This form of divination uses fig tree leaves. The diviner’s question or proposition is written a fig leaf. If afterwards the leaf dried slowly, then the prophecy is good; but, if the leaf dried quickly, the omen is bad. A.G.H.
Source: 9, 1647
A spoken or written formula which, in the act of magic or divination, is intended to create or change a particular course of events. The belief in spells and their employment dates back to antiquity. Spells have become an integral part of various religious and magical practices. Their methods vary accordingly from culture to culture, but all spells function on ritual activity.
Spells are closely related to prayers, in that they both are a means of petitioning a deity or deities for a particular desired outcome, and which require the visualization of the goal, statement of desire for the goal and ritualized movements or body positions, such as the bowing of the head, the folding or clasping of hands, or shutting of the eyes, etc.
Spells are also closely related to the various methods of employing the powers of the mind, such as “creative visualization,” “positive thing,” and “positive imaging.” Such methods help the one casting the spell to emphasize his mental images so he can better identify with these images and form a clear goal . The person repeats his intention to achieve the particular goal and combines it with the projection of his will and the invocation of the aid of the spirits, deities or Divine Force.
There are various types of spells. Some are beneficial like love spells while others are harmful like black magic spells. Some claim they may be worked on man and beast alike. Their purposes are limitless including healing, love, success, money, fertility, longevity, protection against disaster, illness, misfortune and evil, exorcism of ghosts and spirits, victory in war and over an enemy, truth in divination, weather control and accomplishment of supernatural feats. When casted against enemies spells may be used to bring about illness, destruction, loss of love, impotence, loss of property, failure and even death.
A person can cast a spell for himself, or direct it toward another person. A positive spell is called a blessing. A negative spell usually known as a hex or curse. Archaic terms for spells include bewitchment and enchantment.
A binding spell is on that is casted with the intention of preventing harm or disaster, or to stop someone from performing a particular act such as a murder or rape, or something as inoffensive as spreading gossip.
Structure of a spell:
An act of magic, that requires a magician, witch or sorcerer, performing a spell in a ritual. The spell itself consists of words or incantation (sometimes called charms or runes). The ritual is a prescribed set of actions performed while the spell is being recited. For example, the ancient Egyptians believed words were so powerful that speaking them would achieve the desired result. Certain words and Names on Power were essential in Egyptian magic and had to be pronounced correctly and with the proper intonation. The Tetragrammaton is the ultimate name on power in Western ceremonial magic.
A spell-casting ritual involves the raising of power (see also cone of power) through the combination of visualization, incantation (the statement of goal), petition of the deities and projection of the will. It is thought that the success of the spell rests on the power and will raised and the skill with which they are focused and projected. All of these powers go into spell casting. Things aiding spell casting include words, chants, songs, movements or dance which may be accompanied by the use of objects such as ritual tools, effigies, poppets, cords, candles, and nail clippings.
In most cultures witches, sorcerers, witch doctors, and other magically empowered persons cast spells which can be either beneficial or harmful. Spells are cast to meet the needs of an individual or a group of people. They can be can by an individual or a group, such as a solitary witch or witches in a coven.
The ethics set forth within the Wiccan Reed prohibits the casting of curses within neo-Pagan witchcraft. Also within this group there is divided agreement on the acceptability of binding spells.
Generally the words of the incantation used in casting spells are spontaneous and composed to serve the immediate purpose. Rhyming words or verses help to create rhythm to boaster the increasing of energy. While many effective spells and charms may be found in books on witchcraft, folk magic and magic most witches and magicians believe spells composed from the heart work the best. They know just the recitation of a chant or charm does not cast a spell.
Along with this many witches and magicians believe that the words of the incantation are not as important as their intent. This involves, during ceremonial magic, the focus of intense concentration and will upon achieving the goal, visualizing it and believing that it already has been accomplished. When the psychic power has peaked, it is released and directed toward the goal. A psychic cleanup ritual finishes the spell casting work, this is to banish any remnants of psychic energy. The invoked deities and forces of the elements are thanked. A.G.H.
This was an early form of divination used in Scotland. A speal bone or blade bone of a shoulder of mutton was used, but complete details of the divinatory method are not known. A soldier accompanying Lord London on his retreat to Skye foretold the result of the battle of Culloden at the very moment it was decided, claiming to have seen the event by looking through the bone. A.G.H.
Source: 9, 1567.