoL
Before I got scheduled for an interview, the hiring manager told me that she wasn't sure if they still needed any more people for the job and that they had just hired one person. She told me to call her back within a couple of days and that she'd be able to tell me if they were still hiring or not. I'm not gonna lie, I was ready to freak the hell out because if this job didn't work out for me, then I'd be stuck back with fast food jobs and that is SO not what I want!
After we got off the phone, I began to focus like crazy on that job. Filling a bath with some Lavender Epsom salts to cleanse off the despondency and fear I was feeling, I relaxed, closed my eyes, and meditated on the job. "There IS still an opening for that job, I WILL have a job interview for it, and I WILL get hired!" I said over and over and over again. I finally went quiet and visualized my interview with the hiring manager and saw it going well, I repeatedly visualized myself going into the business place to start my work day, standing behind the counter to help people, taking their payments, learning the things I needed to know, busting my ass to progress, etc. Every time I felt my concentration slipping onto other things, I'd give myself a mental shake and bring myself back to the visualization of me going to work and doing the job. I didn't move from the bath until I had that mental image so firmly ingrained in my brain that there was just no doubts left in my mind that I'd get the job.
After taking my shower, I put some Cinnamon Mint scented oil into my oil warmer. Both Cinnamon and Mint are very good for attracting money, prosperity, jobs, etc. I also got a couple of cinnamon sticks from my spice rack and burned them in my cauldron. Granted, of course, they wouldn't stay lit by themselves, but I didn't mind. Focusing on them burning, repeatedly re-lighting them, just helped to sharpen my focus on my drawing that job to me.
The next day when I spoke to the hiring manager, I was EXCEEDINGLY delighted to learn that, indeed, they do still have one more opening for the job I want and I was scheduled to meet with her in a job interview this coming Wednesday. I can't even BEGIN to tell you my delight! I'm not even kidding, after we got off the phone, I jumped around in ridiculously stupid circles, squealing my head off! So far, my job spell has worked! And I am still certain that it will continue to work until I am walking into the business for my first day of work! We shall see!
But my point to all this is that lighting the cinnamon sticks and putting the oil on my oil warmer in and of itself didn't do jack shit. But my focus and belief that this spell would work combined with the energies of the cinnamon and mint has, so far, brought about the (uber) desired results.
When you want a result to come about, you HAVE to believe that it will work. You can't let yourself doubt, as difficult as that may be.
And even then, we know that there will still be times that, no matter how much a punch we put into our spells, belief and all, it still might not work out the way we want it to. That does NOT make you a failure or your spell a failure. I, personally, just take that as a sign that whatever it was was not meant to be. The gods/the universe/the fates/whatever energies/deity(ies) you pray to or whatever still have the right to tell us "no", "not yet", "I've got a different plan for you" or whatever.
But in this case, I have the fullest faith that a job that I can actually prosper at for me and my children is DEFINITELY what I'm supposed to have. I have felt pulled toward this job since it was first mentioned to me that they were hiring for it and that I didn't have to have any prior experience or certifications for it.
I know that this PBP entry wasn't uber well-written and was a bit scattered, but I hope I've managed to put the point across nevertheless.