Charming Your Way to Effective Magic
A four-leaf clover for luck. The suit that you always wear to job interviews for success. The ring you never take off because it represents your love for another person. The pendent you wear around your neck every day for protection. The small statue hanging from the rearview mirror of your car for safe travel. These items can all be considered charms. Magic is alive and well throughout modern society.
The people of the Craft have always used and appreciated charms. In general, a charm represents the change or outcome that a person intends to magically bring about. However, Wiccans use the word charm in two different ways:
- Definition 1: An object that represents a desired change or outcome. The object focuses the mind and helps the person casting the spell to move and direct energy, causing the desired change to occur in the physical world. The object may be carried on the person, left in the home or other space, or used during magical or other ritual workings. Don’t create a charm for someone else before getting his or her permission. You may give a charm as a gift, but generally Wiccans give charms only to other people in the Craft.
- Definition 2: A set of words and actions that represent a desired change or outcome. These words and actions focus the mind and help the person casting the spell to move and direct the energy, causing the desired change to occur in the physical world. In this context, charm is a synonym for the word spell.
Alternatively, some Wiccans may say that they use charms to repel or attract specific energies, but if you think about it, that definition means the same as the above: to magically bring about a desired change or outcome.
Wiccans cleanse, charge, and/or consecrate their charms before they use them.
Several types of charms are common in Wicca. Amulets and talismans are popular types. Unfortunately, like the word charm, Wiccans aren’t real precise about the meanings of these two words, either. Sigh. . . .
The following are steps for making an easy charm bag:
1. Find a small square or circle of cloth. Plain cotton is fine, but you can also use silk or velvet if you want to spend the money. Choose an appropriate color.
2. Pour any combination of the following onto the center of the cloth: herbs, stones, coins, seeds, fossils, or other materials that are relevant to the magical goal.
3. Bring up the edges of the cloth and tie with a natural vine, some string, or a ribbon.
4. If you desire, decorate the bag with words or symbols that reflect your magical intent.
Amazing amulets, nature’s gifts
The following is probably the most common Wiccan definition for the word amulet:
An amulet is a natural object used as a charm. Amulets may include: stones, crystals, fossils, bird feathers found on the ground or in trees, four-leaf clovers, pieces of wood, nuts, shells (especially cowrie shells), dried flowers or other herbs, and seeds.
A good example of an amulet is a holey stone, also known as a hag stone, which is a stone with a natural (not a human-made) hole through it. Holey stones have long been carried as charms. The holes are considered doorways or portals through which someone can draw or repel energy. For example, the holey stone can bring luck or send away misfortune, bring wealth or banish deprivation, and so on. Many people look at the Moon through the holey stone in order to charge it with lunar power. Many cultures use holey stones for divination. To divine with a holey stone, the holder of the stone peers through the hole to see visions and gain wisdom.
Some fossils, such as the sand dollar, also have natural holes in them and assume the same magical qualities as a holey stone. Sand dollars have special meaning because they are natural pentacles.
Amulets may be found by accident or deliberately acquired.
The following is probably the most common Wiccan definition for the word talisman:
A talisman is a human-made or manufactured object used as a charm. Talismans may have natural elements, but they are incorporated into a human-created design.
A talisman is a magical tool, and the magic is more powerful if the person being affected by the spell is the one to make or acquire the talisman. In other words, magic is more effective if the person with the need makes the talisman and casts the spell. Making your own talisman is considered better than purchasing a manufactured one.
Many Wiccans wear or carry their talismans at all times. A common talisman is a piece of metal, wood, stone, or paper with words, symbols, or objects that are engraved, carved, painted, printed or attached. The words and/or symbols reflect a person’s magical goal or intention. A common talisman is a metal disk (often made of copper) worn on a chain around the neck. If you want to wear or carry a talisman:
- Identify the talisman as yours.
- Put your name on it (your common name or a Wiccan name). Possibly mark it with your birth date or astrological signs, or some other symbol that clearly represents you.
- Add words, symbols, or objects that represent your desired change or outcome for the magic to the talisman.
- For example, if your goal is to overcome depression, write the word joy or optimism on your talisman. You may want to use an alphabet or symbol system from your cultural heritage, instead of the language you use every day. Or you may use an image or a symbol instead of words, for example, a butterfly emerging from a cocoon or a Phoenix bird rising from the ashes. You may attach (using glue, solder, or other means) a meaningful object, such as an appropriate stone or a found bird feather.
If your talisman has two sides (for example, a metal disk), place the identification on one side and the desired magical outcome on the other.
In addition to charms, which are used for magical purposes, many Wiccans own personal and/or ritual jewelry or other items that serve as a reminder of Deity, the Otherworld, or their own personal power or goals.